Slow blogs, they’re the bane of my existence. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve quickly clicked off a blog because it was loading slowly. And often times, I really want to see the content the blog is offering. But instead I’m either forced to suffer as I wait for things to load or find the information on a different site.
If your blog is slow, you could be missing out on traffic. It doesn’t matter how amazing your site is, if it takes forever to load, people will click off. And you don’t want that, do you?
I didn’t think so.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to turn your slow loading blog into one that loads in a jiffy.
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Problem #1: Your host is slowing you down
Once upon a time you wanted to start a blog. Not wanting to invest a bunch of money into something you weren’t sure was going to last, you chose any old host. Years later, you’re still blogging. Your blog is doing great, but you’re still on that cheap host.
How is that a problem? Well, when it comes to hosts, you get what you pay for. Sure, that cheap host worked well when your blog was tiny and only got 60 pageviews a day. But now your blog has hundreds of posts and pages, and is getting hundreds (or thousands) of views a day. That same cheap host might not be able to handle your bigger, more popular blog.
Solution: Invest in a quality host
Like I said, you get what you pay for. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend an arm and a leg. My personal favorite host is SiteGround (and they’re far from expensive). Other good options include Flywheel and WPEngine.
Problem #2: Your WordPress theme is bloated
Does your WordPress theme have every feature under the sun? While it might seem awesome that your blog has a ton of features, more features often means more scripts to load, which will slow your site down. And then of course add in the fact that your theme might not be up to coding best practices and it’s no wonder your site is lagging.
Solution: Use a well developed theme
When it comes to choosing a WordPress theme, don’t just automatically jump at the first theme that looks good. Give your blog some thought. What features are must haves? What features would be nice to have, but aren’t necessary? Then start hunting down the perfect theme. You don’t want a theme that does it all. Stick with a theme that does what you want, and not much more.
Also, while WordPress themes are everywhere, make sure you’re purchasing from a decent developer. I’m a fan of Studiopress themes because I know their themes are developed with quality in mind.
Problem #3: Your site is a walking billboard
While you may view ads as a great way to make some extra money with your blog, it’s ridiculously easy to go overboard. I understand how compelling it is to slap a graphic on your blog and rake in the cash. But it’s important to realize that displaying a ton of ads is just going to slow down your site. Now I’m not necessarily talking about ads that you put up yourself, that include a graphic linked to another site. No, what I’m talking about are those dynamic ads, think Google Adsense and those other ad platforms. They each often a separate script to load, and when you’ve got a bunch, well you’re just asking for trouble.
Solution: reduce the number of ads
Do you really need all those ads? Take a look at your ad stats and see which ones aren’t bringing in much revenue. Then ditch them. Only keep the ones that are actually earning you something. An alternative is to think of another way to monetize your blog. Believe it or not, unless you’re getting a ton of pageviews a day, you could probably do better with another monetization method. So think outside the box. Not only will you be setting yourself up to potentially make even more money, but your blog will load a whole lot faster!
Problem #4: your images are huge
You wrote your blog post and now it’s time to add some images, so you grab your camera and upload your images. Let me stop you right there.
Do you know how large those images are? Depending on the quality of your camera, we’re talking 3000-5000 pixels wide! Do you know how wide your content area is? I’m going to guess no more than 1000 pixels. That means you’re uploading images 3-5 times larger than what you really need to! It’s no wonder why your blog is taking forever to load.
Solution: reduce image size
Rather than taking your images directly off your camera, take a few minutes and resize them. Same goes for those stock images. I recommend scaling them down to the size of your content area as that is usually the maximum size they’ll be displayed at.
Another tip is to compress your images using a site such as TinyPNG. Compressing your images reduces the size of the file which helps load time.
Problem #5: too many images are displayed
As a visual person, I’m all for lots of images. But what happens when you have 10 blog posts displayed at a time, each with 20 images? I don’t think I need to do the math for you to point out that that’s a lot of images. And even if you’ve reduced their size, it’s still a lot to load.
Solution: limit amount of images displayed
If you must display a ton of images, do two things. First, limit the amount of blog posts shown per page. This will greatly reduce the amount of images per page. And second, hide the majority of your images behind a read more link. That way, all those images don’t need to be loaded unless someone wants to view the post. Combine those two together and your blog should load a lot faster.
Of course, your individual blog post pages may still load slowly, but at least your blog as a whole will load faster. If you want those individual pages loading faster, you’re going to have to reduce the amount of images in your posts. Of course you can try using a caching plugin, but regardless, images as a whole just take longer to load.
Problem #6: you have a long list of plugins installed
Between the plugins that were already installed when you started your blog, the plugins that you are actively using, and those that you kind of forgot about, it’s easy to rack up quite a list of installed plugins. And while plugins can be awfully useful, too many can bog down your blog.
Solution: limit amount of plugins
Take a look through your installed plugins. Which ones are you not using? Delete them. Are there any that offer functionality that is already featured in another plugin? Delete those. Take a look through the rest that remain. Do you really need them, or can you do without them? Try to limit your plugins to those that are absolutely essential.
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