This is the first post in a series on basic SEO that you should understand and implement across your website.
- Basic computer knowledge.
- Some photo editing knowledge.
- Know how to upload files to your CMS website.
A common question my clients ask me is “Why is my website running slow?” and the first thing they jump to is maybe the hosting server isn’t any good. But in actual fact a lot of the website slowness comes down to the actions of the client whether they know it or not.
Here is a quick guide to some reasons why your website may be running slow, and although many of these might be problems in your website, there may be something else at play, so it is best to consult your web designer first to see if they can get to the bottom of the cause and then look at the following.
Common reason Number #1
“I’m trying to get my gallery to load, but it takes forever for the page to open all the images.” or “When I click on my image it looks huge when i click to expand it.”
So you have taken a high quality photo with your smart phone or digital camera, and the picture looks amazing. But uploading it to the website takes a really long time and then viewing the site also takes an even longer time.
This is a common problem with websites where the client has not been trained about file sizes, and what kind of load you are putting on your server when you upload a large file to your site.
“Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”
Now day’s the image quality and size of your digital images is too big for displaying on a website. The image should first be optimised for your website before uploading it. There are some rules that I suggest to my clients and as a guide these work, in most cases for most images.
When you look at the file size of your image it should be no more than 100kbs, and 72DPI.
If your image is portrait it should 800 pixels high and if it is a landscape shot it should be 800 pixels wide.
Why? I hear you ask.
When looking at your images on your computer they load really fast because they are there on your hard drive and your computer is working hard to show you the images as quickly as possible, but when you view them on a webpage you are in fact downloading the image on the fly and loading it at the same time. Large images take a long time to download depending on your own internet connection and how many other connections to that same file are happening at that moment in time. The more people that are viewing your site the more load it puts on the server to deliver those files. The constant downloading of large files can also put such a strain on your server, that depending on your web hosting plan, if you are on a shared hosting plan, you might even break the terms and conditions of the web hosting companies policy, and have your account suspended.
This can be simply avoided by reducing your image quality and dimensions in a photo editing program before uploading it to your website. There is no need to produce smaller versions of the file than the now optimised version because (if your using a WordPress CMS or similar) the file is regenerated into smaller sizes for thumbnails and featured images etc.
The next Why? i get is why wont WordPress do that for me (produce smaller versions). You must remember that the server that you have serving your webpage is optimised for serving only not for doing day to day tasks that you perform on your average computer, and resizing peoples images is not one of those tasks. If you upload a massive file, WordPress produces smaller versions of a huge file, these versions in them selves are still quite large. It is better practices to compress and optimise the images first and the smaller versions that WordPress produces are in fact even smaller still. Where possible the server tries to display the largest file size it can to the device that is loading it so you should think very hard about fixing any existing images on your site, so that they are optimum for the website, and any new images should definitely be fixed before uploading.