When it comes to accessing any website, we all want the Home page to load quickly and for flipping between pages to be smooth and fast. Page loading speed is important as slow loading pages are an instant turn off for potential and existing traffic that may come to your site. Retaining visitors now, and in the future, is key. When building your site in EverWeb, the program optimizes your site automatically when you publish it to the Internet, so what happens if your site still doesn’t load as fast as you want? What can you do to improve the situation? Here are a few tips to help you find out what may be stopping your site’s pages from being fast loading and how to ameliorate the problems!
Finding the Causes of Slow Page Loading Speeds
If you have one, or more, pages in your site that load slowly, help is at hand! There are many tools on the Internet that can analyse your website’s pages so that you can make them more efficient when it comes to page loading! For example, Google provides a free to use ‘PageSpeed Insights‘ tool which examines both the mobile and desktop versions of the page you specify. Priority is given to mobile, as this is the platform most of us use to view websites on. The PageSpeed Insights tool gives both page styles a usability score which serves as a guide to how fast – on average – your page will load. The tool also offers recommendations on how you can improve the score by better optimizing your page as well as offering suggestions on web hosting optimization. Whilst Google offers ‘recommendations’ remember that it’s not always practical, or even desirable, to implement all that’s recommended. This is Google’s tool so it may not be entirely independent in what it recommends. Also, don’t forget that some recommendations can only be done by your hosting provider who may have good reasons to not implement some of the items that you may see recommended by the PageSpeed Insights tool.
Optimizing Your Image Files
Start by choosing a page that you want to analyse, such as the Home Page of your site as it’s a key page that will most like be the first page that a visitor to your site will land on. Once you have analysed the page, typically you will find that media, particularly images, will be the main culprit causing a page to load slowly. This is also the easiest and simplest way to improve your page loading score. After analysing your page, PageSpeed Insights will tell you which images it thinks you should optimize for better page performance. This usually requires two actions: Reducing the size of the image file and reducing the dimensions of the image file.
To optimize the size of your image files, there’s an abundance of free to use tools, such as ‘Optimize Images‘, which is available through the Apple App Store. There are plenty of other similar, free to use, image file compression tools available so just search the Internet to find the one that suits you. The second step is to reduce the size of the image itself. Often image files are very large, which is not necessary for your website’s pages. Open the image you want to reduce the size of using Apple’s Preview and select Tools-> Adjust Size… Remember to keep the ‘Scale Proportionately’ option checked when reducing the size of the image.
Off-Loading Media Files
Media files such as audio or video, also have the potential to take up a lot of space and can cause your pages to load more slowly which can also lead to delays and interruptions in video or audio playback. If you experience these types of problems, you may need to consider off-loading your media on to a service where they can be used efficiently. The most obvious example would be using YouTube or Vimeo for video SoundCloud for audio. You can still keep your visitors in your site when using these options as you can use a Hyperlink to take your visitor to another page in your site which includes YouTube widgets linking to your media. In this way, you can also add videos to popup windows within your site as well. If you are using SoundCloud, checkout the free widget on EverWeb Garden‘s website, or Roddy McKay’s EverWeb Widgets site which offers some useful, versatile options.
Use EverWeb’s SEO Power Up Addon
If you use your own hosting provider, you can ask them if they offer Gzip compression if it’s not part of your hosting packing.
Pages Still Loading Slowly?
If, after all of your optimizations, you still find your pages loading slowly, you have one option still to use… which is to make the most of the fact that the page is loading slowly by using a Fake Loader. Checkout the Fake Loader widget from EverWeb PowerUp‘s website. The Fake Loader is free and comes with 7 different visual effects to ‘entertain’ your visitor whilst your page loads in the background. Using the Fake Loader may be a useful tool to stop potential visitors clicking away from your site before the home page has finished loading.
Slow page loading times can usually be cured by optimizing your pages to be more efficient. Using the right tools can quickly help you pinpoint the issues so you can fix them, and if not, there’s always a Fake Loader to help you out!