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Blog Technical Details

Optimizing Your Blog, the Technical Details

Site speed is important. It’s one of the first things visitors will notice when they arrive at your blog, so to make a good first impression your content should load quickly. Research shows that site speed contributes to bounce rates, conversions, search rankings and site trust, all which have a considerable impact on the success of your blog.

To improve your blog’s speed and ability to deliver content quickly and efficiently, we’ve outlined a few technical improvements you can make to ensure your visitors’ user experience is the best it can be.

1.Check Your Site’s Speed

Before you get started making improvements, you need to know how your blog is currently performing. Using a speed test will allow you to test your blog against competitors and give you a clear metric to improve on.

2.Browser Caching

A web browser’s cache (or temporary internet files) can store content (such as images and media files) for reuse, improving how fast it is delivered when browsing the same site in future.

Browser caching can be explained in terms of clicking your browser’s back button: instead of sending a new request for information to the server of the site you’ve just looked at, the local (or cached) version of the page can be displayed. Your blog can take advantage of this by enabling your content to be cached by web browsers.

You can do this in two ways:
a) WordPress
If you use a basic WordPress blog, then using a caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache is a simple and effective way to leverage browser caching. It’s easy to upload and activate and works well with content delivery networks.
b) Self Hosted
Configure your web server to explicitly set caching headers (either the Expires header or Cache-Control: max-age header) and apply them to all cacheable resources. For more detailed information see here. This will specify how long the local (or cached) resource is valid, and tells the browser when the resource (your content) last changed. Set your cache heading for a minimum of one month in the future and preferably a year.

Not only does this improve page load time for your users, it can reduce bandwidth and hosting costs for your site.

3.Using a CDN

Content delivery network (CDN) services use a number of web servers spread out over multiple locations in order to deliver content more efficiently to users. They select the most appropriate server to deliver your content by using factors like proximity. Sending data 1,000 miles will always take longer than sending it 10 miles, so by using a large network of servers all over the world to host your content, it can be delivered quickly no matter where it’s being accessed from.
If you use WordPress, integrated WordPress CDN Services are available to ‘drop-in’ to your blog. So it’s just as easy as adding a plug in.

If you’re blog is self-hosted, most CDN services pull content from your site automatically. All you need to do is change image, CSS and JavaScript links to point to your CDN.

4.Compressing Images

Optimizing your images for speed will have a dramatic effect on your page’s load time, as images usually make up a significant proportion of any webpage.

To ensure your blog loads quickly without compromising on quality, there are some quick fixes you can make to your images using basic image manipulation software, such as cropping out unnecessary white space around images and using CSS to make sure they don’t touch surrounding elements.

Also, make sure your images are saved in an appropriate format, which will depend on their color and detail. For flat illustrations or artwork use 8-bit PNG or GIF formats, as they reduce the number of colors in the image, which in turn reduces the size of the file.

For detailed, colorful artwork and photographs, JPG and 24-bit PNG are more appropriate. Wherever possible, choosing JPG allows for a smaller file size, but this is dependent on your image quality requirements. Also, images should be scaled appropriately for your site; avoiding the time it takes for a server to resize images.

There are lots more technical changes you can make to your site if you’re ready to delve further into what is going on behind it.

And remember: test your site speed after you implement each of these changes – you’ll be amazed at the difference they make.

Rob Toledo resides in the great Pacific Northwest -- A lover of all things dog, sarcasm and the great outdoors, he shops almost exclusively at Thrift Stores. He currently runs Chess Club as well as thebestofnetflix.com

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{ 22 comments… add one }

  • Sekhar December 27, 2013, 1:29 pm

    Thanks for nice tips, Really beneficial for new bloggers like me. I have not used CDN yet on my blog, as content are not much.

  • kafreena November 15, 2013, 12:21 am

    Thanks for the technical details, Images plays also an important role in blog optimization. We should use online tools to optimize images before uploading into blog posts. or if there is some plugin in WP?
    kafreena recently posted..Online Tool to Optimize Images For WebMy Profile

  • Josh Trenser November 1, 2013, 12:38 pm

    I would say that using CDN CloudFlare on my website improved my stats a lot!!!!
    Josh Trenser recently posted..7 Most Popular Skype Alternatives You Will LoveMy Profile

  • Panduan August 27, 2013, 3:15 am

    Actually I still have problem with site speed, even I already use caching plugin. I still can’t find whether it’s the hosting or my web design. I should try optimizing image.
    Thanks for the info!
    Panduan recently posted..Cara Melatih Meningkatkan KonsentrasiMy Profile

  • Harman August 14, 2013, 1:42 pm

    Great tips.
    Today days these tips have become very basic to improve ones sites performance. specially the CDN and caching.

  • APAKHIL August 1, 2013, 5:22 am

    Hi Rob, these are highly valued basic optimization tips, which every blog should follow for a better performance of the blog. You have explained all your tips in detail which helps viewer understand concept easily, u should have included the google webmaster tool and its use.

  • Aditya Dey July 5, 2013, 2:43 pm

    Hey Rob, I would like to tell you that your article has been written quite brilliantly….You are right dude…We need to focus on optimizing our blog for the perfect results….You have covered four important aspects to do that, I would like to add a few more…..A webmaster should not use lots of Java scripts or iframes…..He/she should not use too many plug-ins….One should implement time-based caching system etc…..

  • Louis
    Twitter:
    June 9, 2013, 3:31 am

    I don’t use caching plugin as I sometimes modify my theme and caching plugin makes me unable to see the modification for a while. However, there’s a plugin to see the performance of your plugins so you can observe which ones are burdening your server. It’s called P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler). A good one to try!

  • Denzil May 31, 2013, 4:11 pm

    Thanks for the article. Does anyone know the optimal loading speed for an average site to use as a reference? I did a few speed checks a few days ago, and I’m not sure what to make of the results. I do get an average of 85/100. I guess that’s ok?
    Denzil recently posted..Getting Commentluv RightMy Profile

  • Dan May 28, 2013, 3:21 pm

    Very well done, I have always wondered what would make a website load speed faster, but only came up with logical answers. This article does a great job of giving tips to decrease site load times, as well as explaining why it is important. What do you think a decent site speed is, as well as an excellent site speed?

  • Clair May 28, 2013, 7:04 am

    Well writing Rob. WordPress is always my first choice.What about cloudflare CDN?

    • Carson May 28, 2013, 12:46 pm

      I’ve tried CloudFlare’s free tier, and wasn’t very impressed at all. You don’t actually get any CDN points of presence, meaning your site isn’t actually faster. It can be good if you are worried about DDoS attacks or something, but it actually slowed my site down. I haven’t tried their paid tier, as it didn’t seem worth the cost relative to other pay-as-you-go providers.

  • Debopam Banerjee May 28, 2013, 2:10 am

    Technical aspect of a blog is often ignored and beyond capability of many bloggers like me….. A post like this is really extremely useful for such bloggers….. Thanks for the share…….

  • BethHewitt
    Twitter:
    May 27, 2013, 4:57 pm

    Thanks Rob, Lots of great tips, I tend to get image happy and should really think about optimizing my images more. Great reminder.

    Beth
    BethHewitt recently posted..Why I’m Using Empire Avenue in My Blog Marketing Strategy.My Profile

    • Rob
      Twitter:
      May 28, 2013, 12:30 am

      Hey Beth!

      Well good to hear that you’re using lots of images! Always makes for an exciting website =)

      Best,

      Rob

  • Kiesha
    Twitter:
    May 27, 2013, 2:46 pm

    Hi Rob,
    These are definitely some great strategies. I think images have given me the most trouble. I finally decided to go with just linking to Flickr images and downloading the smallest 150×150 for my feature image. That also has prevented the slow down that could potential come from others using your images on their sites. Too many sites pulling on your server’s resources can also slow things down.
    Kiesha recently posted..WebHostingBuzz Giveaway: Win a Year of HostingMy Profile

    • Rob
      Twitter:
      May 28, 2013, 12:32 am

      Smart idea on Flickr — I’ll have to try that one out some more too

  • Ryan Biddulph
    Twitter:
    May 27, 2013, 1:58 pm

    Hi Rob,

    People are…impatient lol. Make it easy for people to see and digest your content quickly and you will note a surge in blog traffic.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted..1 Reason Why You Quickly Boost Page ViewsMy Profile

    • Rob
      Twitter:
      May 28, 2013, 12:31 am

      Hey Ryan –

      It’s always funny to think just how much more impatient we’re all getting too =) — Thinking back to using a 56k modem and thinking that was fast….

      Best,

      Rob

  • Servando Silva
    Twitter:
    May 27, 2013, 12:54 pm

    What CDN service would you recommend and how much would that be per month?
    I guess that’s the only thing I’m missing now.
    Servando Silva recently posted..How FAST is your blog and how many visitors are you LOSING?My Profile

  • Philip Alex
    Twitter:
    May 27, 2013, 11:32 am

    Hi Rob,

    I use W3 Total Cache and Smush.it for my blog. They both work very well for optimizing the load time. I’ve been thinking about using a CDN but I’m not sure I need it yet.

    Also for WordPress blogs there is the P3 Profiler plugin which shows you which of your installed plugins takes up most of your resources and how each part of your WordPress database affects your loading time. I’ve used this and so far I noticed that the security plugins and Jetpack take up most of the resources when it comes to the loading time.

    Thanks for the tips Rob, cheers.

    ~Philip
    Philip Alex recently posted..10 Quick Actions You Can Do Right Now to Get More Referral TrafficMy Profile

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