Optimize Webpage Response Time

How fast does your website load? Here is a webpage load speed test from Pingdom Tools that you can use to see about where your site stands and get a good overview of all of the files that are actually being loaded by your visitor’s browser. Click the image on the right to view the screenshot of all the junk I have loading on my homepage.) Google also has a collection of page speed tools.

I am really noticing this more lately because I have been cleaning up darkbluesun.com and struggling with my page loading speeds. GoDaddy.com is a decent host at times. Yet, some days I have had nothing but problems due to how slowly WordPress runs (probably due to how long takes to connect to the Godaddy server “grid” and retrieve info from the MySQL database service needed to run WordPress).

Other than switching web hosting providers, here are 2 ways to test and 3 steps to speed up your web page load speed.

  1. Correct HTML or Other Code Errors

    I went to W3C’s Markup Validation tool online to test my website for errors and discovered I had 37 Errors, 3 warning(s) to sort out for my webpages.

    I fixed a few of these errors. I knocked the number down to 23 Errors, 2 warning(s). This really isn’t much except you can consider the fact that your browser is now going to throw 14 fewer errors when opening my page.

  2. Reorganize (Maybe Even *Gasp!* Delete) Content

    I am a strong believer in this rule: Never Delete Old Content. I always advise bloggers to update the information in a new post and then link to the updated version from the old post.

    Unfortunately there are some things that are simply necessary to get rid of. For example: it is perfectly okay to leave a few of those bells and whistles out of your site. If you never use the chat widgets or java-based plugins that wind up taking up space, bandwidth and precious time… then get rid of them immediately.

    Some of the WordPress plugins I am using for different functions on my website are causing the rest of those errors I was talking about earlier and I am not going to take the time to debug all of that before I post this. However, if I really needed to dramatically, instantly change the page speed of my site, I would uninstall the WP Cumulus and Sociable plugins on my site.

    Break up large posts into separate smaller posts.
    Yep, this tip is self explanatory. If you have lots and lots of data in one post, then that page will obviously take longer to load. If you divide the information into smaller amounts it will help both your readers if they are looking for a quick answer to their question and it will help the search engines index you more efficiently.

  3. Know How to Insert Images

    • Get in the habit of using relative links to your img src’s than absolute links. E.G.:
      instead of:  img src=”http://www.darkbluesun.com/logoDBS.png
      use this:   img src=”/logoDBS.png
      Relative URLs are obviously shorter than absolute URLs, as a result the file size of the web page would be a bit smaller as well.
    • Give images height and width attributes. This way, browsers can load the page completely giving a space for the image without having to wait for the images to load first.
    • Resize larger images to “web-friendly” sizes. Microsoft Office Picture Manager uses 2 defaults for standard website image sizes:
      large: 640 x 480 px
      small: 448 x 336 px
      With modern digital cameras and larger megapixel abled phone cams, the resolution of the pictures you are posting could be huge! Even if you give a large photo a smaller height and width attributes the browser still has to load the entire picture.

Please Note: Some of these changes will only help your pages load a few seconds earlier.

Every little bit counts when according to the September 14, 2009 press release, published by Akamai: users will only wait 2 seconds for a page to load before clicking (or pressing that dreadful back button) out of your webpage… never to return again?

Reveals 2 Seconds as the New Threshold of Acceptability for eCommerce Web Page Response Times
September 14, 2009 – Akamai Reveals 2 Seconds as the New Threshold of Acceptability for eCommerce Web Page Response Times