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. Here are 10 ways to speed up your site so you can catch them as soon as they hit the page.
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 nano-second, but on an image heavy site, all those nano-seconds add up.
Resize your images before you upload them to your blog and shave time off your load time.
For faster loading times, save photographs as JPEGs, save your drawings and flat color images as GIFs and save everything as as PNGs.
Convert to CSS
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. CSS is a much cleaner 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.
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”.
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, which has an Intel Xeon 5xxx Series processor for shared hosting. It’s powerful enough to make sure that all websites hosted on the same server operate with the same load times.
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 The code is outdated or worse yet – the code didn’t work to begin with.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 like Thesis or Genesis so you know it has clean code for faster loading times.
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 Database Optimizer to tidy the place up.
Use Hotlink and Leech protection
If your web hosting company offers Hotlink and Leech protection on your CP, enable both features. This prevents other sites from linking directly to your files or images and stealing your bandwidth.
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.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
If you’re delivering lots of images and files consider hosting your content in a cloud. This enables visitors to access 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.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!