Monday, July 4, 2011

Slow load times cause high bounce rates

Seems pretty obvious, but many do not keep tabs on the bandwidth and load times of their various social media properties.

At Ontrack we host using our own dedicated server, as too most professional shops. A shared server can often serve up blogs and pages effortlessly. But you want to periodically go on to those servers to test, and ensure the hosts have not "changed the specs" but adding too many clients through the same pipe.

Here are some good rules of thumb to keep in mind courtesty of SmugGecko.

Fixing Load Speed on Blogs
Clean up your plugins:

Im sure you have done this before. Test plugins and forgotten to delete/deactivate them. Sad truth is, most plugins and javascript and css files to you pages. It takes time to load these pages and your site can only call so many at once. The more plugins you have the slower your load times. Dont just deactivate, delete anything you dont use.


Check your buttons:

Blog list buttons can be a great way to get some traffic to your site. They do however normally load an image from a third party server. If that server is down or experiencing high load times, then your image button will take a while to load and possibly slow down you site. Sometimes you can be a little cheaky and edit the code from these buttons. Your normal button code looks like this:

Top Blogs - <a title=Blog Directory">

We can break this down to something alot more server friendly and still keep its functionality:

top-blogs

This code will still work in ranking you on the blog toplist site and it loads alot faster.


Check those widgets:

Sadky widgets can be abother cause of slow load times. For the same reason as buttons; images. Some widgets do use images from third party servers. You can either strip out the code in the widget for the image, which unless you know how to code php + javascript can be tricky. Or you can try and identify the offending widget and remove it. Easiest way to identify the widgets causing issues would be to remove all widgets and see if that helps load time. If yes, then you have a problem widget. You can re-add them one by one to eliminate other widgets. This can be slow going though.


Get Some New Plugins:

Sounds little contradictory I know. However, if your site is very heavily dependent on images then these will really slow things down for you and some parallel HTTP loadng could really help you. In simple terms you can make twice as many HTTP connections and double loading images. It is little more complicated than that:

Parallel Loading System – basically caches images on sub domains allowing multiple connections to call the image faster.

This next plugin is amazing for absolutely any blog and even more so for blogs with huge databases. It caches pretty much your whole site. Making for a massive increase in load times. I really can not praise this plugin enough. I have used in pretty much every site I have. I do have to admit that it can be a little rough to get your head round if you are not very savvy with code and playing with .htaccess and php.ini files. Worth the time though.

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