- June 30, 2017
- Posted by: Graham Onak
- Category: Web Development Tips
Most of the time when a business launches a new website, it gets a domain name and server hosting, and it might set up company email addresses. The business typically moves on from there, never again thinking about its web hosting company unless its site goes down. The thing is, your web hosting cannot be a set-it-up-and-forget-about-it type of thing.
As your business grows, you may notice that your website is a little slow, and it may have errors or periods of downtime. These are all signs that your server may be holding back progress for your business’s website.
Indicators Your Server is Causing Problems
The most noticeable issue with websites is speed. We’ve worked on websites that have had 10-second load times. Now, that may not mean you literally can count to 10 like a 56K modem before the website appears; there are other, less-noticeable functions that contribute to the load time. In those cases, there could be a five-second noticeable load time, but in the background there could be five more seconds of scripts and a variety of other things loading that cause the website to be extremely slow when people click between pages.
This not only impacts the impression of each visitor who goes to your site, it also affects search engines’ evaluation of your site. If your website has a lengthy load time, it could mean you’re losing visits from search engines. Google could decide not to rank your pages because – due to your site’s slow speed – it believes your site is providing a bad experience for users. This means you don’t get leads from your website, which is not doing your business any good.
Think of it this way: if you were on your phone and you wanted to call someone who you quickly needed to get in touch with, would you wait 10 seconds for the call to dial out? Probably not. The same goes for your website. Nobody has time to waste on 10-second load screens between every page.
Contact Your Current Host Provider First
Fortunately, a slow server is often a very easy fix. The first thing you want to do is contact your hosting company and ask if there are issues that it knows about and if there are any server upgrades available. Honestly, most hosting companies are going to tell you that there is no problem. They probably will say you need to do something on your end. For example, if you are running WordPress they likely will tell you to reduce the number of plugins you’re using, update your theme and plugins and so on.
This is all great advice, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to do everything possible to increase your speed, but the things you can do oftentimes will not result in a drastic speed increase. Not only that, but when your site is experiencing load times as slow as five to 10 seconds you probably are looking at server issues, not issues with themes or plugins. For one of our clients whose website was experiencing a 10-second load time, we were able to drop the load time down to only 1.5 seconds using a variety of methods.
Ways to Improve Your Website’s Load Time
The first and most straight-forward solution is to move hosting companies.
We moved his hosting company to SiteGround from Netfirms because we’ve had a lot of luck using SiteGround for a variety of clients. The hosting is rock-solid, the customer support is excellent and it is relatively inexpensive.
Compress images and files
Solely moving to another hosting company is enough to improve most websites’ loading speeds, but we went an extra step further for our client by optimizing all the images and videos on their website in order to reduce the file sizes and bring the load times down even more.
We then ran their site through Cloudflare, a content delivery network, and a caching system that helps to improve websites’ performance.
Fixing Server Issues Has Huge Payoffs
Imagine what shaving 8.5 seconds off the load time of every page and interaction on your website would do for your site’s traffic, conversion rate and visitors’ overall experience? For the few hours of hassle that it takes to migrate servers, setup Cloudflare and reduce the size of media files, you can have peace of mind that you’re working with a solid foundation to drive visits and business for your website.