I read a news story the other day about a Los Angeles fruit-stand owner who was complaining about a rash of high-speed chases in downtown L.A.
“Every week, as many as 10 high-speed auto chases, either comical or dramatic in nature, come roaring past my corner, sending my cardboard-box-mounted pyramid of oranges flying in all directions. If these chases are not curtailed, I will have no choice but to declare bankruptcy and take up work as a sheet-glass courier.”
What does it have to do with your blog speed? Probably nothing other than the fact I wish I had that fruit-stand owner’s problems with speed.
Now it’s time for some FAIRLY easy things to do to hurry up that great blog of yours.
Let’s talk about some plugins.
I know I told you to get rid of all unnecessary plugins and it still stands.
However, it doesn’t pertain to the plugins that WILL improve your site’s performance, and these are some of them.
Warning: before you run off to install any/all of them, make sure you back up your blog – good idea whenever you change your blog. I use WordPress EZ Backup plugin for that – mostly because, well… it’s easy. Also, any of these plugins might not be compatible with your theme – some of them did not work with mine.
OK, so here we go:
– this one is like WP Super Cache on steroids – it will cache every aspect of your site and decrease the download time of your theme. A must.
– this plugin will combine and compress JS and CSS files to improve page load time. If you don’t know what they heck JS and CSS are, you’ll be in good hands with this plugin, since it’ll do all the work for you.
– works similarly to WP Minify; has actually a few more features. For the technically inclined, it concatenates all scripts and styles, minifies and compresses them, adds expires headers, caches them, and moves styles to the page head, and scripts to the footer. It also minifies the HTML code itself, making your page really lightweight.
– automatically compresses your images into a big sprite, decreasing web page load time.
More on that:
CSS Sprites are a great way to reduce your loading time by combining a bunch of small images into a big one using CSS tricks. Nothing changes as far as your readers are concerned, but what it does is reduces the amount of times the browser has to go back to the server (this process of going back and forth is call “HTTP requests“) requesting to load each images separately.
So for instance, if you have 10 images on your page, the browser has to go back to the server 10 times, thus obviously decreasing your site and page load speed. If you create a “sprite” out of those 10 images, you’ll create 1 big image containing all 10 of them within. So now your browser goes back only once.
That’s what the plugin does for you.
I am also going to give you an alternative to cSprites plugin.
You can do the same thing by hand by going to http://spriteme.org/. From their page, you simply drag and drop their “SpriteMe” bookmarklet to your “favorites” toolbar. After you do that, every time you are on the page you need to create a sprite for, just click on “SpriteMe” and it will give you a code, which you download to your blog like you would a regular image.
If you have any trouble with this way of doing it, here is another suggestion: http://csssprites.com/.
– another plugin to help you with image optimization. Every image you add to a page or post will be automatically run through Smush.it behind the scenes. You don’t have to do anything different. You can also optimize your old images by running them through Smush.it in your media library.
One more plugin to speed up your site; this time for mobile users.
– automatically transforms your WP blog into an iPhone application-style theme, complete with ajax loading articles and effects, when viewed from an iPhone, iPod touch, Android, Opera Mini, Palm Pre, Samsung touch and BlackBerry Storm/Torch mobile devices.
Face it: we live in the world on the go, and our blogs need to go where our readers go. This is a must-have plugin to speed up the load time on a cell phone. Less scrolling and less junk than other plugins of the kind.
Learn more about WordPress plugins mobile.
Just as I noted before, just because these plugins exist doesn’t mean that you need all of them or that they will work with your theme. Try them out, make sure your blog doesn’t malfunction, and most importantly, make sure your blog performs better with these plugins. Only then decide to keep the ones you like best.
YOUR TURN: What other plugins do you use to increase your site speed?
Love it or hate it? Comment to show me that you’ve alive!