It’s official. Google is including site speed as an aspect of how it determines who gets to the coveted “#1 on Google” spot. This has been coming for some time and really shouldn’t be a huge surprise to any of my readers.
Here are some things you can do right away to help make your site load faster.
- Optimize graphics Any images you have on your site will slow the page load time. Make sure the images you do have are worth having. Then make sure the image files themselves are optimized. There’s a balance between images have too low a quality vs images that take too long to download. Discover that balance. Use a tool like Fireworks to optimize all of the images on your website.
- Go easy on on-the-fly queries and sorting etc. If your site template has a lot of dynamic information being loaded and pulled into each page every time the page renders, now is a good time to determine how much of that you need. Every bit of “server side” scripting (like PHP) means your server needs to think before sending the page to the browser–slowing down your page load time. If you don’t really need live Twitter streams on every page, for example, consider removing them.
- Anything totally static? Cache it. Any page where you don’t need to update anything can be cached. This makes a static page that doesn’t require your server to build it up on the fly (think of this item as taking the previous suggestion as far as you can go). Any blog pages that don’t take comments etc are great candidates for this treatment. Also makes a good reason to consider moving your blog index off the home page of your website.
Good luck! And remember that these changes will probably be appreciated by your audience as well.