A click on a website link seems like a simple thing.

But far from it, hundreds of requests are made and granted across the web to bring us the images and text we see on a web page, There’s a lot going on in a few seconds, and there’s a lot that can go wrong.

Things can start to get sluggish across the web, dragging your website along.

A study by Kissmetrics found that 47% of consumers expect a site to load in less than 2 seconds. The study further shows that 30% of visitors will abandon your site completely after waiting only 6-10 seconds. Only 20% said they would wait longer than 20 seconds before abandoning. So if your page takes 30 seconds to load, you’re only getting a fraction of the visitors that might actually be visiting your site.

Unfortunately, slow websites are bad news! A sluggish website could mean you lose website visitors and conversions. Slow Websites are every web developer’s worst nightmare.

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Here is a list of things that can make your WordPress website slow

1. An outdated theme and plugin
On your WordPress dashboard, you will notice a regular popup asking you to install new updates or a new version of the WordPress software.

An update generally means new features have been added and they’ve ironed out any kind of problems or errors in the base code, particularly in regards to speed. Install the latest versions of all software plugins to help load your website faster and smoothly.

2. Too Many Plugins 

If your website is built using WordPress, then you’ve got to host a whole lot of plugins behind the scene,  Well, each one of this plugin makes its own file request, Each has it’s CSS and javascript files to load. That means more weight to carry on your website, and more file requests.  So, if you are running a whole lot of plugins it will definitely slow down your website, Before installing any plugins, ask yourself which ones are absolutely necessary and which ones are not. And surprisingly most times, the features you need to add, would just require a few lines of code. Install plugins only when they are absolutely necessary.

3. Non-optimised Images 

A 500KB PNG file can become 90kb by optimizing it.

Having 20 non-optimised images on your site could add as much as 4 to 6 MBs extra in terms of page load. Non optimized images can severely slow down your website 

The good news is, most of your heavy JPG and PNG images can become between 40% to 80% smaller without losing quality. You can achieve this by optimizing your images using Photoshop and other third-party tools online such as compressor.io and JPEG optimizer

4. Too Many File Request

Every single element on your website requires a different file request to load.  Every CSS file, every image, every social share button, and every piece of javascript is a new file request. 

But your server can only handle a certain amount of requests per seconds.

The server fetches and serves your website content to the end-user, images and text, just like a shopkeeper brings in your stock from the store. When you ask for an item, it’s not just about the size of the item, it’s about how many items you want.

So let’s say your website uses 80 file requests every time its loads up. If you have 100 people all access your site at once, that means 8000 file request in one second.

When you think about it this way life is simple. You’d understand that websites with multiple file requests will take a longer time to load. 

If you are on a small server, that will seriously slow down your website.

Always try as much as possible to reduce your file requests.

5. Non-Caching

Caching refers to the process of creating static versions of your content and serving it to visitors.

In WordPress, fetching a page requires back and forth of queries, sent to and from the database. If you create a page and you won’t be updating it every day, caching creates static copies of your website and serves it to your visitors, thereby reducing queries to and from the database. Enabling caching, therefore, helps to reduce the load on your hosting server.

Let’s not forget that a faster website does more than bringing a better experience to the end-user;

it also implies a favorable rank with search engines.

About Modupe Ogundiran

Web developer at WSI Axon. She has had the opportunity to work on various web development projects across E-commerce, digital payments, digital services, fashion, print media, news media.