Blog loading time can dramatically impact your website ranking and conversion.
Google considers website’s loading speed as a ranking factor and that is why it is important that we should work to reduce our website and blog loading time.
If you are on blogger you hardly notice any downtime and blog slow-downs but WordPress bloggers have one thing to worry about blog loading time.
So, in this post I am sharing some tips and tricks to enhance your blog loading time.
Did you know that if an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a delay of 1 second page load time can cost it a yearly loss of $2.5 million? Research also has it that 47% of the readers expect that the websites should load within 2 seconds while a delay of more than 3 seconds can make 40% of your readers to abandon your site.
So, here are some of the best ways to optimize blog loading time and get blazing fast blogs.
#1) Remove unwanted plugins:
WordPress users have an advantage over blogger blogs due to the fact there are millions of plugins which help them do things they can never imagine doing on blogger or WordPress.com blogs. But sometimes advantages can be the reason of one’s undoing.
Many of us install way too many plugins that eat up a lot of our server resources and render our blog slow. Here are some tips you should keep in mind while using WordPress plugins:
Disable unwanted plugins: Try uninstalling plugins like blogger importer (if you have ever imported your blog from blogger to WordPress you tend to have forgotten to uninstall this), All in one favicon (try uploading the favicon into the theme), too many social share plugins, Pinterest pin it plugin (you can use the shareahoilc plugin that has a pin it button for images by default).
Use a single plugin doing the task that require a bunch of plugins: Many of us use different plugins like one for sharing, one for creating a mobile version of our site and lots more. I suggest using jetpack plugin to do them seamlessly. Another example is you can stop using separate analytics, sitemap and SEO plugins by using the yoast plugin that has all these functionality.
#2) Use a better host:
Self-hosted WordPress blogs have an advantage of choosing their own web host. When it comes to hosting your site you would never want to host on a server that is crappy with no or poor support.
For small size blogs, I recommend using Hostgator or Bluehost. But if you are looking for a professional hosting which can dramatically decrease your loading time, then I recommend you to go with TrafficPlanetHosting (This blog BloggerTipsTricks.com is also hosted on TPH).
#3) Invest in a better theme:
If you built a brick and mortar shop or service store would you use cheap material to construct it? I guess I heard a firm NO. Well that’s the case of our blogs too. They are your stores on the internet where you provide service, information and help to your customers.
If you are even a percent serious on blogging, you would never want to risk your blog with a free theme. Free themes are not only poorly coded but also have tons of malicious codes in them that could enable the distributors to even hack your blog.
Now what if I told you certain paid themes are also poorly coded and not useful? That is why I prefer Genesis themes from studiopress. They are the most professional designed, SEO-optimized, secure and fast loading themes.
Check out my personal review of genesis framework and its themes.
#4) Optimize your images:
Many times we upload images as we find them on the stock photos sites. Though it is said that images increase the visual appeal of the blog, but we should be aware that they can dramatically increase the loading time of your blog.
For this, we have a workaround. You can upload the images to your WordPress gallery after optimizing them. Here is how to do it:
Decrease the size of the images using smush it plugin. Smush it is a service from Yahoo that is used to compress images without losing the quality of the image.
If you have png files to be uploaded I prefer TinyPNG that is the best tool to compress the images without the loss of quality.
Use the WordPress plugin called lazy load that will conditionally load images when the reader scrolls to the bottom of the blog rather than load all the images at once. This way you get a lot of time to load images without affecting the quality of user experience.
Read my detailed guide on image optimization and SEO.
#5) Use a CDN:
A content delivery network (CDN) is a network of web servers that are distributed across the countries and help in delivering content more efficiently. They are more efficient than a single server that delivers the content to the whole world. If you want to get a clear idea let me explain.
Suppose you have pizzas in your kitchen and your friends are seated at different rooms in a horizontal apartment. If you wanted to take and deliver one pizza at a time what time would you take?
In the second case, you have pizzas at the door point of each room and now you have to just go near each room take a pizza and reach to the table of your friend. This is easier and faster than going each time to the remote kitchen and delivering pizzas one at a time.
Check: Best Free CDN Services for WordPress Blog
In terms of Free CDN solution, I trust CloudFlare the most but if you need more control and powerful features and ready to invest some money, I recommend using MaxCDN which is by far the best CDN in terms of cost and features.
Amazon cloudfront is better than MaxCDN but will drain you of all your bucks and is professionally best suited for e-commerce site and heavy traffic sites like Moz. That’s why MaxCDN is the best for blogs.
#6) Get your codes minified:
When you do an analysis of your page speed with Pingdom or any other tool they show you what element on your site took how much time.
You can then clearly see that certain HTML codes including your flashy social subscribers widgets, CDATA sections, and other java scripts take significant time to load. Sometimes your theme might also contain certain CSS element that are not really necessary. You should remove all these elements.
You can use the plugin called autoptimize in WordPress to compress your CSS and HTML elements. There is an online tool called minifier for non-WordPress users too.
#7) Do not show too many posts on your homepage:
Most themes have the option to limit the number of posts displayed at the homepage. Do limit yours at 7 or at the most 10. I wouldn’t suggest you infinite scroll (used to load every post on the homepage) if you really want your website to load faster.
You can go to Settings > Reading in your WordPress dashboard and set the required number there.
limit posts on homepage
Enter the desired number here.
#9) Don’t use too many advertisements:
Using ads for monetizing a blog is too common these days. But beware your ad banners and GIF images might be the cause of slow loading of your blog. Use very less number of banners again each compressed with the techniques I mentioned above.
Even Google AdSense offers you to use your ads in asynchronous format that will not hamper the loading of your blog. Use them instead of the synchronous format of ads.
google adsense asynchronous ad code
Select Asynchronous while getting the ad code.
#10) Reduce the clutter off your server:
If your site is probably a year old or so you are sure to have injected codes and scripts that were necessary then but are now totally obsolete. Sometimes certain plugins that were a must use then are now not necessary to the minimum.
For example: Many or almost all of us used codes to show Google authorship to our posts. Now that is officially abandoned you should take time and remove it. Many must have used plugins to set Google authorship if you are one amongst them, remove it.
Old sites often have too many backups clogged into their server. If you have too many backups eating up your favorite server juices why not delete them to keep only the latest one or two. This will surely free up your system resources to make your site load smoother.
#11) Speed up the most viewed pages:
Every site has some of the pages viewed more than the others. You can check your most viewed pages from the Google analytics and then optimize them to load faster.
google analytics top pages
Check your top landing pages in Google Analytics
Here’s how to do it:
Remove the number of ads on the page: Unless you are making a noticeable hefty sum from those ads why would you want to toll on the UX of the pages?
Optimize the images: By any of the techniques I mentioned above.
By hiding certain elements on the sidebar that are not so necessary.
Read: Find your top performing keywords using Google Analytics
#12) Use a caching plugin at your end:
Sometimes using a caching plugin on your end, i.e. at your dashboard can be useful. I prefer W3 total cache that will help reduces the loading time significantly.