Speed Matters in Ranking

Having a fast website has officially become more important this past week with Google’s announcement that they are now using site speed in web search ranking. I have always tried to make fast loading websites it is another factor that webmasters should pay more attention too if they want to not only improve their website visitors experience but also to improve their search engine rankings.

The Google blog post gives some good suggestions for tools to examine your websites speed but here are some common sense tips that can help you speed up your website quickly.

  • Remove extra widgets and gadgets – Things like the Twitter widget, MyBlogLog, Google FriendConnect and even Google Adsense can all slow down a website.
  • Combine your CSS files into one file – If you use WordPress this can get tricky depending on the number of plugins you use.
  • Compress your CSS file – Check out CSS Compressor to help you remove extra space and optimize your code.
  • Combine Javascript into one external file – This can get difficult if you are using WordPress or another CMS, but it can be done.
  • Compress Javascript files – Like compressing your CSS file. It helps remove extra space and comments to compress your Javascript.Javascript Compressor
  • Use Google Javascript Libraries – Google hosts several popular Javascript libraries that website can link to and load. This can improve your website speed since your visitor could possibly already have that file cached making your load time much faster. If you use WordPress check out the Use Google Libraries plugin to make it easy to start using the Google versions of those Javascript libraries. Thanks to Douglas Karr for that WordPress tip.
  • Speed Up Your Website with GZIP Compression – I have talked about GZIP compression before to speed up your website. Not all hosts offer the ability to enable GZIP compression, but if you can it can make a drastic improvement on the speed of your website.
  • Reliable web hosting – A fast and reliable web host is critical to server your site fast. If you are just starting out it can be expensive to get your own dedicated server to make sure your site is served fast. I do recommend you take a look at either iWeb or Hostgator for shared hosting accounts. Price wise they are competitive and I have been pleased with how fast they have been.

I am still in the process of doing some of these tips here on the LGR website as well. I have had GZIP compression enabled for a while and it has made a significant difference in the speed of the website. If you can only do one thing try to enable GZIP compression. Since I am using Wordress to power this website I have been slow to combine CSS and Javascript files and compress them. I do plan on doing more of that. Perhaps there is a WordPress plugin that can help to combine them and compress them on the fly. If I find one I will let you know.

Not sure where to start to speed up your website? Let me give you a hand. I can do a website speed audit to give you more ideas on how to speed up your website. Feel free to contact me and I will be happy to look over your website.

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