Website Performance —

Why is your website slow? Common causes and how to fix them

By Arso Stojović
10min
Published on October 7, 2022
Updated on November 14, 2022
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Why is your website slow?

"Why is my website so slow?" That is one of the questions you don't want to ask yourself ever! Do you know that your website loses more than 10% of visitors with every second of loading time?🤯

Slow and steady, in this case, lose the race because 40% of people leave the site immediately if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. You can't afford to waste even a second on the Internet. Let's see why it is important to have a fast site.

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Why is a website's loading speed important?

Site speed is the time a browser takes to load your site. 

Website speed plays a crucial role in the perception of a brand among audiences

It is essential to realize that a slow website can lead to users losing patience and leaving. This negatively impacts your bounce rate, which indicates how many visitors leave after viewing one page.

Besides losing a significant amount of audience, a slow website can build a wrong impression about your brand. People tend to believe that fast websites are more reliable and professional. Conversely, slow websites can compromise UX in many ways, reflecting on the audience's perception of your brand.

Website speed has a great influence on the SEO rankings

The reduced loading speed will affect your rankings. So when you think about SEO optimization, you should include speed as a significant Google ranking factor for your website (desktop and mobile versions).

Over ten years ago, Geoff Kenyon ( an SEO expert) calculated speed in his post about Site Speed, where he explained how speed affects SEO through a mathematical formula. 

y = 122.32e-0.31x

Page load time

A time value for x indicates how long it takes your page to load (in seconds), and a mark for y indicates how fast your page is compared to other pages. By comparing it to other sites, Geoff approximated the speed of the page load.

The results are stunning:

If your site loads in 5 seconds, it is faster than approximately 25% of the web
If your site loads in 2.9 seconds, it is faster than approximately 50% of the web 
If your site loads in 1.7 seconds, it is faster than approximately 75% of the web 
If your site loads in 0.8 seconds, it is faster than approximately 94% of the web

As you can page speed has a huge impact on conversions, so before you launch your site live, you need to get some knowledge to power your site.

Which metrics to follow for better website performance?

Knowing what metrics to pay attention to before measuring your website speed is crucial to having a fast website. The following are some of them: 

  • TTFB (Time to First Byte) measures the amount of time it takes for a user's device to receive its first byte from the server.

  • Page load time: This is the amount of time it takes for the entire page to load.

  • Round Trip Time (RTT) is the time it takes for data to travel from one place to another.

  • Page size: This metric measures how large your page is.

How to measure website speed?

It is possible to test your speed in many different ways. You should use more than one tool to understand your website performance completely. Let's go through the most popular options that can be helpful for speed testing.

GTMetrix

GTMetrix is one of the most popular free speed-checking tools out there. By copying the website's URL and selecting "Analyze," you will provide some metrics and even suggestions for solutions based on your results. GTMetrix works simply.

GTMetrix

You will have to get access to a lot of valuable data about site loads, overall site size, and even info about your concurrents. With all of this information, you would know if your site is performing well or does it need some changes.

Pingdom Tools

Another tool similar to GTMeetrix. Both tools work in the same way to provide the necessary information.

Pingdom Tools

Pingdom Tools rates your site by analyzing several metrics, such as: 

  • Number of  required requests 

  • Size of performed redirects 

  • Comparative analysis of your site with others


    Another benefit is the ability to repeat the test using multiple server locations.

Google PageSpeed Insights

Google PageSpeed Insights reports on the performance of a page on both mobile and desktop devices and provides suggestions on how that page may be improved.

Why is your website running slow, and how to improve it?

With all information collected from speed-checking tools, you should be ready to optimize some factors that can greatly impact speed. Here are the most common causes that make your site run slow:

Not using CDN? Change that immediately!

CDN or Content Delivery Network significantly impacts your website performance, especially if you have visitors worldwide. As an independent service server deployed in different geographic locations, CDN  distributes high-quality content with high performance. How is that possible?

CDN illustration

Instead of the traditional workflow where a visitor has to request content that goes around the world to a server in a specific distant location, a CDN is serving your content to geographically close locations of your visitors. That means that the same content is stored in different places to provide the fastest response to users’ requests. So, if this article reads someone from New York and Mumbai, they see the same content but not from the same server. Isn’t that cool and, even more important, faster?

Caching

Cache implementation is the next must-have to speed up your website. When a browser caches a website, it stores static copies of its files. By caching data, visitors don’t need to load your website fully. Your website will be substantially faster when you cache it.

In addition to drastically improving performance, caching allows you to cache everything from HTTP requests to database queries to images. Don't hesitate to cache anything if you can.

Unoptimized images

Most often, websites become slow because of many unoptimized images. While loading, high-resolution images can consume a lot of bandwidth. The size of your website can increase unnecessarily when you upload large images and then scale them down. A quick tip: Ensure that you never exceed 1MB per image.

Photo sizes

Besides image size, another element important for image optimization is the format.

Every format has its own size, so choosing a smaller one can reflect positively on a better loading page time rate. For example, image formats such as PNG and GIF are much bigger than JPG, which are much smaller. So, in this case, always choose the JPG format. Also, some awesome tools will help you do image optimization effortlessly. My favorite ones are: 

If you want to be really fast, use SSG!

In the SSG vs. SSR duel, static site generators definitely win when it comes to speed. Why? Because your website pages are pre-produced with SSG. That means they are ready to load as soon as someone requests your homepage. Of course, using CDN to do that makes this process even faster. So if you want to win the race, don’t hesitate; check out a list of Static Site Generators for Jamstack sites and run more quickly so you can be first.

Have a high-traffic website? Great, but be careful

This one is an interesting and tricky factor that can jeopardize website speed. Every online business aims to reach a wide range of audiences, but where there is desire, there is going to be a flame, and this one can burn pretty hard.

A website loading slowly can also be caused by high website traffic. Traffic depends on the amount of bandwidth available to a site. Although information moves faster than light, websites can only handle so many visitors before becoming sluggish.

So how to handle “too many visitors” at the same time? There is a straightforward solution: expand bandwidth. You don’t want to avoid potential buyers, so keep your website thorough and stamen by bandwidth expansion.

What to do with flash content? Avoid

Flash can boost a website's interactivity but also slow down its loading speed. Generally, flash content is heavier, so adding more of it will slow down the performance of your website. Reducing or eliminating Flash files is a smart idea. Replace existing Flash content with HTML5 alternatives since HTML5 files tend to be smaller.

Nobody likes too many ADS, even your website

Adding too many ads to your website can cause it to function slowly. Another downside of having too many ads is that it leads to HTTP requests, which require additional processing time. If ads are your primary source of revenue, then you might lose money if you have too much advertising on your site. An overly slow-loading page that shows ads instead of content will cause users to bounce. Don't put more than one or two ads on a page. Your site will load faster, and your visitors will stay longer.

Too many file requests (RTTs)

There is a separate file request for every small element on your website. Every CSS file, every image, every share button, and every Javascript code is a separate file request. There is a limit to how many requests your server can handle each second. Whenever possible, reduce the number of files on your pages. The CSS stylesheet, images, and Javascript are all included.

Stop writing dirty codes

In this case, being dirty doesn’t make your site more desirable; it makes your site more bugging. A website stylesheet can grow in size due to excessive white spaces, inline styling, empty new lines, and unnecessary comments. By removing these unnecessary elements, you'll be able to compress the code, reduce the file size, and improve the load time of your website. If you're monitoring SEO, you'll also notice a significant improvement. Life hack: Minify!

Don’t skimp on hosting service

A web host is responsible for serving your site to users from their server. Choosing the right web host can significantly impact your website's performance. Your customers may leave your website because it takes too long to load if you choose a cheaper hosting service.

Remember the old saying: “For what seems cheaper at first can ultimately turn out to be an expensive mistake.”

Use Headless CMS

API is essential to the concept of a headless CMS and the core of what it offers. Using the headless CMS approach makes high-speed websites. Thanks to the API rendering process is more efficient.

Each page undergoes a build process only once when data for that page is pulled from your CMS and/or other databases/APIs and assembled into a final HTML document. To display a static HTML page, the browser must send a single request to the nearest server in your global CDN. The result is a lightning-fast website because page load times are typically under a second.

How can BCMS improve your page load speed?

As a headless CMS, BCMS is fast and secure by default, but besides that can offer these specific things that can have positive effects on your website performance: 

  • BCMS, as a CDN-enabled headless CMS, allows users to deliver content more quickly using a globally cached network.

  • BCMS has an API-first approach that can improve the connectivity interface to an application and offer you a multiplatform presence without jeopardizing web performance. 

  • BCMS enables you to use any programming language you want for developing your website.

  • With BCMS, you have the opportunity to choose the hosting option which suits you the best.

  • BCMS is a future-proof content management system. By using BCMS, you don’t have to worry that it will be an outdated CMS one day because it can quickly adapt to any new industry standards.

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  • Free migration

  • Free support

  • No credit card needed‍

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