I recently started paying more attention to my site’s loading speed since that is a very important aspect of Google’s algorithm. Google wants to provide a great user experience and a slow site will be penalised. As a photographer I have lots of images and many images are really big – I really like my full screen slide show very much.
So what to do if you’re a WordPress user with lot’s and lot’s of big images? Below is a workflow and some of the free tools and WordPress plugins I’m using to load faster and rank higher.
– Start by testing your site loading speed. I use Pingdom.com’s Free Loading Speed Test Tool. Make a note of the and/or rank and refer to this later on to evaluate your success.
– Trash un-necessary plugins that might cause your site to load slower. Just today I trashed 3 plugins that didn’t contribute anything, on the contrary, they just bloated my site and made it load slower. Take a long hard look and weigh the benefits vs. the cost. Kill your darlings.
– Optimize and re-size your images. It might seem contradictory to first tell you to trash plugins and in the next step tell you to install a new one, but believe me – this will really help. I’m using the free WP plugin EWWW Image Optimiser. There are a number of other ones as well but I really like the bulk optimise option of EWWW. it took me about 15 minutes to optimise and re-size all of my images on my site – Sweet!
– Cloudflare – speed up your site. This free tool allows You to dramatically speed up and at the same time protect Your site by distributing your content around the world – so it’s closer to your visitors = speeding up your site.
Having done all the steps above I saw an instant improvement – going from a load time of about 9 seconds (which means that my site was in the slowest 10%) to a load time of about 4-5 seconds. This puts my site in the fastest 40% – Not bad for a very image heavy site!
Feature image & image 1: courtesy of Per Zennstrom