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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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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Is WordPress getting too “fat” and vulnerable?

September 18, 2008 | No Comments Yet

Vladimir Prelovac has written a very insightful critique about the direction of WordPress development. He states several concerns with what this piece of blogging software is turning into. First we have bloat:

But more importantly, I have noticed that WordPress is not developing “far” anymore, and it started going “wide” instead. By this I mean there are less inventions and new technologies with every update. There is just more functionality that relies on current existing technologies.

[…]

WordPress started out like Google, but is now becoming more and more like Yahoo. It stopped going “far” and started becoming fat (”wide”). It is becoming slow and clumsy.

Second, we have security issues, most notably with WordPress plugins. Jeff Chandler at Performancing suggests the WordPress community could adopt phpBB’s plugin validation system.

All in all, Vladimir wants WordPress to focus on speed, simplicity, and security in future WordPress versions.

You’ll find Matt Mullenweg’s answers in the comments section. He mentions WP 2.3 is a lot more bloated and insecure than WP 2.6—better beware of this fact for those who haven’t upgraded! He also says he’s aware of speed issues, hence the integration with Google Gears, and the constant drive towards improving the backend:

I’m obsessed with speed. On the backend WP has done a ton to speed itself up, as evidenced by the fact that it now runs the largest blogs in the world. More than 1.6 billion pageviews a month are going through WordPress.

As for plugins, this is what Matt had to say:

There are some automated things we do to watch out for bad stuff but ultimately I think we need a human team of volunteers to keep an eye on plugin changesets. Is this something you’d be interested in helping out with?

What do you think? I think that as long as there is a strong community backing up WordPress, such issues will never go unnoticed. I can only hope that this same community continues to help out with new initiatives, such as plugin and theme inspection.

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