10 Ways to Speed Up Your Site

dukeo.com

One sure way to tick of your visitors and have them clicking away before they even see your site is, well, to have a site they can’t see.

Or, at least, to have a site that they have to wait to see.

The minute a visitor clicks your link, no matter where they find it, you have approximately two to three seconds to grab their attention.

If they have to wait longer than that for you site to load then you’ve already lost their attention.

It’s also important to note that Google announced that Site Speed has a direct impact on the way your site is ranking.

Here are 10 ways to speed up your site so you can catch them as soon as they hit the page.

Don’t forget to check the load time of your site before and after following this advice. You’ll thank me later!

speed up your site

1. Resize your images

Most blogs have built-in coding to resize your images. In fact, with most WordPress blogs you can even resize the resized image. (Yes, I know. But it’s true!) Obviously, this makes it easy to upload any image to your site because you can just let the programming do the heavy work.

However, each time the internal code has to take over and resize your images it puts a drain on your CMS and slows down your load time. It might just be a second, but on an image heavy site, all those seconds add up.

Resize your images with GIMP (it’s free) before you upload them to your blog and shave time off your load time.

2. Image formats

For faster loading times, save photographs as JPEGs, save your drawings and flat color images as GIFs and save images with transparent parts as PNGs.

I would also advise you to install the WordPress plugin WP Smush.it. It’s a “setup and forget” plugin developed by Yahoo that will optimize the file size of your images when you upload them to WordPress.

3. Improve your PHP/HTML/CSS Code

Take a look at the coding on your blog. If it’s been awhile since you changed your design you may have a lot of ugly html code floating around in there.

Proper use of CSS allows you to have a clean design, and much more versatile for your design applications. And because it’s clean and streamlined your site will load faster.

If you can’t clean up your coding yourself then consult a designer or hire me to optimize your site.

4. Change your Gravatars settings

Even those little Gravatar images can pull down your load time because they’re loaded from external sites. Don’t delete them altogether because you’ll mess up existing comments. Instead, go into your settings and choose “Blank”.

The other solution is to use a caching plugin for your gravatars. FV Gravatar Cache allows you to store Gravatars on your own server and reduces the calls to thirt-party domains.

5. Are you using reliable hosting?

Unless you have a few hundred blogs, web hosting isn’t that expensive and the prices only vary a few cents. If you have to pinch pennies do it somewhere else, but not with your hosting.

Choose a reliable host like HostGator or Bluehost, which has powerful servers for shared hosting. These are powerful enough to make sure that all websites hosted on the same server operate with good load times.

6. Use a quality theme

A lot of those free WordPress themes you see floating around the Web are junk. The code is outdated or worse yet – the code didn’t work to begin with.

Choose a quality theme from Studio Press so you know it has clean code for faster loading times.

7. Optimize your database

Databases can get cluttered and disorganized which slows down your load times.

If you’re using WordPress install a database optimizer like WP-Optimize to tidy the place up.

8. Use Hotlink and Leech protection

If your web hosting company offers Hotlink and Leech protection on your control panel, enable both features. This prevents other sites from linking directly to your files or images and stealing your bandwidth.

Alternatively, you can use a WordPress plugin such as Hotlink Protection.

9. Manage your plugins

Deactivate and Delete plugins you’re not using.

If you have old plugins on your blog, make sure they’re updated or look for more up-to-date plugins.

Depending on what you’re using, you might be able to find a new plugin that can take the place of 3 or 4 of those old ones.

10. Use a Cache plugin

Ok, you’ve probably been reading this a thousand times, but it’s one of the most important steps to speed up your website.

Install a Cache Plugin such as W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache.

I’m using both for different projects and they work as expected.

If you’re less technical, you should use WP Super Cache. The setup process is a lot easier. However, the options are a little less advanced than W3 Total Cache.

BONUS. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

If you’re delivering lots of images and files consider hosting your content in a cloud with a Content Delivery Network.

This enables visitors to download your content from a server closer to their location.

Instead of traveling half-way around the world to pick up your content, it’s delivered from a server in their own backyard.

I’ve been using Maxcdn to deliver all my online projects for years now. I’ve never been disappointed with their service.

Stéphane Kerwer
Article written by Stéphane Kerwer (1995 Posts)
Bonjour from a french guy. My name is Stéphane Kerwer and Dukeo is my blog. I do most of the heavy lifting in here but from time to time, you may see some guest posts. To receive updates from Dukeo, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.
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10 Comments (Add one)

  1. Anil Kumar Panigrahi
    Anil Kumar Panigrahi

    Nice information … if we implemented these steps sure we will run the website speed compare to before.

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Let me know what kind of result you’ll see Anil

  2. Khizar

    Thanks for the info.. I will try them out and share the results…

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Looking forward for your observations!

  3. Jon

    Really great list – we always use the Wp-Minify plugin as well. Will try to implement some of these and report back on the results. Thanks!

    1. Sté Kerwer

      I’m looking forward for your observations Jon!

  4. Howard Lee Harkness

    “Choose a reliable host like HostGator or Bluehost”

    YGTBSM! Both of those formerly-great hosting companies have been acquired by the EIG monster, and the support and performance have been steadily deteriorating ever since, in the EIG bleed-dry process.

    If you are serious about making money online, you don’t use EIG hosting. Period. That’s almost as stupid as a business model that depends entirely on Google.

    1. Stéphane Kerwer

      I’m sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with one of these hosting companies.

      For me, they have always been extremely reliable, and I never have any problem. I actually use both of them for different projects and my websites are never down. Moreover, when I need some scripts installed or any kind of support, they are always very nice, understanding and quick to respond.

      And FYI, I am very serious about making money online ;)

  5. Howard Lee Harkness

    One other thing I forgot to mention… if you are serious about making money online, you don’t use shared hosting. It’s an added security risk. Instead, use “reseller” hosting.

    If you are using shared hosting for several domains, and one of your sites gets hacked, *all* of your sites are pwned. If you using “reseller” hosting and one of your sites gets hacked, *one* of your sites gets hacked. It’s much easier to clean up one hacked site than it is to clean up 35.

    1. Stéphane Kerwer

      It’s really all about your needs.

      Once again, I am very serious about making money online and I currently use over 30 shared hosting plans without any problem.

      Maybe it doesn’t suit you, but it might be perfect for people who are just starting out online. Why would they spend $100+ on a reseller hosting plan that they don’t need?

      Shared hosting plans are also perfect for people who want to spread their online properties and unlink them from each other as much as possible.

      I’ve had some sites hacked in the past and most of the time they were restored in less that a few hours because I had properly setup my backup schedule.

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