How fast does your blog load? If it loads too slow, you may lose visitors because they might not be patient enough. Search engines like Google have openly declared they treat the site loading speed as a factor in the ranking process.
Here are some tips to improve the rendering speed of your blog. This is mainly based on Wordpress based blogs but most of the blogs built with other platforms can also benefit with similar changes:
- Show fewer number of posts on the home page. Many bloggers show a large number of posts (even 20) on the home page hoping to entice the readers with at least one post. This works to their disadvantage because loading too many posts can really slow down the home page rendering. I recommend between 5 and 10 posts depending on their length.
- Put fewer images per blog post. Unless you are demonstrating a process which requires showing many screen-shots, you should not use more than 102 images per post.
- Crop and resize the images. Don’t upload large size images and make the blog software resize them on the fly. This causes the full image to be downloaded resulting in delay. Try to crop the image so that only important part of the image is shown.
- You may also like to reduce the pixels per inch of the image to 72 by saving in the web-friendly format. This really trims down the image.
- Install a caching plugin like WP Super Cache. These plugins save an HTML copy of the page which can be sent to all the users till the time content of the page is changed. This reduces the number of database queries by a huge number and may be the biggest factor your blog may survive a mention on Digg or any similar burst o traffic. Too many blogs go down when they are mentioned on a popular site like Techcrunch or Digg.
- Activate Gzip or Deflate based compression on your server if you are hosting on an Apache based server. This mode compresses the html output as well as CSS and JS files at the server end and the browser decompresses the files before rendering the page. This can save a large amount of data traffic and can help render the page much faster. Contact the folks at www.webmaintain.co.uk if you are not sure about implementing this on your site.
- Deactivate the plugins that you don’t use. Having a large number of plugins that do nothing can slow down your blog.
- Consider using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) like Cachefly if you are expecting a good amount of traffic coming from a wider geographical distribution.
Applying some or all of these suggestions can make you blog load faster and deliver a much better user experience resulting in more page views per person. Feel free to suggest your tips in the comments below.