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Website load time
– Factors that influence page speed

There are so many things that will impact on your website load time. Here I will only cover the basics. CCS and JS aggregation and minimisation and stuff like that are not what I want to discuss here. This article is aimed at the small business website and blog owners, not developers.

Let’s start with the most important factor regarding page speed and website load time.

Web Hosting

The most crucial factor in site load time is your hosting. The reason for this is that even if your site is optimised to the max, if your hosting is slow, your site will be slow.

Website hosting can break you in the end, so be careful. We have used many hosting companies in the past, both local and international.

As far as local hosts go, Hetzner is by far the most reliable and stable on the market, but, it comes at a price.

The problems with international hosting options are the following:
– If your site is a .co.za domain aimed at the South African market, hosting your website outside of South Africa will have a negative impact on your SEO. Google and other search engines look at the IP address location and index the site accordingly.

Another negative factor about international hosting is latency. If a request is sent from a computer in SA to your site hosted in the US, the signal must travel to Europe, then to the US, then back to Europe and then to SA. This all takes time. This can be eliminated by using a local CDN (Content Delivery Network). These options have their own sets of hurdles and problems, and it still doesn’t resolve the issue around the IP.

Although there are better options in Europe and the US than locally. It is best to bite the cost bullet of local hosting and host your site in SA.

Images

A lot of people just upload images straight from their cameras to their sites. Or, at least, they will resize the images to a smaller size, but these images are still way to data-heavy to be used on a website.Images should be compressed to the max without losing quality. Size can be dramatically decreased when done right.

Images should be compressed to the max without losing quality. Size can be dramatically decreased when done right.

Besides image compression, is the need for progressive loading of these images. This will ensure a faster perceived loading of the site. You can see this when an image will first appear on the screen blurry and pixelated, and then it gets better and better.

Themes, Scripts and Coding

This is one that only experience will let you know. There are many themes, scripts and even coded sites out there that are just too heavy and slow. I have used a R10 000 script (yes, just the cost of the software) long ago that was so heavy, it was totally useless.

Experienced web developers know the companies that produce light themes and scripts.

Website load time is a critical factor in user experience.

Slow load times will result in visitors abandoning your site and in return, you will lose potential customers and revenue.

Bells and whistles

Special effects are good as it adds to the visual impact of your site. It grabs the attention of your visitor. Let’s face it, no one likes a boring looking website, but it must be used with discretion.

Everything you add to the page will slow it down. Sliders are very nice, but they add to the overhead of your site. CSS commands will also slow a site down. Things like custom fonts and icons in some themes can’t be cached, this will also slow your site down.

Be very careful what you choose to use on your site, as it will directly impact your page speed.

Page size

Do not make pages too large. The use of large images, graphics and videos can make a page very heavy.

Rather split the article into 2 or 3 pieces if it must. The bigger the page, the slower the website load time will be.

To increase page speed when videos are used, host videos on YouTube or Vimeo. This takes load away from your server. (It will also save you on date costs)

A heavy page is not only about page speed and website load time, but it is also costing your visitors unnecessary data.

Server and network load

Shared hosting is by far the cheapest, but there is always a price to pay. Due to fact that shared servers can have thousands of sites on a single server, resources are shared, and this can impact the response and page speed of your website dramatically.

It is a fine line to walk. For a lot of sites, shared hosting is fine, but if you have a resource intensive website or a lot of traffic, you might want to think about getting your own dedicated server to host your site on.

The same goes for network load. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about this. If the network is slow due to congestion, it is slow. But, it will still cost you visitors…

 

In conclusion, from this article and the one on page speed, it is clear how important website load time is to the visitor, and you the website owner. It directly impacts your ability to get and retain more customers. 

For more details on how we can help you to either speed up or redesign your current website, or to design and develop a new business website that will attract and keep more potential customers, contact us today so that we can discuss your needs.

Find out more about our web design prices here.

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