How annoying is a slow loading website? Instant satisfaction is what web surfers are after, and many will click away from a site if it takes even a few seconds to load on their screens. No one has time to wait around on the Internet. If your site isn’t delivering its content to your audience quickly, they are likely to leave and never return.
Audience drain isn’t the only danger that a slow-loading WordPress blog faces. Did you know that the load time of your WordPress blog influences your search engine rankings? Do you even know how quickly your site loads?
If your answer to either of these questions is no, odds are good that you can benefit from these seven quick tips to speed up your WordPress blog.
1. Don’t Let Plugins Slow You Down
Remember, your plugins are there to work for you, not against you. If plugins are slowing your WordPress blog down, then they’re simply not doing their job. Unfortunately, the responsibility to prevent plugin lag is ultimately yours and yours alone.
The good news is that there are a few simple things you can do to prevent plugins from adding to your site’s load time. First, be sure that you are not excessively using plugins or using redundant plugins. Next, disable all plugins you aren’t depending on and try to use plugins that are made specifically for your WordPress templates or frameworks. Finally, check that you are running the latest version of WordPress and update to the newest version if you need to.
2. Cache Your Content
Caching your content can work wonders on your WordPress blog’s load time. To cache content means to generate static HTML files of your dynamic site. There are many free plugins that will take care of this so you don’t have to, including W3 Total Cache and W3 Super Cache, which will do this for you.
By caching your content, you prevent your site from needlessly generating its pages over and over again. This will dramatically speed up your site, especially during peak traffic times. This will protect you from missing out on opportunities to build your brand and audience.
3. Clear Your Spam Comments
The fact is that the less content there is on your site, the faster it will load. If your WordPress blog’s comment sections are full of spam comments, then your site is carrying dead weight. It’s time to ditch it.
It is especially important to manage incoming pingbacks. To do so, regularly delete all spam from your site’s database. Alternatively, you can disable pingbacks altogether from within WordPress.
4. Optimize Your Database
Now that your database is free of spam, it’s time to optimize it for speedy performance. If you’re a novice or simply unsure of how to do this, then relax. There are a few good plugins available to help you out. WP-Optimize, WP-DB Manage, or Optimize-DB will all do the job for you, plus they are well reviewed.
5. Delete Your Revisions
If you’re an active blogger, it’s likely that you revise your posts often. Did you know that all of these revisions are saved to your WordPress blog and can slow down its load time? Once again, it’s time to rid your site of extra pounds of data so that it can be a lean, mean loading machine.
There are several quality plugins that will manage your revisions for you so that you don’t have to give the matter a second thought. WP-Optimize will take care of both your database optimization and revision management needs. Better Delete Revision plugin is another trustworthy choice.
6. Disable Your Hotlinking
Hotlinking the images on your WordPress blog might make your job easier, but it’s a pretty inconsiderate practice. If other bloggers are hot linking your images, then they’re definitely slowing your site’s load time. In fact, hot linking images is a constant drain on bandwidth because it allows other site’s to piggyback on your bandwidth for images.
To protect your images from hot linking without the hassle of editing your site’s code, simply download and install a handy plugin. The Hotlink Protection plugin will get the job done for you and your site’s load time back up where it belongs in a flash.
7. Optimize Your Images
Of course, loading your own images requires a lot of bandwidth which has a strongly negative impact on your blog’s overall load time. In order to minimize their impact, you should take the time to make thoughtful choices in regards to the size and format of your images.
Of course, if you want to let a plugin make these decisions for you, that’s also an option. One plugin that is great at automatically optimizing your images to increase your site’s load time is Wp-Smushit. It performs all sorts of clever little tricks, including compressing images and stripping metadata.
Anny Solway is a dedicated writer at ThemeFuse – a leader in the premium WordPress themes area. She likes to discover new ideas about internet marketing, social media and blogging.