If you’ve been keeping up, my last article was about Pingdom, which pointed to a tool that allowed you to check the speed of any of your pages. I also mentioned that if your site is too slow, you’d quickly see visitors abandon your site, in some cases, before they even see your core material. In other words, no matter how great your content is, you’ll lose a chunk of your audience due to poor performance!
So how can you quickly decrease those load times? There are so many things you can do but I’m going to start you with the 80/20 rule. Let’s try to get 80% of the way there by executing only 20% of the work. Here’s what I think are the simple considerations.
· Reduce image sizes
· Install a cache plugin
· Remove Flash if you have any
If your site is still slow, let’s move into more moderate changes:
· Remove ads that slow your site down (you can see which ads take the longest to load with Pingdom)
· Merge CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) into a single file if you have more than one
· Remove unused styles in your CSS
· Replace image nav with text nav
OK, that should pretty much do it for most folks. However, outside of redoing your entire site, if you still have some crazy sluggish load times, then you may have to consider the following:
· Remove all ads (you can reapply them later one at a time while you test your performance)
· Move to a dedicated server with your current host -OR- switch to a different host provider (It is important to have a dedicated hosting service that will enable your readers to have easy access to your site)
Obviously, these are a last resort, especially if you have to change your hosting company. That may impact your SERP, PR and other variables if you have an established site. However, I think you’d all agree that none of those things matter if visitors leave before they even get a glance of your content!
What are some of the methods you have tried in the past that have increased load times for your site?
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