Google Panda has been big news for a few months. Many of us have been trying hard to make our sites load faster, as Google Panda is not a fan of slow websites. The site’s speed and page loading time are now important determinants of a website’s rank. Search engines have started to take the loading speed of the page into consideration for calculating the rank of a website. Slow websites are more prone to Panda effects.
Improve Site Speed
I will give you some tips to improve your page load times. I suggest you to test the page speed of your homepage and several article pages to see how well your blog is doing on the page speed test.
[stextbox id=”info”]#1 Use a Caching Plugin[/stextbox]
This is the most important of all steps. A single cache plugin can reduce the server load significantly and thus reduce troubles. On the other hand, it boosts the site speed. The working of these plugins is simple. The base of WordPress is laid on PHP language. As a result, a lot of PHP calls are executed each time a blog homepage loads up. These cache plugin caches your page and stores the page as HTML files and transfers it to the browser comparatively faster. You can use any of the following cache plugins. They all do the same job. The only difference is in the settings and functionalities.
1. WP Super Cache – A normal cache plugin which does all the jobs a cache plugin should do.
2. W3 Total Cache – It is the best choice to use with a CDN service like maxCDN. But this is having a little bit more advanced settings and wrong settings could affect your site badly.
3. Quick Cache – This is another alternative for the above two cache plugins.
[stextbox id=”info”]#2 Use a CDN service[/stextbox]
CDNs are Content Delivery Networks which are services which can be used to reduce our server load and increase page speed by offloading our static resources like JS content, CSS, Theme image etc. This improves the site speed to a great extend. MaxCDN is a popular Content Delivery Network which I personally find good. You can use maxCDN and Total Cache plugin together to send your site to a CDN system to load the site ultra fast by enabling compression.
[stextbox id=”info”]#3 Reduce Footer / Sidebar Clutter[/stextbox]
Many blogs still have a lot of widgets in their sidebars and footers. These widgets consume heavy server load and slows down your page loading speed by loading up external elements. Due to this, many blogs now have a minimalistic design so that they can reduce the server load and thus increase site performance. I’m sure most of you will find many unwanted widgets around your blog’s theme. These widgets altogether owe to the slowness of your blog. Remove all those unwanted widgets and keep your blog clean by retaining only the extremely necessary widgets like ad-units, share buttons etc.
[stextbox id=”info”]#4 Use a Responsive Design[/stextbox]
As you might have seen, Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal changed its theme recently and adopted a responsive design now. The theme Digital Inspiration is now using is Elemin theme from Themify.me. Using responsive designs can improve your site’s speed on other devices. At the same time, your blog gets compatible with a wide variety of smart phones and mobiles. This will increase your website traffic too.
[stextbox id=”info”]#5 Remove Related Posts Widgets[/stextbox]
Most of us use the extremely useful and handy YARPP to show the related posts below the post. Outbrain, Linkwithin etc. are other alternatives to YARPP. These widgets show a thumbnail of the related posts by sorting out content using tags. Plugin Performance Profiler (P3) tested these plugins and confirmed that these plugins slow down the site’s loading speed.
[stextbox id=”info”]#6 Reduce Social Sharing Buttons[/stextbox]
[stextbox id=”info”]#7 Turn Off Comments[/stextbox]
If your website is a high traffic website which gets hundreds of comments soon after a post is published, then you might want to think about turning the comments off for posts older than one week or a limited time frame. Else your blog’s comments itself would be taking a lot of time to load up.
[stextbox id=”info”]#8 Avoid Using External Commenting System if Possible[/stextbox]
Author Bio: This article was written by Amal Murali from Active Nerds. He writes on Security, Social Media, Gadgets, Apps and How-To articles as well. He’s a young and passionate blogger from Kerala who is about 17 years old.