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5 Fast Ways to Speed Up Your Blog

Posted by on 2nd Oct 2009 | 13 comments

pingdomEvery time someone visits your site, your blog is in a race against the clock. The time between when a user will click the link to your site and can actually read your words is limited. Too long and people just click away.

Though, with high-speed Internet becoming as prevalent as it has, these issues have become somewhat less important, though that same speed, combined with instant streaming videos and audio, seems to have frayed people’s patience over the years, taking away some of the seconds broadband bought Webmasters.

So it is important to ensure that your site loads as quickly as possible, not just to prevent people from clicking away before a page loads, but to encourage them to read and spend more time on your site.

With that in mind, here are five quick ways you can improve your site’s speed and give your visitors a better experience.

1. Remove Unneeded Elements

We all love “Share This Page” links of all sorts and have plugins that we simply don’t think we could do without. However, the more items you have loading on your page, the slower it moves.

Try reducing the number of items that a visitor has to load on your page. If you can combine elements into one, such as a single Share This button, do so. If an element isn’t doing your site much good, remove it.

The fewer elements to load, the faster the site goes, it’s that simple.

2. Keep Them On Your Domain

Along the same lines, try to keep as much content on your own server as possible (images, JavaScripts, etc.) as, in most cases, loading files from other servers not only decreases reliability, but also can slow down your site as browsers have to look up information for every domain (and subdomain) used.

Exceptions include sites using content delivery networks, such as Amazon Cloudfront, to distribute some files. Also, Google does host JQuery JavaScripts, which can improve performance.

Still, most of the time, it is best to keep it on your domain unless you are sure that the other site is faster and more reliable.

3. Reduce Image Size

Certain images, such as your logo, your background, sidebar fillers, etc. load on every single page and can provide a tremendous drag on the loading time of your site. However, through proper image size reduction, you can reduce the drag, in some cases, by 90% or more.

First, make sure your images are sized correctly for the Web. You should never use HTML to reduce the dimensions of an image as that forces the browser to download more than needed. Second, ensure that you are using the correct format and then, finally, reducing the quality of the image until it is as low as it can go and still be acceptable for the Web.

This can be a very fast way to reduce the amount of data a visitor must download and display, thus speeding up your site and saving you money on bandwidth.

4. Use CSS Heavily

CSS is far more efficient than in-line styling for many reasons and it can also replace some of the functions done by images and summarize a style element that would need to be repeated hundreds of times in one or two lines of code. They reduce file sizes and are generally easier for browsers to download and parse.

Many blogs don’t make enough use of CSS and, as they develop their site, add elements in without putting them in the actual stylesheet. This can quickly grow into a mess that is a nightmare for the end user.

Learning CSS and using it is one of the most important things you can do for your site in terms of making it both faster and easier to edit.

5. Consider Caching

If you are a WordPress user, WP Super Cache is a well-known plugin that may give your site a significant speed increase by converting your dynamic site into a static one, saving your server from having to load content from the database on every page load.

However, not every site sees those benefits. Some, where the database server is faster than the content server, may actually be slowed. Still, most WordPress users on shared hosts, such as GoDaddy and Hostgator, will likely see a benefit.

If you haven’t already, install it, let it run for a few days and see if it helps with your loading time, if it does, keep it on as much as possible.

Bottom Line

If you are unsure of how well your site is performing and what your weaknesses might be, consider using Pingdom’s full page test to find any potential issues that you may have.

Fixing these issues is critical for your site as they can help increase the number of visitors your site gets, encourage search engines to index more of your site and send you more traffic not to mention prevent people from leaving.

Your site’s speed still counts, even in the age of broadband, and it is important not to lose sight of that.


13 comments - Leave a reply
  • Posted by Web 2.0 Tools on 2nd Oct 2009

    I will try WP Super Cache, thanks…

  • Posted by Anil on 2nd Oct 2009

    Hi Jonathan,

    the unnecessary elements, image sizes and hosting on your site are the three facts that I did experience, with the speed of my blog. As to CSS and the WordPress well it is for the experts perhaps.

    Guess I need to learn that CSS stuff. Where do you suggest that I begin to learn it?

    Anil Atluri – Impeccably authentic freelance content provider

  • Posted by Rob Mangiafico on 2nd Oct 2009

    Don't forget to choose a host that offers fast servers that are lightly loaded. Many of the big name budget providers have the slowest database servers, as the servers are often packed to the gills. A few more dollars per month can significantly speed up your blog and work wonders for increasing readership and loyal followers.

    Rob – LexiConn

  • Posted by Teen Blogger on 2nd Oct 2009

    My blog actually loaded in 1 second a few weeks ago and although it still loads fast i've noticed that since I started putting thumbnail images with my content that my site loading time has become a bit slower.

    I've also been hosting the iamges from another server so i think that this could be a possible reason for the slower loading time.

    Thanks for great post and advoce for loading pics from own server.

    • Posted by Brian D. Hawkins on 3rd Oct 2009

      Those thumbnails look really good on your blog Gary.

  • Posted by Kate's Dedicate on 2nd Oct 2009

    How much of a benefit have you noticed with super cache for WP on hostgator's servers? I've yet to decide if I should install it on a couple of my site.

    Cheers :)

  • Posted by DM on 2nd Oct 2009

    Can you please write something new, something we don't already know!

    I came all the way from twitter just to see same old things repeated. Come on dude, you can do better than that!

  • Posted by gosip artis on 2nd Oct 2009

    for long time, I don't used the chacing. But, after I read this article, I want to try it. Thanks :)

  • Posted by ark on 2nd Oct 2009

    I have been using WP Super Cache since I started blogging and it has been of great help especially when I encounter traffic spikes.

  • Posted by Rocky on 3rd Oct 2009

    For my blog, I use wordpress plugin called WP-supercache. It really do a great job on my blog. It boost up my blog's loading speed 3x more!

  • Posted by Brian D. Hawkins on 3rd Oct 2009

    What's considered slow? I have a high speed cable connection and it's hard to see how slow it might be on other systems. I checked BloggingTips.com and it clocked at 1.8 seconds with 48.1 kb. That's about 1 second faster than my slowest site and about right in the middle of my six main sites. My personal blog tested at 2.8 seconds with 54.2 kb and it seems slow on my computer sometimes.

    Do blogs generally load slower than static sites?

  • Posted by Flippa Chick on 3rd Oct 2009

    Don't forget to get rid of unnecessary plugins which can also slow down your blog. WordPress has a great plugin called "Clean Options" which removes traces of plugins that may have been left behind and are hindering the performance of both your blog and other plugins it may be interacting with.

  • Posted by David Stillwagon on 3rd Oct 2009

    I'll have to check and see about my image sizes, I didn't think that they would slow down the connection that much considering the speed of downloading today.