Today, I officially started my holiday. It was such an exciting thing that I woke up at 6:45 a.m. Now, let me just tell ya that on an average day, I wake up at around 7:30. I am not sure which makes me more angry, mornings or traffic.
On this fine morning, I did what anyone starting a holiday would do. I started tweaking my blog. I tweaked and optimized and then I ran a page speed test. This test was the bomb. By 7:30 in the morning, I had a page speed load time of 1.46 seconds. My work was done and I went on to reading some Michael Hyatt.
If that was the end of my story it would be a beautiful story. If that was the end of my story I would be writing a lovely post about all of the wonderful things that I did.
Let me set the mood here:
Today is an exciting day for me. I have the great honor of being interviewed by Cyruss Webb. It also turns out that I woke up with a nasty cold. Yep, that is how things roll with me but that is fine. I keep coughing and blowing my nose and I sound like an alien. At least I am the alien that will be on an amazing show today. Then about an hour and half before the show I realized why my website was running so fast. It turns out that my website was no longer loading images.
Has anyone else noticed that I use the word Amazing too much?
Images slow down a website
My new blog design is all about the featured image. If you have not been to my home page then, you should go now. It is easy to have a speedy page load if images are not involved. Suddenly, my 1.46 seconds not only meant nothing but it also meant that my blog looked terrible.
When something seems too good to be true, it generally is. I always hated that quote. It does not align with my overly optimistic view of the world. In truth, shame on me for not actually ever looking at my blog after all of this optimization.
Solving all of my problems
Ok so maybe I still have a few problems left but at least I got all of my images back. It turns out that the cool loading of images and post that my blog does is some extra special java (blah blah blah) thing. This means that some of the recommended optimization tools break my site. Who knew? Cleary, not me!
The speed test graders gave me a grade of 0 on: Parallelize downloads across hostnames Using any plugin that fixes this problem breaks my blog. I tried many of them and in the end, my site is not as fast as it could be.
Basically, I have given up speed for design. My blog is about 1.5 seconds slower than it could be if I had a different design. I hope all of you readers will forgive me, for this. If you struggle just admire the awesome bounce of the feature images and marvel at the beauty of the blog.
The important thing in this story is that I found the problem and resolved the problem before my interview. I guess for now, I will leave with the amazing speed of 3.33 seconds. That is 49% faster than the average website and for that fact I have a smile on my face.
What makes my blog fast?
Media Temple is my secret weapon. I will be writing more in this issue very soon. In the mean time, know that I have moved my blog to their WordPress Hosting. After I moved my site and fell in love with their service, I also became an affiliate. If you click on a link, you will not pay more but I will get a small bit to help support this blog. Just moving to their hosting cut my page load time in half.
Plugins Used Today
These are the plugins that I experimented with today. I did not end up using all of them but they are worth checking out for sure.
Better WordPress Minify
Allows you to combine and minify your CSS and JS files to improve page load time.
Reduce file sizes for images in WordPress including NextGEN, GRAND FlAGallery and more using lossless/lossy methods and image format conversion.
Far Future Expiration Plugin
This plugin will add a far future expiry header for various file types to improve page load speed of your site.
Hammy speeds up your website by generating and serving resized images for your content area depending on content width.
JS & CSS Script Optimizer
RS Head Cleaner Plus
This plugin cleans up a number of issues, doing the work of multiple plugins, improving speed, efficiency, security, SEO, and user experience.
WP Parallel Loading System
The WP-PLS (short for Parallel Loading System) is a WordPress plugin that will enhance the loading efficiency of your Blog.
Simple but effective plugin allows you to extensively clean up your WordPress database and optimize it without doing manual queries.
Google has been quite clear, since 2009, that site speed matters a great deal. One of the best things that you can do to impact your site speed is make sure that your images are not too large. If you buy images or take them with a digital camera odds are good that they will be quite large. Take the time to resize that image before you upload it to your WordPress blog. While there are a lot of other factors, that is one that you can implement right now.
100% Renee. Page speed does matter.
Simple things like you say, like optimizing images and using some speed demon plugins can help a site load faster.
I myself moved to WPengine many months ago, and haven’t looked back.
Nice list of plugins here though.
Good luck with the interview!
WPengine is a great company but I ultimately choose Media Temple. It was a tough call for me though.
Love that you’re focusing on page speed!
I once heard Luke Wroblewski talk about something interesting he noticed: often, you can save a jpg with twice the height and width you want, use very low quality settings, and get a much smaller file. And, when it’s scaled on the webpage to the intended height and width, the quality is actually _better_. Mind-blowing!
That is mind blowing. I would have to see that trick in action. Have you tried it?
Hi Renee, thanks for the list of plugins! A few of them were very helpful, especially the image optimizer. I tested it with Pingdom and it increased my speed by 50% or so. Do you know of any other good benchmarking websites like Pingdom? I found http://www.webpagetest.org and http://www.giftofspeed.com which are okay sites but I’m looking for one with more options and more detailed reports. You know of any? Thanks! XX Jenna
I am so glad that this helped you. Check out this site too: https://gtmetrix.com/ .