When the Internet first made its way into our homes years ago, we put up with slow connections because that’s all that was available. It was impressive enough simply to be able to access digital content.
But as the Internet has evolved and connection speeds have accelerated, as readers we’ve grown to expect websites to load at lightning-fast speed.
As you carefully work on building your WordPress blog and expanding your reach, it’s important that you keep this need for speed in mind.
After all, a half-second delay in page-load time can reduce traffic by as much as 20 percent, according to Marissa Mayer. So how do you go about accelerating the speed that your blog loads at? Let’s take a look at five tips.
Image Compression Plugins
Images can take a long time to load, so consider using a plugin like Smush.it to keep load times reduced to a minimum as images are compressed. The plugin removes unnecessary bytes from pictures to optimize them for quick loading. Head on over to Grow Our Way to see how their image-heavy gardening blog loads relatively quickly thanks to the tool.
A caching plugin like W3 Total Cache will enhance the user experience and speed upload times by reducing download times. This provides transparent content delivery network integration and improves server performance. This kind of website optimization is crucial when it comes to ensuring a positive user experience, as your blog will load smoothly and fluidly. Amazon reported that for every 100 milliseconds of additional latency in the speed their site loads at, there’s a corresponding 1 percent decrease in sales. It may not seem like a lot, but for a company like Amazon, it can definitely do a lot of damage.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
We already know that speed is important when loading content. Using a content delivery network like CloudFlare, which is free, lets you take advantage of an expansive network of servers located around the globe. In doing so, visitors to your blog retrieve images from the servers they are closest to, allowing for faster load times.
Choose a Good Hosting Service
Choosing a good hosting service will ensure that your blog is up and running even during periods of high traffic. While you might be encouraged to use an aggressively priced provider, it’s important that you make sure your site is able to handle sudden influxes of traffic. The better the hosting service, generally speaking, the faster your blog will load and the better the experience will be for your readers.
Limit Widgets and Sharing Buttons
It’s understandable that you want your readers to have as many tools at their disposal as possible to share and disseminate your content. But blogs ridden with widgets and sharing buttons can significantly increase load times. Consider keeping those tools to a minimum to help your site load quicker.
Recent research indicates that the majority of those surveyed will abandon a website if it doesn’t load within six to 10 seconds. What’s more, a one-second delay in loading time can reduce your conversion rate by 7 percent. Taken together, it’s important that you utilize as many tools as you can to ensure that your blog is operating as efficiently as possible.
Readers don’t have the patience or the time to sit and wait for your blog to load. While a few seconds here or there might not sound like a lot of time, the research speaks to the contrary. By taking a few minutes to familiarize yourself with some tools and building your blog on an optimal platform, you can expect your site to load quickly with speed and ensure your readers’ happiness.
Image courtesy of: digitaljourney on Flickr
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