Bloggers ask me this question frequently- How to increase loading speed of my blog? To be honest, I too faced this problem. In the beginning, blogs maintained by me loaded slowly. Slowly, I realized my mistakes and found the factors responsible for slow loading speed. With some research and experiments, I even found some smart methods to dramatically increase page loading speed and decrease loading time of my blogs. Here, I will share all my methods and tips to boost your blogs performance.
Why a blogs page load speed and time are important factors affecting its success?
I want to ask you a question. Do you love surfing and exploring slow loading websites and blogs? Most of us dont. We get bored by such sites. It seems like we are losing patience with each passing day. Now, we barely care to wait for a site to load up. If a visitor notices that a blog is taking more than 10-15 seconds to load, he/she might leave it! If you want your blog to be user friendly, you should not ignore loading speed.
Wait, it is not just about user friendliness. Page speed also influences your blogs search result rankings! Yes, you read it right; Google wants the web to be faster. Page speed is a crucial factor among the factors affecting the position of a blog in Googles search results.
Now you have two good reasons to invest some time towards making your blog faster! I guarantee that the time youll invest is worth the results that youll get.
First of all, analyze the loading speed, time and other factors using these free tools :
Before you start enhancing the performance of your blog, analyze it. This will help you find out issues and problems responsible for huge loading time that your blog takes. Lots of free tools are available to analyze the loading speed and other properties of a blog. I recommend the following tools :
# Google Page Speed Insights
# GT Metrix
# Page Speed test by Pingdom
All three tools mentioned above are free. After analyzing your blog using them, youll get detailed insights about the factors slowing your blog. This will help you understand what your problems are. Here, youll find solutions for almost all types of problems.
How to increase page loading speed and reduce loading speed of a blog
1 Optimize images
I agree that images are an integral part of a blog. A blogger should use appropriate images on each blog post. But optimizing those images are as important as using them!
Large images take long time to load. They may even prevent other scripts from loading before they completely load themselves. All this results in huge loading time!
The solution is to reduce the size of the image without compromising its quality. For this, you may use simple tools like Microsoft Office Picture Manager, Picasa etc.
If you are a WordPress user, I recommend a great plugin called WP Smush.it to optimize images. This plugin has been developed by Yahoo. All you need to do is install this plugin and activate it. The plugin has got options to optimize selected images or bulk optimization. It automatically compresses all images in your library without reducing their quality.
3 Use a Caching Plugin
A blog must definitely have a caching plugin installed on it. What does a caching plugin do? When a visitor visits your blog, his/her browser requests to download various components of your blog. This is time consuming, because, a number of contents (like images, scripts etc) have to be downloaded by the browser. Not only is it time consuming, but it also puts strain on the servers hosting your blog.
This is when caching plugins come handy. These plugins generate a static cache (more like a copy) of your blog and stores it. This static cache is light, easy to load and readily served to the visitors browser. This makes a blog load fast and also reduces strain on the server.
4 Select good hosting provider (and plan)
To an extent, the loading speed of a blog depends on the quality of hosting provider and the hosting plan. If you choose shared hosting, your blog will be hosted on a shared server. Your blog will be hosted on a server that also hosts hundreds of other sites. This means that the resources of that particular server are shared. Check Website and Hosting services from Nehasoft India
( http://www.nehasoftindia.com )
While such hosting plans are inexpensive, loading speed and time are compromised. If you are serious about blogging, I suggest that you purchase dedicated hosting. Better yet, why not use a CDN? What if I say that good, free CDNs are also available? Next point is all about CDN.
5 Use CDN (free services are also available!)
CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. CDN service allows us to host our blogs on their super fast servers that are distributed all over the world. There are two types of CDN- paid ones and free ones.
If you use GT Metrix to analyze your blog, youll see something called number of requests. It is nothing, but the number of http requests the browser had to make to download your blog. The more the number of requests, the more the loading time will be! CDNs helps reduce the number of such requests made.
Further, the location of the servers also plays an important role in determining the loading speed of a blog. Many CDNs have their servers placed strategically, at different point around the globe. These servers are programmed to serve websites to a user from the server nearest to the user. For example, if a visitor from India visits your site, the CDN will make sure that the servers from India serves the site! This ensures low loading time for that site!
Quality CDN services that I recommend are- MaxCDN, Amazon CloudFront and CloudFlare. But if you prefer a free service, then try out CloudFlares or Incapsulas free service. They are free, but offer great service.
6 Leverage Browser Caching
Many times, it happens that many files/resources of your blog are repeatedly used by a browser. Files like logo, titles, layout etc remain same throughout the entire blog. When a visitor browses through various posts on the same blog, the browser has to re-download the same files again and again. It takes time to download them repeatedly and the number of http requests increases.
By leveraging browser caching, you ask the browser to save such files that remains same throughout the entire blog. So, when a visitor browses through different posts, the browser shows the saved files instead of re-downloading them. Thus, your blog is rendered fast!
If you are using WP Total Cache plugin, it has an option to turn on browser caching. Otherwise, you may edit the .htaccess file using ftp and insert few lines of code to leverage browser caching.
ExpiresByType image/jpg access time
ExpiresByType image/jpeg access time
ExpiresByType image/gif access time
ExpiresByType image/png access time
ExpiresByType text/css access time
ExpiresByType text/html access time
ExpiresByType application/pdf access time
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash access time
ExpiresByType image/x-icon access time
ExpiresDefault access time
To open .htaccess, go to your blogs C Panel> File Manager> Root Directory (enable showing hidden files)> .htaccess. After opening .htaccess file, paste the above lines of code at the very start. In place of the term time in the code, define your own time preference. For example, instead of the term time, type- 1 month/1 year/ 1 day etc. Before you edit the .htaccess file, remember to take a back-up of that file.
7 Use good (premium) themes
Free themes are not meant for serious bloggers. Premium themes have lots of advantages over free ones. Premium themes have better design and coding, better security, better support, they load faster (due to neat coding).
8 Pay attention to plugins that are slowing your blog down
Do you know why WordPress is the best CMS? It is because of the large community of developers and larger number of useful plugins that can be used on WordPress blogs. Plugins help improve the performance of a blog.
When it comes to WordPress, the list of plugins ranges from the very useful Akismet to some crap plugin that may crash your blog! Plugins are basically scripts and codes. They use up resources of your server and time while executing their functions. Never use plugins that negatively affect the speed of your blog, unless that plugin is truly unavoidable.
There is no dearth of alternatives of a certain plugin in the world of WordPress. Suppose you find that a useful plugin is taking too long to load, try its alternatives. Go for asynchronous plugins. Try to contact the creator of the plugin (very much possible) and ask him/her for a code to make the plugin load asynchronously.
To find out plugins that compromise the speed of my blogs, I use a cool plugin called P3 Plugin Profiler. This plugin, after installation, scans the plugins used in a blog and generates a report. This report points out the time taken by plugins to load. It becomes quite easy to find out bad plugins and replace them with alternatives (or make them asynchronous).
9 Ads could negatively influence loading speed!
I agree that ads are the prime source of income for majority of the bloggers. But if the very same ads make your blog miserably slow, it becomes necessary to make changes to those ads!
Usually, image/animation rich banner ads are the prime culprits in slowing down a blog. While selecting ads and generating ad codes, choose asynchronous ad codes. Try to limit ads rich in graphics. Go for cleverly placed text ads.
10 Widgets- use only important ones (simplicity should be the motto)
Many of us find widgets to be irresistible. The result is that we end up using each and every fancy widget we can lay our hands upon! But I recommend that when it comes to widgets, keep it simple.
The more widgets you use, the more time it will take for loading. Try to use only those widgets, which are unavoidable. For example- Social following widgets, mail subscription widget, about author widget etc.
Have your say
These are the 10 best ways to improve the performance of a blog. Ive tried and tested them on my blogs and saw good results! There was a noticeable increase in the loading speed and a decrease in the number of http requests and load time. My blogs scores on Google insights, GT Metrix and Pingdom speed test reflect this fact. If you have more tips, which you feel should have been included in the list, feel free to suggest them in comment section.
Author Bio : Richa Pandey a senior blogger and consultant associated with with Neha Soft India a leading web agency offering website design , development and SEO services.