If not, here it is for a quick reference: Are You Still Annoying Your Blog Visitors?
The first problem that I mentioned there was “Making Your Visitors Wait”, due to your blog taking forever to load.
You definitely don’t want people to go make a cup of coffee whilst waiting for your blog to load – very few people are patient these days.
And I promised to share some tips with you to fix this common problem…
So, why is your blog’s loading speed critical?
It’s because if your blog takes a long time to load, most of your visitors will leave without reading your content and never come back.
That’s one big, fat way to skyrocket your bounce rate!
Also, did you know that Google takes the site’s loading speed into account in their search rankings?
They are all about making their searchers happy, so you definitely need speed up your blog to get in their good books
First off, you need to analyse your site speed and performance to see where you stand. There are several tools that you can use:
It’s very easy to use, you don’t need to download it. Just enter your blog URL to run the test. It will give you results on your entire blog’s performance so you can attend to things that slow your blog down.
This is another great tool that you can use without downloading it. What’s even more cool is that you can compare your blog to another blog – popular or in your niche.
If you would rather install tools on your computer to run site speed tests, you can use anyone of these:
If you’re still not using Firefox, then you’re missing out. You will need to install FireBug: an add-on that will help you to analyse your blog’s performance.
YSlow is also a Firefox add-on integrated with the Firebug web development tool. It suggests ways to improve web pages’ performance based on a set of rules for high performance web pages.
You will need Firefox to download this as well. It will also help you to evaluate the performance of your blog in order to make improvements.
You can install this Google Chrome extension to help you identify and fix the performance in your web applications.
Now, that you know how your blog performs, it’s time to take action to make the necessary improvements.
I heard that the maximum response time before your visitors lose interest while waiting for a blog to load is around 10-12 seconds. I think you need to aim for much lower than that.
A while back, my blog loading time was between 8 and 11 seconds – not too bad but I needed to improve it. So, here’s what I did to achieve around 3.4 seconds:
1. Speed Up Your Blog: Ongoing Maintenance
My blog had some HTML code errors and technical issues which I had no idea how to fix them. I outsourced this to keep my blog clean and in good performance.
It’s important to check out any code errors your blog might have as they will definitely contribute to the overall performance of your blog and your SEO efforts may be diluted as well.
This site will also show you the exact HTML code errors on your blog ==> Markup Validation Service. Be sure to keep your blog clean at all times.
2. Speed Up Your Blog: Use Good Hosting Provider
Hosting does play a role in the overall performance of your site. I have been using Godaddy for a while, however I started picking up problems here and there.
I got very concerned when I started getting a couple of server errors a day. And I also observed that most bloggers were using and recommending HostGastor.
So, I decided to switch to HostGator and I’m very happy now – a wise move indeed. You need to use a reliable hosting provider for your blog and avoid free ones.
3. Speed Up Your Blog: Plugin Clean-Up
I went through all the plugins that I had installed. And to my surprise, there were plugins that I didn’t use at all, some of them I didn’t even know their function – yes that bad!
So, I got rid of the ones that I didn’t need for my blog. I replaced one or two with coding – please don’t ask me questions as I outsourced this.
I also had a number of inactive plugins – eating up space! Why was I holding on to them? So I deleted them too!
Furthermore, I had multiple plugins doing one and the same thing. For example, OnlyWire, SexyBookmarks and TweetMeme. So I replaced them with my favourite Smart Sharing plugin. I use OnlyWire on my computer.
As I’m now using the fantastic GrowMap Anti-Spambot Plugin, I ditched Akismet and never looked back!
Now, I have a clean and tidy plugin directory
4. Speed Up Your Blog: Reduce Widgets
I did away with widgets such as Wibiya bar, Twitter box. The thing with these widgets is that when their sites are down, they will affect your blog’s loading time. So, you definitely don’t need too many widgets on your blog.
The other thing that was loading with my home page and causing speed problems, was my signature image link (mylivesignature.com). So, I simply downloaded my signature image on my computer and then uploaded it to my blog.
5. Speed Up Your Blog: Get Extra Help
Plugins, plugins, plugins! We just can’t do without them, can we? After deleting a lot of unutilised plugins, I had room to add one more to help me speed up my blog.
This plugin improves the user experience of your site by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.
It also generates HTML files and can really help your site if it’s struggling to cope with the daily traffic.
“What’s CDN?” I can hear you asking quietly there…
It’s a system of highly-optimised servers all around the world working together to distribute your content through hundreds of servers instead of a single host.
When you use CDN, you’re making your site available from different servers across the globe, closest to your visitors’ connection points and accelerating content delivery with faster loading times.
A Free CDN can get the job done easily as well.
6. Speed Up Your Blog: Run Updates
In my previous post, Is Your Blog Safe and Secure From Hackers?, I shared some measures that you need to put in place in order to protect your WordPress blog.
And one of them was running updates. This not only keeps your blog up-to-date but it improves your blog’s loading time as well.
- Upgrade WordPress Version: Always updgrade to the latest versions as they come with some improvements and features for the users’ best experience.
- Update Plugins: The other day I was watching a video tutorial and noticed that the blog owner had 15 pending updates. Huh? Plugins need to be updated as well, otherwise they can slow your blog down.
- Optimise Database: Like the hard disks, the WordPress database also gets fragmented. So optimising the database manually or using Optimize DB can speed up your blog.
- Be sure to back up your blog before you take these actions.
So, these are the actions that I have taken to speed up my blog. Some of them are ongoing. I’m confident that if you do the same, you will definitely increase your blog speed.
You need to start taking action to implement these steps. Some of them are technical, you can easily outsource or check out the tutorials if you’re up to doing everything yourself.
Remember to back up your blog before you do anything.
I have shared what I have learned about speeding up a blog… It’s your turn now – if you have more tips on how to speed up a blog, please share in the comments section below.
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