It is not too often that I find other sites that I feel the need to bring to other peoples attention, but Webpage Test.org is an exception to the rule, why..? Because quite simply I have spent weeks trying to shave milliseconds off my site load times, because of Google’s recent comments that they are now using page speed as a ranking factor!
Weeks of hard work & constantly checking all WP Plugins have produced some reduction in page loading times, but still not enough to satisfy Google, (not according to their page speed analyzer). However after just using Webpage Test.org, I have just taken my web page load time from 7.4 seconds to just under 2.0 seconds, Wow that’s a reduction of around 75% !!!
Page Speed Test Result
How did I achieve such astounding results..?
Well I had already installed WP-Total-Cache, a caching plugin from WordPress, that was the 1st step & to be honest it had helped to get my page speed from 12.5 seconds down to 7.4 seconds. Next step was using the Webpage Test.org program which is free to use, I then systematically went through everything on my home page, removing various items, objects & then retesting to see if any improvements had been made & boy did I have a shock !!!
Who are the main culprits slowing down your pages..?
Well it may surprise you to learn that in the case of My-Blog-Review, there were 3 offenders;
1. Google Adsense 300 x 250 ad block
2. Feedjit Live Traffic Widget
3. Any Dynamic Social Scripts
Each of these added between 1.5 to 2.0 seconds to my home page loading times.
I find it unbelievable that Google themselves, after making such a fuss about site loading times, are in fact one of the culprits that slow your pages down, this is a ridiculous situation & to be honest I think it is high time Google put it’s own house in order before criticising others. Such a huge company should have very little difficulty in changing from Java script to PHP or even Flash for displaying it’s adverts.
So what’s the answer..?
Well having now discovered who & what the offenders are, I am going to have to do a little redesigning of my home page, by removing the offending widgets from my sidebar. Luckily the theme I am using does offer a totally different sidebar for page or single post & therefore I will restrict adverts & any other java based widgets to these sidebars only & leave the main sidebar of the home page free of these offending widgets. But as is always the case, hacking & editing a theme takes time !
My Advice To You..?
Take a long hard look at your home page & in particular the sidebar, do you have any of the following widgets;
1. A 4 x 125 x 125 sponsored ad block..?
2. Any Dynamic Social widget..?
3. A BlogCatalog Recent Visitor widget..?
4. A FaceBook Recent Visitor widget..?
5. A Google Adsense 300 x 250 ad block..?
6. A Feedjit Live Traffic Feed
7. Any other java scripted widget that you use to pretty up your page..?
If you answer yes to any of these, then I advise you to visit the Webpage Test Site (the link is at the top of the page) and use their software to test your own home page. It may also interest you to know that the industry standard for page load times is actually 2 seconds or less !
Now I know that you may feel that removing these recent visitor widgets will detract from your blog, but lets be honest here, how many people are concerned or even interested in who visited your site & when..? No my friends I am afraid these widgets are nothing more than an ego trip in many cases & an expensive ego trip at that, very few of these widgets actually add anything to the visitor experience, or indeed bring in more traffic. Therefore your top priority should be how to speed up page loading times & if this means ridding your site of trimmings & cosmetics then so be it !