Fast Free Tips to Greatly Speed Up Your Website!

Mar 18th, 2010 | By Michael | Category: SEO

I had several tips I wanted to cover in this video and mixed with my tendency to ramble I had to go super fast to fit everything in. I didn’t go into much detail on how these tips will help you but if you follow the advice you are going to see increased load times.

If you don’t think page load speed is important then watch my video and find out why it’s becoming more important than ever!
PAGE LOAD SPEED VIDEO

WP SUPER CAHCE
1) Install Plugin: WP SUPER CACHE
2) Before activating this plugin leave the plugin area and goto “settings” > “permalinks” > Select Custom Structure and enter: /%postname%/
3) Go into your WP Super Cache settings and set up your preferences and enable the plugin

WP Touch iPhone Theme
Awesome tool to install onto your blog to make it cell phone friendly. Greatly sped up the load time on my phone. Less scrolling and less junk to slow a cell phone browsing down.

Optimize your photos for load time
1) Free online tool to edit your photos is Picnik
2) Be sure to always remove all the white space around your photo. Crop that down as close as possible to the actual image.
3) Reduce the file quality. Often times you can greatly reduce a file size without seeing any loss in quality to the human eye.

CSS SPRITES
Another great way to reduce load times is by turning multiple back ground photos into a single photo. This will reduce the number of HTTP requests made and is a fundamental technique in increasing your websites load times.

1) Visit Spriteme and drag and drop the text/icon into your tool bar
2) Visit your webpage you want to create a CSS Sprite to
3) Click the Spriteme button in your toolbar
4) Click the make sprite button under the recommended sprites
5) Once the file is made click the export to CSS option
6) Now you can use your favorite HTML editor and FTP program to upload the new CSS Sprite

Spritme worked very well for me but a buddy of mine had issues using it. So here is a link to the second best free
CSS Sprite creator I found: http://csssprites.com/

FREE TOOL TO HELP YOU SEE PAGE LOAD SPEED ISSUES
1) First you will need to use which you can download here: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/upgrade.html
2) Next install FIREBUG
3) Now install Google’s Page Speed Plugin for it here: http://code.google.com/speed/page-speed/download.html

- Simply visit any URL now and click the firebug button and you get a nice report on issues effecting your page load speed! *MAGIC*

BONUS TIPS NOT INCLUDED IN THE VIDEO!

1) XHTML instead of tables

*This tip is a bit more advanced and will require you to know how to fiddle around with your websites code.

If your currently using Tables they render much slower than DIVs by your browser. By using XHTML instead of tables you are essentially accomplishing more with less code which increases page load speed!

However, like most things tables do have their place in this world. In some situations using a table is going to make a lot more since. Creating a 6 columned table could require a lot more coding using XHTML so just be sure you use tables when necessary but try to switch to XHTML for the majority of your work.

2) Compress & Merge JavaScript Files

* Another more advanced tip

Compressing JavaScript files can greatly lower the size of your files and doesn’t have any negative effects on your side.
Try to merge JavaScript files to prevent multiple includes and if a JavaScript file will be used only in a few pages then try to include them inside those pages.

Here is a link to a JavaScript Compressor

3) HTTP Compression & Gzip

Ok this tip is probably one of the more effective tips and it doesn’t take a whole lot of knowledge.
If you simply can’t figure out how to do this see one of my lower tips on outsourcing this task to someone I have used and is cheap.

There are two common choices and you can either use HTTP Compression or Gzip.
You can either use Gzip (which is what I use), which can be enabled at the site level
or
you can use HTTP compression which is a great choice as well that can be enabled on the server side.

I would go into describing this but there is already a perfect detailed article on how HTTP Compression works.

4) GETTING A FASTER SERVER

A lot of people who get into the affiliate marketing game just dip their feet into the water. They don’t want to spend a bunch of money until they know they can make it work. This can be a very smart decision and is what I refer to as Boot Strapping. However, sometimes this can wind up shooting your self in the foot. You pick out a the cheapest shared server you can find and then the next thing you know your having reliability and site performance issues.

Making sure you have a fast server is critical. If you are getting 4-10k worth of traffic then it is definitely time to step up your server and move to a VPS (Virtual Private Server). This may sound big and scary but were only talking around $24 per month for a quality set up.

It’s at least worth looking into!
Hostgator is a great option with very good customer support, Softlayer is awesome and has slightly better prices and the last hosting company I have recently found is probably more suitable for smaller affiliates. They have crazy low prices and they are who I am using on many of my sites now.

If you want to get ahold of the nicest sales agent I have met over there contact: lijeesh@subhosting.net
(Tell him I sent you and to give you a killer price!)

5) HIRING AN EXPERT

My business model is focussing on putting out quality content into each one of my niches. I find it very difficult to hire someone to put together quality content, but for everything else someone else can do it better! Why sacrifice 8-16 hours of my time optimizing some of the more complicated tasks in improving my site speed when I can pay someone to do that and focus on the most important thing…putting quality content on the web! Now for me putting up quality content is what makes me money so everything else is just a distraction.

Hiring an expert though doesn’t have to be scary. I have done over 150 out sourcing projects and I have found some incredible and some awful freelancers. For this post I am willing to share the name of one of my better HTML, SEO, Web design guys. He even agreed to run the paypal transactions right through my company so that you guys don’t have to be scared sending your money over seas, etc.

If you need any help with improving your site speed, optimizing your on page seo, etc. just shoot him an email!

You can get ahold of my guy at:

siteimprovements@gmail.com

LAST NOTE:

I thought it was important to say not to get too carried up in this!  Obviously page load speed is important.  It has been proven to increase conversions and might start becoming a factor in rankings.  However, I wouldn’t spend all your time worrying about this as content is still king!  If your page loads extremly fast already don’t spend coutnless hours trying to squeeze more out of it.  My homepage and blog on this particular site do need some work and so in the next 30 days I have already set aside time to improve that, but note I am not going to drop all other SEO efforts for the month to worry about that.
Take it in stride!  :)

Hope you enjoyed the article!  If you found this article useful please share it on twitter, stumbleupon, dig, etc!
It really helps especially on these longer articles I put together for free for you guys!

Thanks again,

Michael Roberts

P.S. For an extremly detailed list of all on page factors you should take into consideration you should visit:

http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html


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11 comments
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  1. Good tips, but Firebug with Page Speed only works on a PC, not a Mac. At least not my Mac.

    Thanks and keep the news coming!
    Dave

  2. Hey Dave,
    It should work on both Mac and PC. I recorded that video and used my MAC..
    There are a few things we could try to get it to work for ya!

    1) When installing Page Speed at:
    http://code.google.com/speed/page-speed/download.html
    Be sure to click the top blue button on the right “Install Page Speed 1.6″
    not the bottom right blue button “Install Closure Complier”.

    You are right the bottom one Closure Compiler does only work on PC’s.

    2) If this still isn’t working for you…the latest version of Page Speed 1.6 does not work that well with the latest version of firebug.
    Try un-installing firebug and page speed. Then goto the FIREBUG download page: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addons/versions/1843
    and install the second older version of firebug. Version 1.5.2…this version of firebug is more compatible with page speed. :)

    If that doesn’t work for you still…well uhhh…atleast I tried! :)

    J/K just buzz me and I will try to trouble shoot it for ya.

    Mike

  3. Thanks Michael! I have been wondering why my site seemed bogged down lately. It’s better already and I haven’t gotten to the second half of your tips yet.

    I know Firefox may be an issue with me. I was using it just fine and then it started crashing constantly. I think there’s an issue with it on a 64 bit Win7 computer. So I’m forced to use Chrome – which isn’t bad. At least it’s stable.!

    Thanks again!

  4. Hey Cathy,

    Thanks for the encouragement and I am happy your site is performing faster now!

    Firefox is great but I find it bogs down often like a blog with too many plugins enabled.
    I too use Chrome for alot of my day to day browsing on my PC. It’s fast and reliable.

    I plan on doing a Google Chrome article with the must have plugins maybe I will bump that up on my list of things
    to do! :)

    Mike

  5. Thanks from me also Michael – I have one particular affiliate blog hat is loading like a slug and the WP Super Cache has helped it load much faster. I adore Traffic Bug and keep the great tips coming!

  6. I thank you for a no-nonsense, no fluff, easily understood video, Mike. I am sick and tired of 1 hour plus videos from “gurus” form which I am have to separate about 2 minutes of wisdom from the chaff!

  7. Mike,
    We were hacked through the plugin wp supercache that you are recommending to people. The hack got into directories that nobody should have access to. it also sent redirects to cialis, destroyed our google rankings, and we are still trying to recover.

    any other ways to speed up page views, besides the cache plug ins??

    Rob

  8. Great advice, thanks for taking the time to write the article!
    xx

  9. Really appreciate the tightly organized info.As a relative newbie I find the internet marketing world to be just filled with information, but none of it is organized, kind of like if you didn’t alphabetize the dictionary. You’re clear, to the point and I don’t waste my time waiting for the value. Also love getting checklists!

  10. Thanks Michael, finally an e-mail with something on can use rather than have to buy. The plugin was the kick in the a$$ my site needed :)

    Thank You
    Rich

  11. Hey Rob,
    Total bummer to hear that your site was hacked…
    I feel the chances are about 95% that it was not due to WP Super Cache Plugin. My team and I have been using this plugin on over a half doze different websites
    for awhile now and haven’t had any security issues. Also, I checked and have not found any security issues reported with this plugin (blogs or forums).

    So my professional opinion is that this is an odd coincidence or another hack….either way it stinks!

    However, if you still want to avoid this plugin there is another decent option called
    “W3 Total Chache”.

    I personally haven’t used it but my partner said it works just as well. :)

    I hope that helps!

    And keep your eyes out for my future posts. In a few weeks I am doing a series on how to protect your blog!

    Thanks,

    Michael Roberts

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