Is Your Company Blog Slow? Here’s How to Fix It
There are a number of things which can influence how fast or slow your blog loads, and although not all of them are under your control, it’s definitely worth trying to manage those which are. In studies conducted on this topic, it was discovered that by the time blogs had taken as much as four seconds to load, 25% of readers had already gone on to another site.
The majority of Internet readers today are not patient – because they don’t have to be. If your website or your blog are slow in loading, some faster site can always be found with the same information. The point is, if you really want to retain your audience, you should do everything you can to make sure your content loads quickly enough to satisfy most users. Here are some tips on how you can go about accomplishing that.
Optimize your images
Make sure to assign a name to your images using proper English, with everything spelled correctly. The alt tags on your keywords need to be optimized as well, before you even consider the images themselves. Size your image dimensions according to how the images will appear on your website, and then reduce the file size of your images whenever possible, because large images are notoriously slow loaders.
There are a number of tools out there which you can use to reduce the size of your images while still retaining the aspect ratio, so there is no distortion evident to viewers. Be sure to use the right kind of images to match your site content, generally selecting between JPEG, PNG, or GIF. Establish some kind of separation between your thumbnails and their corresponding main images, and it’s also a good idea to provide readers with an image site map. This site map will also be used by crawler bots to help with understanding your website and its contents.
Choose a fast web host
This is probably the most influential factor in determining how quickly your blog or website will load into any viewer’s browser. When you’re first getting set up with a service provider, you may be tempted to go for a more inexpensive host, but you should consider the cost in relation to eventual business success. If you’re only posting a personal blog it may not be as important, but if you are a business blogger, it will be worth the monthly cost to have a premium service provider.
Consider it an investment in your website and in your business, because there will be measurable returns which demonstrate the value of your initial investment. If you’re wondering what constitutes a premium web host, and why you should choose one over another, here are a few guidelines:
- in-house resources– this may be something out of your control, but if you have a choice, it’s best to have your database and all other resources situated directly on an in-house server, as opposed to being somewhere remote where you are sharing services with other clients
- greater resources– if your network can provide faster processing power and has more memory, that will mean your servers can deliver content more quickly
- dedicated resources– if all your resources are dedicated, that means no other business entity is sharing them, so all the processing speed and power will be directly allocated to your tasks and objectives
- fast hard drives– standard drives simply can’t compete with the speed of solid-state drives (SSD), and if your provider has these SSD drives supporting all your business activity, you should have excellent performance.
Optimize your main stylesheet
Your stylesheet figures heavily into how your entire blog will be presented to viewers, and before you do any tweaking of that stylesheet, be sure to create a backup so that you can always revert to a known working version. One of the first things you should do is investigate for classes or ID’s that may have had a function at one time, but which you no longer use. You can find out which properties are unused by installing a product called Firebug on your Firefox browser, and then installing the CSS Usage extension.
This will show you an additional tab on your console, which will allow you to analyze what’s being used and what isn’t. To accomplish this, navigate to the main page where your blog appears, open up your Firebug console, click on the CSS Usage tab, and then select Scan. Your blog page will then appear in green and red, with green indicating that a particular property is being used, and red meaning that it isn’t.
Once you’ve gotten this display, click on the selection to Export Cleaned CSS, and that will copy the stylesheet information into a new tab. After having accomplish this, you can repeat the process for your homepage, and any other pages on your site which you suspect have some unused stylesheet properties. Once you have all the unused lines identified and discarded, you can shrink your CSS stylesheet down to its most functional version. If you really want to optimize, you can also just remove some of the aesthetic CSS properties like box-shadow and border-radius.
Optimize stylesheets for your plug-ins
This process will be similar to the one in the last section, except that it applies to the stylesheets used by your plug-ins. As before, make sure to backup all the files that you operate on, so that you always have a known good version which you can revert to if necessary. For each of your plug-ins stylesheets, you should carefully examine every line and remove comments and line breaks, because it may be a significant reduction in the overall size of the stylesheet, which will allow it to load faster. Here are the details on what you have to do for each of the plug-ins stylesheets you’re optimizing:
- navigate to the plug-in page, select it, and click on Edit
- look for the stylesheet associated with that plug-in, which will be a file that has a .css extension
- now is a good time to backup the stylesheet
- copy every line of code on the page and paste it into CleanCSS
- click on the selection for Process CSS, and then copy the version which has been optimized
- replace the original stylesheet with the one which has been optimized
- save the optimized stylesheet.
While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to also either deactivate or delete any plug-ins which you are no longer using. You don’t want anything being loaded which has no value and no function to your overall mission. Some of the tips above will gain small increases in performance, while others will gain major increases, but every little bit helps when it comes to loading speed.
Optimal loading speed, high-quality blogging
Another option available to you is to simply have all your blog content prepared for you by one of the Internet’s best providers of quality content, 99 Dollar Social. Images can be perfectly sized, loading speed can be optimized, and content can be written which will engage your followers, and drive business to your site. Contact us to find out more about the services provided by 99 Dollar Social.