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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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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Premium theme frameworks reviewed

April 9, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Technosailor reviews in depth the four most popular premium theme frameworks: Thesis, Headway, Genesis, Builder. Criteria range from pricing to performance to compatibility with various WordPress (even BuddyPress) features.

[…] based on the stress test and criteria I outlined earlier, the best framework is Genesis with an 84%. Thesis comes in with a 76%. Builder garners a 74%. Headway needs the most improvement and only gets a 55%.

It’s a long read, but if you’re a serious website developer, a good theme framework can make a big difference in getting things done. My only wish is for a matrix comparison of all the themes, not just the conclusion above, so it’s easy to figure out who’s strong in which area.

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Must-have plugins for every WordPress blog

April 2, 2010 | 1 Comment

BloggingPro compiles a list of 10 + 5 WordPress plugins every blog should have. It covers the basics from good ol’ Akismet to security, performance, and analytics plugins.

It doesn’t matter what the aim of your is blog, whether you set out to become the next person getting rich in only 4 hours per week, want to run the hottest dating column in town, aim to take Arrington’s crown or just want to blog for fun, if you chose for WordPress there are some basics your blog needs.

The shortlist:

  • A Solid Theme
  • Akismet
  • Google XML Sitemap
  • Align RSS Images
  • AntiVirus for WordPress
  • Subscribe to comments
  • WP Super Cache
  • WP.com stats
  • WP Twitip-ID
  • FeedBurner FeedSmith
  • The Excerpt Reloaded
  • WP Footnotes
  • Future Dashboard Widget
  • WP Table Reloaded

What’s on your must-have plugins list?

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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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What’s new with WordPress 2.8

June 5, 2009 | No Comments Yet

Here’s another post that checks out some of the new features in WordPress 2.8. If you’ll go through the comprehensive write-up, you’ll observe that a lot of the improvements lean toward usability, accessibility, and performance optimization, which in turn improve one’s overall experience with WordPress. Example:

JavaScript files properly registered via the appropriate script API can now be placed at the bottom of the page. In most cases this is preferable, because JavaScript blocks parallel downloads (browsers need to evaluate it before proceeding) and can delay the time by which a page is usable and also the time by which the rendering is complete. So, unless a JavaScript file needs to be at the top, it can be moved to the bottom for better performance.

Check out the rest here.

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