With Googles changes speed is a huge factor when it comes to ranking. WordPress is a tricky bugger, with the thousands of plugins possible for your WordPress site you can quickly kill your page speed and site speed.
What I am going to share with you below took about 20 minutes of time and ended up shaving off nearly 5 seconds of my sites speed putting me back in all green and systems go!
While what I go over here is strictly for my WordPress speed the same could be applied to other static websites to see what might be causing a slow load or possible areas to work on to increase speed.
There are a number of websites out there to test websites page speed but the one I used in this case is GTMetrix.com
Just type your site in and a scan of your page will quickly start. Once completed you will have a general idea of your sites rating for performance and more importantly the page designs such as page load time, total page size and number of requests.
When first running my scan my results where shocking, I knew the blog loaded a bit slow but not this slow!
What I did next was clicked on the tab at the top called Waterfall. This gave me a break down of what was being called and loaded and the response time. To my surprise towards the bottom of this was about 8 calls that went out to admin.ajax.php By clicking on these you will be able to expand and view the action. In my case it was a plugin this theme uses called Zilla-Likes and below is a screenshot of the results.
After adjusting this plugin and removing it from pages and posts my results are as seen below.
BOOM nearly 5 seconds save to load time and request down by 10!
Since WordPress 3.6, Heartbeat API was introduced, which allows WordPress to communicate between web browser and the server. This has a good purpose which improved upon session management, revision track and auto saving.
However with this update many older plugins or poorly optimize plugins are trying to use this. While I have no idea on the tech spec of this or why a plugin would make a call to this is beyond me. However if you catch one of your 3rd party plugins doing this I recommend either setting caching on the plugin if it allows it or just removing it from your site/ contacting the developer letting them know of the issue.
As you can see above just one plugin can cause a 5 second delay in page load speed. So finding and eliminating these are key.
One other plugin I recently found that has helped a bit with site speed is Heartbeat Control. This plugin allows you to adjust the plus of your WordPress blog 3.6 and so far higher.
- Install Heartbeat Control
- Go to Settings and click on Hearbeat Control
- Under Control heartbeat locations I have mine set to Allow only on post edit pages. (This makes the pulse only happen if I can currently writing a blog post and not if I just leave my dashboard open)
- Set the pulse (I have mine set to max 60 seconds but if your one of those people that need to make sure their posts are saved every few seconds I would recommend the 20 second range or shorter if you must)
While there are many ways to improve your WordPress site speed these are two I have found recently that should help shave off some time of your sites load speeds as well. Remember your sites performance is just as important to SEO now as your keywords. Go ahead and give your site a speed test review.