Some thoughts about page load optimizing

13 MAY 2011 2

Google has recently announced the release of the online version of PageSpeed, the Firefox extension that analyzes the performance of a web page. There is already a much better tool, called GTMetrix, that was already doing a great job, as well as YSlow Firefox extension from Yahoo.

Some PageSpeed metrics

Wordpress blogs:


General service sites:

These are some random picks from my bookmarks – some noteworthy Wordpress blogs and some popular forums in the industry. I left out the dime-a-dozen blogs on purpose, the self-appointed specialists that will “teach” you how to make piles of money with their $19.95 ebooks, as well as websites that have no connection with the online industry.

What do these metrics mean?

I’m mainly writing this for newcomers. It’s usually not enough to put up a Wordpress blog on your hosting account, pick a good-looking theme and get on with installing some essential plugins. You will also have to work quite a bit on the technical side. If your blog loads in two minutes because you have 150 articles on the front page you will lose all of your visitors.

How can you speed up the page loads?

It’s mostly some common sense configurations that will make the difference.

  • 10 articles or less per page. Unless you write really short articles (100-150 words on average), or you use a magazine-like template where headlines and short excerpts are published on the front page, don’t go for more than 10 articles per page. You can change this setting under your Dashboard > Settings > Reading.
  • Split your articles if you write long posts. If your story is longer than 6-700 words, or it uses lots of images and/or embedded content, always insert the More tag.
  • Optimize your images. There is no reason why you would post a full-resolution image taken with your 12 megapixel camera that’s a bit over two megabytes – first and foremost it would go beyond the edges of your screen. Resize all your images before uploading (or use the built-in Wordpress features to do it). Images shouldn’t be larger than 50-60 kilobytes.

If your site must handle large traffic volumes (i.e. in the range of 100,000 hits a day or more), here is a good article on the Wordpress Codex site: High Traffic Tips For WordPress.

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