How To Make Your WordPress Blog Faster
It’s a known fact or rather a substantiated rumor that Google favors websites that are fast, and penalizes sites that are slow. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Search engines want visitors to have a pleasant and satisfying user experience.
No one in this day and age wants to search for something on the web and have to wait for pages that hang. What once was the norm (remember dial-up internet connections?) is now a no-no. We have to speed things up if we are going to even be considered an “important” site these days.
So What’s Wrong With WordPress?
WordPress is probably one of the best inventions since sliced bread, especially for article marketers like myself. We love it because search engines love it, as well as the fact that it enables the Everyday Joe the ability to build their own site. Sorry web designers 🙁 Yet one of the biggest issues of building a WordPress blog is that it can move rather sluggish the more content, images, video, etc. you add.
You must keep your WordPress blog fine tuned, and in fact I found that out the hard way. I tend to do check ups on my site about once a month, and I noticed that the search engines found my site to be “really slow”. So I set out to do a little research, a lot of testing, and came up with what I found to be the top 3 ways for speeding my blog up.
Tip 1 – Minimize Your Use Of Plugins
It’s very easy to fall into the rabbit hole of
WordPress plugins because they are so convenient and there are so many. There is practically a plugin that can do anything you can think of and more are being developed everyday.
Instead of just free plugins there are also “premium” plugins that do a lot of fantastic things for your blog as well. The trouble is though is that too many plugins will absolutely slow your blog down. So you have to streamline. Consider this…
1. Are there any plugins that you are using use purpose can be replicated by adding code to the custom_functions.php page of your blog?
2. Are you using any outdated plugins or unnecessary plugins?
3. When is the last time some of your WordPress plugins have been updated? Do they run properly with the latest version of WordPress you are using. If the plugin developer hasn’t updated his/her plugin in a year – I’d ditch it. There is probably an updated alternative out there.
Tip 2 – Use A Caching Plugin
Okay with this tip you are actually adding a plugin to the mix, but it is a very important one. When someone visits your site, your site has to serve the posts, the images, the css code, etc. every time they visit. That takes time.
What a caching plugin will do is improve your server’s performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration. This blog uses Max CDN (it’s easy to set up and robust) but there are several other caching plugins out there that do a great job as well.
People have seen dramatic improvements in the speed of their blogs by using a plugin such as this one — myself included.
Tip 3 – Watch Your Sidebars
The trend in blogging these days is simplicity. Nice, clean, template design. Not a lot of clutter. Especially when cluttering your blog’s sidebars with every ad and widget under the sun can severely slow your blog down.
1. When you serve an ad, say a 125 x 125 square ad in your sidebar from another site, you have to depend on them serving the ad to your site in a timely fashion. Unfortunately if ads on your site are continuing to “load” that is contributing towards slow your sluggish blog.
2. Be selective about your social media widgets. I use small simple images that are linked to my profile pages on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. It’s best to stay away from using everyone’s hosted widgets because they are notoriously slow to load.
If you MUST have one of those widgets on your site, then make a choice. Don’t host your Twitter stream and your Facebook Followers in the same sidebar. You are bound to get slow response times from them enough that they will make a difference in the speed of your site. I choose to show my Facebook fan page widget, but sometimes it drives me crazy when it takes what seems like forever for it to load.
Don’t drive yourself crazy with this. Ultimately your superior content, seo tweaking, and backlinking will bring you all the traffic you need regardless of the speed of your site — but it’s also important to remember that people have a short attention span. Hey, I lost my train of thought while I was writing this article:)
You only have a few seconds to make a good first impression. Don’t waste those seconds on slow loading web pages!
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