I was recently visiting a friend’s blog and the page just wouldn’t load. It took FOREVER to show up on my screen after I entered the URL. I sent her a message letting her know about the problem and offered some advice on some things to look for in order to fix it.
People only spend seconds on a new website. If it doesn’t load fast enough, they are gone – typically forever.
I thought my readers might want to know things to check if their site isn’t loading properly or fast enough. These apply to WordPress specifically, but some are fairly Universal words of wisdom in web design and maintenance.
The main reason most websites don’t load quickly is the size of the images in the background, the header, the navigation or side bars, or in actual posts. Before uploading an image to WordPress, or any site online, it needs to be “compressed” for the web. Most photo or graphics design software has a built-in way to do this quite easily. You want the image to be less than 60k. Most of mine are. A few are more, but the lower the better. You can compress an image both in dimensions (which radically changes the size of the file) and the dpi.
Photoshop has a built-in method during export. You can “save for the web” and it gives you options. Pretty simple and fast once you’ve done it a few times. There are also many free sites online that you can upload your photo to and it will spit out a compressed image for you to use.
Another big loading issue is with 3rd party applications that pull from another site. Any widget you’ve added that you pasted in an html code, is subject to problems. Things like autoresponder forms, Adsense and other ads, online translators, etc. can have loading issues and cause the whole page to not load properly.
I’ve heard lots of people complaining about the latest WordPress update. I haven’t actually updated mine yet because of that. If you did do the new WordPress update, and if your site loads slow from multiple browsers and multiple people’s computers, you might want to go back to the previous version. Before doing something this drastic, I would have numerous friends check the site from their computer or phone – making sure that different parts of the country, or world, different browsers, and different internet providers are being used.
Sometimes hang ups like that are due to an incompatible plugin. Check your plugins to see if they need updating. If not, turn them off one by one to see if you can find the one that is causing things to load slowly. Or, alternately, turn them all off and turn them back on one by one, checking the site load time as you go.
Sometimes a plugin is incompatible with particular browser updates. Sometimes the plugin incompatibility isn’t with WordPress, but with the browser itself.
If you’ve discovered the plugin having problems using the turn them on or off one by one method above, or recently added a new plugin, google the name of it with the word “issue” or “problem” behind the name. You will often find forums where they are discussing compatibility issues and, if you are lucky, ways to solve the problem.
An even bigger issue can happen when a WordPress theme itself is no longer compatible with the latest version of a browser or the latest version of WordPress. We spend so much time choosing just the right theme, but when browsers or WordPress has an update, not all the bells and whistles on all the themes work any more.
I have four different browsers on my main computer and occasionally check my websites by browsing from each one. You would be amazed at how different your site looks browser to browser. It’s especially good to do this in the designing phases of web development. The four browsers I use are: Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari. For normal browsing, I tend to prefer Firefox or Chrome. But for this check, since so many people also use the other two, I check them all.
Hopefully, if you are having trouble with your site not loading properly or not loading quickly enough, these insights will be of great benefit.
Have a great day,
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Image (c) Mike Schmid
Feel free to add your insights about this post.
I use the WordPress Plugins: BJ Lazy Load for images and W3 Total Cache to speed up the page.
So impressed with your technical knowledge and that’s not enen your field. Perhaps thats what makes your blog so appealing- a user explaining o non techy users. Often the SM experts talk ABOUT, & dont walk you thru. Very thoughtful blog.
Great information. Having our websites fully optimized is so important. You are right, when people go to your site they have to find what they are looking for right away or they keep going. We live in a very busy world and people what information now! Thanks for sharing these tips to helping keep our websites running smoothly. .
Agree with every word. Visitors can be impatient when it comes to load times on a website, so everything has to be happening fast! Instantly…. not sure it speaks well on our patience! Tee-hee… Great article Takara!