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Speed up your website in 6 simple steps

Size and speed of your site is now going to effect your Google rankings. And if that doesn’t matter the web is going mobile and mobile download speeds are not very fast. So there’s no time like the present to check your site speeds and speed things up on your site.

1 ) Reduce image size:
This is probably the single most effect thing you can do. Just how big does that header photo need to be? There are several options online that will reduce your image size for free. Just Google ‘reduce image size’.

Also see Reducing image size yourself using Gimp

2 ) Use height and width tags in your image link and make your image the same size it will be displayed.
You don’t want the browser to have to adjust the image every time it loads.
Every image link should include a height and width tag. This allows the browser to continue to load up the page and fetch images last.

<img src=”http://timestocome.com/images/big-thicket-pitcher-plants-2.jpg” alt=”Big Thicket wild pitcher plants” width=”480″ height=”360″ />

3 ) Reduce the number of queries you website makes to the server.
Put this line in your footer to see how many requests are being made to your webserver.

<!-- <?php echo get_num_queries(); ?> queries -->

Then reduce them – use html in place of php calls for all things that don’t change – like your website name.

There is a WP plugin that will reduce the requests for you here:Acid Drop PHP Speedy WordPress plugin

4 ) Use only the plugins you really need.
It is nice to see the weather on a garden website but does a site about blog design need a weather icon? Only use plugins that give useful information to your users. Also remove any unused plugins from your website.  Many load even when not activated.

5 ) Clean up your database.
PHP MyAdmin makes it very easy. Look for junk. I was amazed to find several plugins I had installed and removed left behind over 300 entries in my options table.

I. Back up your data base
II. Remove the junk
III. Click the overhead number ( or size ) on the table list and under ‘Space Usage’ at the bottom click ‘optimize’. This is similar defragging your harddrive.

PHP My Admin

6 ) Gzip your site
If you are not already compressing your site you’re going to want to do that.
I. If you are on VPS Media Temple has some nice directions on setting up your server to use Mod deflate

Or if you are on shared hosting there are several plugin options that will compress your site.

II. Test your site’s compression Webpage Compression ( Deflate/Gzip ) test

See also:
Google Labs Page Speed Online
Firebug Firefox plugin will let you see how long your page takes to download and how long each item takes. Be sure to clean out your browser cache first!