Why can a Website load slowly? Hosting Top Reviews

Why can a Website load slowly?

Why can a Website load slowly?A majority of users throughout the world connect to the Internet using slower connections such as dial-up. Subsequently, they end up spending a considerable amount of time waiting for a website to load. However, slow the connection, research shows that an average user would not spend more than 10 seconds for a website to load. Thus, even if your website has a reasonable load time, you may be missing out on many prospective clients. The key is to optimize your website so that it loads fast with any kind of connection. The good news is that doing so is certainly possible if done the right way. There are several reasons why a website may load slowly. Most people generally blame it on the host. However, statistics reveal that the main reason for a higher load time is not the website host but how the website is designed. Simply put, your web host does affect the speed with which your website loads; however, it is not the only reason. In fact, if you choose a reliable web host, the time taken by your website to load depends entirely on how well it is designed and what type of content does it hold. Given below are a few tips to help load your website faster with any connection. The load time of a website generally depends on how “heavy” the website is. In other words, if web pages within the site hold bigger files, it is considered heavy and would take up more time to load. Text content, usually, loads very quickly. Conversely, too many graphics, animation, as well as tables augment to the load time. Working with ImagesOne of the biggest misconceptions that people have about their websites is that they need to include many graphics to make their site visually appealing and, in turn, successful. This is obviously not true. Some of the most successful websites have minimal graphics. The best example is Google. Google attributes its success mainly to its simple interface, which is un-complicated and fast to load. It does not show as many advertisements as other Search Engines. Ideally, you should only put in as many graphics as required. The content of your website is your selling point – not the graphics (unless of course you are in the business of graphic design or something similar). In some cases, it becomes imperative that you include a few graphics into your website. Fortunately, there are ways to optimize these graphics to ensure that they load faster. Balancing ImagesImages can be divided into two groups – those that form an integral part of the page structure, and secondly those that are used for advertisements and even demonstrate content. Examples of the former include navigation buttons, logos, and so on. These are generally smaller in size and do not take too long to load. However, inundating your web pages with such images can drastically increase the load time. Always make sure that you use these only when required. A few small structural images on every page would not affect the load time substantially. Needless to say, bigger images should be kept at a minimum, or even completely avoided, if possible. However, as stated above, if you are in a business where graphics are essential, you must then balance these with the structural images. In such cases, it is recommended that you have text links instead of images for navigation. Besides this, the format of your images also plays a vital role in the load time. Formatting ImagesImages can be saved in different formats such as .gif, .jpg, .bmp, and so on. It is recommended that you save images in .gif or .jpg formats instead of .bmp. The file size of any bmp image is at least twice as big as the .jpg or .gif image. The reason for this is that bmp offers much higher resolution. However, unless the image is very large physically, the image resolution of gif or jpg should suffice. Try to make images as physically small as possible without ruining their consistency and visual appearance. Smaller image files load faster. The idea is to resize or crop an image and still maintain the purpose. If this is possible, you must always do so. Ensure, however, that you do not resize or crop an image directly on the web page. This is possible with most HTML editors, and may seem convenient too. Doing so does not alter the actual size of the file (in terms of bytes). It only reduces the physical size. The best way to alter the size of the image (physically and otherwise) is by opening the image and editing it using a graphic editor such as Paint, Photoshop, or Fireworks. Remember, images should be the right size. Over optimizing them shrinks them considerably and extremely unclear. Do not go overboard when resizing images. Caching ImagesIn most cases, the homepage generally takes a bit longer to load compared to other pages on the same website. The reason for this is that navigational and other common images are already cached when a subsequent page is opened. Caching, if used effectively and intelligently, can boost the load times of many web pages. A good way to cache images is to insert them on the previous page. But then wouldn’t the previous page take longer to load? Not really, if you follow this strategy. Take the image and insert it in the header or footer section of the web page as these sections load only once. Next, resize the image (directly on the web page in this case) to 1X1 pixel. A 1X1 pixel image is nothing more than a dot. Thus, the picture gets loaded on the previous page and is also invisible. Such a strategy only works if a visitor opens the web page from that particular preceding web page. Nevertheless, it can prove to be extremely useful in many cases.Working with Animation Any form of animation increases the load time considerably. Like images, most websites also incorporate animation. Like images, you are better off avoiding these completely, unless they are absolutely essential. You must always look at your website from your visitor’s perspective. If you feel that an animation does not add value to your website, you should avoid it. However, if you feel they are integral to the purpose of your site, you may have them. In any case, animation files such as a news ticker, flash file, and java applets should be kept to a minimum, and if possible concentrated only on a few pages within the website. Many websites have flash animation intros. They may seem fancy but bear in mind, your homepage is the first page anyone would look at and thus load times for this page matter the most. Having flash intros can backfire and cause visitors to leave the site before even checking out the main page. Working with TablesMany website designers use tables extensively to display information. Although, this is a good strategy, it can have a negative effect. A table only loads when it gets all the information contained within it. Consequently, if a table is too large, a visitor would only see a blank screen until the table loads its entire content. This can be frustrating. The best way to deal with such a situation is to divide the content on a page into a number of smaller tables. By doing this, every table would be displayed as soon as it gets all the information. Thus, the visitor does not have to wait until all information is received to see at least a part of the web page. Note that the total load time in both cases is the same. However, if you use the latter option, smaller tables keep loading one at a time giving the visitor an impression that the page is loading much faster. Another point to bear in mind is that the tables are consistent. The total width of all the cells within the table must match the entire table width. If this is not the case, the browser will recalculate the widths to make them consistent and it would take that much longer to load. Finally, any effort to optimize the components of your website for reducing load times is worthless unless it is tested. Without testing the load times of various images, animation, and tables, you would not know whether the tactics you have employed are successful. Firstly, test your load times without incorporating any of the optimizing techniques. To do this, clear the entire cache from your browser and type in the link of your website. Use a stop watch to time each web page on your website. Once you have done this, apply all techniques, clear the cache, and time the web pages again. There should be a significant difference, especially if you conduct this test on a slower connection. Re-test 5 to 6 times and calculate the average load time for each web page. Reader commentsComment on this article


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