One of the most common questions I get from clients is ‘my site is running so slow, why?’. Having a site that runs slow is frustrating for readers and may eventually lead to them not coming back. There’s usually a few usual culprits that lead to slow load times and here’s how to avoid them.
CHEAP, UNRELIABLE HOSTING
As you guys know, I’m a big fan of Bluehost. They’re an incredible hosting company and I’ve never had any issues with my website randomly going offline or crashing. I actually run over 15 websites from the same hosting plan and still have had zero issues. Lately, I’ve had clients having serious issues with their hosting and it’s causing their site to run slow. This typically happens to my clients that have a lot of traffic and their host can’t handle the bandwidth. You can always upgrade your hosting plan, or transfer your website to a more reliable host to fix the issue.
Also, I hate to name names here, but I also think that you should know that all of my clients experiencing these issues were hosted on GoDaddy.
I know we all want our images to be high-quality and crisp, but if they’re too big and not compressed for the web, they will make your site run incredibly slow. Images need to be no wider than double the size of your post column width (this will make sure that images are crisp on retina screens) and compressed for the web. The web doesn’t read anything over 72dpi, so set the image quality to that before exporting. If you’re using Photoshop, you can select the option to ‘Save for Web & Devices’ to compress you images for the web.
Plugins are great! They allow you to add cool functions and features to your website without having to pay someone to custom code them. The reality though is that they’re not all that great. WordPress’ plugin bank is full of free plugins, but plenty of them aren’t regularly updated, work poorly and aren’t compatible with all themes. If your site suddenly slowed down after installing some new plugins, try deactivating and deleting them to fix the issue.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Slow Site? 4 Things That Might Be Causing You Problems” quote=”Faster load times keep people on your site longer.”]
As style publishers, a lot of us use RewardStyle, ShopSense and other widgets that use scripts to pull data from one place into our website. These are great tools and can help monetize your site, but they do occasionally make your site run a bit slower. The reason for that is that they’re gathering information and pulling it in from another source, not directly from your site and sometimes it takes a while. Especially if you’re using multiple widgets on one page.
For RewardStyle publishers on self-hosted WordPress, make sure you’ve installed the RewardStyle plugin (if you don’t have it, you can ask your account consultant) and when using scripts, make sure you select the WordPress option. The shortcodes load a lot faster than the old scripts!