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Optimizing any website, let alone WordPress, is a constant challenge. The truth is, there are several factors influencing website performance. For instance, poor server performance, inappropriate server location, dense code, and other factors can negatively affect your WordPress website’s performance. 

Yet, the common misconception is that a slow site speed is the only warning sign of a site needing immediate attention. 

When a site isn’t optimized, it will most likely face several corollary problems. Hence, knowing the signs early can help with timely intervention, improving your marketing metrics and user experience. 

In this post, we will share the lesser-known signs that your WordPress site is demanding optimization. 

So, let’s get started! 

1. Site Outage in Peak Traffic

Occasional site outages are a sign that your website hosting is unable to keep up with the traffic it’s receiving. If your WordPress website runs smoothly during off-peak times and crashes when the traffic peaks, it’s a sign that your site isn’t optimized or your site’s hosting isn’t adequate. 

While it could be tempting to upgrade your web hosting service immediately, it’s wise to check whether the site is optimized enough. 

For instance, older and incompatible versions of WordPress plugins and themes can cause trouble for users accessing your website. 

Similarly, a minor error in code can also cause your site to crash in peak traffic. In 2017, Amazon suffered several hours of AWS outage because of human error. 

Only once you’ve checked for such issues should you consider spending more on hosting, that is, if the issue persists. 

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2. You See Several Out-of-Memory Errors 

A complex website with loads of plugins and services consumes more memory than a regular blog sharing content or contact forms. 

For instance, eCommerce websites on WordPress often use multiple plugins that tend to need more memory. 

If your website is giving out out-of-memory error messages, it’s time to optimize its performance. 

To begin with, get rid of the unwanted plugins/themes, disable the features that aren’t required, and tweak your WordPress configuration to allow it access to more memory. This will take the load off your website’s memory consumption, thus improving its stability and performance. 

Moreover, several hosts artificially limit a site’s access to memory on the server. If that’s the case, work towards opting for a suitable hosting package for your website. 

3. The Online Form Isn’t Working 

Online forms make a major part of any website. They are especially critical for eCommerce websites as it allows shoppers to move from window shopping to genuine engagement. 

But if these forms are broken or not working correctly, it’s a sign of a high website load or that it’s maxing out its resources. Can you imagine the damage to eCommerce businesses? 

Such broken forms can cause huge trouble at the checkout stage, resulting in complete cart abandonment or negative customer reviews or complaints. This is the stage that’s connected to several processes, namely, processing the payment, filing an order, or emailing the customer. 

Make sure you work with your developer to review the errors on the website using simple fixes. If the problem persists, though, hire a dedicated WordPress developer for speed assessment and advanced solutions. 

Alternatively, you may use tools such as Pingdom or GT Metrix to monitor the performance of websites, applications, and servers. These tools are cost-effective and ensure reliable uptime. 

4. Your Website Has a High Bounce Rate 

The bounce rate for a vast majority of websites falls between 26% to 70%. If your website is experiencing a high bounce rate, it could indicate anything from confusing navigation to poor page loading time. 

A bounce rate of more than 70% is disappointing for everything outside of blogs, news, and events. On the other hand, a low bounce rate also indicates an issue.

Make sure you check your site’s overall responsiveness, stability, and error logs to gather hints. WordPress’s web analytics can help you pinpoint the issue. 

5. Constant Traffic but Low Conversion 

Consider this scenario – your marketing team hasn’t made drastic changes to the message, design, or promotional tactics. The site also enjoys a steady stream of traffic. Everything seems to be good, yet, there’s a sudden drop in conversion rates. 

If you find no rational explanation for this drop, it points to some instability or speed issue in your site. It’s time to monitor the overall performance and stability of your website closely. 

6. Your Site Is Asking for Regular Hosting Updates 

If you are being asked to upgrade your hosting plan, it’s a clear case of your website not using the available resources efficiently. 

For instance, your website host suddenly shuts down or sends you an email about violating the terms of service due to excessive usage. This could be a sign of a traffic spike, a security breach, or a performance issue. 

  • In case of a traffic spike, high bandwidth use is natural. Use a CDN to solve this issue. 
  • A sudden burst of traffic can indicate a brute force attack. If you suspect a breach, count on a qualified security expert to address the issue. 
  • If it’s all clean, then probably you are dealing with a site inefficiency issue. 

The whole point of website optimization is to fetch better conversion rates at a lower hosting cost. If you have optimized your site’s speed, it’s time to upgrade your hosting package. 

7. A Significant Drop in Your Search Ranking

A website’s load time is a direct Google ranking factor long before Google’s Algorithm Speed Update. A drop in your online rankings could be because of multiple factors. However, high load time is a critical one among them. 

Hence, it’s critical to work with your SEO team and determine whether low speed is the possible cause of the search ranking drop. 

Also, if we go deeper, Google cares about the time to first byte (TTFB) or the time taken for a hosting to respond. Count the number of seconds taken between when you type in your site’s address and when you start seeing the content. 

If you are forced to stare at a blank page for more than two seconds, your site has a long TTFB that will affect your ranking. In this case, you should adopt tactics to speed up your site and improve your ranking. 

Closing Remarks

A website could not be performing for various reasons. Nevertheless, a poorly-performing website can cost businesses a lot more than revenue. It can negatively impact customer trust and brand reputation. 

Hence, it’s wise to be aware of the warning signs that indicate poor website performance. If you experience any of the above-mentioned warning signs, it’s time for action. Work with your team of developers to pinpoint the possible causes of the issue and solve it. 

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