Testing your website for speed and load times

Two easy ways to check your website’s loading time

If your website is loading slow, you have long or slow loading times. It's good to check your website for this problem every month at least to make sure your blog doesn't become sluggish due to a bad plugin, unoptimized image, or some broken tag. If your blog is hosted with the big boys, this shouldn't be a big issue for you.

A WordPress website tends to slow down overtime when the author or admin continues to add plugin after plugin just to have a new shiny feature. Each plugin takes resources and when you multiply those new resources being used, by the number of visitors accessing your site, you can have real problems with your hosting provider keeping your website up. Especially when you have a spike in traffic, as my friend Megan found out when her name hit entertainment news outlets a few weeks ago.

Checking your load times and reducing them as much as possible is important if you want Google to increase its love for your website. It sounds simple enough, make your website load faster and Google will give it some brownie points. But how do you actually find the things that are slowing down your website and how do you make it go faster? It's a lot like tuning a car. And the same principles apply, if you like tinkering with cars and getting every ounce of performance by tweaking the air intake and the fuel ratio and all that stuff you'll be spending time in the garage working on that stuff. If you like the results that come from tweaking your car but you don't particularly like doing the work, you can always pay someone to do it. The same is true for websites and blogs. You can follow tips and advice and even tutorials you'll find online. Each time you adjust something you'll see results and over time you should be able to adjust your entire website and see how your traffic and visitors react. Or you can pay someone to help you optimize your sites.

Testing your website for speed and load times

[pq]Fine tuning loading times can take time and precise adjustments accompanied and directed by research and analytics.[/pq] But to get started, there are two places and things you can do. The first I'll mention applies to any website it's by Pingdom and their page tester tool is free. It's a time load testing website into which you'll enter your own blog URL and see how it performs. The screenshot above shows you the summary view of my consulting website's results. After the summary you'll find all kinds of goodies, like each script that loads and how much time each takes. This is particularly useful to help you trim the fat in all those extra plugins, widgets, badges and other stuff that ends up accumulating in your blog without having real purpose.

The other option and should be used in combination with the first one, only applies to WordPress websites. Using the P3 Profiler plugin, you can actually run a detailed load test from your WordPress dashboard.

The P3 Profiler plugin is free and it works great. It will tell you which plugins and what parts of your website are taking the most resources and longest time. With that information you can identify the plugins, scripts, widgets, badges or images that need to be optimized or removed altogether.

Google also has a performance testing tool but that is a topic for another day. If you're starting your blog out, you probably don't need to do this. But if you like keeping an eye on these numbers you could take a baseline of how fast your blog loads before you do anything with it, and repeat the test each month or so and see how your blog changes overtime.

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