Why decreasing your load time will get you more traffic
Why decreasing your site load time will get you
bloglosophy.com/decreasing-blog-load-time-will-get-traf f ic/
Did you know that even a 1-second increase in site load time will affect your blog
In f act, you will get 11% less page views because people will get f ed up and leave. That’s huge!
Research shows that people won’t wait longer than 3 seconds f or a site to load bef ore departing
An extra bonus to a low site load time is that Google loves a f ast site that the bots can navigate
easily and quickly. This means you will rank better in searches and that’s a great thing.
Do this now! Check your site load time.
1. Go right now and check your site load time on Pingdom.com – check your home page load time
and a random f ull post page. Write them down on a piece of paper and keep it handy.
2. Then come back here if you are over 3 seconds on either of those.
So you are back…
That means you got a wee shock af ter testing your site load time. Then let’s get serious and
reduce that site load time. I could tell you to get a better host and a cleaner theme which is well-
coded and there are all sorts of technical things you could do but I know you are not at that
stage so I am going to tell you only things that you are capable of executing right now.
Go to your plugins and count them.
- Less than 10, give yourself a gold star.
- More than 10, start pruning them
Some plugins are essential f or every well-run site, like SEO and cache plugins, but what about all
the f luf f y stuf f that you have added one at a time until your site f eels like a sluggish seal trying
to move and that load time is in a dark hole? Get rid of it all – the f luf f , not the good stuf f .
WARNING – make sure that it is not a plugin that when taken away creates a problem. I used to
use the Ziplist recipe plugin and one day decided I pref erred the Easy Recipes plugin so wouldn’t
need Ziplist anymore. Big mistake! It lef t all the recipes I had used it on wandering around beref t
with nowhere to land. In f act, the recipes disappeared. The f irst warning I had was an angry horde
of readers leaving comments about the absent recipes. Oops! I reinstalled it and the problem
vanished. So please be caref ul. The best thing is not to install them in the f irst place.
Also, something that disturbs me when I do blog critiques is all those deactivated but not deleted
plugins. They are a security risk and weigh down your blog unnecessarily. You are not using them
but they are still there. You know that you can always reinstall them later if you want them, don’t
you? They won’t disappear into the stratosphere never to be f ound again.
All those big images I see on almost every blog make me want to weep. It is such a shame to be
making such an easily solvable issue. By the way, if you are not a great photographer, read my
article, 8 Great Sites f or Free Photo Downloads. But right now, this is what I want you to do going
a) Find out what the width of your post area is on your blog. That is what your photo width has to
be bef ore uploading it to your WordPress blog.
b) Take your newly snapped image and import it into whatever photo sof tware you use –
Photoshop or Pic Monkey – and change it to have a resolution of 72 (not 300, which is what
usually comes out of the camera) and then change the size to have the width of your post area.
In my blog, Strands of My Lif e, it is 1024px and I make sure all my photos are that width. Also
make sure they are under 100kb or they will be too big f or the site to load easily. So, 3 things – 72
resolution, under 100kb and the width of your post area.
c) Upload this image to your media library or directly through your post upload f unction. DO NOT
ever upload a large photo and then downsize it in WordPress, because the original size is what is
registered f or the load time. AND use as f ew photos as possible in one post or that load time will
3. Posts showing on Home Page
The next thing to do is go to Settings/Reading on your Dashboard and see what number is beside
Blog pages show at most and make sure it says 6-8, not 10, which seems to be the def ault. 10 is
too many f or most blogs. If you have heavy posts f ull of images, videos etc., choose 6. If you
have light posts, then 8 should be f ine.
4. Caching Plugin
I need you to go back to your plugin page and check whether you have a cache plugin like W3
Total Cache or something similar. A caching plugin is essential to keep your site running well and
the load time f ast but it has to be set up correctly and it is a little complex. You will need help with
that. When you install it, make sure the Minif y f unction is not enabled. It can conf lict with some
themes. Then get it conf igured. Just one little thing to check is whether your host already has one
in place. Most don’t but, f or example, WP Engine does and won’t want you installing another
system. But some kind of caching system is important so check this out.
This is only f or those of you with Jetpack installed. It is a worthwhile plugin in many ways and I
love some of its f eatures. It has stats right there on your dashboard, extra widgets and an easy
contact f orm. As always, there is a warning. If you have too many of its f eatures activated, it will
slow down your site considerably. Go into the Jetpack dashboard and scour through every
f eature and deactivate all but the absolutely necessary ones. To do that, click on “Learn More” f or
each f unction and then you can deactivate that f eature.
6. Loaded sidebars
Ah, now to my personal bugbear. Those wickedly loaded sidebars on some blogs make me want
to weep as well. They are detrimental to your site load time and theref ore to your blog. Every
single item has to be loaded every time a new page is opened. Ouch! Talk about heavy. With time,
bloggers add more and more things to their sidebars until they look like a derelict house f ull of
centuries of litter. Talk about ugly and detracting f rom a good reader experience. I want you to do
a)Go to Appearances/widgets and get rid of all but the essentials like an optin f orm, social media
icons and a popular posts widget to get people to look around. Read my article, 5 Widgets You
must have on Your WordPress Sidebar.
b) If you insist on ads, then one or two but not 50 of them.
c) Don’t put a Facebook or Google+ widget here that shows your number of f ollowers unless
that number is above 1,000. The number of likes is evidence to people that they should take you
seriously so if you only have 200 f ollowers, perhaps they won’t take you seriously.
d) Also clear out all those f avours you are doing f or all your blogging f riends. Find another way to
help them out without cluttering your sidebar. A sidebar should be minimalist, clean and clear f or
the reader. Af ter all, this is about the reader, not your blogging f riends.
Now doesn’t that f eel lighter? I can assure you, your blog will f eel lighter.
Last Step – test your site load time again
Go back to Pingdom.com and test your site load time again on the same pages.
Faster? Sure is! Now wasn’t that a good hour’s work?
Just to f inish with, I want to link to a post, Site Speed is Money, which is a little complex but you
will get the gist of how much money can be lost by having a slow site.
Let me know in the comments if you did this and it lowered your load time. I’d love to know.
Image courtesy of renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About the author
I have been blogging f or about 8 years and have acquired a wealth of knowledge about the dos
and don’ts and ins and outs of blogging. As an ex-teacher, there is nothing I love more than
teaching. And that’s what I do on www.bloglosophy.com – teach you how to blog. I live with my
husband and son in New Zealand in a house overlooking the Pacif ic Ocean. I spend my days as a
f ulltime f reelancer helping others with their blogs, ebooks and photography. I am, of course, a
blogger myself and you can f ind me also at my f ood blog, www.strandsof mylif e.com .
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