How to Speed up Your WordPress Blog

December 16, 2011

speed-up-wordpress

It is understandable that you want to make your blog more interesting by adding as many widgets, photos, and videos as you would like. However, overdoing it may in fact cause you to lose visitors and potential customers. Too much multimedia and unnecessary page elements can slow down the loading time of your web pages. Given the short attention span common to Internet users nowadays, you can get traffic on your blog but fail in getting conversions.

“Accidental” visits happen when people click your link through referring sites or search engines. Upon arriving at your blog, web users decide within a few seconds whether your blog is worth digging deeper into or not. They also take about the same time to decide whether your blog is worth bookmarking or even sharing. This decision is based on the overall impact of your blog and the time it takes to download your pages and navigate through your website.

WordPress is one of the top blog subscription services around – it is search-engine friendly and easy to use. However, you can improve the loading time of your WordPress blog further by taking the following steps:

Measure your blog’s loading speed. You have to know whether your loading time needs some improvement before you act. Refer to online resources to help you gauge how long it takes to load your pages. Selfseo.com tells you whether your pages take more than eight seconds to load. Websiteoptimization.com offers more in-depth analyses. Firefox Firebug and Chrome Developer tools help determine which sections of your blog cause delays in loading time.

Know your download cycle. Take note of the sequence according to which, parts of your blog load. Observe which among the header, the columns, and the banners load first and which one go last. Based on your blog’s download cycle, position the slower widgets in sections that take slowest to load. Likewise, place the elements you would most like your readers’ attention drawn to in parts that load faster.

Compress photos. Posting pictures help get traffic on your blog, especially from search engines, but can also affect your blog’s usability. Downloading time for photos depend on how many kilobytes a picture is worth. To find out the data size of a photo, right click on the thumbnail and select Properties. Photos more than 100kb in size can slow down your blog’s loading time significantly.

Export photos from online albums, such as Picasa, that allow you to pre-define your picture size, quality, and compression rate before posting. Blog subscription services like WordPress feature photo galleries wherein you can customize your photos.

Choose your widgets carefully. Do you really need a widget that tells your readers what kind of weather you are having in your area or one that displays what from countries your web visitors came from? Limit your widgets to those that are important and you think can help get traffic on your blog. Get rid of those that you can live without, especially ones that are slow to load. If a widget is so important you can’t part with it, put it at the bottom of the page so that your readers will not notice how long it takes to load.

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