You know you need to improve your landing page load speeds, but you don’t know what’s bogging them down. Several factors could influence your page load time—so where do you start?
Every page on a website contains multiple elements—what visitors see along with many others that remain behind the scenes. When someone goes to your page, whether from organic search results or a paid ad click, each feature must load, contributing to the overall page load time. With so many components, it can be challenging to pinpoint what is causing your page to lag.
If your landing pages are slow, it doesn’t matter how compelling your offer is or how well-designed your pages are. If a user bounces because a page takes too long to load, they don’t convert.
For most companies, improving page speeds will require time and effort. It’s crucial to constantly strive to improve your landing pages and efficiently diagnose the most significant barriers that reduce loading speed. We’ve identified some of the common culprits that contribute to slow-loading landing pages.
Why does landing page speed matter?
It should come as no surprise that page speed is a significant factor in user experience. In the early days of the internet, slow page speeds were all we knew—but today, it’s a different story. We all know from experience how annoying loading page lags can be. Users are increasingly impatient, and pages with longer load times suffer from higher bounce rates and lower average time-on-page.
So, how long should a landing page take to load? The ideal answer is “as quickly as possible,” but a 3-second page load time is a best practice. Every second counts because as page load speed grows from 1 to 3 seconds, the probability of a bounce increases 32%. From 1 to 5 seconds, it increases by 90%.
Because there’s such a robust correlation between load time and bounce rate, improving page speed should be a focus for any conversion-oriented business. To see if your pages need optimization, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to evaluate your landing page’s speed quickly. To find out why your page is slow, let’s go behind the scenes to discover the common culprits that may be bogging you down.
Common landing page speed issues
2. Too much flash
Flash is an excellent tool to make landing pages more interactive, but it’s also a repeat offender for slowing down page load speed. The bigger the Flash file size is, the more it will contribute to your page speed issues.
How to fix it: Reducing your Flash files’ size will improve your page loading speed significantly. If the Flash element isn’t essential, consider eliminating it. You can use HTML5 alternatives to replace your existing Flash content.
3. Unoptimized images
An image speaks a thousand words, but it can also slow down your landing page. Unoptimized images are a prevalent speed issue for landing pages. Beautiful, high-resolution photos look impressive, but they require lots of bandwidth to load.
Image size isn’t the only issue—file formats can also impact your site’s images’ loading time.
How to fix it: Check your images’ file sizes and ensure they are well below 1MB. Use JPEG instead of PNG, especially for larger images. JPEG images are naturally smaller in size than other image formats like PNG or GIF. Always test and optimize images on new pages and review and take action on existing content.
4. Large media files
Many landing pages rely heavily on images and other media like videos and audio files. Bandwidth is a vital resource, and when inefficiently managed, large media files can waste it. Trying to load large media files is especially challenging for mobile users—files meant for desktops will take a longer time to load on smaller devices and mobile networks.
How to fix it: Upload media files in the correct formats and reduce the number of files where you can. Load file versions based on the user device. You can upload multiple versions of the same file onto the cloud and use the version best suited for a particular device.
5. Too many HTTP requests
Whenever a user comes to your web page, the web browser sends a request to your website’s server for information on the page. This file may contain text, images, or multimedia elements. The fewer HTTP requests the server has to make, the faster the site can load.
How to fix it: There’s no perfect number of HTTP requests, but you should test your pages to understand how many requests it’s currently requiring and assess what you could remove. You can reduce HTTP requests by taking action on several other items on this list, such as reducing the number of images on a page and the sizes of your image files.
6. Lack of caching techniques
Using caching techniques can drastically improve your page’s speed performance. Caching techniques allow you to store frequently used data points in the ”cached memory.” On subsequent requests, the cached content gets served from the cached memory, speeding up the entire data retrieval process.
How to fix it: If you’re not caching, start now by implementing browser/HTTP and server-side caching.
7. Bulky code
Clean code isn’t only a best practice; it speeds up page loading time, too. Bulky code, full of excessive white spaces, lazy inline CSS, empty new lines, inline styling, and unnecessary comments can all make the website stylesheet unnecessarily larger, slowing down your page.
How to fix it: Compress your code by removing irrelevant elements. This process of reducing file size is known as minifying. Several online tools can help less experienced coders with this cleaning process.
8. Not implementing gZIP compression
gZIP Compression is a quick win to reduce page load speed. It wraps up all your web objects in a single container, reducing the size of data transferred between your server and a visitor’s browser. Compression lowers response time by serving the requested content much faster.
How to fix it: Enabling gZIP compression is standard practice. If you’re not using gZIP compression, you should prioritize enabling it.
9. Not using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) service
CDNs are an excellent tool to improve page speed, especially if you have a large, popular website. A content delivery network works by spreading the server load across several locations and letting the closest server provide data to local users. A CDN’s goal is to provide high availability and performance by distributing the service geographically, making loading speed faster.
How to fix it: Many websites struggle to reduce page load time and improve performance using traditional hosting services, so they opt for CDNs. These aren’t mandatory but are well worth exploring.
10. Too many plugins
How to fix it: Review the plugins on your site; you may find old, inactive ones that are no longer necessary. The longer you wait to remove inactive or dangerous plugins, your site speed will suffer. Ask yourself which plugins are essential and trim any excess weight.
11. Prioritize fast landing page speeds to win
Reducing page speed can be a time-consuming process, especially if you find several of these issues on your pages. It’s easier to follow best practices from the offset than to cull and cut elements out of existing pages. Before you begin building a new page, determine how quickly you want it to load. Google calls this your “performance budget.” Then, design new landing pages within the confines of your budget.
Want to build fast loading landing pages? Capture visitor attention right away with responsive, lightning-fast landing pages with Instapage’s Thor Render Engine™.
Find out how Instapage delivers 3x faster-loading landing pages by signing up for an Instapage demo today.