How long does it take the average visitor to load your blog? If it’s longer than six seconds, you’re probably losing a significant number of visitors. Studies have shown that Internet users today have become increasingly impatient, often choosing to click the back button in their web browser instead of waiting for pages to load. Thankfully, there are some simple ways to speed up your blog’s load times.
Resize Images Before Uploading
WordPress has a nifty little image editing tool which allows bloggers to resize their images on the fly. The problem with this tool, however, is that it still requires visitors to load the original image first. If your blog contains dozens of high-resolution images, visitors may experience longer-than-usual load times. Instead of using the built-in image editor, resize your images manually before uploading them to your blog.
Enable Browser Caching
Browser caching allows visitors to store parts of your blog locally, within their web browser. And when a visitor has fewer files to download, they’ll be able to access your blog in less time. To enable browser caching, add the following code to your blog’s .htaccess file:
# BEGIN Expire headers
ExpiresDefault “access plus 1 seconds”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access plus 2592000 seconds”
ExpiresByType image/png “access plus 2592000 seconds”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access plus 2592000 seconds”
ExpiresByType text/css “access plus 604800 seconds”
ExpiresByType text/html “access plus 2592000 seconds”
# END Expire headers
Limit Your Plugins
Another important tip for reducing your blog’s load times is to limit your plugins. There’s nothing wrong with installing half a dozen or so plugins, but keep in mind that it will have an adverse effect on your load times. The more plugins your blog contains, the longer it will take to load. Also, plugins with interactive features, such as Facebook-like widgets, tend to have a greater impact on load times.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a high-quality web host, as it can greatly reduce your blog’s load times. There are generally three types of hosting services: shared, which places your blog on a server alongside hundreds or thousands of other websites, virtual private server (VPS), which dedicates a finite amount server resources for your blog, and dedicated, which gives your blog its own dedicated server. Dedicated servers are the most expensive, but they also load faster than the aforementioned options.
What steps do you take to reduce your blog’s load times? Let us know in the comments section below!