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10 Ways To Make Your WordPress Site Quicker

February 28, 2011

So you have heard that Google will be considering your site speed when considering it for the top search results and now you want to make your site as fast as possible so you can keep or make it up to the the number 1 spot of the Big-G.

Good thing you found this post, because I will teach you how to decrease the size of your pages/posts and make your site faster than ever. Below you will find 10 great tips that can help you greatly speed up your WordPress blog. Enjoy and don’t forget to comment and tweet this post!

Below are 10 great ways you can help speed up your WordPress site so you can provide a better experience for your users and possibly boost your rankings a bit..

1. Cache Your Pages

WordPress Themes work by making calls to your wp-database and returning the content that it will show on your site. So every time you load a page on your site it first has to retrieve the necessary data from your database which can dramatically slow down your site, especially if you are making a lot of requests to your db. Preferably you would want to have a “cached” version (HML) of your site so when your pages are loaded everything has already been called for. The best way to do this is using a WordPress caching plugin, my favorite one is called Hyper Chache.

2. Decrease Image Sizes

Everyone loves using tons of images on their blogs these days, why, because they make your site more interesting and awesome looking. However, images can be really big and take a long time to load. If you really are looking to speed up WordPress I would suggest you do 3 things: remove any unnecessary images, reduce the amount of images on any given post and Smush your images. Yahoo provides a service called Smush it, where you can upload any image and it will decrease its size while keeping the original quality. I suggest you start out by smushing all of the images in your theme files as these will be on every page of your site. You can also go back to your wp-uploads folder and smush any of your uploaded images and do it for any future images you upload.

Another thing you want to make sure when it comes to images is that if you are showing thumbnails on posts, that you are not loading a full image and then showing it at a smaller dimension using the width=”” and height=”” tags. There is no point in loading a huge image to show it at half its size. You can use the default WordPress image re-sizer or a script to auto-resize your images to fit your needs.

Decreasing the size and amount of images on your site can have a really noticeable difference in how fast it loads.

3. Limit Scripts

Many blogs these days are adding tons of different scrips to “enhance” their site, however, these will slow down your site like no other. I suggest you stick to as little scripts as possible. On WPTopTen I use the Tweetmeme script, but if I were to add the digg button, recent tweets, share on facebook…all these other scripts, than my site would probably take forever to load. People and apparently Google want fast loading sites, so stick to the scripts that you really need or are really adding something to your site. Everything else that just looks pretty, remove.

4. Clean Your Code

I bet over 90% of all WordPress-powered websites (if not more) have at least one line of code in their style sheet or theme files that they really don’t need. If you really are looking to speed up your site and decrease it’s size to the very last kilobyte possible, then it is time to take a look at all that code and start chopping out the unnecessary.

First take a look at the style-sheet and make sure that there is nothing there that is currently not being used by your site’s design then head on over to the CSS Compressor and get rid of all that nasty blank space.

Next you’ll want to go through all the other theme files (single.php, index.php, page.php….) and basically do the same thing. Make sure that you really want all the code that’s in there and then remove some of the blank space manually. Removing the blank space will not make a huge difference, but if you want to make your site load as fast as possible than it is one more thing you can do.

5. Optimize The Database

I mentioned earlier that you can cache your WordPress posts and pages so your site wouldn’t have to make any calls/references to the database when you load a page. This is true, however, in order for a cache to be created that page or post has to be loaded once. By optimizing your database you can help improve the speed of your non-cached pages/posts (or your entire site if you choose to not use a caching plugin).

6. Re-Think Your Design

Everyone loves really pretty and image/vector-rich websites, however, these can be the slowest ones to load. If you want a really fast site then you are going to want to stick to CSS as much as possible, and with CSS 3 you can achieve some really impressive designs without the need of photoshop (images). Do you really need to have that giant picture in the background or can you use a solid color? Are you using javascript image swap for your navigation? Ask your self these types of questions and go over your websites design and I am sure you will find ways to help decrease the size of your layout.

7. Snip Those Excerpts

Are you one of those people that love to have your entire posts on the homepage and category pages? If so, you should consider using excerpts for your blog not only for SEO purposes but also for site speed. You can greatly decrease the amount of content on a given category page or homepage by using smaller excerpts. To use excerpts on you site all you need to do is use the <?php the_excerpt(); ?> template tag and copy and write a small description in the excerpt box in your WP admin while creating a post.

8. Think Content Over Images

A picture does not say a thousand words, a thousand words say a thousands words. This is the mind set you need to have at all times when you are blogging. Not only is “content king” when it comes to ranking well on search engines, but it also takes a lot less memory space to have a nice long article than to have a post such as “100 awesome WordPress themes” and show a screenshot of each one (ouch!). Stop adding so many images to your site and start writing useful content. Your visitors will appreciate it when your site loads super fast.

9. Remove Unnecessary Plugins

Alright here is the deal with plugins…They will slow the heck down of your site so make sure to remove any plugin that you do not really NEED on your site. Many plugins come with their own css files and a bucket-load of code that is inserted either within your header or footer template tags. All this extra code and style-sheet look-ups can greatly slow down your site. plus you will have to make even more requests to your database when using certain plugins. So, take a look at all your plugins and see which ones you dont really need to keep your site running as is (luxury plugins) and delete them. After, you may want to checkout your database to remove any left over trash from them.

10. Ditch Your Cheap Hosting Service

Here is where it all comes down to. If you have a crappy host than your site will probably be really slow. Consider paying a little extra for a better and faster hosting service. You, your visitors and the search engines will greatly appreciate the fact that you are no longer being so stingy.

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