One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi – that’s the amount of time a potential customer or client gives your website to load before they bounce off your site and take their money with them. Three seconds is all you have to make that first impression.
Studies have shown that more than 53% of visitors will leave your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load? THREE SECONDS! And yet the average business website in 2018 takes 15 seconds to load. That’s a whole lot of money being lost!
Having a slow website can literally ruin your online business. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen to you by checking your website’s page speed and learning how to improve it.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
USE THIS FREE PAGE SPEED TEST
Pingdom has a great free (yes, FREE!) page speed test on their site. Simply plug in your web address, choose the server location closest to you, and then hit “Start Test”.
The tool will do its thing and give you some stats about your website. You don’t even need a degree in computer science to figure this one out!
WHAT THE SPEED TEST STATS MEAN
Your page speed result is in the middle box labeled “Load time.” It’s basically how much time it takes your website to load.
Since the average lead will leave your site after three seconds, the goal is for your site to load in less than 3 seconds. Under two seconds is even better. Easy, right?
What if your website is one of the many that takes FOREVER to load? Pingdom has a long list of things that you can look at it see what you need to fix.
In my experience from doing free website audits, here are the top culprits of a slow website:
1. YOUR IMAGES ARE TOO BIG
Size really does matter when it comes to websites. Having huge images will slow down your website.
I’m not talking about the size that they appear on your website, but the size that they actually are when you upload them to your site. The top culprit of a slow site for most businesses is images that are way too big.
How do you fix this? There are two easy steps.
First, resize your images BEFORE you load them on to your website. This means you’ll have to know what size images you want before you actually put them on your site.
If you’re replacing a current image on your site (or one that came preloaded in your theme), then you can just check the size of the image inside your media folder.
If you’re putting a new image on your site, you’ll need to decide how big the image size should be. Check out this guide for help.
The second thing to do is to use an image compression plugin like WP Smush, EWW Image Optimizer, or ShortPixel. These will compress the pixels of your photos, making the file sizes smaller so they can load faster.
Don’t worry- your images will still look the same when you look at them. Thankfully they rarely affect how your pretty pictures look!
2. YOUR HOSTING COMPANY’S SERVER IS SLOW
Not all web hosts are created equal. When you pay for WordPress hosting, you’re essentially paying to rent space on their server. It’s like your website has a little apartment on the company’s server and that’s where it lives.
And we all know not all apartment buildings are the same. If you’re renting from a crummy landlord, you might be saving money but your site will be super slow.
Think an overcrowded server like overcrowding in a highrise building and having to wait for the elevator. It’s going to take much longer than just walking into your front door, right?
But if you get a hosting plan from a top notch host like Siteground, then your site will actually load faster. Crazy, huh?
Fewer websites squeezed into tiny little server apartments, less of a rush on the elevator. So do yourself and your website a favor, and choose a web host that won’t overcrowd its servers.
3. YOUR WEBSITE IS BLOATED
You know when you pig out on that box of Cheezits during naptime and feel like you look 6 months pregnant afterward? Not that I’ve ever done that or anything…
Your website can get bloated, too. And just like your post-binge self moves a little slower than normal, a bloated website can be pretty slow to load.
How do you know if your website is bloated? Well, since you probably aren’t catching your site with a bag of chips in hand, here are some things to look out for:
- A gazillion and a half plugins – Actually it’s not the number of plugins that matter; it’s if you actually need those plugins. Plugins that make creating a website without needing to know how to code are great. But the downside is they do way more on the backend of your website than just coding. This is a pretty technical area, but just know that the quality of your plugins matter.
- A bulky theme – Not all WordPress themes are the same. Some are the web version of ebooks and others are like a set of encyclopedias. If you don’t need a massive theme with lots of options, then don’t use one! All of those great added features will just be added bulk sitting around making your site slow. (I use Astra Pro on all of my client sites because it lets me use only the features that I need for that site.)
HOW TO SPEED UP YOUR SITE
Now that you know what could be causing your website to load slowly, let’s recap. Here’s a list of 5 things you can do to speed it up (even if you aren’t an IT guy).
- Get a great web host like Siteground
- Use a fast loading theme (Here’s a list of fast themes)
- Size images correctly
- Use an image compression tool
- Only use plugins you need
Some other things to look into are use a CDN like Cloudflare (Siteground makes it easy to do this), make sure your WordPress version is up to date, and avoid using redirects.
OVERWHELMED WITH YOUR SLOW WEBSITE?
Does it feel like there are just too many options out there to build a website? Are you just so overwhelmed you don’t even know where to start?
Do you shrink back when someone asks for your website, knowing that you wouldn’t even buy from yourself if you looked at your site?
Then it’s time to call in some reinforcements!
What if you could describe your vision for your website and see it come to life without having watch hours of video tutorials?
What if you could have a trusted personal tech expert show you which of the gazillions of plugins and themes out there are best for your business right now?
That’s EXACTLY why I created Websites in a Box.
Your business needs to be online.
A website means business.
Let’s get yours going today.