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In my recent quest to learn how to speed up a website I managed to crash three of my sites! So that you don’t have to suffer the same fate on your sites I thought I’d share with you my adventure and what I learned from it.
This whole process has been a huge reminder why a platform like the Level One Network is a great place to start affiliate marketing without having to understand so much of the technical stuff.
Before you do anything to Speed Up Your Website – BACK IT UP
That way you won’t have to pay to have your hosting company (and some do charge you for this service) restore your site from their files. They can only go back to the last time they backed up also, which if you were already messing around with your site could be after you made the changes that messed it up to begin with.
When it comes to the load time of your website, the theme you choose matters. While I love this Glitter and Lace theme on the Genesis framework that I have for this site, there are several issues I’ve discovered while trying to speed up the load time. First and foremost is that this theme does not like W3 Total Cache.
Adding a Caching plugin is one of the fastest ways to add speed to the load time of your site. There are three WordPress caching plugins that are pretty much recognized as the “cutting edge”, right now any way. They are: W3 Total Cache, WP-Super Cache and Quick Cache.
Of those three W3 Total Cache is the most complex, though when it plays nice with your theme and other plugins it works awesome. WP- Super Cache is much more simple to implement and isn’t as intrusive as it just caches your site without reminding you every five minutes (or every time you change something) to empty your cache. And Quick Cache is the most basic, pretty much install it and let it run.
Before installing a caching program make sure your security programs aren’t locking everything down. Pretty much just disable it while you work on speeding up your site then enable it once you are satisfied. I’m fairly certain that the reason my sites crashed was because I had the security locked down, was trying to make changes to my speed and I was trying to install Cloudflare.
Sidebar on Cloudflare
Cloudflare is a CDN (Cloud Delivery Network). Which, I believe, sets up a sort of mirroring system for your site so that your site information is delivered super quick. Understanding CDNs is at the very edge of my technology saturation point.
If you want to use Cloudflare and you aren’t a programmer, you should go through your cpanel and install it that way. Also you should know that it can take up to 72 hours for the namesevers to propagate and could result in your site being invisible for large periods of time. Installing Cloudflare incorrectly also added to my sites crashing.
Unless you really know what you are doing do not change your nameservers to the Cloudflare nameservers
Back to the Caching Plugins
Sufyan over at wpmudev.com has a good overview of various caching plugins, what they do and who they serve best. Here is his conclusion, though I highly recommend you read the entire article: Caching Plugin for WordPress before you start installing and uninstalling caching plugins to find one that works for you. It isn’t technical either, so us, non techy people have at least a fighting chance of understanding what he is talking about.
So, which of the above five plugins should you use?
Well, the answer depends on your needs, and WPMU has already attempted to answer this question here. However, I shall try to simplify the answer below:
Simplicity+Ease of use = Quick Cache
Customizability+Popularity = WP Super Cache
Loads of Resources+Customizability = W3 Total Cache
Images Suck Speed
We all love big beautiful pictures on our webpages but they use a lot of resources when they are not uploaded and formatted correctly. You should only use .jpeg or .png files for your website images. You should install a plugin like wp-Smush.it and you should make sure that the pictures you upload are the size you wish to display.
A couple other thoughts on images. One, if you have content that is duplicated in other places on line or on your site, you should turn that into an image. You can use Paint, a program you can find in your accessories folder on your windows computer, to create images that look like text.
The other thing is that this is a good way to put your phone numbers on your site without making it accessible to scrapers that go along and look for business phone number to add to calling lists to spam you with the latest and greatest ways to suck money out of your wallet and distract you from what you are doing.
There is a site called GTMetrix.com where you can go and check your site speed. GTMetrix’s has a grading system and puts the most crucial items that need addressing when it comes to how to speed up a website first, they give you a bit of coaching as well so that you can address the items that need fixing.
When it Comes To How To Speed Up a Website…
What is the Goal?
Ultimately you want to get your site to load in two seconds or less. And while some of the things that you might need to do to achieve that speed will require a programmer, unless you are really technically savvy yourself, some of the things like paying attention to images when you load them, fixing the images you already have and adding a caching plugin go a long way towards making your site much faster.
Taking the time to fix your website to get it to load faster will allow you to reap rewards in Google. Those rewards being that Google will send you more free traffic. Of course if all of this makes your eyes glaze over and you just want to create content, rank on Google and make sales, you should go now and see how and why the Level One Network is the place to go to get your content ranked quickly.