So, you've built a fancy new website for your business, but when you load it in your browser it takes forever to load.
This is a seriously bad situation because according to research by Google, 53% of mobile users leave a website that takes more than three seconds to load.
Furthermore, Google has said that they use page loading time as a factor in determining your search rankings.
So why is your website so slow?
Here are five of the most common reasons:
You haven't analysed your GTMetrix score
GTMetrix is a tool that uses algorithms developed by Google and Yahoo to determine areas for improvement in your websites speed. By running a GTMetrix test, you will be able to identify the major causes for your website being slow and correct them.
You are using a CMS
While it is definitely possible to have a fast website using a CMS (e.g. WordPress, Wix, SquareSpace) it adds a lot of overhead that makes the process much harder. Unless your website is some fancy eCommerce store or similar, there is no need for a CMS.
The alternative is a Static Site Generator like Hugo. With Hugo, your site is generated from a template into static code without any overhead, removing the speed drawbacks of a CMS while still being just as easy to use.
You are using a bloated template
There are so many web templates that were developed without speed in mind. If you have one of these templates, there is really not much you can do to improve the speed of the site except to rebuild it with a custom design or a less bloated template.
A good way to check how fast a template can be is to run the demo site in GTMetrix.
The official Hugo themes list is a good place to find speed optimised templates for Hugo.
You haven't compressed your site
If your web assets aren't compressed, they will waste precious bandwidth that could be slowing your site down. Make sure every image is uploaded in the exact size you want it to be on the site and try to use efficient formats (e.g. WebP & WebM).
You should also enable GZip compression in your web server to further compress all of the web assets. If you use WordPress, there are a plethora of plugins that can handle both of these issues for you.
You have a slow web host
If you purchased cheap web hosting, or your site is on a plan that is too small for the amount of traffic you are receiving, you will notice a loss in speed. This will appear as a "Server Response Time" issue in GTMetrix.
To fix this, either upgrade your hosting plan or switch to a Virtual Private Server (VPS). A VPS provides a dedicated virtual server to your website ensuring the speeds are consistent (unlike shared hosting which can have varying speeds).
My recommendation is Vultr. If you use that link, you will get $100 of credit for 30 days for the initial sign up.