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Site Speed now a Google Ranking Factor

Selling a product online or just getting people to visit your site can be a challenge. We optimize our site for best keywords and phrases, but Google has a new expectation. You need to be faster.Now faster isn’t always a good thing, but that’s not for this blog. By “FASTER” Google wants your site to lickety split. We’ve all been to websites that take forever and a day to load images, ads, etc. Because we’re all so used to sites loading RIGHT NOW, I know I’ve navigated away if a page is too slow.

What Makes a Website Load Slowly?

The most common problem for sites in the past is that people building their own sites would use hi-res images (600Kb or larger) in their pages, then just manually scale them down to the size they wanted. That’s not really an issue for most wordpress users as WP automatically shrinks the size for you to a more web-friendly version. I’m going to look at this from a WordPress point of view.

1. Hosting – In my opinion this is the number on reason for slow loading sites. We tried hosting one of our business sites on GoDaddy about a year ago. We kept running into TIMEOUT ERRORS. The site was still there, but there were too many people trying to access it. And because the database was not hosted locally, it was running too many queries between different servers, for too many users resulting in an unusable experience for some visitors.

SOLUTION: Be sure your hosting company is hosting their databases locally. GoDaddy, Bluehost, GatorHosting… etc. are not. If you’re paying $4-6/month for hosting, I can almost guarantee your databases are hosting somewhere else. Have more questions about hosting? Contact WP Webmasters. We will transfer your hosting at no cost and you can be sure we host everything on our servers “localhost”

2. Too¬† many images – Many sites are still very image heavy. Images take up way more bandwidth than text. It’s best to use just a few images here and there and make sure they’re web-optimized by using software like Photoshop Elements or the free online photo editing service Picnik. This will drastically reduce the size of your images. There’s one other thing you can do. Try producing cached versions of your pages using a plugin like WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache

A HEADS UP: If you’re using WordPress for an E-Commerce site, you may find conflicts. It’s best to work with a web programmer to if you find you’re having issues.

There you have it

There are a couple things you can do to make sure you’re website is running at top speed. I can’t stress highly enough how important it is to have a good hosting company.

Good luck. As always, contact us if you have any questions about using WordPress as a CMS or for hosting your online business.

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