A slow WordPress site is not beneficial to anyone. It’ll be annoying for your visitors to browse and it will drastically increase the chances of them leaving to the competition.
If your visitors leave your site due to its (absence of) speed, it means you’re losing sales. You must take action quickly and optimize the performance of your WordPress site.
How can I tell if my site is slow?
A site is considered slow when the loading time of a page exceeds 3 seconds. Ideally, we aim for a page to load in less than 1 second for maximal results (and instil some jealousy!).
There are many tools to test page loading times. The web inspector of your browser can give you a good clue. For more details, you can also use specialized tools like GTMetrix or Pingdom. It should be noted, however, that both services provide a lot of technical information that may not help if you are unable to interpret it properly.
(To see this screen in Chrome, you have to right-click in the window and choose “Inspect Element.” Then go to the “Network” tab. Once there, refresh the page to get the information as shown)
In the screenshot shown, we can see that loading the structure of the page (DOMContentLoaded in blue) in the browser, regardless of stylesheets, images and “frames”, took 2.39 seconds. The full load of the page (Load in red) allowing the visitor to see the page took 4.08 seconds.
For more information about the Chrome Inspector, you can visit the Network Analysis Reference section of Google’s website.
But why is my website slow?
There can be multiple reasons behind the slowness of a site. This is the kind of diagnosis that can quickly become complicated. In short, here are the main factors which require analyzing :
- Web Hosting
- Quality of the website’s code
- Quantity and quality of the data returned to the visitor
These three (3) categories are then subdivided into subcategories which allow us to dig deeper. What must be understood here is that if anything in these categories is missing (or wrong), the website will be negatively impacted.
In terms of Web Hosting, it is recommended that the web servers be up to date both in terms of hardware components (e.g.: SSD) and software (e.g.: use of the latest version of PHP). In addition, if you are on shared hosting (this is the case for the majority of websites), other sites on the same server should not consume all resources. Finally, the physical distance between your visitors and your web server is also a factor. The closer it is, the better.
Quality of the code
The quality of the code which makes up your website must be verified. Even if you had the best Web Hosting service available on the market, this will be useless if your website’s code is badly coded or inefficient (uses more resources than it should). Effective and well implemented code should not impact the speed of your website. We specifically refer here to the choice of plugins, theme and custom code that could have been created for your website.
Quantity and quality of data returned
Finally, the quantity and quality of data returned to the visitor will impact the loading speed. If the amount of resources sent to your visitors is too large, or if the size of the resources are huge, or if the structure of your pages creates what is called a “render block”, your visitors will suffer. You will too.
But still ?
Now that you know what are the three factors that can cause problems … what’s next? The solution is easier said than done!
The first step is to validate the cause of the slowness via a diagnosis. For each factor mentioned above, tests will be performed to validate if a problem is detected. Everything can quickly become complex in some cases when, taken separately, each factor may not seem problematic. But once combined, the site becomes slow. The experience of an expert will make all the difference.
The worst thing to do, in our opinion, is to install a caching plugin without understanding why the site is slow. By installing a plugin without understanding what is really going on, the problem is simply hidden and often acts as a bandaid on an open wound!
That’s why we always start with what’s called an analysis of the situation. In short, we scan your whole configuration to identify the causes of slow site. Following this analysis, we create a proposal to correct the identified problems. And voila!
Contact one of our experts if you need assistance to get a fast WordPress website!