Sometime back Google changed the way it indexes pages with the introduction of Caffeine. With that Google also made an announcement that they will be using site speed to determine web search ranking for a given site. So, it is important to make sure that your blog or site performance is better than before to go higher on search ranks. Let me share my experiment to make this blog faster!
1. Web Host : This site was initially hosted on dot5hosting which was terribly slow because of the way they were hosting multiple accounts on the same server. Upon complaining about the performance multiple times, they were pathetic in addressing the technical issues on their side and my blog home response time was always over 12 seconds to load. Then I moved to BlueHost, which is the current webhost of this blog. The site performance improved immediately after moving to Bluehost, you can see it on this graph.
2. Plugins: However, there are more things to work upon to make the blog much faster. There are plenty of caching plugins to make the wordpress blog faster. One such plugin which I am currently using is W3 Total Cache. I have installed this plugin very recently and will be able to share the numbers after reviewing it for a while. But I am already seeing the results. Google’s Page Speed and Y!Slow are consistently showing 90+ score for my blog.
To measure the page speed there are few external sites like webpagetest.org and gtmetrix.com (thanks to Kevin). But I suggest you to use Mozilla Firefox browser with plugins like ‘google page speed‘ and ‘YSlow‘ with ‘FireBug‘ to know what exactly is the performance issue on your blog. Attack one issue at a time and I am sure over a period you will be able to achieve a good score on those tools.
3. Widgets : I have seen many bloggers adding multiple widgets on their sites like ‘live traffic’, ‘music player’, ‘alexa rank’, ‘page rank info’ etc., My suggestion is to get rid of those useless widgets which slow down your page performance drastically. If you are so fancy about showing off, put it in a page instead of on sidebar or footer of your blog. Go ahead and take a look at my blog home, you get a fair idea of what I am talking about!
These are the golden set of rules to make your blog or site load faster. Go ahead, improve your page load speed and get higher on search rankings. Feel free to share if you know any other trick to achieve better performance.
Yash Bhatia says
Thanks a lot for this, Sir! I’m gonna implement it on my blog ASAP!
Very useful information. I’ve been working on the site load time since past few days. Have configured the widgets to show on archive pages or on post pages only… that really helps!!
the information u have provided is really very very useful. thank you so much
How about writing a post on ‘Improving Blogpost blog performance’?
Shrinidhi Hande says
Good tips. I dont use wordpress though
GTMetrix did wonders for me!
its really cool app!
thanks for share!
Yup it is indeed a very nice tool Shashank.
This may be for the technically inclined, but hacking your theme files to reduce the number of database calls helps a ton. Especially in the header and footer sections you can easily remove a lot of unnecessary calls such as fetching the blog title/description, RSS feed and pingback url.
That is an interesting point! Let me get back on optimizing that stuff as well 🙂 Appreciate your inputs.
Well said mohan! I think the biggest bottle neck are the widgets which need to load content from external websites.
Absolutely, every call to an external site results in DNS look up and more time to render its content.
Guru Talks says
Thanks Mohan, this post is v.helpful.
Good to hear that! Keep coming back for more!
shashank chinchli says
thanks for share!
Glad to have you here Shashank! Thanks 🙂
I have found it truly informative, actually i was looking for some suggestions.
Glad that the article was timely for you 🙂 all the best with your customizations.
Mohan, 2 things:
1) I tried using the W3 Total Cache on my self hosted WordPress blogs, but to my disappointment, the plugin crashed my sites (dhakkanz.com and excelmatic.dhakkanz.com). I had real bad time getting the website up. The WordPress version on my blog is latest, so there cannot be compatibility issue. Don’t know what made it happen.
And it is quite true that Google does take a look at your website’s load time for it PRs.
The thumb rule is to back up the wordpress db before trying out any plugin. Sorry to hear your experience, hope you learn from the learnings and move on 🙂
Yes, Serving images and js files is a big issue for blogs. I have moved to Amazon S3 and cloudfront CDN, that is one of the reason why my scores are always higher than 90!
I would like to know more about Amazon S3 and Cloudfront CDN.
Sure Mohit. I will come up with an article on that soon 🙂
I think using pictures from third party websites also slows down the website. I had multiple pictures for some of my posts I wrote last month and many complained about the load time of my blog. Now, after I wrote new posts those older ones moved to the back of my blog and everything seems faster now.
Well, it depends on where you have hosted. If you are using CDN for static files like images, css and js, the site would load much faster, however if you store it on other places, it may be time consuming. There will be additional DSN look ups as well while serving content from different domains/sites.
Great post dude. Nothing like drawing from experience. 🙂
Hehehe.. that is what we learn over a period of time 🙂
Thanks for the info Mohan. I was unaware of lot of things you mentioned. Presently, I am thinking of hosting my blog on Godaddy.com.. Pls give me your suggestions..
Don’t make up your mind yet, read through the reviews, their competitors, evaluate from friends experience and then move on 🙂
nice article..I am in blogger.com though..have implemented some of ur suggestions u gave on my blog review.. how much time do u think is good for a page load?..and any suggestions for blogger.com also
Anything around 7 seconds for blogs is acceptable. If it is taking more time, you have a task in hand for sure 🙂
Good info Mohan
Recently I have switched over to w3 Total cache from WP Super cache. But for optimum result , the plugin need to be suitably configured.
Thanks Sujith! Yes, fine tuning is very important for making the best use of W3tc. Even I have switched from WP super cache to W3tc 🙂
Nandan Narula says
Very useful piece of information. When i also started my blog, i cluttered it with all sorts of fancy widgets, n i remember how much time it used to take. Now i ve got rid of a few of them n seen a remarkable improvement. ur article has again made me realize that a lot needs to be done. Thanks for sharing ur experience.
Every person has a learning curve… good that you started experimenting to make things better. Good luck.
Hey I never facied widgets, but I dint quite understand what you were trying to say regarding showing off the widget in a Page.
Well, there are people who use widgets to display what is their alexa rank, page rank, feedjit, google friend connect readers, facebook fans etc., These widgets slow down the site performance drastically. Be wary of what you need against what is not needed.
Sanjay Shettennavar says
I have added many widgets in the hope that they would increase the traffic. I am not sure whether they have made any difference to the traffic or not. In view of what you have said, I think I better remove these widgets, at least a few of them. Thanks for the info.
Well, use the sites mentioned above to measure your blog performance and based on that decide on what to keep and what to do away with 🙂
any tips for bloggers using blogger.com?
Well, I haven’t dirtied my hands with blogger yet. I think only rule # 3 stated above applied to blogger as of now from this article.
Thanks for sharing this info! I just installed W3 Total cache
Awesome… now your site will be much faster!
Mohan, Can u tell me what i need to get rid of on my blog? I do have a lot of widgets. Just not sure which ones to keep and which to remove. 🙂
It is very subjective shruti… don’t use those flash widgets unless they are very much required. So with other widgets as well.
What happened to ur artsy-craftsy entry?? 🙂 send it soon.
Doesn’t look like I am going to miss this time too 🙁
I hv felt that too many widgets slow down the pages too.
Thanks for sharing 🙂
Absolutely… keep only the those which are a much… It is good to get rid of the rest 🙂
This website [+] is also a good website to analyze the performance of your website. It shows you the analysis with respect to google page speed as well as yslow with all the tips that could help you enhance the performance.
That is an awesome site Kevin.. it is giving both Yslow and page speed in one place. Thanks for sharing.
Lakshmi rajan says
Even couple of weeks back I started using W3 Total cache and boy it is quiet impressive. Site speed has become an important factor and am too working heavily on it.
Oh good.. all the best 🙂