Is Your Website Slow, and What You Can Do About It
Henry Egloff, Filed in: Articles
You may already have a suspicion that your website is not loading as fast as it should, but you may be unsure if it is just you or if it is the same for everyone..?
Luckily there are many simple tools you can use to get a better idea. Personally I really like:
This site gives you some pretty straight forward stats and even shows how your website compares:
Although I think it is currently being phased out, I still like Google’s Page Speed Insights because it includes straightforward lists of any resources such as scripts or images that are slowing things down.
GT Metrix is also really good.
Why Is My Website Slow?
Of course there can be lots of different reasons why your website is slow and probably the best thing to do is look at the reasons provided by the testing tool.
Bloated Code & Website Frameworks
In my experience many WordPress websites get low speed scores when they are built using certain theme building tools or frameworks that in turn load lots of sub scripts as part of that framework. You will be able to tell if this is what is happening with your site if you see lots of scripts listed in Google Page Speed Insights.
From a web development perspective it can be relatively quick and easy to work with these types of frameworks because as a developer you can easily access a vast array of components. The downside however is that all the components may be loaded regardless of whether they are being used or not. I often look at sites that are actually using less than 20% of the code they are loading.
In my experience images are usually a big factor. If you have a website that has a lot of images, particularly large high resolution images, things will inevitably be a bit tricky, especially if the responsive images code is not configured correctly. Responsive images is about delivering differently sized versions of images depending on the requirements of the device. Tools like Google Page Speed Insights will give your site a bad score if your site is presenting images to the user that are bigger than their device is presenting them at. This is not good because the users are using up their bandwidth / data unnecessarily. Google Page Speed Insights can be fairly harsh and if it sees any space for improvement it will let you know. It can be challenging to get the responsive images code perfect. You won’t loose too many points if things can be improved slightly but if things are way off then the score will go way down.
Following suggestions from Google Page Speed Insights you may find that can improve the performance of your site by simply rescaling your images in WordPress.
Another thing I often find with slower sites is that they are loading in lots of resources like fonts and font variations. They may be loading in a few different fonts with every variation for weight and every weight including the italic style. Sometimes sites are also loading in whole icon font libraries when there site only has 2 or 3 social media icons. If I’m building a site from scratch I try to be very thrifty with the fonts I am loading and for just a few social media icons I would sooner use inline scalable vector graphics than load an entire icon font. These type of adjustments are relatively easy to implement.
Caching & Compression
Sometimes you will also get picked up on things like caching and compression. Luckily these issues are normally quite easy to resolve.
If you have any concerns about the speed of your website please don’t hesitate to get in touch. There may be some simple measures that can be implemented to speed up your site and greatly improve user experience.
About The Author
My name is Henry Egloff and I am a freelance web design / website developer based in Byron Bay Australia. Specialising in Wordpress, web design, website optimisation and training, I design and build websites for clients based around Australia and the Byron Bay area, including Bangalow, Ballina, Mullumbimby and Lismore. View Portfolio