Doesn’t it bite when you think you’ve found exactly what you’re looking for in google search and click through to that link just to sit there and wait for the page to load? Do you always stick around and wait? Guess what? I don’t. There’s so much info on the web, why sit there waiting for a post to load when I can hit the back button and find my info somewhere else?
These are moments of my life that I can’t recover people.
And when I leave? You know what that is right? It’s a bounce baby. For the third installment of the Bounce Rate Defines Series, we’ve got to go over speed and of course I’m going to hook you up with ways to increase blog speed.
How Load Time Affects Your Traffic
How fast does Google want your blog pages to load? On average…2 seconds.
Why does Google want your pages to load fast? Because if every link on a Google Results Page loads slowly, the consumer will use another search engine. There goes Google’s advertisement dollars. So your blog’s load speed plays a really important part in how Google ranks you for a search term.
How to Speed Up Your Blog
Below you’ll find most of the methods to speed up your site are pretty easy. For those that are a bit complex, I’ll show you how to implement it. Of course, this makes for a pretty long read, so scan the headlines so you can skip those tips that you already use. By the way, you’ll find that I mention your database as I go. Your database plays a big part in your blog’s performance. Every post you write, every comment you have, have plugin’s setting, is stored in the database. It’s important to keep it optimized and as you run through these tips you’ll find why the simplest tips have a big impact on your blog load time.
Now let’s get the most complex tip out of the way first:
Use A Caching Plugin
What’s caching? When a page is cached, it’s basically a pre-built page served to you visitor upon arrival.
The norm is a visitor follows a link and waits for their browser to grab all the info from the page to build it visually for the visitor. This can be time consuming. But if you’re using a caching plugin, the browser won’t need to build the page, the viewer will be server an pre-built page. If the visitor leaves a comment, the cached page will delete and the browser will rebuild the page to offer the viewer the fresh page showing the comment.
That’s why you have to wait for the page to reload when you leave a comment somewhere. Your web browser is rebuilding the page to include the comment.
None of this will delete your actually post pages.
Don’t use flash.
Sliders are cool, they don’t need to be flash based. Jquery sliders are most common and better for seo. I love the Showbiz Slider. Only add sliders to your homepage or the bottom of post pages.
Use a quality web host.
Godaddy and Hostgator but have knowledgeable, helpful staff and are affordable.
Remove spam comments.
Don’t keep those suckers lying around. They bloat your database and increase load time. And when there’s thousands, the only way to remove them is to delete all comments from your database.
Remove spam trackbacks.
Trackbacks, which look like comments, bloat your database without providing you the same benefits as comments do.
Use as few WordPress plugins as possible.
Figure out which plugins are slowing down your site, and deactivate them or use alternatives. Delete any plugins that are deactivated, again, they bloat your database because even when you deactivate them, the settings sit in your database taking up valuable real estate and adding to your load time without any benefit. And whenever you can, opt for html code for widgets over adding yet another plugin. For example, I recently added the Google+ badge to a client’s sidebar. I could have used a widget, but that would have meant adding another plugin. Instead I googled Google+ badge and grabbed the html code from google’s site.One less plugin.
Use a quality theme/framework.
Many freebie themes are crap. Heck even some $55 themes are crap. Be sure to investigate whether the theme is seo friendly. Many times they’re coded badly and so the browser takes longer to build the page for the viewer.
Specify image dimensions.
This one is an oldie but a goodie and I have to tell you I despise it. I’ll tell you why soon. Here’s the deal.
Planning to add a pic to your sidebar? I suggest adding it to a post first so the coding is available to you for copy and paste. Why? Because whenever you add a pic to a post, WordPress adds the image dimensions to the coding. This speeds up the browser’s job of displaying your pic by telling the browser exactly what size the picture should display at. Keep in mind, you can use a photo widget, but not all will add the dimension size.
<img width="400" height="400" src="http://thestrategicm...tash6month-400x400 .jpg" alt="tash6months">
The browser will take into consideration this line of coding when displaying this picture.
The more images on the page without dimension size, the longer the browser takes to decipher what size it should be and display it.
Why do I despise this one? Notice I have sexybookmarks as my sharing plugin… Not one of those little icons have a dimension size listed. Learn how to optimize your photos for blog speed by reading Bigger Isn’t Better.
Optimize your database.
I suggest installing the WP Database Optimizer plugin. Once you’ve deleted comments or plugins or posts, head over to Tools > WP Database Optimizer and click Optimize now to do an ultimate Empty Trash from your database. Even though you’ve deleted it, it’s not completely gone until you’ve optimized your database and that’s what this plugin does for you at a click of a button.
Use the latest version of WordPress.
Believe it or not, updating WordPress can make your blog faster, and more secure at that.
Limit the number of post revisions stored.
The Revision Control plugin can do that for you. Check out this video:
And there you have it folks. Your website speed plays a huge role in whether or not people stick around or bounce. These small changes listed above can make a huge difference. In the next and last installment of the Bounce Rate Defined series, we’re going to talk about how your design affects your bounce rate.
Please note I’ve added some affiliate links to the post. These are services I believe in, so why not? I thank you in advance if you use any.