August 16, 2020

How would you respond to a customer who claims their website is loading too slowly?

Business

the website architect

By

customer complaint about slow website

When you are making a website for a customer and they bring up a slow loading speed it can come to a surprise especially if you’ve been focused on smaller things like fine-tuning spacing and making everything pixel perfect. Let’s find out how to show and explain speed improvements for a customer.

Respond to the custom with the slow loading website by:

  • Make as much on-page speed optimization as you can, noting what you did and explaining the improvement to the customer.
  • Screen capture the before and after of the speed results from the speed tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or GT Metrix to give the customer a visual representation of the improvements you made.
  • Recommend a faster hosting platform from the chart below if the customer’s website hosting platform is slow.

Preparing for the email

Finding your approach

If this customer is one whom you’ve just created a new website for, the website speed optimizations should be done as a courtesy. However, if this customer is coming to you as a general inquiry, they should be charged hourly.

To respond to the client who claims their website is loading to slow you first must know the cause of the slow website speed, only then can you begin to prepare an explanation to the customer about what’s causing the slow website in the first place.

Find out what’s causing the website to be slow and show the customer the data

Before you do your speed optimizations you should first run the website through a page speed diagnosis tool like Google PageSpeed Insights or GT Metrix to find out specifically what the issue is and note the results. Sometimes an issue with loading speed is very apparent and obvious even without the use of a speed tool, like when 4k resolution images are being loaded.

After your website speed test has ran it will give you some helpful indications and results on what is slowing down your website. For the customer, you should fix as many issues as you can. Some issues slowing down your website may be simple, like for example, if the tool tells you it’s a problem with unoptimized images, you should then optimize the images on the website by making them a smaller size and running them through an image compressor.

show data to customer claiming website is slow
A screenshot of Googles PageSpeed Insights tool

As most customers asking for assistance with a slow website are not tech-savvy or web gurus, it’s a good idea to screen capture the before and after of the speed results to give the customer a visual on the difference your improvements have made. Above is a screenshot of Googles PageSpeed Insights tool, which if given to the customer (with your website’s data) can give the customer a better understanding of the speed improvements you made without confusing them with numbers and website optimization jargon. Its a good idea to simplify everything technical for the customer unless requested otherwise.

Prepare to make recommendations

Recommending faster hosting

The majority of slow websites are caused by on-page issues like images being too large or a lot of code having to load and execute on each page. These on-page issues can be very easy to fix for a developer but the real issue comes if the website’s slow speed is actually due to a slow hosting provider.

website speed chart for customers
Speed comparison between popular website hosting platforms

If a slow website hosting speed is the case, during the speed test it will show up as “Slow TTFB”, or Time to first byte. If you do see that noted in the results od the speed tool, You should recommend to the customer to move their website to faster hosting service for optimal website speed.

I personally see GoDaddy come up as an issue time and time again. It is one of the slowest website hosting platforms out there. No wonder why its so cheap! If you notice hosting speed is an issue with the website, its time to bring up recommending moving to a new hosting platform.

My personal recommendation is the hosting platform Siteground, as its faster than the majority of the other common platforms and it has a great backed interface and experience for web gurus like me.

Recommending paid WordPress plugins

If your customer is keen to stick with the hosting platform they have and their website is built with WordPress – You can recommend paid WordPress speed optimization plugins to push the speed optimization that extra mile.

I once was approached to speed optimized a slow photography website. This website was slow because almost every image (there were 6000 images in the media library) were all un-compressed, 4k-Resolution images that needed to be optimized. I then recommended the paid version WP Smush that not only sped up the website by a lot but also saved them over 1GB of saved server space after the bulk compressions.

Find the best WordPress optimization plugin that fits the customer’s website needs and show them the potential increase of speed that it could provide.

Sending the email to the customer

Once you understand the issues that were causing the website to be slow and you’ve addressed them, you can respond to your customer with an email explaining your findings and suggestions on further actions. Here are some templates you can copy and paste depending on the kind of customer you are dealing with.

Email Template #1 – Short and Sweet

Hi John,

After reviewing your website I did find some key issues that were slowing down your site. With the changes I made to your website, it now should be loading a lot faster now.

If you’re interested, I have attached the before and after speed scores I screen-shotted from a tool I use that measures website speed.

If you still find that the website is too slow, there are further changes we can make with some more paid options. Let me know if you are interested in discussing those to improve the speed further.

If you have any further questions or concerns please let me know,

Thank you

Email Template #2 – Technical Explanation

Hi John,

I reviewed the website and found the website loading speed issues you had mentioned.

I made changes to the website that fixed some key issues like:
– Images being larger than necessary and were unoptimized
– CSS/JS/HTML code was not being compressed and minified
– Deactivated 2 unused WordPress plugins

I attached a before and after screenshots of your website’s speed from Google PageSpeed Insights tool. Here are your before and after results:
– Mobile score: from 12 to 60
– Desktop score: from 30 to 87

If you find that the website is still too slow, there are some paid WordPress plugins we can recommend that can have a potential increase of speed by 5-10 points. Your website can also be migrated to faster website hosting, as the current one is limiting the speed. If would like to further explore these options please let me know.

If you have any further questions or concerns please let me know,

Thank you

Email Template #3 – Short but informational

Hi John,

I found some issues that were causing your website to load slowly.

Some of the issues were images being uncompressed and too big, uncompressed files, and some unnecessary WordPress plugins were being loaded.

I fixed the issues above and noted the difference in speed before and after the changes. The website is 40% on mobile and 60% faster on desktop now, as shown in the screenshots attached

If you want to take the speed optimations further there are some other paid options we can explore if you are interested, but in my opinion, your website is now fast enough for users to load.

If you have any further questions or concerns please let me know,

Thank you

Email Template #4 (Bonus!) – The one-time customer

Sup John,

Your website was slower than a turtle swimming in tar my guy.

Why the fuck was your 200px logo 4k resolution you moron?

I have some before and after screenshots of your website speed if you’re feeling moist enough.

If you have any questions hmu

Cheers m8

By

the website architect profile picture

I'm The Website Architect, just another web developer in Toronto, Canada. I'm passionate about Web Design, WordPress, and anything to do with websites. My goal is to make the Internet a more beautiful and usable place, one design choice and website at a time.