3 Ways To Increase Load Time of your WordPress Blog

SEO Tutorials | January 12th, 2010 | 1 Comment

We all end up into a site that we know has something that we do really want, and we wait for a second that page to load, and another second, yet one more second..and we end up giving up and move forward looking for another source that has what we need. Result? The website owner just lost a new visitors because of his extremely slow loading website. In essence, slow loading since do turn off visitors.

The latest news in the SEO industry tell that Google will give great value to faster loading sites, even in your Google webmaster tools under Labs you will be able to see how fast your site is. In essence, the faster a site loads the faster it will be crawled and indexed, also a fast loading site will prevent that visitors find a result on Google, wait for a longer time to load the site that they found, give up and go back to Google to perform another search, what this could mean for Google is that the site that the visitor found first (most likely in first page) does not have the needed information’s for which a visitor performed the search and yet it ranks in the first page (if their algorithm had brain it would move that site into deeper page, or at least..i would).

Why You Want to Decrease Load time

There are three main reasons why I find important to decrease the load time of my website, and they are

  • Keep the visitors in my site (i don’t want them to give up and find another resource)
  • Save as much as possible bandwidth on my server (for heavy traffic sites this could mean loads of money saved)
  • Have the search engines crawl and index my site faster

Speed Up Your WordPress blog in 3 simple steps

Now that you know why I would want my wordpress blog to load faster let me show you three small tips that can be done and for how much you can decrease your blogs load time by simply implementing these three steps.

Optimizing My HTML Files

When I first tested the load time of my classic muscle cars website with a free web page analyzer my site had the next load time report (in seconds):

  • 54K connection: 205.97
  • ISDN 128K: 67.52
  • T1 1.44Mbps: 11.71

now that is not a load speed I would be happy with. Not being happy with that load time I had to check my HTML and make sure there aren’t any unnecessary codes like comments or even empty space between HTML codes. Once I cleaned up my code from all the empty spaces and the unnecessary HTML comments (which I didn’t needed at all) the load speed of my site changed into this:

  • 54K Connection: 190.63
  • ISDN 128K: 61.85
  • T1 1.44Mbps: 9.93

very well no? Well i wasn’t satisfied so i wanted to decrease the load time even more, so what I did was…

Optimizing My Images with Smush.it

Each and every time users load a page it has to load everything, CSS, javascript and images. Some images are bigger, the reason could be the size of the image, the amount of pixels a image used etc. Yahoo developers not long time ago developed a tool called Smush It, what their tool does is optimized the image and removes the unnecessary pixels to reduce the size and yet keeps the same quality of the image (on some more graphic heavy images tho the quality difference can be seen). If you have a website that has tons of images it would be a real pain to go through all the images and smush them one by one, with the WP Smush It plugin all this becomes easier. You can smush the images as you upload them in your media gallery or you can even smush images in your media library with a single click.

With the smush.it plugin I saved around 15% of the overall size from all the images and after I smush’ed my images the load time of my site decreased into this:

  • 54K connection: 171.06
  • ISDN 128K: 55.85
  • T1 1.44Mbps: 9.41

Compressing My JavaScript and CSS files

With the above two tips I managed to gain little over 2 seconds of load time on T1 connections and much more on 128K and 54K, but there is more to do. Every time we install new plugins we get a new CSS file that the plugin uses. Most of the times we don’t really even need these new CSS files so simply edit the plugin (if you know how to do that) and remove the functions that injects the javascript inside the <head> of our blog. The other method is to compress our javascripts and css files through the Minify Engine or you can use a wordpress plugin called WP Minify which actually grabs all your .js and .css files, sends them to the Minify Engine, compresses them and replaces the old codes with the new ones (safe to use).

After I compressed my javascripts and css files my load time decreased even more, and this are the results I have now:

  • 56K connection: 160.17
  • ISDN 128K: 52.11
  • T1 1.44Mbps: 8.54

Impressive no? Now my site load time dropped to 8.44 seconds from a heavy 11.71 (more then 3 seconds gained). There are few more times that can be done to decrease your website load time but since I haven’t tested them yet I won’t mention them (perhaps I will update this post with the results). There are other factors that influence the load time of your website, such your web hosting. There is a good list of hosting comparison here at Astrit’s blog.

Now that you finished reading these 3 simple ways how you can decrease the load time of your site, go over and apply these techniques to your wordpress blog and come back, let me know about your results (I am eager to know), then tell your friends about it so they can benefit too. How much seconds did you gained?

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