How to check your Wordpress blog or any website for problems and make pages load faster

Buffer
Are you struggling to find out why pages on your beautiful Wordpress blog pages are taking so long to load? Then today is your lucky day because this post contains information you need to improve the performance of your site. I am sure you don't need to be convinced that it's important to have pages that load lightning fast, but I will do it anyway. We live in a fast world. People just don't have the time to waste waiting for your pages to load. If you don't take care if this problem, no one is going to see those beautiful images you purchased from Flickr or iStockphoto. There are just too many shiny, fast websites with lots of valuable information for people to waste time. If your pages do not load fast enough, they will just hit the back button and choose the next position on the search engine results page. Now that I have convinced you that you need to do something, read on and find out how to do it. 
 
gtmetrix analysing a domain
 
The reasons why your site is slow can be countless. It could be that your server is simply overloaded, there are many database queries, your images are not optimised for the web or there are just too many people trying to access your site, etc. One way to locate problems is disabling and then enabling plugins. You could check all possibilities one by one, but that would take too long. There is tool that can do all the hard work for you. Gtmetrix is browser tool that checks your site for performance and gives you a beautiful report that details the culprits. It also shows you the areas where your site is performing well so that you can do more of the same. Cool stuff, right? Combine this with disabling plugins and re-checking and you will be on your to being the proud owner of a a lightning fast website (by internet standards, course) in no time at all. 
 

How to use Gtmetrix

Using Gtmetrix is a matter of opening the website in your favourite browser, entering the domain of the website you want to check and submitting it. Gtmetrix will do its thing for a few minutes, while entertaining with some useful information about things that affect the performance of your site. When its done its job Gtmetrix provides you with a colour coded report of things to change or not to change as shown in the images below.
 
 
gtmetrix performance results
 

Checking the long list of recommendations

The list of recommendations that Gtmetrix gives you is quite long, but the colour coding should make it easy for you to find the stuff that is urgent. As always, red means danger so the red recommendations are the ones you should take care of first. Green means everything is fine. Clicking on a recommendation displays a detailed list of things you should do to improve the speed of your site. Follow the instructions and then re-check your site to see if there has been an improvement.
detailed gtmetrix performance report information
 

Is Gtmetrix only for Wordpress?

Of course Gtmetrix is not only for Wordpress sites. It is bigger than that. You can use it to check any site and it will still provide you with valuable information. I personally don't use Wordpress. So the results in the images above are from a Drupal installation that I use for my blog.
  
 

Recommended reading / listening / tools

  • If you would like to discover more useful applications, tools and tips visit Social Media Examiner. The social media examiner podcast provides brilliant information. The only problem you will have is keeping up with the excellent information that they dish out in each and every podcast. 
  • To learn more about Wordpress optimization, check out the Wordpress Optimization Guide provided by Gtmetrix right here
  • You can also use this service provided by Yahoo to optimize your images -> Smush.it

 

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