Three Words That Will Speed Up Your WordPress Bloghttp://www.socmedsean.com/three- words- that- will- speed- up- your- wordpress- blog/ Februray 3, 2013Images…we all love them.Whether it’s funny #FAIL photos, pictures ofour family or maybe photos of our favoriterecipe or vacation spot, we love to sharethem with others. And recent trends in socialmedia are showing that sharing photos andimages is a great way to make sure that yourblog posts are getting traffic. However, themore images you include in an article, theslower your page load times will be and the longer your visitors will have to wait toenjoy the content. Additionally, Google penalizes slow-loading websites andblogs by not ranking them as high as those that load quickly.Sure, there are definitely housekeeping activities, you can do to tighten up yourcontent, but that will only get you so far. So, therein lies the challenge. How docontinue to include great images while ensuring that your posts load as quicklyhas possible. Three simple words (OK…one of them is a acronym but you knowwhat I mean): 1. Crunch 2. Cache 3. CDNIf you aren’t crunching and caching your images and storing them on a ContentDelivery Networks (CDN), you aren’t getting the absolute most speed out of yoursite. So how do you take advantage of these 3 options? Through WordPressplugins, of course!CrunchThe term “crunch” refers to optimizing your images so they are as small aspossible, while maintaining the best resolution for the Web. You want people toenjoy your photos, but you don’t want their file size to slow down your page loadtimes. So, to crunch your photos simply download the EWWW Image Optimizerplugin and let it strip out all the useless metadata that is stored in each image filethat bloats the file size and slows down your pages.
The plugin also offers a bulk image optimizer option that allows you to optimizethe images that you have already uploaded into your media gallery. After installingthe plugin, just choose Media > Bulk Optimize from your WordPress menu and itshould kick off the process.If you run into any issues with the Bulk Optimize process (I did), you can optimizefrom your Media Library, 20 images at a time. Just click Media on your WordPressmenu and then check the box to select all items and then choose “Bulk Optimize”from the Bulk Actions drop down menu.Depending on the filetype that you use andthe size of the imagesthat you upload, youmay see a significantreduction in file size,saving you space onyour server andreducing the loadtimes for your pages.In some cases, I sawa 20% reduction in thefile size for eachimage. Woot!CacheThe second step to Use the bulk optimize option to easily compress the images in your WordPress galleryspeeding up your blogis to make sure thatyour pages (and theimages in them) arebeing cached and theplugin I like the mostfor this is WP-SuperCache. This plugcreates a lightweightHTML version of yourpage which it servesto your visitors. Theresult is fewer server Optimizing your images can reduce their file size and speed upcalls, fewer database your blogcalls and (as a result)
significantly fasterpage load times.What I really like about WP-Super Cache is that you can truly install it, set it andforget it. It does all the work for you. There are a lot of settings to customize ifyou want to tweek and tune your page load times, but going with the Recommendsettings will immediately get you better speeds.If WP-SuperCache isn’tyour cup oftea, you canalso checkout W3 TotalCache,anotherhighly-ratedplugin that alot ofWordPressbloggers like.ContentDelivery Using the WP-Super Cache plugin can quickly speed up your blogNetwork(CDN)So what is a CDN? Think of it as a network of servers all over the world that makesure that the server closest to the visitor is serving up the files they request. Thatway, a visitor from San Francisco isn’t waiting on a server located in New Jersey(or Paris for that matter). Instead, a Content Delivery Network replicates yourfiles across multiple servers so that the visitor from San Francisco can receivefiles from a server in San Jose. This means that it will take significantly less timefor the files to load, speeding up your blog or website.Until now, the challenge with CDNs is that they are expensive. Maintainingmultiple server farms is not a cheap undertaking, so using a CDN for your blogcould have cost hundreds or thousands of dollars each month, depending on yourtraffic. But as server and infrastructure costs have dropped, so has the cost ofhosting on a CDN. In fact, some companies like CloudFlare have even startedoffering a free package.On top of the fact that CloudFlare has both free and paid options, they also offer
a CloudFlare WordPress plugin to help you configure CloudFlare and they have anactive presence on WordPress support, helping those that have questions aboutconfiguring the plugin.So how well does it work? Here’s how my blog performed with WP-Super Cacheturned on without CloudFlare enabled:and Before enabling CloudFlare, my load times were pretty fast, primarily due to WP-Super Cachehere’s how it performed after CloudFlare free was enabled.Let’s After enabling CloudFlare, my page load times dropped by 32%see…with just WP-Super Cache turned on, my home page was loading in around2.05 seconds. I’m actually pretty happy with that number and it’s one of thereasons that I like my host, which is HostGator. Additionally, my theme, which isbuilt on the Genesis framework keeps my load times low by ensuring that thetheme code is streamlined. Finally, as I mentioned, WP-Super Cache caches my
files and speeds up the native WordPress load times significantly.But just by enabling CloudFlare, my page load time went from 2.05 seconds to1.38 seconds. For those (like me) who aren’t math majors, that’s a 32% decreasein load time. I’d say that’s a pretty significant increase in performance just bytaking one extra configuration step.So there you have it! 3 Cs that will help you get the most out of your content. I’dlove to hear additional Cs that you think might help, as well. Also, feel free toshare any experiences that you have with any of these plugins/services.Cheers!–Sean