Since Google and other search engines take the size and download speed (among many other factors) of your site into account when deciding where to rank you in results, it makes sense to make sure it’s fast! It will also give your impatient visitors a much better experience. Here’s a few things you should consider doing:
- Make sure your hsoting server is decent/fast.
- Build your site with CSS/DIV’s rather than with Tables.
- Be efficient, tidy and semantic with your HTML and CSS code.
- Validate your code.
- Compress all images as much as possible.
- Avoid Flash/Video/Audio files embedded on the home page.
- Don’t use to0 many unnecessary fancy scripts or widgets just to show off, eg – Facebook, Live Chat, Google Gadgets, etc…
- Merge your external CSS files into one (the less external file calling the better).
- Merge your scripts files into one (as above).
- Place script calls at the footer of your page so they load last – WordPress Plugin.
Compressing via Gzip:
I’ve just done this belatedly for both my main static site and my WordPress blog. To turn on Gzip for a static PHP page for example, I’ve used this code:
<?php if (substr_count($_SERVER[‘HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING’], ‘gzip’)) ob_start(“ob_gzhandler”); else ob_start(); ?>
Your server and the visitors browser both need to support compression for the above command to work. Test whether your site is compressed or not here:
For my wordpress blog I’ve used the WP HTTP Compression plugin. There are a few excellent Caching plugins for WordPress such as WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache which both handle compression too but I found both of them a bit over the top and they played havoc with my auto publishing to Twitter and Facebook.
Try this website page speed tester to see where you’re at now!