Is Your Blog Faster than a Speeding Bullet?

brass bullet speeding through the air

Pages that load slowly can be an annoyance to some blog guests, especially first-time visitors who aren’t yet familiar with the quality of your content. Today’s Techie Tip Tuesday post offers a dozen quick and easy ways to speed up your blog’s loading time.

  1. Use fewer plugins. Determine which plugins you need and activate those. If you have inactive plugins in your directory, delete them. You can always install and activate them later if you decide you want them back. (Go to your Dashboard > Plugins > Installed to see which ones are inactive.)
  2. Use fewer scripts. The more bells & whistles you have, such as chats & gadgets, etc., the slower your page will load. Be ruthless when determining what makes the cut to remain on your blog’s home page.
  3. Eliminate flash & splash. As the design days give way to information and content, flash and splash intro pages are no longer in vogue. Besides, most people are quick to click the “skip intro” button anyway, so those pages aren’t necessary.
  4. Snip the ads. The glory days of banner ads have passed. As the population becomes more and more Internet-savvy, they’re clicking on fewer ads. They’ve become what the marketing crowd calls “ad blind.” Be very selective of which ads you choose to display on your blog. Most of them, including Google Adsense, take a while to load and unless you have gobs of traffic, don’t generate much income.
  5. Kiss automated media files good-bye. As cool as it seems to have an audio or video play instantly when a guest comes to your site, it greatly slows your page’s display time. Plus, if they’re sneaking over to your site from their cubicle and have forgotten to mute their computer, auto-audio & video files can leave a bigger impression than you intended.
  6. Use fewer images. The more images you have displayed on your home page, the slower it will load.
  7. Optimize your images. If you have PhotoShop or another good photo-editing program, use the “Save for Web” function. It’s probably located in the “File” tab of the program’s navigation. Also, adding a simple height and width attribute to your images can give the browser a clue about how to display the image, shaving a second or two from the loading time. (If you’re unsure how to edit your image attributions, a recent post titled “Are Your Blogs’ Images Blank?” explains how to do that.)
  8. Update regularly. Something as simple as keeping your blog’s version of WordPress current can help with the page loading speed.
  9. Take a tip from the newspaper world. Editors run the most important items in their newspapers “above the fold,” so those headlines are visible to passersby of stands and display racks. If you choose to use widgets, only place the most important ones “above the scroll,” so readers can get see your main content even if a widget or two is still loading near the bottom of the page.
  10. Toss the tables. Tables are slow-loaders and nowadays, give a real “old school” look to your site, plus they can confuse browsers and hinder search engine optimization. If you’re still using tables to display content on your website, it’s time for a re-design.
  11. Upload images to your blog’s server. If you’re displaying images using the “from URL” tool instead of storing them on your own server, you’re greatly increasing your blog’s load time due to the server having to search various locations to display the images. Plus, this is often referred to as “bandwidth theft,” as every time an image displays, a bit of bandwidth is used. Most site hosts provide plenty of bandwidth, but some have strict limitations.
  12. Ensure your blog has clean code. I’ve mentioned before about watching for your blog’s code-to-content ratio. Short of writing your own code from scratch, WordPress has some of the cleanest code available. Just watch which theme you pick, because some themes are code-heavy, which defeats the purpose of using WP for that reason. Do a Google search for fast-loading WordPress themes to see which ones are best.

Until next time,

Happy Blogging!

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