When people arrive at your blog, what is the first thing they notice about it? Are they attracted to the well-crafted design? Do the navigational options make it easy for them to find what they need? Does the blog have plenty of content that the reader appreciates?
All of these questions can impact how people develop first impressions about your blog, but one metric makes an impression before all the rest: how quickly your pages load. A slow-loading blog will hemorrhage traffic if and once it begins taking more than a couple of seconds to load.
Thankfully, there are some quick fixes that can improve things. We’ll talk about four of them below so you can optimize accordingly.
Gut Unnecessary Plugins
If you own a blog, then there’s a good chance that you’re using WordPress as its content management system. Even if you’re not, you probably have a variety of plug-in and add-ons enabled on your site. Did you know that the more of these you have, the slower your pages load – even (in some cases) when they’re deactivated?
Tim B Design, a SEO firm located in Minneapolis, noted that the average amount of unused or unnecessary plug-ins on a blog can slow down the average load time by more than 10 percent. This also can have a negative impact on your bounce rate, and therefore, your position in SERPs. Especially when combined with other optimizations, 10% can be a lot, so uninstall those unneeded plug-ins.
Pay for Better Hosting
How much do you currently pay for hosting each month? If you’re paying a relatively small sum (<$100 per year), then there’s a good chance that your hosting providers’ servers are not top-notch.
While cost isn’t the end-all, be-all measurement of everything, many blogs concerned about overall speed decides to upgrade or invest in more advanced hosting services. From faster-dedicated servers to better top-line speed guarantees, one major way to improve your page speed may simply be to change providers.
To learn more about what you should be looking for in a web host, be sure to read through this web hosting 101 reference guide.
Utilize Image Optimization
All of those files – particularly images – on each page of your blog can add up quickly. The larger the combined image file size on each page, the longer it can take for the page to load. While this might not be much of an issue on standard desktop computers with a wired internet connection, it can be different on mobile devices. It’s important to remember that most web traffic today comes through mobile devices.
There are a variety of image optimization programs and online solutions that can dramatically reduce the file size of each image without sacrificing quality. Taking the time to convert your images can improve page speed by as much as 25%.
If your blog relies on revenue generated from ads, then it can be hard to hear that these might be harming your site. When it comes to page speed, however, this is probably true.
While it’s perfectly fine to have advertisements on your blog, you do want to avoid creating an excessive presence. Another alternative is to opt for asynchronous display of ads via AdSense and other platforms.
These four changes to your blog can be implemented quite quickly and with minimal fanfare. You don’t have to disrupt your readers and visitors when making these changes – but you will improve overall visitor satisfaction, avoid disappointments and ultimately improve SEO at the same time.