In today’s world of mobile devices, the pace of life continually increases, and with it, the patience of those who visit your website keeps growing thinner. Meanwhile, you have so many new features to offer, and you must keep pace with your competitors lest your site appear outdated or cheap. You want to wow your visitors, but visitors who don’t stay long enough to even load the page aren’t likely to be all that impressed. Here are five common mistakes that can make for sluggish website performance and a fleeing audience.
2. Too much server-side processing. You could be asking your servers to do too much, or your backend code may be sloppy and inefficient. Your users have powerful machines that are capable of doing much of the work; make use of this wherever possible. If security is not a real concern, why not validate forms on the client-side? The user’s browser has a cache for storing data it might otherwise request from the server; are you using it to its fullest advantage?
3. DNS is taking too long. If you’re using free DNS, there’s a good chance you’re getting short-changed – even for free. Upgrading to a pay service is almost sure to improve load times. You may also experience latency if you’re hosting across too many domains. Being able to offer parallel downloads is great; taking an eternity to resolve DNS is not.
4. Failure to compress, concatenates, and combine. Anything that can be compressed before firing off to the client should be – particularly images. Most images can have their size reduced by up to 10% without any significant loss of quality. A CSS image sprite – or the practice of melding a set of images into one – is another proven strategy. Additionally, you can concatenate multiple script files or style sheets, reducing HTTP requests.
5. Poor choice of hosting. Outdated versions of server-side software aren’t necessarily optimized for modern web traffic. A software upgrade may be all you need. IIS and Apache servers aren’t as well suited to scaling as Nginx or lighttpd. It may be that your site requires better hardware. Hosting in a shared environment, the performance of your site is susceptible to the performance of all the other sites being hosted from that environment. It could be that you need to drag your site out from the muck of shared hosting – away from the detrimental effects that poorly coded sites are having on yours.
These are the five of the most common anchors dragging on otherwise great websites. Make sure your website isn’t so unbearably slow as to chase off all the traffic it generates. An infographic highlights this information with statistics.