Optimize WordPress loading time by 75%

November 12, 2010 | No Comments Yet

So we’ve confirmed Google is factoring in site speed into their search ranking algorithms, but what exactly can you do to your WordPress site to make it load faster? David Kadavy shares his own website optimization story by doing the following:

  • Move from a shared hosting service (in this case Dreamhost) to VPS (virtual private server) hosting
  • Install the W3 Total Cache plugin
  • Use a CDN (content delivery network) such as Amazon Cloudfront: this works well with W3 Total Cache, which is why he recommends it over other WP caching plugins
  • Optimize with CSS sprites, inline styles and scripts, Gzip, and other recommendations from Yahoo.

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Mark Jaquith on WordPress and web hosting

May 17, 2010 | No Comments Yet

WordPress lead developer Mark Jaquith sounds off on the state of web hosting companies and their lack of support for the publishing software. He emphasizes two of the biggest issues WordPress users have when it comes to maintaining their installs: caching and security.

People ask me for hosting recommendations all the time. I have a few decent hosts that I’ll recommend, but I don’t have any hosts about which I can say “use them, because they know how to host WordPress, and they’ll support you.” I’d like nothing better than to have a dozen such hosts to recommend by this time next year. WordPress is here to stay, and it’s time for web hosts to adapt!

This is just the first of many voices from WordPress community leaders cementing an initiative for better WP support, as mentioned in the State of the Word at WordCamp SF 2010. I think the greatest lesson here is never to settle with just any web host. With so many choices out there and your own site and brand on the line, choosing a proper, WordPress-friendly host should be top priority. You can’t afford not to.

As for the web hosting companies themselves, it’s a great opportunity to improve their game and offer specialized services that help with the upkeep of their respective client websites. A win-win for all.

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Reasons you should and shouldn’t use WordPress

May 13, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Killersites.com points out several advantages to using WordPress in building websites as opposed to purely static webpages:

If you haven’t guessed it already, using WordPress in your day-to-day web work WILL have major economic advantages – in a nutshell, you will be able to provide a lot more for your clients for a lot less work! This will lead to you landing more web design contracts and making more cash because the extra WordPress skills will allow you to charge more for your time.

On the other hand, WP Fun emphasizes its disadvantages in back-end maintenance, which is technically a whole other job outside of building websites, but is slowly merging with it anyway.

Which of these two win the argument? While I agree with WP Fun that you shouldn’t just go into a project hastily deciding to use WordPress, using static HTML files is not the only alternative solution, especially if a web designer’s concern with clients is ease of use. There is no interface to deal with in static webpages but you can use lighter and/or hosted CMS solutions too.

That’s just one factor to consider. Other factors like extensibility with plugins, security, support, community, etc. should definitely affect your decision to choose a publishing platform. WordPress tends to win out because of those.

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Google factors site speed into search rankings

April 12, 2010 | No Comments Yet

The search marketing and blogging circles have been buzzing about this for a few months now but Google put out the official word on site speed as a new factor in search result rankings just a few days ago. Webmaster Tools lets you measure the speed of your enrolled sites under Site Performance. The blog post also links to other tools like Page Speed.

It’s interesting to note, however, that Google itself says less than 1% of search queries will be affected by this new site speed signal. In any case, faster is usually better both for your visitors and for your site maintenance costs, not just your pagerank. Matt Cutts puts it nicely:

I know that there will be a lot of discussion about this change, and some people won’t like it. But I’m glad that Google is making this step, both for the sake of transparency (letting webmasters know more about how to do better in Google) and because I think this change will make the web better. My takeaway messages would be three-fold: first, this is actually a relatively small-impact change, so you don’t need to panic. Second, speeding up your website is a great thing to do in general. Visitors to your site will be happier (and might convert more or use your site more), and a faster web will be better for all. Third, this change highlights that there are very constructive things that can directly improve your website’s user experience. Instead of wasting time on keyword meta tags, you can focus on some very easy, straightforward, small steps that can really improve how users perceive your site.

Looks like some site spring cleaning is in order!

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More than a dozen useful WordPress database queries

March 1, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Secure, clean up, and optimize your blog with 10 “life-saving” SQL queries from Cats Who Code. Most of them are short and should work by simply copying & pasting them into your database manager. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Manually change your password
  2. Transfer posts from one user to another
  3. Delete post revisions and meta associated to those revisions
  4. Batch delete spam comments
  5. Find unused tags
  6. Find and replace data
  7. Get a list of your commentators emails
  8. Disable all your plugins at once
  9. Delete all tags
  10. List unused post meta
  11. Disable comments on older posts
  12. Replace commentator url
  13. Replace commentator email adress
  14. Delete all comments with a specific url

The article also recommends an SQL WordPress plugin so you don’t have to go anywhere else to execute the queries. If you’re not familiar with SQL, the best way to learn is by example! As a precautionary measure, however, make sure to have a database backup ready before doing any database manipulation.

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Tips for speeding up WordPress

January 19, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Michael Gray of Graywolf’s SEO Blog has compiled a comprehensive list of tips for optimizing load times with your WordPress site. Since Google has announced that it would include page loading time as a factor in its search results rankings, and launched its Let’s make the web faster microsite, site performance & optimization is now the hottest topic in the SEO world. (If you need something to blow up so everyone else follows suit, trust Google to get things done.)

The trick is to look at all the plugins and widgets you’ve added to your site and figure out which ones you can do without. Do you really need that fancy lightbox zooming script to display your larger images? How about opting for a more compact, all-in-one solution for your social media buttons? Or a lighter theme?

But whether or not you’re on WordPress, website analyzing tools and techniques such as gzipping and caching should come in handy. Yahoo! also has a great resource page on speeding up your website.

It seems this will be the year of optimized page loads, so don’t get left behind!

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An “ultimate” WP 2.8 optimization guide

November 30, 2009 | No Comments Yet

Still on the subject of keeping your WordPress site in tip-top shape, StoreCrowd has compiled the Ultimate WordPress 2.8 Optimization Guide. It’s a long list of code snippets, plugins, tools, and tips to improve the performance of your blog. For example:

Use a CDN or Subdomain for Static Files
Serving all your images from the same domain can means that your browser is waiting to download all the items one after the other. Lets say you have 12 items, if you split these out across 3 subdomains then they can be downloaded concurrently (as there’s 3 sources), instead of the browser waiting to download them from one source.

Check it out!

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WordCamp Philippines 2009 talk: WordPress in the Wild

November 26, 2009 | No Comments Yet

Markku Seguerra just blogged about his talk in this year’s WordCamp Philippines called “WordPress in the Wild”:

WordPress used to simply be a blogging app and not much more. It’s growth in the past few years though has pushed it to adapt a more extensible structure to allow for other uses beyond blogging as well as various other customizations. These changes made it more appealing to a wider range of users, but at the same time it also introduced some performance bottlenecks that become apparent when your blog rises to be just a bit too popular. Ah, the price of success.

His slides on WordPress deployment, performance, optimization, and security are embedded in the post, but scroll down for all the important links and points covered by his presentation. A bit on the technical side, but definitely a must-read for everyone running a WordPress website.

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