A couple of days ago I discovered that my detox blog was not loading properly so I decided that it would be a good idea to write this post about blog load times. It is important to have a fast load time as many believe that Google takes it into account when ranking sites.
By chance I noticed that when I typed in the URL of my blog into my browser all I got was a list of posts and nothing else. No theme, no header, no menu, no banners, no Google ads. It took quite a few minutes for the whole blog to appear. An absolute disaster!
Apart from the load time affecting SEO you can lose your traffic. People are so impatient these days that they are off in a jiffy if the site takes too long to load. There is only so long you will wait isn’t there?
I had to find out what was was causing this glitch pronto. I know that plugins can often cause problems with loading so I racked my brain to if I could recall which ones I had updated recently.
I have quite a few plugins. 37 to be exact! Don’t tell me, I know that’s far too many. Another marketer set me up with the current theme and installed a ton of plugins that he insisted were vital to its performance.
One way to find out if it’s a plugin that causing a problem is to deactivate them one by one and test the blog while it’s deactivated. That takes time especially with 38 to go through so I started to look for a quicker solution.
P3 Profiler Plugin
I discovered a free WordPress plugin called P3 Profiler (Plugin Performance Profiler) that scans your site to find out which plugins are causing a slow performance. Just the job I thought.
I installed it but had a hard time deciphering the result. From the scan I ran it seemed that my blog load time was not bad at all and it did not highlight a problem with any particular plugin..
After researching it a bit more I found a very good blog post by Tom Ewer who got some confused results in his testing of the plugin. After contacting the plugin’s developer he said it turns out that “there are multiple external influences that can affect the consistency of P3’s reporting”.
His conclusion was “the way P3 is presented implies that it is presenting highly accurate results, but it isn’t. If you recognize that fact and take its findings with a pinch of salt, it can be a good tool for highlighting really troublesome plugins”. Well, it did not highlight any of mine.
I have had problems with deleting one plugin that I no longer needed, from within Worpress so I decided to go into my WordPress folder in my hosting account and delete them from there. I made a back up of my blog first of course, just in case.
Amazingly enough that did the trick! I could hardly believe my eyes when it loaded quickly. My elation was short lived though as when I tested it later in the day I had the same old problem.
I have been thinking about changing the layout of my blog anyway as part of my strategy to improve my traffic and rankings so I decided to contact a blog fixer on the Warrior forum. I am waiting for him to get back to me so in the meantime here are some facts about how your blog load time can affect your rankings and how to speed up your load time.
How Blog Load Time Affects SEO Ranking
Search engines use their own algorithms in calculating a website’s rank. Factors considered include popularity, quality of content, originality, and load time.
Some experts believe that bounce rate is also a factor in ranking a website. As mentioned before visitors would rather leave a slow loading site than wait.
Popular search engines see sites with quick load times to be more dependable and trustworthy since it shows that the people behind them are serious about their business and keep their sites working properly.
Check Your Blog Load Time
There are tools on the web that will help measure your actual loading time, but since your purpose is to optimize your ranking, then it is best to use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. As well as giving your blog a score, where 100 is the highest, it also analyzes your site and gives suggestions on how to improve its speed.
Strangely, my blog scored 86 and they had no suggestions about improving it. In Google’s eyes even though it does not load fully but as a list of posts I guess Google recognises it as a good load speed. At least I am not being penalized.
How To Speed Up Your Blog Load Time
There are many ways to improve the load time of your web pages. If you have used the above tool by Google, then you will already have an idea of where to start fixing your site.
A few of the common solutions to slow loading speeds are:
1. Use a reliable hosting company.
Most problems encountered in websites are caused by outdated technology, insufficient memory, and malfunctioning servers – all of which can be traced back to your hosting company.
Aside from a slow page, a bad host can also cause down times and viruses, which immediately makes you look bad for search engines.
2. Decrease the size of your page.
Nowadays, it is normal to see web pages with average sizes of 1.25mb. If your visitors use high speed broadband then this is no problem at all, but if they are using a dial-up connection, then chances are you can say goodbye to a prospective client who cannot wait several minutes to see a single page.
You can remedy this by reducing the size of your images, hosting your own images instead of linking them to other sites, limiting the use of plug-ins and widgets, caching unchanging files by using W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache plugin, and by running the latest updates of your platform, plug-ins and database.
Have you had any problems with blog loading times? If please share your experiences and solutions with my readers by leaving a comment.