Top Elements That Slow Down Your Website


As you strive to increase the visibility and profitability of your website, you’re bound to run across performance issues. Even the most professional web designer and developer is bound to make mistakes that result in lagging page load time. If you’re searching for ways to increase not only the functionality, but the speed of your website, take a few minutes to review this list of the top elements known to reduce the speed and effectiveness of your website.

Images That Are Too BIG!

This is one of the most common problems, affecting nearly 90% of all websites on the Internet. While visitors demand visual images to help tell the “story” you’re presenting, if these images aren’t optimized for performance, the speed of your site will decrease significantly. Many designers have found issues with images and website speed because people want high-resolution images; however, people don’t want to wait for these high-resolution images to load. So, what’s a designer to do?

Optimize, Optimize, Optimize

Optimizing website images are among the most important pieces of the performance puzzle. Did you know that if you were to upload an image without reducing its image size, the original size is requested from the server even if the image was resized in the website editor?

There are several ways to effectively manage your images. The first is knowing what images should be used for specific purposes. For example, only use PNG image files for icons or logos, while only using JPEG files for primary photos on the actual web page. Also consider running specific PHP scripts, such as the one offered by Adaptive Images, which automatically detects the screen size and then customizes each image based upon the optimum size without sacrificing speed.

Busy Page Elements

One of the most essential factors to consider when designing a webpage is how user interact with page elements. The reason? It makes determining what elements are necessary and which are simply bogging down the site. Obviously, this approach requires a certain level of trial-and-error before the page can be fully optimized.

The most important tip to remember regarding this technique is to automatically remove elements that are not crucial for a user experience. For example, if one of your pages does not heavily rely on social media sharing, then it would be a good idea to remove these elements from select pages.

Your CSS Files are to BIG!

As you can see, in the realm of the Internet, size really does matter. One of the most common reasons why a website is experiencing sluggish response times is its CSS file is simply too large. In fact, many CSS files contain elements are not necessary or even used by your website. If this is the case, you’re wasting a significant portion of bandwidth. As a general rule of thumb, follow these best practices:

  • Minify Your CSS Files
  • Use Only One External CSS Style Sheet
  • Use SPECIFIC CSS Selectors
  • Use Shorthand Properties whenever possible. The fewer the characters, the faster the page performance.

Making changes is great, but if you don’t know whether they’re having a positive effect or not, then you won’t know if you’re headed in the right direction. Take the time to conduct a website speed test both before and after your changes so you can get an idea of whether of not they’re having the impact that you want.

How Fast Should My Website Be?

Perhaps one of the most common questions asked among website owners regards the speed of their website. While it’s no secret the speed of your website determines the number of visitors, retention rate, conversion rate and site ranking in all the major search engines, there is much confusion over what the ideal speed of a website should be. While many professionals in this industry have their own opinion, there are several studies that provide a detailed look into what visitors expect, and demand, from their web surfing experiences.

Demystifying Website Speed Recommendations

Many professionals in this industry are continuing the conversation of sub-second website speeds, but in the real-world, what is a reasonable expectation or speed goal?

If you take a few minutes to browse the most popular websites, you’ll notice they all load extremely fast. For example, Yahoo!, which is known for having a content-heavy webpage, loads in an average of 1 second while the more dynamic and application-rich website averages at 5 seconds per page.

Although many heavy weight players on the Internet don’t feature the coveted 1 second load time, visitors to these sites expect slightly longer load durations due to the quality of service they’ll receive. But what does this mean for the everyday business?

While giants such as Amazon and eBay have a little more leniency when it comes to their load times, what about smaller websites without such a cult-like following? How fast should they load? Even though it’s nearly impossible to give a specific answer, let’s take a look at some of the latest studies to help create a timeline for the ideal loading time.

  • A study published by Radware found that a whopping 51% of Internet shoppers claim that if a site is too slow, taking longer than 5 seconds to load, they’ll abandon their purchase and move on to a competitor.
  • Another study published by Radware also found that in 2014, if a website tool longer than 6 seconds to load they suffered a 50% conversion reduction when compared to similar sites with faster loading times.
  • Nearly 50% of all Internet users expect a website to completely finish loading in under 2 seconds. What if the site takes longer than 2 seconds to load? The same study discovered that a surprising 75% of consumers turn to a competitor’s website instead of waiting around for a website to load.

These figures are surprising. Use these percentages and expectations to compare your current site speed. If you find that your page is taking longer than a couple of seconds to load, or if a specific application is delaying site speed, take the necessary steps to increase this site speed.


Best WordPress Plugins to Increase Website Speed


As of 2010, Google announced that part of its ranking system uses site loading speed, along with other metrics, such as content quality and authority. If you’re searching for a way to increase your organic traffic, and retain those new visitors to your WordPress site, then there are several plugins designed to increase the speed and overall functionality of your site.

WP Super Cache

This is perhaps one of the most commonly used plugins geared toward increasing website speed. Perhaps one of the most exciting features of this plugin is its ease of use. While it has basic settings capable of enhancing the speed of basic sites, those seeking more advanced-level settings are able to fully customize how this plugin operates. Some of its notable features include:

  • Supports a variety of caching types, which include Legacy, PHP and Mod_Rewrite
  • Capable of serving static HTML files and coding
  • Preloading Cache
  • Support for CDN

Quick Cache

While the aforementioned WordPress plugin is well-equipped to increase the speed of your site, some WordPress site owners report issues with WP Super Cache. If you’re finding yourself in this boat, or simply want another option, Quick Cache is among the most efficient and easiest speed enhancing plugins on the market. Its notable features include:

  • Streamlined installation and integration into your site
  • Full support for Gzip compressed files - an essential for enhancing your site speed
  • Set expiration times to maximize speed based upon visitor habits
  • Client-end cache support - an excellent feature very few plugins offer

WP Minify

Minifying is the idea of combining CSS, HTML and JS files together in a compressed manner to reduce loading times. While you must tread lightly when it comes to these plugins, the majority of users will find this plugin the answer to their Minifying prayers. Some of its most exciting features include:

  • File exclusion from the minifying process
  • Multi-code minifying capabilities (HTML, JavaScript and CSS)
  • Add on extra files during the minifying process
  • A powerful debug tool to isolate and resolve current or potential issues

BJ Lazy Load

Typically, when a reader visits your website the entire site will load upon this initial request. While this may not be an issue for those with smaller websites, if your site features a lot of content, graphics and other features then its loading time could be substantial. The truth of the matter is you don’t actually need to load the entire page at the same time. It’s within this truth that “lazy loading” was implemented. Basically, this process only loads elements as they’re needed, not all at once. BJ Lazy Load is a well-equipped plugin capable of lazy loading without sacrificing user experiences. Features include:

  • jQuery operation
  • Scales down images according to responsive design procedures

Replaces iFrames with specialized placeholder until the user needs the content to load

Once you try some of the plugins above, you should take the time to test the speed of your website in order to see if the changes you’ve made have caused any improvement in your page load time.

Tips to Make Your WordPress Website Faster


Faster WordPress websites do far more than simply provide information at quicker intervals. A high performing website is able to not only attract readers, but retain their attention, increase visitor to customer conversions and even enhances search engine rankings to drive even more organic traffic to your site. If you’re using a WordPress site, then there are several simplistic administrative procedures and publishing habits capable of enhancing the speed and functionality of your WordPress website.

Tip #1 - Resize Images for Optimum Performance

As a general rule of thumb, you should strive to maintain smaller, optimized images for your website. Large images significantly reduce paid load times, which in turn requires users to wait. If there’s something every webmaster knows, it’s the attention span of users has been shrinking as technology increases.

Always reduce the size of your images BEFORE you upload them to your WordPress website. Although you’re able to resize images in the Media Library options, a web browser still uploads the original image size and then resizes according to your style specifications. Use common image editing applications, such as GIMP or Photoshop, to perfectly reduce image size prior to uploading.

Tip #2 - Restrict the Number of HTTP Requests

While images and graphics help convey your story, and give vital information regarding a particular subject matter, if you’re able to convey the same message with text rather than an image, then do so. By reducing the number of images on a specific page, you’re automatically reducing the HTTP requests needed to load the page.

When a reader visits your site, the site must load all of its components, which could be quite a few depending on the design and functionality of your site. With each download an HTTP request is sent to your web server. The more requests you have, the slower your website speed. The server requests become even slower when you link to an external image as displaying this image requires an additional HTTP request to the hosted server as well as your own server, which significantly increases load times.

Tip #3 - Use Cache to Increase Site Speed

While WordPress utilizes many advanced-level plugins to provide information and dynamic interactions with readers and your site, many of these plugins can reduce the speed of your website. In these cases, caching your plugins allow its features to be quickly delivered to browsers. Plugins, such as W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache, provide excellent cache capabilities, as the assembly of your website is done far before any reader visits your site. Therefore, the moment a reader clicks on your site, they’re delivered content and information immediately, not a white loading screen.