How frustrating is it to click on a link only to find the page takes too long to load? The worst, right? You’re not going to wait. You’re just going to move on. It’s an annoyance for you, but worse for the website owner, who will lose business because of a fixable problem. Is your website loading up quickly, or are you losing visitors? Learn why your front-page speed is loading so slow.
Front End vs. Server-Side Metrics
There are two main factors that contribute to slow loading times on a front page. The front-end user (This is the users’ computer that is viewing the web page), and the server-side (the computer the website is hosted on).
The following are three things you can do on your own computer to ensure you are getting the best upload/download speeds as a website user.
Increasing Loading Speed for Website Users
1. Page Composition
Your monitor’s screen resolution will directly affect what you see on a web page. Using an older monitor or a monitor that has fewer FPS (frames per second) will make a difference in your website viewing experience.
2. Computer Performance
The type of computer, processing power, and keeping it updated will help with rendering page speeds. If you are visiting a webpage that has a lot of special effects like videos or popups, you may have a rough experience if you are running a computer on Windows XP with a generation 1 processor. It’s time to upgrade to a new computer!
Now, of course you as a visitor should not be to blame. The slowdown mostly comes from a weak web host where the site is hosted on.
3. Connection Speed
From a user perspective, loading speeds will suffer drastically all around if the internet speed is not up to par. You may need to upgrade to a faster package or a different service provider. The average internet speed is around 5 MBps.
Increasing Loading Speed for Website Owners
As a website owner, there are some things you can do to ensure your front page loads quickly for your visitors.
The hosting service you choose for your website is the biggest decision you have to make in relation to page loading speeds. This is how you will determine what you are responsible for on the back-end and what you will need to learn from the hosting provider in terms of how they handle their servers.
1. Code Quality
The quality of the code written is the backbone of your website and if written well, it will reduce the strain on what the server has to process. Making sure that your website’s code is efficient and not resource heavy is something you may not have to worry about if you are not coding the site yourself.
2. Server Performance
This will go hand in hand with a users’ computer performance. If the hosting server is old and outdated, you will experience poor quality as an outcome. The server needs to be able to withstand thousands of visits a minute, if not more, and needs to have top of the line processing power to take in user requests, then dish out the information. Knowing your hosting service server setup and configuration should be the first thing you confirm with them. Now it is almost a given that the more popular hosting companies have great reviews because they have great performing servers. This may be the most important factor around page loading speeds for your website. You can check the loading speed of your site or any page at GTmetrix or directly at Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
3. Server Location
If someone is China is trying to load your website that is hosted in Montana, the loading speed may be greatly taxed compared to someone in Montana trying to load your website. The more jumps (or steps) a user’s machine has to make to reach the content of your site, the longer rendering times will be. One thing to look for to avoid this problem is a hosting service that offers a CDN (content delivery network). This is basically a network that is configured to deliver content based on the user’s geo-location, thus reducing the number of hops needed to get to your website content. Most hosting services will include a CDN, but it is something that you will definitely need if your page content is intended for a global audience.
Being able to understand the type of website you have and the content you are providing is vital. Knowing the audience will help you make decisions on what services you need from a hosting provider. The number one goal here is user satisfaction and your website’s reputation. Keep your front-page loading speed as fast as possible.