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  /  Design   /  18 Reasons Why Your Website Is Loading Slowly (And Why You Should Fix It ASAP)

We often bring up how devastating having a slow website can be for a business – see our recent website design blog entry. 

Unfortunately, many companies struggle with this issue even after a website development agency in Dubai already designed their brand new website. 

This is harmful in so many ways. First, you are losing your potential clients. A 3-second delay loses you 40% of visitors, whereas an average user expects the website to load within 2 seconds. Mobile users are even less patient, with 53% leaving if the website doesn’t load within 3 seconds. A 2-second delay in load time during a transaction can result in 87% abandonment. These users will probably never come back again. And even when your visitors are patient enough to wait it out, you are still annoying them. Is that the impression you want to leave on the people you’re trying to win over?

Second, it is just embarrassing and makes you look unprofessional. Imagine having a meeting with your partners and clients and trying to present your website only to have to awkwardly wait and exchange glances while it’s taking forever to load. It shows that you either weren’t aware of what’s going on with your website or that you weren’t competent enough to sort it out. 

Finally, even if your website was coming high up in the Google search engine, your SEO efforts will start to suffer because Google algorithm penalizes slow loading times.

A professional website design agency in Dubai will not wait to get the 10th phone call from you before fixing the issue, they will instantly know what to look for and which steps to take. 

Educate yourself on the potential issues that make your website load slowly so that you know which questions to ask, and above all, understand that this is a completely fixable issue. Better yet, work with a website design & development agency that will seamlessly iron the issue before it even comes up.

Here are some of the bigger and smaller reasons why your website might be taking time to load:

1. Sub-par server

By clicking on the website, you are pinging the website’s server requesting all the data needed for the web upload. But sometimes the server’s performance isn’t stellar and they’ll take time to respond. Your website might be perfect, but if the server isn’t up to the mark, the loading speed will be slow. 

Website hosts that offer a shared server are usually cheap, but you will be sharing resources with other websites and so the performance will suffer. Your website design and development company should be able to direct you to a better server, but you need to understand why there are sometimes big price differences between the servers. This is not a point you want to compromise on.

2. Remote server

Even good hosts take time to load your website when browser ping has to travel a long distance. We always recommend using local servers. 

So if your company is based in Dubai or UAE, go with the website servers from Dubai.

3. Amount of traffic

A server has a limit to how many requests they can support at a given time, and after reaching that amount each new request will load slower. Congratulations, this is the best reason for the website to load slowly – you want to get more visitors. Your digital agency in Dubai must be doing something right!

However, use the momentum to ensure all these users have great website user experience and convert to loyal customers. If this becomes a regular issue, it’s time to upgrade.

Go through your website on your phone. Do you like the experience?

4. HTTP Requests

Websites that contain an overflowing amount of JavaScript, CSS and image files will have an increased amount of HTTP requests. Every visit to the website will be an additional request for the already overwhelmed server, so the response will be slow. 

Round-trip-time (RTT) is the duration it takes for a network request to go from the starting point to a destination and back. The more requests the longer they take to process. 

There are ways to reduce HTTP requests, for instance via CSS Sprites. You can also look into reducing the number of files, and minifying CSS & JavaScript files (more about this below).

5. Code Density

It’s simple, large, bulky website elements slow down the speed. One of the densest things about your website is its code – every developer experienced in CSS, HTML or Javascript can tell you this. Big companies have the resources to execute extremely extensive cafes but most businesses need to look for some solutions. 

Your web developer should be able to help you clean up your code. There are often many completely unnecessary elements on the website adding to the density you will be better off shedding, which is also known as minifying the bulky code. 

Come popular plugins can help with this, we recommend Autoptimize or Fast Velocity Minify.

6. JavaScript

JavaScript needs to be addressed separately as it is a prominent reason behind slow websites. 

Browsers stop and attempt to fully load all JavaScript files on the website first when trying to open a website. JavaScript is the code that makes your website functional and interactive, but it needs to be optimized in order not to delay your page loads – also known as “render-blocking JavaScript”.

There are ways to deal with this issue – you can remove any external JavaScript and use inline, use asynchronous loading for JavaScript or defer it’s loading until the rest of the page is loading. Talk to your digital agency to find optimal solutions. 

Poorly-written JavaScript also occasionally causes compatibility issues with other parts of your website which slows it down. This issue can often be identified by running speed tests. 

7. CSS

CSS is the code responsible for styling the website pages, and like JavaScript, it needs to be optimized or else it can delay loading.

Popular solutions are to use inline CSS instead of external CSS, combine your external CSS files into one file, or use “media types” to specify when CSS files should be loaded. 

Same as with JavaScript, inline CSS is only effective for small portions of the total code, so if you have several large files don’t add them all to your HTML file. We usually advise going with specifying media types and combining your external CSS, but let your company that does website design in Dubai review the situation and provide you with tailored suggestions.

8. No CDN

Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of independent servers spread out across various locations. They are here to serve the content of your website to visitors with better visibility, performance and accessibility. It will allocate local servers to the website (see point 2), for example, it will allow you to have a Dubai-based website server for your Dubai audience, but a UK-based one for your British audience, thereby minimizing the round-trip-time of your content. 

Some CDN options you should look into for WordPress include Cloudfare and Jetpack CDN. If your website uses JQuery, you can load it from CDN instead of your server which can boost your website speed – this is what Google and Microsoft do!

9. Outdated CMS

What is CMS? The Content Management System is there to create, manage and modify your digital content. A popular example is WordPress (also Drupal, Wix etc), which ensures that you’re installing it with all the latest software updates. Every update makes it smoother and more bug-free – this will help speed things up. 

Bottom line is, keep updating your CMS to the latest versions.

10. Excessive Overhead

Any extraneous items in your website’s database are known as “overhead” – this includes transients, logs, entries from themes or plugins etc. They tend to build up and this causes database queries to take more time than needed – it can even cause your webserver to time out while waiting for the response.

Your web development agency should, therefore, optimize your database. You can do this through database management platforms (such as phpMyAdmin) through your hosting account, or the WP-CLI.

11. Redirects

A redirect is a way to send both users and search engines to a different URL from the one they clicked on. It doubles the time it takes to load the page and is often unnecessary. 

Your website development agency should look into this and remove HTTP redirect code wherever possible unless there is a justifiable reason to use them.

12. 404 Error

Missing files can slow down the loading time because more HTTP requests are made to try to find these files. Eventually, you will get a 404 error. 

There can be many reasons for this best reviewed by your web developers, but a good cure-all solution is to restore your website from the latest backup. 

13. Caching Issues

Caching technique is the way the browser stores data that is often used, and keeps it in cached memory so that the next time you visit the website the browser doesn’t have to load it all over again, speeding up the loading time. Without it, every single time a visitor comes to your website all the files have to load all over again. It’s unnecessary and not not the type of user experience you want to give your return visitors. 

Browser/HTTP caching should be implemented together with the server-side caching. The improvement can be tremendous. WordPress websites have several caching solutions available, plus there are 3rd-party plugins that can also be used.

Also, keep in mind that your OPcache should be enabled – it is a built-in engine for PHP, so if you use PHP on your website then this will speed up it’s loading.

14. Complex & Large Files

Large media files such as images and videos take a long time to load, and the more of them there are, the longer it takes. You can optimize these through compression, and many free online tools and plugins that can help with this. Your website developer should be able to find the best one for your website. 

While videos can’t be compressed as easily, you can host them externally on YouTube and then embed them on your pages. 

Image format can also play a key role here – JPG, PNG or GIF files are fine, but TIFF and BMP can significantly slow down your loading speed.

Text graphics can also take up space, so whenever possible use a font alternative.

15. Ads

Even though they will help your website make you money, they will slow you down. Again, it comes down to them increasing the number of HTTP requests. Pop-ups and -unders, auto-downloads and other media are effectively clogging up your website.

Suggestion – use the money made from advertising to upgrade your server and get a great Dubai-based website development agency to fix the issues.

16. Plugins

A lot of websites today are WordPress, and every developer knows that they sometimes require a host of plugins to enable various functionalities the client might require. Each of these has a CSS file and Javascript, meaning each makes its own file request to load adding to the queue.

Consult with your web design agency and listen to their advice – there may be many plugins that are not necessary and don’t add to the user experience that you can get rid of. 

Plugins can also interfere with caching, so it is advisable to screen for this issue. 

17. Flash content

Your website design company knows that Flash is useful for an interactive, engaging UX design. But it also slows down the loading speed because it’s heavy. Your web designer needs to resize it. They can also check out some HTML5 alternatives that have smaller file sizes. 

18. Network issues

Sometimes the issue is not your website or your server but the user’s Internet Service Provider (ISP). Run a traceroute between your computer and your website to test the connection if this happens to you so that you know if you should be concerned. 

Conclusion

Just as there are many reasons why your website is running slow, there are also many ways to help your website run faster. But don’t shrug off the slow loading speed issue as something you just have to live with. It is so immensely damaging and there is just no reason to tolerate it. 

If your website loading speed is causing you ongoing issues, contact a professional website design & development agency in Dubai now for a consultation. 

It’s time to stop losing customers and get the most out of your website.

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