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3 SIMPLE Methods to Optimize WordPress for Speed | Quick Fix – Some Know Them – Many Don’t

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If you’ve been around the Blog-O-Sphere for a while, then you realize the correlation between a fast loading website, SEO and Google.

I’m sure this is not news to you, but as of April 2010, Google has been using your site’s loading speed in their Search Engine Ranking Algorithm.

Your loading speed has been, and will continue to be, a determining factor for your site’s placement on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s).

3 Critical But SIMPLE Ways to Optimize WordPress for Speed

With the search engine KING, Google, taking your website’s downloading speed into consideration, you cannot afford to not have your site running at its peak performance.

Here are a few words from Google:

Google: “You may have heard that here at Google we’re obsessed with speed… At Google, we’ve gathered hard data to reinforce our intuition that “speed matters” on the Internet.”

“Users place a lot of value in speed — that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings… Faster sites create happy users!”

“Speed, as perceived by the end user, is driven by multiple factors, including how fast results are returned and how long it takes a browser to display the content.”

If the studies mentioned above are true, and your WordPress site performance is slow or sluggish, how much business are you losing?

Optimizing your WordPress site for faster performance is a vital part for user interaction. If your site takes more than a few seconds to load, your visitor may lose interest and move on to your competitor’s site.

Below are a few steps you can take to insure that your WordPress performance is running at its peak.

3 SIMPLE Ways to Optimize Your WordPress Site for Speed

There have been a number of studies that have stated that a slow-loading website and difficult site navigation have been two of the most popular complaints from website users today.

Although we will not be speaking about site navigation in this article, we will be covering 3 important steps that you can take to optimize your WordPress site, with no site modification or scripting knowledge needed.

Even though WordPress is the most widely used Content Management System (CMS) platform for the website owner (74+ million users), it is known for loading slowly for the following reason.

Now, before I tell you the reason, let me be clear… WordPress, in its default, core state, is a well optimized, lightning-fast platform.

Because of the popularity of WordPress, as the platform that allows the everyday person to own their own piece of cyberspace, coders have created a record, 26,000+ FREE plugins which will spruce up and bring website’s to life.

Here’s the problem… when a person begins having too much fun by adding many of these available WordPress plugins, dynamic widgets and other add-ons to their site, this will slow their site down to a crawl.

Let’s get to work…

#1 – Reduce WordPress Plugins and Dynamic Widgets

REASON: These WordPress plugins, dynamic widgets and other add-ons will require additional, behind the scenes, HTTP requests.

These HTTP requests (server calls) usually include JavaScript files, CSS stylesheets, images, etc, creating what I call, extra phone calls to the server, just to allow these plugins, etc., to function.

These HTTP requests are not limited to just plugins or widgets… if you have gone directly to a developers website to create a social button, or a ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ box for your sidebar, any of these will create additional HTTP requests, especially if you are showing the number of “Likes,” “Shares,” “+1’s” etc., with your buttons and boxes.

Now, considering that too many of these plugins can cause your site to bog down, a great place to start the optimization process to gain faster and better performance from your WordPress-based website is to remove any unnecessary plugins.

To the Business Owner using WordPress as a “Central Hub” for your online business; deactivate every plugin and widget that is not absolutely crucial to your business… following this 1 simple rule will improve your site’s speed.

#2 – Reduce Images to Improve Your Worpress Performance

As we briefly mentioned how plugins and widgets will cause many additional HTTP requests… each and every image will also make additional phone calls (HTTP requests) to the server for the image, unless it’s a Sprite, but that’s discussion for another time.

Having too many images on a single page will reduce your WordPress site’s performance, especially if your images are large in file size.

We all love images in our articles, but just keep in mind that too many on a single page will slow your site down.

#3 – Reduce (Optimize) the File Size of Your Images

Optimizing images for the web is a big plus and will improve your WordPress site speed and performance.

When an image is optimized, it is known as image compression… in a nutshell, this process is the removal of some pixels that make up the image.

With today’s cameras having many more pixels per square inch from a few years ago, it’s a smart move to make sure your images are optimized for the web.

Printing an image usually will consist of 180 pixels per square inch at the minimum, many would say. Of course printing an image with 300 pixels per square inch, or more, is better.

For an image on the web, 72 pixels per square inch is usually more than adequate… meaning, compressing your images by removing the extra pixels will still allow the image on your site to look amazing.

I use Photoshop to compress my images using the option called ‘Save for the Web’, but Photoshop is very expensive, so not many people own the software.

If you don’t have image editing software, here’s a link to a Google search that I did for an Free online image optimizer.

In Closing – Methods to Optimize WordPress for Speed

Reducing the number of WordPress plugins and widgets, along with the quantity of images will reduce the number of HTTP requests, which should be anyone’s minimum goal for a well optimized WordPress site.

The more files and scripts that are required for your page to load, the greater amount of seconds are added to your downloading time, possibly causing your visitor to hit the back button on their browser.

Reducing the file size of your images through image compression will also allow for faster loading times for your site.

If you would like to find out the down loading time of your site and what might be causing your blog’s performance to run at the speed of molasses, run a Site Speed Analysis test with PingDom!

Fast Blog = Happy Users = Increased Traffic = INCREASED PROFITS!

In Future Articles – We will be discussing additional WordPress Performance issues, so be sure to put your email address in the box below for notification.
YOUR Turn… What Have You Done to Improve Your WordPress Site Speed? Share YOUR Comments for Others Below!

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Category: Website Performance, Website Speed

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