Nothing is more frustrating for visitors than landing on a website and spending important time waiting for the page to load. One of the main causes of page abandonment is slow page load speed. Nobody has the time to wait for your website to load when they can just as easily jump to a competitor’s website and get the information they require.
It doesn’t matter how beautiful your website is or how tempting your product offerings might be; if your website’s performance is not up to the expectation of your visitors, you will lose them.
However, website performance is not about page load speed alone. Broken links, page errors and incorrect images are just a few examples of problems that can occur with a website.
However, what stops a well planned website from performing optimally? Read on to find out.
Poor choice of webhost
Inappropriate choice of web hosting is the first culprit when it comes to poor performance. However, if you get this issue right from the very beginning, any problems can be managed. For instance, a web hosting provider that’s not able to keep up with current security trends will put your website at the risk of exposure to viruses, worms and bots. These intrusions will not only slow down your website speed, but could also jeopardise the security of your visitors by having access to their personal information. When this happens, your website and business will lose credibility, and you might even face legal consequences. New Zealand’s top hosting partner, OpenHost, advises website owners to first check the webhost they want to use follows current best practices when it comes to security. You can easily find this out by reading their reviews online or chatting with old customers.
Too many add-ons
Add-ons such as plugins, extensions and widgets are great for extending the functionality of your website, but if not carefully undertaken, this can affect its performance. The more add-ons you install, the longer it will take your website to load. Even if you get the features you’re looking for eventually, there’s every chance there will be no visitors waiting to see them. Don’t forget that page load speed is an essential factor in Google ranking, so you will not only lose direct customers that land on your website from other sources, but you’ll also likely lose traffic that comes from organic searches, due to a drop in page ranking. So, what can be done? Trawl your website to look for add-ons that you’re not using; these files should then be removed to allow your website more room.
If you don’t get your hosting right from the beginning, you’ll have to change servers further down the line – and this can cause complications for your website. For instance, there are several problems that can occur when moving from one hosting provider to another, including losing important files on your website. This will lead to issues such as broken links, error pages or invalid redirects. Of course, these are problems that can be solved easily, but what happens if you don’t know they exist? Very few visitors are willing to contact a website owner to tell them that there’s problem on the site; rather, they prefer to go on social media and leave negative reviews. This can significantly damage your online reputation. If the mistake has happened already and you need to change servers, ensure you work with an expert website designer who will know the best way to move your files and how to check if there is any loss after the migration.
I understand that you’ll want to put as much information about your brand on your website, but note that uploading heavy files can drastically reduce page load speed. When visitors come to your website and try to open the page where these heavy files are present, it will take some time before it can load completely on their browser. Alternatively, the page might truncate and not open fully. This is obviously a bad user experience, which can have a negative effect on your business overall. Your job is therefore to make sure that visitors can get what they need on your site as fast as possible, with the least possible hassle. Try to trim the size of images and videos before you upload on your website, so that it doesn’t compromise on speed. Additionally, you can upload your visual content on third party websites like YouTube and embed the link on your site instead. This will save you on server resources, meaning it won’t affect the speed and functionality of your website.
As beautiful as they are, flash and animated websites are not the sites of today, as they tend to be complex and cumbersome. As I said earlier, your visitors have to be able to get the information they came for in the shortest time possible and with minimum fuss. You’ll not be able to achieve this if your website is complex. Today, prominent websites are those designed using a minimalist concept. This means having only the most important elements on your website and doing away with everything else. This design style makes the website more attractive, more accessible and easy to use.
Ads are an effective way to make money from your website, but have you stopped to ask yourself if it has any negative effects? For one thing, no visitor likes seeing ads covering the information they are trying to retrieve, which is what most of these third party ad networks do. For instance, they place ads on virtually every available space on your website, resulting in poor user experience for your visitors. If that isn’t enough, many of these ads are based on codes that can slow your website. Additionally, some of these ads place tracking cookies on your visitors’ devices, thereby effectively having access to information about their browsing habits and preferences. The publishers of these ads will then use this information to bombard them with unsolicited ads. This can cause a user to never visit your website again.
An organisation whose website is not performing optimally will ultimately fail in the business world. Unless they’re offering products and services that cannot be sourced anywhere else (this is nigh on impossible of course), they could end up losing all their online customers. It is therefore important that you take a critical look at your current setup to see if any of the above problems apply, so that you can rectify this out before it’s too late.