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The Top 3 Culprits of Slow Site Speed (and How to Fix Them)

by Elysse Madonna |

Imagine discovering a new and exciting product or service you just can’t wait to try out. You click on their website to learn more and…wait…and wait…and wait for the home page to load. How long would you wait before giving up and moving on to the next site? For most users, that number is only 3 seconds before they bounce. Even scarier, it only takes 2 seconds before they notice your site is slow and start feeling like they aren’t having a good user experience!

Here are three quick tips to ensure your site runs quickly and effectively for years to come:

1. Images and Files

Images and files may add interest and information to your site, but they will likely also add a huge burden to your site’s storage. That, in turn, will slow down your website and perhaps even leave it vulnerable to freezes and crashes.

How to Fix It:

- Optimize images to be the smallest possible file size (without jeopardizing the resolution). This is especially important on your pages with the most traffic, like the home or contact page.

- Change the format of the mobile images to portrait, instead of landscape. This will reduce the number of images shown on the screen at one time and reduce load time.

Industry tip:

Even if a website works perfectly well on your home computer, many businesses struggle to create an equally satisfying experience on mobile. And now that over half of website traffic happens from our phones, mobile site speed is especially important! Try using different images on mobile that are specially designed for that platform – they are often smaller, more simple, and will increase your site’s load time.

2. Clean up the Code

On the back end of most websites, a developer will likely find some amount of unused Java or CSS codes or scripts. This is often a product of regular website updates or edits, or custom fonts or functionality that may or may not still be used. Don’t let this dissuade you from making regular updates to your site – they can be extremely beneficial in responding to changes in consumer behavior and keeping up with the competition. Just keep in mind that what seems like a small change can have big implications on the speed of the page if not implemented correctly.

How to fix it:

- Remove any unnecessary fonts and functionality installed in original theme file

- Reduce number of apps installed, and only choose what is vital to helping your business. When you do install an app to your site, try to limit the number of customizations done within the app

- Keep custom font usage to a minimum

Industry tip:

While working with a freelance developer may seem like an affordable alternative to an agency, you often end up paying for it in the long run! Whenever you are having your website built or worked on, be sure to work with experienced, quality professionals so the code stays as clean and up-to-date as possible. This will improve the speed and longevity of your site.

3. Third Party and Built-In Apps

Third party apps are used to add functionality to your site, on top of what was built into the original theme. This is a great way to customize your site for your needs, and add new features to help people engage even more deeply. Often, if you’re working with a platform like Shopify you will already have a wide variety of plug-ins that are compatible with your site. However, too many apps can ruin the speed and experience for the entire site.  

How to fix it:

- Be discerning and only install apps that are absolutely crucial to your site

- Reach out to the respective app developers to confirm that there is no conflict among the apps used, and they will all integrate with each other

- Invest in a developer who can custom code the app functionality into the theme for a seamless user experience

Industry tip:

Many apps don’t naturally integrate with one another, so people eliminate apps that could be a great fit for them. But with a little bit of work on the back end, some custom code can help connect all your third-party apps to make your site even more powerful and effective for your business!

Interested in learning about how we can help with your site speed issues? Get in contact with Elysse at elysse@group8a.com.

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