Four Simple Steps For Big Gains In Page Speed
This is a guest post by Greg Hayes. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
With the recent announcement that Google will formally include page load speed as a ranking factor, I’ve started looking at this subject pretty closely. What I’ve discovered is there are a handful of simple things that one can do to make big gains in page load times. Below you’ll find four of them.
1. Remove slow loading site elements that don’t add value
Take a hard look at the load times of those buttons and badges in your sidebar (and elsewhere) on your site. On many sites, these account for very little (if any) traffic, and can be removed. One good tool to view their effect on load times is Pingdom Tools, which will show the how rapidly different parts of your site are loaded.
2. Get a solid theme
Up until several months ago, I was using one of the “solid” free WordPress themes. It’s well-known and even supported, but after seeing how my site was loading, I finally decided to plunk down the cash to see if it would actually make a difference. While I have no doubt that there are some very fast free themes out there, I have little doubt that, for me, premium theme was worth every penny.
3. Get a Content Delivery Network
This was a new one to me. Content delivery networks (CDN) work by caching your data around the globe, so that static pages on your site are more rapidly accessible to your visitors. This makes your site “appear” to load faster.
From what I can tell, at one time, deploying a CDN was a very expensive proposition. But with the introduction of Amazon Cloudfront, you’ll get the advantage of delivering your content from Amazon’s servers, while only being charged for the amount of data your transfer. Costs are low, and the improvements in speed are worth every penny.
4. Install W3 Total Cache
Every WordPress blog needs a caching plugin. I was running WP Super Cache, which was working well, so I was hesitant to change. But after making the leap, I can say with complete honesty that W3 Total Cache is a far superior plugin. It takes some work to configure properly because it’s so powerful, and I managed to screw a few things up along the way, but it was definitely worth the effort. Not only that, but support for the plugin is awesome.
W3TC makes setting up Amazon Cloudfront a transparent process, and incorporates caching, as well as minification of .css and .js files. I’m still in the process of working through how best implement its features, but between Pingdom and PageSpeed, I’m convinced implementing this tool has reduced my load times by at least 30%.
What other tips do you have to reduce the load time of web pages?
About The Author: Greg Hayes is the author of Live Fit Blog, where he blogs about living fit while balancing the challenges of daily life.
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