Tuesday, June 7, 2011

20 Easy Ways to Speed Up Your Website

A quick loading website creates win-win situations and it is good for your SEO too - Google has speed within its algorithm, and will penalise a slow loading site.

Just like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), there are on-page factors and off-page that can speed up your website. And because we love WordPress, there are lots of plugins that will help too.

On-page Factors

Images tend to be the largest (file size) items on a webpage. Well-optimised images with their file sizes reduced is the key, but without reducing quality. If possible, use Photoshop to resize an image and "Save for Web". Use the image as a link to the full-size image if required.

Adverts tend to slow pages down as they are more often loaded from external sites. If your site doesn't really benefit from advertising it may be a good idea to remove them. If you are using images that are located on an external server, save them to your local server so that they load from your images folder and set the target within your code.

Reduce your Flash usage to a minimum. Some flash files can take up a lot of bandwidth when loading a webpage, so try to use alternatives where possible:
JQuery for photo slideshows
Embed videos from YouTube
Embed music files from YouTube

Minimise the usage of extra files and codes that your page must load for it to work. Try and incorporate as much as you can into the source code - or remove them. Google code, compliance images, tweet and Facebook 'like' buttons are also culprits of slowing down a page, so try and minimise their usage or optimise them.

Monitor your site's W3C compliance. By removing as many errors and warnings will clean up your code and also make it W3C compliant.

Off-page Factors

Having a dedicated server, i.e. not a hosting package on a shared server, can help speed up your website. Where this isn't affordable, choose a company that has decent hardware specifications that take the load time of your website seriously.

Incorporate gzip compression into your site will decrease page load times. Note: sometimes pages do not display on Firefox so lots of testing is required to see if it fits your site

Create a cache of your webapges to hasten page loads.

Lots of plugins will slow your website down - only use those that are necessary for your website to function

Minify your CSS by removing spaces and unnecessary comments etc. Going through the W3C compliance for CSS will also help you remove any lines that are not required.

WordPress Wizards

WordPress plugins make the off-page optimising easier. Plugins available for the above are:

Quick Cache: Dramatically improves the performance and speed of your site. Also compatible with WordPress® Multisite/Networking.

W3 Total Cache: Dramatically improve the speed and user experience of your site. Adds browser, page, object and database caching.

Force GZIP: Implements gzip output compression to speed up load times. This plugin also does a check to see if browsers are incorrectly saying that they do not support GZIP when they actually do. This can speed up load times for a significant portion of users.
Note: sometimes doesn't work with Firefox so test before you keep it activated.

WP Minify: This plugin integrates the Minify engine into your WordPress blog. Once enabled, this plugin will combine and compress JS and CSS files to improve page load time.

Plugin Organizer: This plugin allows you to change the order that your plugins are loaded, selectively disable plugins by page or post, and adds grouping to the plugin admin page.

Other Functions

Install Firebug into your Firefox browser that inspects HTML and modifies style and layout in real-time, uses the most advanced JavaScript debugger available for any browser and accurately analyses network usage and performance.

Live HTTP Headers allows you to view the HTTP headers of a page and while browsing so that you can monitor what your site is 'calling' from other sites etc and can be installed into your Firefox browser.

Another Firefox plugin, YSlow analyses web pages and explains why they're slow based on Yahoo!'s rules for high performance websites.

Google's Page Speed is an open-source project started at Google to help you optimise your web pages. This can be implemented within your Google Webmaster Tools or as a Google Chrome extension.

Keep analysing your website with:


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