While all bloggers are hungry for more traffic and a larger readership, the question remains: is there such thing as too much traffic?
For some bloggers, the answer may be a resounding “yes.”
With the collective blogosphere receiving billions of pageviews per day, it’s no surprise that many sites are suffering from slowdown due to massive audience demand.
The dangers of site slowdown extend far beyond simply inconveniencing your visitors. Keep in mind that boasting a bulky blog can negatively impact your traffic and bottom line, as Kissmetrics notes…
- Visitors expect sites to load in a matter of seconds: each extra second your site takes the load, the fewer possibilities for conversions
- Long loading times directly correlate with higher bounce rate
- Almost half of today’s users expect sites to load within two seconds
If you want to understand how to blog effectively and ensure that your audience is pleased with the speed of your site, consider the following common culprits of snail-paced sites.
Today’s visitors expect responsive, high-quality themes when it comes to the blogs that they frequent. Despite catching the attention of your readership, some themes can be heavily taxing in terms of site speed, especially on mobile devices.
While UI patterns and responsive WordPress themes are all the rage, remember that too many graphics and animations can bring your blog to a crawl. Likewise, many “free” themes come at a price; that is, they sacrifice speed and performance for more bells and whistles. When choosing a new theme, make sure to run a website speed test to ensure that your theme isn’t unreasonable in terms of bulk.
Too Many Plugins and Widgets
On a similar note, over-reliance on plugins and widgets can potentially weigh down your site and turn visitors away. While many bloggers rely on WordPress’ robust array of plugins, make sure that you avoid interrupting your user experience with excessive pop-ups or animations. Likewise, keep such widgets below the fold on your homepage if possible.
Imagery is important to our audiences; however, at what point do we sacrifice functionality for flashiness? The fact remains that users are drawn to unique, high-quality images and bloggers should utilize such images in their posts.
To compensate, consider setting up a “lazy load” plugin that only loads images above the fold to optimize load times. Likewise, you can use a compression tool to keep your stunning images while downsizing their file size.
Is It Time for a New Host?
While many bloggers are quick to point the finger at their hosting service, it’s undeniable that hosting does have a distinct effect on site speed. Since every webhost will naturally claim to offer the fastest service, try seeking out some independent studies regarding your web host versus others.
Additionally, consider looking at forums and outlets such as Reddit to see what bloggers in your space are saying about your hosting platform. As you do your homework, make sure to avoid sites riddled with affiliate links which may simply be trying to lure you toward a specific host.
In short, today’s blogging audience has a need for speed. Ensure that your blog is optimized for quick-loading and user experience to ensure that your visitors are happy every time they land on your site.