How I speed up my WordPress blog in one day – from 10s to 3s

Site speed is one of the 200 Google web search ranking factors. This underlines the need to seriously consider and give importance to any attempt at reducing the load time of our blogs. If you want to rank higher on SERP, you should pay attention to your blog speed.

While relevance remains an important ranking factor, Google does not neglect speed. The reason is that if it ranks slow sites, people will use it less for search. You understand why you must strive to increase the load speed of your blog?

A lot of blogs out there have load time issues that could affect their ranking. I’m sure you’ll not want yours to be part of these.

WordPress Performance Optimization

NB: Take note of this image. I’ll say a few things about it below

The truth is, my blog has been very slow, taking over 10 seconds to load. This played heavily negatively against my Search Engine Ranking. I was shocked when I used Google page Speed, Neil Patel’s quicksprout, Gtmetrix and Yahoo’s YSlow and analyzed my blog speed and performance. Instantly, I saw the need to speed up. Before I go into telling you exactly what I did so you can copy my method, let’s answer one relevant question.

But how slow is too slow?

Google recommends improving loading speed when it is slower than 95% of sites. Generally, sites at this level will take over 5 seconds to load. So my take is to tweak till you are less than 2 seconds. A couple of things to consider are your web host, your theme, plugins, images, etc. So let’s see exactly what I did to bring down my loading time from 10+ seconds to 3 seconds.

WordPress Blog Performance Optimization, 10 to 3

My blog is currently being hosted on one of Hostgator’s shared servers. Though this is performing well, moving to a vpn or some WordPress dedicated hosting option could do better. If you are on HostGator, or Bluehost (and a couple of others), you may not experience any major server issues like slowed down server response time. However, there are 4 things I did that make things better:

1 – I got w3 Total Cache plugin installed

w3 total cacheThis is one of the most recommended speed and performance plugins with a hand full of options. In one of my up coming posts, I’ll be giving you detailed materials how to set this plugin to achieve the best. However, this plugin is quite easy to set up. Most of the configurations have been handled by default.

It has played a major part in optimizing my blog performance. Check it out here or check out Reginald’s post on how to set it up

2 – I signed up to CloudFlare

One of the things I did was created a free account on cloudflare.com Content Delivery Networks are highly recommended options if you really need speed. CloudFlare has a free option which I recommend to start with. While I have plans to upgrade for more performance, I’m currently experimenting with the free plan. You can get a free CloudFlare account from within your W3 Total Cash CDN menu or from cPanel dashboard. Well, I found that option with HostGator.

W3 Total Cache enables you to link up with your CloudFlare account making the set up process a quite easy and friendly one

3 – I got WP SmushIt installed

WordPress Performance Optimization smushitNow, images were some of the things that caused a lot of weight on my blog. SmushIt by yahoo is an exceptionally good plugin that does a ‘lossless’ compression of your images. What this means is it uses optimization techniques specific to image format to remove unnecessary bytes from image files. Smush.it will optimizes your images without changing their look or visual quality.

In WordPress, SmushIt automatically optimize images while they get uploaded to the library. You can also run your existing images through Smush.it via your Media Library . Click on the  Smush.it now!  link for any image you’d like to smush. As of version 1.4.0 there is a new, experimental  Bulk Smush.it  feature. You can find the link under the  Media Library tab. Grab the plugin here

Some of my image files size got remarkably reduced from 80kb down to 5kb with no quality distortion

4 – I got BJ Lazy load

This plugin replaces all your post images, post thumbnails, gravatar images and content iframes with a placeholder and loads the content as it gets close to enter the browser window when the visitor scrolls the page. It makes your site load faster and saves bandwidth. While this seems to be producing desired results, I’m still watching it carefully.

Have my speed and general performance really been improved?

Yes! There has been a significant improvement in speed and general performance and that’s why I’m writing this post so you can clone my process. Note that I have not removed any plugins yet which is what I plan to do to gain some more time.

What I plan to do next

I’m really STILL NOT satisfied. I want to bring down my speed to less than 2 seconds by removing some plugins, moving to a paid CDN solution and relocating my blog from HostGator shared hosting to a VPN option or a more dedicated WordPress Host.

In the first image above, you notice my speed now stands at 3.65 seconds, 1mb page size and 68 requests. These are performance factors I need to work on in the next few days to give my visitors a more comfortable experience and hopefully get a better SERP position.

Conclusion

I’d like to hear from you! What’s your speed? Are you comfortable? Can you share with us some of the tips to get a faster blog? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Meet Enstine M. Muki

Enstine M. Muki has written 168 post in this blog.

Enstine Muki is The Money Making Blogger and PHP developer and Creator of CashDonator, the plugin that helps bloggers generate more income from their blogs and cWinners.com, directory for contests and giveaways.




About Enstine M. Muki

Enstine Muki is The Money Making Blogger and PHP developer and Creator of CashDonator, the plugin that helps bloggers generate more income from their blogs and cWinners.com, directory for contests and giveaways.

Comments

  1. Hello Enstine,
    Great Post, and sounds good that you have taken action very soon.

    Even i faced this problem and W3 Cache does the pretty job, even i was on the 70 range, just after installing W3 Total Cache my ratings was 91 on Google Page Speed check tool,

    W3 does pretty Good job, but i have also Gzip the database manually.

    This 2 things are new for me WP SmushIt and BJ Lazy load, will give them a try to see if any improvement, as i want my site speed to Grade 95+.

    Great share, All the best.
    Ajit Tiwari recently posted..Must have WordPress Plugins for each and every BlogMy Profile

  2. Ganesh Narayan Gupta says:

    Hello Enstine Muki,

    Your blog’s speed score seems to be cool. I guess 76 is a good score. I found it to be 71 for my blog and needs to optimize it more.

    W3 Total Cache plugin is a great plugin ever, every WordPress blog should have it. I have heard about WP SmushIt, but never tried it. I think, now it is time to give it a try. BJ Lazy Load seems to be so cool, as you have mentioned about it.

    Thanks for sharing your experience, which is very helpful in improving page speed score. Keep sharing :-)

  3. Arpan
    Follow me on Twitter:
    says:

    Hey,
    so, you worked well on your blog’s loading time.
    i use some of them techniques…. but will use all the techniques in upcoming days…
    thank’s for a post enstine
    Arpan recently posted..Why Google Pagerank is not Updated after February 2013?My Profile

  4. Ngah Benoit
    Follow me on Twitter:
    says:

    Hello Enstine,
    You’ve given us another wonderful and educative post. I never knew anything about the effects the speed of a blog has on search engine ranking still you explain things to me so well.
    I already configured my blog with all the plugins you stated in this post and I know for sure that my blog is going to load faster and rank higher in search engines.
    Thanks again for sharing.
    Benoit

  5. Congratulations Enstine on the result you have achieved so far. Loading speed is a major issue when it comes to Google ranking and mine is actually giving me a lot of concern at the moment. I have tried a few things and so far they don’t seem to produce the needed result.

    The use of CDN and Cloudflare, do they work together? I already have MAXCDN and even connected to the Google server but things are still not what they should be. Site still loading very slowly.

    Last time, I installed the BJ Lazy load plugin on my site, the images on my posts disappeared. So I had to deactivate it. I don’t know whether it was a compatibility issue or an issue with customization.

    I have a W3 total Cache installed too. Last time I contacted the MAXCDN guys and they told me to see my webmaster, that my site needed to be properly built. I am using a Genesis framework and don’t know if to change it to something else. I am still experimenting.

    All the same, thanks for this write up. Do have a nice weekend.
    Efoghor Joseph Ezie recently posted..5 Little Known Ways to Get Your Google Adsense Account Approved Within 72 HoursMy Profile

    • Hey bro
      Cloudflare is a CDN as well as MAXCDN
      I can’t say which is better but for now, I’m on with with CloudFlare’s free plan. Plan to move upward soon

      I also have Genesis and Prose child. I’m just thinking something else could be better ;)

      By the way, thanks for the comment and do have a wonderful weekend
      Enstine M. Muki recently posted..Shalu Sharma ~ Blogger of the weekMy Profile

  6. Good for you, Enstine! My site is on the 3 seconds mark, with a score of B+ and 76, but I don’t know, maybe it’s my Internet connection as well. I still feel as if my blog isn’t loading as fast as I want it. I’ll give those plugins a try.
    Maricel Rivera recently posted..A Virus Got Me and I’m Stuck in a Room with No InternetMy Profile

    • Hi Maricel,
      I think your Internet connection doesn’t really matter in this case. What’s important is how long the server processes the requests and delivers the results. Now, your local network may be slow in rendering the page from the server. That will not affect the SEO load time. That’s my take

      thanks for your comment and do have a splendid weekend
      Enstine M. Muki recently posted..Shalu Sharma ~ Blogger of the weekMy Profile

  7. Michael
    Follow me on Twitter:
    says:

    Sometimes the whole issue starts on the webhosting itself. So, you have to be very careful choosing it.
    Michael recently posted..Real UnliCHAT Experience with Globe’s GoUnli30My Profile

  8. prowebguru
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    says:

    Even I used wp cache and saw a major performance gain while loading page. Recently I changed my theme, so even I would be working on improving load time of the blog. Your inputs helped me.
    prowebguru recently posted..Send Post Data While Redirecting With JQueryMy Profile

  9. Hi Enstine,

    Congrats! I do saw a massive improvement in performance after uploading and using these plug ins. Blog speed counts. People want their content and they want it now.

    Thanks!

    Ryan
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted..4 Tips for Developing a Good Relationship with MoneyMy Profile

  10. Hmm,, However you have used all the plugin that may reduce load time, but still you page speed score is below 70 when I checked.

    Michael !!! you are right . Some time the issue occurs with hosting and server response time.

    I am using Wp Super Cache, ( No Cloudflare integration ), Advance Lazy load and just necessary plugins. My page speed score is 80 for home page and posts. But according to gmetricx, the time is about 5 sec.I still need to work on it :). Hope you will share the thing that you will apply further.

    Thanks for sharing the tips Enstine !!!

    ~Ravi Verma
    Ravi Verma recently posted..How Google is Simplifying SEO ?My Profile

  11. Tharun
    Follow me on Twitter:
    says:

    Finally you have given me some good plugins to make by website load faster. Thanks for sharing all these tips and I am happy to see your blog. I have been using w3 cache plugin and it is awesome. Thanks for sharing this post.
    Tharun recently posted..Create Image Sitemap In WordPress And Submit To GoogleMy Profile

  12. Hi, Enstine,
    Indeed informative post. :)
    Yes, page loading time play special role in SERP. No one like a slow site, because it increase the waiting time. It is also possible that a visitor will never come back. So, here we need to optimize the speed.

    We can simply check our speed from any tools you have given above. We can remove some unwanted CSS, JS and other futile codes from the page. We can also remove some unwanted images because it increases the loading time.

    I don’t know much about these plugins and hopefully plugins work.
    Thank You for the sharing a wonderful post on page speed. :)
    Kumar Chandan recently posted..Is referral traffic a savior?My Profile

  13. Hi Enstine,

    I recently installed WP Super Cache and I have a lazy load plugin, but haven’t tried the other two options you suggest. I don’t feel I understand CDN networks well enough to try that, but I may see if that SmushIt plugin would make a difference – my site’s load time isn’t a disaster, but I know it could be improved. I’ve also got to get rid of some other plugins.

    Thanks for a very helpful post :)
    Susan Neal recently posted..Should Your Blog Post Carry a Health Warning?My Profile

    • Hi Sue,
      SmushIt is what I’d really recommend right now. It does a great job in making your images faster. One of my image file size was reduced from 80 k to less than 5 k without a degradation in quality. That was super exciting. This plugin only comes to work when you are uploading images. You can also apply it on already uploaded images. It has absolutely no effect on loading speed.

      Thanks however for stopping by and do have a splendid weekend
      Enstine M. Muki recently posted..Shalu Sharma ~ Blogger of the weekMy Profile

  14. Hi Enstine,

    At last! You wrote it. Currently I’m sitting at 87% gtmertix score and I’ve just found two tips. I’ve neer heard of this lazy load plugin, I definitely give it a ty because I’m having iframes on my blog (sidebar and after content) those are one of the elements that slows down my blog.

    I’ve also heard of cloudflare and MAXcdn but I’m just so lazy to give it a try, cloudflare sounds promising but I’ve heard people complain about. Have a had any bad thime with cloudflare?

    Well I hope to hit “A” score after implementing these tips. Have a wonderful day :)

    Whoops! Commentluv blacklisted me…I’m loving antibacklinker though
    Gilbert Samuel recently posted..How to Get Addicted to the Habit of Guest BloggingMy Profile

  15. Hi there,
    As I was wondering to improve my blog speed and here you have mention some good plugins and importance of speed for SEO was interesting point to learn
    Thanks for this informative article.

  16. qasim
    Follow me on Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Enstine,

    It’s really important to keep our blogs speeds very fast as this will not only improve your blog SEO and but will keep visitors coming to your blog rather than leaving while waiting for your blog to load. Thanks for sharing your tips specifically the Smush it plugin. It will help for sure speed up my blog as I never optimized my blogs images files. Thanks once again.
    qasim recently posted..How Will Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm Change SEO?My Profile

  17. I think thats becoz of your child theme,this much load time 20sec,premium themes loads in less than say 4-5 sec without using all those plugins.
    Its my experience with premium mythemeshop theme..

  18. Hi Enstine,

    My hosting company once blocked my account for consuming excessive CPU resources, they suggested me to install a cache plugin, i didn’t really beleive it would solve my problem. But after installing it, my usage is down by 60%, pretty amusing isn’t it? Especially for a blog with returning traffic.
    Gautham Nekkanti recently posted..OPEPA Sikshya Sahayak Recruitment Results 2013 opepa.inMy Profile

  19. Vivek
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    says:

    I have a blogger blog.. my page load time is too high on alexa.. how to reduce it?.. can you suggest the best image compression software I can use of ?
    thanks
    Vivek recently posted..[Solved] IDM Registered With Fake Serial KeyMy Profile

  20. Jeevan Jacob John
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    says:

    Hey Enstine,

    I have played around with site speed in the past. In my experiments, I have tried both W3 Cache and Cloudflare (For the most part, they did their jobs, but I have had many experiences which encourage me to not install those plugins in the future – site errors and that sort of things. Most of the time, I was able to restore the site easily.)

    Smush.it is great :D I have tried BJ Lazy load, go to try that when in my upcoming blog.

    I have also used P3 performance plugin to monitor plugin performance – to find which plugin take the longest to load. Helps to to find and replace those plugins :D (You might want to deactivate the plugin once you are done. P3 plugin also takes a lot out of site performance).

    Anyways, I appreciate your post, Enstine! Thanks!

  21. Suresh Khanal
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    says:

    I used W3Total Cache and really didn’t like the complicated installation at that time. It has been long and guess I need to try it again.

    Regarding CloudFlare, I don’t have better experience. I noticed my blog is down many times even when my servers were fine. I did not like to bring the blog down for CloudFlare’s problems.

    I heard about SmushIt but not yet tried. I always thought my blog do not have much images, but I guess this is the next plugin I’m going to add in my blog soon.

    I’m interested to see your updates about BJ Lazy Load. The concept looks pretty attractive!
    Suresh Khanal recently posted..5 Tools to Keep Your Freelance Business in Tip-Top ShapeMy Profile

    • Hi Suresh,
      sometimes I doubt what happens. I have not had any downtime issues with Cloudflare free plan yet. Wondering what happened in your case.

      Yes, w3 Total Cache looks complicated in the very start but I soon able to find my way through those settings. Besides, the default settings and in most cases good to go with.

      SmushIt is a great plugin man. It’s going to really cut down on your image file sizes. Give it a try.

      Have a wonderful weekend
      Enstine M. Muki recently posted..30 Days Challenge – How to Make Your First $1000 from FiverrMy Profile

  22. thanks for the tip. i also go a clouldflare for my site too and uses w3 total cache plugin, it helps a lot in terms of speed.

  23. Reginald
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    says:

    Hi Enstine!

    Oh wow…thank you for sharing my kind post. Ouch I feel so honored mate. Glad to see yours working well. W3 Total Cache can be a crazy thing to configure especially with the Minify setting. At times, I just turn it off. Haha!

    Lazy load is great too. Love that tool. Website loading speed is important if you want to rank well on search engine these days.

    Have a great day my friend!
    Reginald recently posted..Two SEO Best Practices To Generate More Website TrafficMy Profile

  24. Ikshit Kakkar says:

    Hi Enstine,
    Really important information as most bloggers tend to ignore this factor but in this era of technology no one really has the time to wait, rather the user prefers to switch to other blog.Taking it into real life aspect suppose one is out there for dinner and the waiter takes to long to serve, the costumer would rather prefer to switch to another restaurant, the same is ture for blogging

  25. Hey Enstine
    Could not agree more with making site speed a priority
    I also wrote a post on P3 plugin checker a while back, have you tried that yet, it will tell you what plugins are slowing you down. Check it out
    ashley
    Ashley Faulkes recently posted..How to design your blog – like the prosMy Profile

  26. Hi Enstine, try also using the P3 plugin. It analyzes the load that other plugins have on your site, so you can identify the most time-consuming ones and switch to faster alternatives. Cheers.

  27. Hey Enstine,

    I still get a lot of poor ratings on a lot of these sites but then I’m told that my speed is pretty quick so the scores and the speed are two different things. I’m just tired of worrying about it and I think for the most part it loads just fine.

    I’ve installed the two major caching plugins in the past and had nothing but problems with them and I’ve also had CloudFlare and didn’t see a big difference at all. So I’ve been those two routes and I did change my hosting service which is why I think my blog loads faster now.

    Good luck with what to do next. I think your site loads fine. That’s just my opinion of course.

    Hope things are going well with you and you’re having a really good week.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted..Why Effective Consistency in Blogging Is CrucialMy Profile

    • Hi Adrienne,
      It it sometimes not easy to understand why somethings work for some wp copies and fail for others. This may all boil down to server compatibility.

      SmushIt is one plugin I’ll recommend. What it does is simply optimize your images as they get uploaded. It does a great job in reducing file sizes and speed up image load time. You may want to give it a look.

      Thanks for your contribution. May you have a wonderful weekend
      Enstine M. Muki recently posted..30 Days Challenge – How to Make Your First $1000 from FiverrMy Profile

      • Hey Enstine,

        I don’t use SmushIt because it’s one more plugin to have. I compress my images before I load them up so I use other sites for this instead of the plugin. I had it at one time but found it to be very unreliable so compressing images isn’t my issue.

        Thanks Enstine and enjoy your weekend.

        ~Adrienne
        Adrienne recently posted..When There Is More Content Then TimeMy Profile

  28. Deepak Singh says:

    Very Informative post about Improving Website Speed. If we want to rank well in search engines then we must improve our website speed.
    Currenlty my website load time is 3.11 Sec and I am using W3 Cache,Cloduflare and Smush it(For Optimising Images) on my blog and now i am going to use BJ Lazy Load too. I hope my website load time will decrease after using BJ Lazy Load.

    Thanks for sharing Enstine!!) Have a awesome day!!

  29. Hi Enstine,
    Yes HostGator works perfect with WordPress sites. So fat I have faced nil issues with them.
    However, I don’t have cloudflare installed on my site. I was using CDN from MaxCDN but it just got expired and I am planning to renew it as early as possible,
    Thanks.
    Vineet Saxena recently posted..5 Reasons Why You Must Use Child Themes For WordPressMy Profile

  30. Hello Enstine Muki,
    Thanks for this great and informative article. Your blog speed and score are seeming to be cool. Today I found your blog and checking my site. My site loading time 14.31 Sec and score 81. It’s good for Google ranking. But my site is developed in PHP. Please share your experience.

  31. Hello Enstine,
    Thanks for this informative article, I have used cloudflare free account but I am not satisfied. I hope SmushIt and Lazyload will work for me.

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