There are three things that can slow down a WordPress website – the amount of work that a server does before it ships out a webpage to your site visitor, the speed of the server(s) delivering your web pages, and the bulkiness of the content themselves.
This blog post intendeds to decipher specific action steps that bloggers and their technical assistants can do to speed up a website.
A Cache System – Ease the Burden of your Server
A cache plugin is a tool that gathers your website pages and makes them ready for site visitors to read before they are even asked for. WordPress assembles each page on the fly- a cache plugin per-assembles your pages. Make your site run faster with per-assembled pages.
There are several cache plugins available and written about for WordPress blogs- SuperCache, and W3C Total Cache are the two most well known (there are scores more). The problem is with these tools is that there are what seems like 100s of different options and settings into a cache plugin to make it work, or not.
Tip: Get some obvious help. Check out your web hosting company’s support pages or call them and ask
- Which Cache plugin do they recommend?
- Do they have suggested settings to make it fly?- and follow through?
It is very easy to make your site run SLOWER by having the settings on a cache plugin Wrong. Every company has different software tools running on their servers to make their websites run as fast as possible- maximize that power with their help!!
Is Your Web Host the Right One?
Not all web hosts are the same. While most hosts affordable to mom blogs are SHARED servers (you share a computer with 1000s of other sites) some make you share with more than others. I am not a server expert, but do ask around. For sites that demand performance, I trust websynthesis.com This is what AkronOhioMoms.com and this site run on. This is not an affiliate link just a recommendation.
Optimizing the Page Itself by Cleaning Up Plugins, But Not Removing Them
When a webpage is loaded from your website, it is not just image files and one html page. There can be many many additional pages that get loaded – bloating up the efforts by your server as well as the capacity in which your site visitor can receive files.
Mom blogs can often be full of plugins- and plugins often carry lots and lots of baggage.
Do something scary with me – load up your website’s homepage in a new tab, and view the source code. (Right click /command click anywhere on the page and use the SOURCE or VIEW SOURCE option) Below is a glimpse of the CURRENT AkronOhioMoms.com site. The section that I am focusing on is the additional links that need to be loaded to make your website If you browse through yours you will see something similar.
Dumb Tip #1: If you see see a reference to a particular plugin that you don’t actually use, Remove the plugin! – Don’t just turn it off (a security risk) but REMOVE it.
Plugin Bloat Content
Now comes the hard part- identifying which plugins are forcing your website to load files that you don’t really use. Let me show you how this is done by doing it myself with the above code. I’ll create a list of files below that I don’t think AkronOhioMoms.com needs.
My example: Files that Are NOT important and why
- there is a /photo-dropper/interface/css/public.css file that can’t be important. This plugin only allows me to select from public domain photos when i don’t have one, and load it as a regular image. What could this be for?
- /js/thickbox/thickbox.css – Currently there is no pop up light box on the site – so either this is bloatware, or, it is broken.
- /wp-customer-reviews.css – Awesome, for the reviews page, but not EVERY page
- /amazon-product-in-a-post links (various)- GREAT for single pages, but not home page, category pages, etc…
- /slickr-flickrlinks (various)- GREAT for single pages, but not home page, category pages, etc…
- /amazon-lightbox.js – We don’t have any popups for our amazon links plugin, so this is a waste.
- (Not shown/already removed) there were 6 additional java script files for a superfish menu – plugin. We use ubermenu, so I already removed these.
Tip: Get Rid of them! I found an excellent post here that talks about removing such bloatware! When combined with adding conditions of which page is being displayed, I can make my homepage run much faster with half as much junk! At worst, share this instructional link with your web developer and tell them to GET IT DONE.
Still too many files
It is important for Google to know that the speed in which your site loads is fast. It might be the best thing you do for your blog all year!!