Why Does My Blog Load So Slowly?

Everything we do needs to be quick. Fast. Instant. One second too late, and *slam* your potential subscriber just left from your site’s front door.

That said, if you want to be a successful blogger, you need to optimize your website for speed. After all, slow performance is one of the top reasons why people stop visiting a website or blog. You see, if your page takes more than 3 seconds to load, you lose 40% of your visitors. That’s 40% fewer sign-ups and 40% of your profits going right down the drain.

So if you notice your blog taking its sweet time to load, here are the main underlying reasons why. I’ll give a few pointers on what you can do to speed up its loading time.

Fat, HUGE images

Nowadays, photo blogs are the trendiest and most frequently visited blogs to see. I mean, imagine reading these blogs without images: Iamafoodblog or the Greatist? It’d be pretty dull and boring, wouldn’t it? However, even though images enrich blog posts with color and a story, they often are the main culprit why a blog takes so long to display.

Especially if you’re posting multiple images to your blog, you want them fully optimized to ensure it won’t affect your blog’s display time. This means reducing the file size of the photo while maintaining its high quality.

One of the best practices is to re-size them appropriately. Use a photo editor like Photoshop to guide you on adjusting the images’ properties that helps reduce the file size. The cool feature about this software is its capability to save the image for a web version. Simply navigate towards File menu and search for the option, “Save for Web.”

Heavy-custom background images

Some bloggers simply don’t feel content with a plain colored background and would rather have a custom image. While custom images do make the website look nicer, a heavy background is another big reason why blogs load slowly.

Most free blogging platforms, such as Blogger, allow users to load their custom background image with a maximum file size of 300KB. While it is a “generous” offer from the site, it’s a dangerous one to take. Because using an image that hits 300kb will surely drag your website down. So even though you’re allowed to load this file size, be practical with your background image sizing. After all, getting people to even read your blog is more important than the background image you select.

Choose a size that won’t end up pixilated when it’s displayed on the web — an image with a 20–50 KB file size is more than enough.

Banners or headers

Banners and headers add a nice, vibrant feel to your blog. It makes everything at the top of your page a lot more personalized and professional. Not to mention, it’s a good way to catch your reader’s interest.

However, there are banners who do more harm than good to blogs. Just like heavy-custom background images, banners and headers take a long time to load, which drives potential blog readers and followers away. And since banners and headers are normally placed at the top of the page, there’s a huge possibility that people will leave your page before they even get to read what you’ve posted! People just can’t stand to waste their time watching the segments of the banner slowly pop up.

Make your header’s image file size within 20–50KB (just like your blog’s background image) and make sure it doesn’t appear pixilated once it’s displayed. This will make the banner display much faster and load the rest of the page quicker.

Too many ads or slow gadgets

Over time, bloggers install tools and gadgets to add extra features for their blogs. Gadgets, or widgets as they’re commonly known, are used to add features like: calendars, flag counters, and “blogroll.” Besides that, bloggers have the option to add ads into their blogs to generate some income. However, ads put more “weight” on a blog’s performance. Especially if the gadgets and ads use multiple offsite servers, your site will take more time to “communicate” across different servers at the same time the page is trying to display.

If you have no idea which gadgets or ad is dragging your site’s performance down, research some online tools to test how fast it takes to “ping” each “add-on.” A wonderful tool that can help you test that is Pingdom Speed Test.

I’d also advise not to go crazy on displaying ads in your blog. While it may seem tempting to earn more money, your readers might get turned off if they see your blog is bombarded with all types of ads unimaginable in the planet. Remember, having a steady stream of network traffic is still the key to earning revenue through your blog. If you push them away with too many ads, doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

In a nutshell

“A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.” -Kissmetics

While it’s cool to include features and images to your blog, it’s also equally important not to overdo it. Optimize all the “extra” efforts you’re putting into your blog so it won’t backlash at you. Keep in mind that these problems aren’t something you need to worry once. You should always keep these tips in mind while continuing to publish content for the web.

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