The performance of websites has always been critical. A well-performing website improves the user experience a lot. This translates into your audience coming back, staying longer and converting a whole lot better. A better performing site usually also appears higher in the search results because the indexer is having less problems with it. Also, mobile and smart devices have become so significant today that a website cannot afford to work at snail’s pace and without the proper optimizations.
We – as a bug tracking tool – have seen many issues on websites which not only killed the website performance, but also lead to unhappy users and customers.
Here are the most annoying issues which kill website performance and make users unhappy.
Why it matters!
Your customers will abandon your website in a blink of an eye as soon as they get the slightest feeling things are going slow.
To illustrate: In 2007, Amazon.com reported that for every 100 millisecond increase in loading time of their website their sales declined by a whole percentage point.
Doing an analysis of what typically happens, Strangeloop Networks (now Radware), found that 57% of your visitors will abandon a site after waiting 3 seconds for a page to load. Of these, 80% will not return and 40% will even spread the news and let everyone know how bad your website performs.
This makes it obvious that no matter the size of your company, you’d better not overlook website performance.
Where to start?
There are a lot of factors that could impact a website’s performance. It could range from simple things that have an easy fix like for example having a too small amount of server memory installed. Sometimes, it’s out of your hands and the sheer amount of people visiting your website might be bringing your server to its knees.
But then, there are smaller, seemingly insignificant things like the size of your images. Or even the way the website is designed. It happens pretty often that the inclusion of a simple app on the website ruins the entire experience.
So, according to the “end user”, what’s a good online experience then? Let’s take a look:
- Navigation should be easy and clear. No detours or links that seem to lead to nowhere. Everything should do what you’d expect it to do.
- The content should be simple to understand and be in the places you’d expect it to be
- It should be optimized for more than just your own browser. There are a lot of people using different technologies, don’t neglect them.
But most importantly, it should deliver instant gratification. You want to know something? Here you go.
Common issues that kill website performance
Even though this all seems pretty obvious and we all understand it, so many websites fail to score well on all of these requirements. Webmasters responsible for maintaining highly optimized websites often times ignore crucial elements of the site’s design, killing website load times. In the end, it usually are the simple mistakes that paralyze so many websites. That means all these businesses don’t get customers simply because their website isn’t optimized. What a shame.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes:
Speed optimization is completely neglected while building the website
So many business owners don’t feel the need to optimize their website during development. They only feel that need after the website has gone live and they’re not getting any organic traffic. By then, the site is so complex that thorough optimization requires them to basically start over. Websites should be developed with performance optimization strategies in mind. Saves time and money.
Cheap web hosting service
Cheap web hosting is only cheap at first sight. With billions of websites online, the web hosting space is crowded. Mediocre web hosts sell cost effective services while sacrificing quality. They can do this by hosting thousands of websites on a single server. This slows web pages down so much that the loss in revenue far outweighs the cost reduction.
Too many plugins and widgets
You want to have a functional website? Great! But keep in mind, additional features that often come in the form of plugins and widgets put a burden on your website’s performance. Adding a small widget can easily add a whole 2 seconds to the page load time. Also, plugins that stream a large amount of data to perform complex operations can have a huge impact. Ultimately, they can even reduce the functionality of the web page.
Advertisements slow things down. Your page has to load stuff from all over the internet to show it to your visitor, so don’t overdo it. Trying to make revenue this way, might instead cost you dearly.
Designs with large hi-res images
Beautiful design themes sometimes come at a price. By using large high-resolution images, everything looks great but some pages might slow down significantly. It may seem tempting to developers and site owners, and sometimes it makes sense. But more often than not, they end up only costing bandwidth and make you lose customers.
Websites not optimized for mobile users
Mobile is everywhere, and your website should be ready for that. Websites that are not optimized for mobile users usually suffer from issues like bloated graphics, non-playable videos and irrelevant cross-linking. Moreover, Google recently decided to reduce the PageRank of websites without mobile optimizations. Something to think about.
Wrapping it up
Although the mentioned issues seem pretty obvious, we’ve seen many websites facing exactly that problems and challenges. As a matter of time or money crucial factors like design, usability or website speed suffer. Start with the basics and do your homework.
What have been the most annoying problems you’ve seen on a website?
This article was brought to you by Usersnap – a visual bug tracking and screenshot tool for every web project.
14 extremely useful Chrome extensions for developers
A couple of months ago, we reviewed the new Firefox browser designed for developers. Since then most of our developers kept Google Chrome as their primary browser. Working with Chrome offers access to an immense repository of Chrome extensions and tools which make our daily tasks less of a chore. With the built-in developer tools,…
Get started in web development today. With these 9 basic tips everyone should know.
I have recently published a piece on “what no one tells you about working in web development” in which I shared some insights on how working on web development projects, well, works. Starting out in web development can be quite difficult, but it is a worthwhile adventure if well prepared. Here’s my web development tutorial…