As I mentioned in the article SEO Essentials for Photographers, the speed of your site is an important factor in the positioning of your website. This is because a fast page, is easier to crawl for the Google bots, and saves time for our users that usually get easily frustrated when our pages are slow.
In photography loading speed is a critical factor, since such pages have images, photo galleries and often videos, which make the pages slower than the average website. There are several solutions to improve the speed of loading, and in this article I will recommend some that I use.
Before doing this first I recommend visiting these diagnostic tools load speed should be used before recording the changes that will recommend these include:
- Google Page Speed (general diagnosis of the site structure and loading of the page)
- Pingdom (scores, loading speed and load size)
There are many more but these are the ones I use, I would recommend seeking a more in order to compare and see the differences and relative velocity can be in many cases depending on the server location.
Following is a brief description of some essential tools to improve the speed of your site:
1. Cache Tools
The cache is a temporary memory site that is stored on your computer and saves time server connection instead using resources stored locally on your hard drive. These tools provide the basic elements of the page are recorded temporarily in the computer users, so that when they revisit the page is loaded much faster. Cache tools are also responsible to compress these files down faster and update whenever a change occurs.
A really good cache tool for WordPress I recommend is W3C Total Cache, this free plugin does several things like,
- Page cache managemente
- Compression for objects, html code, scripts, CSS and Java Script
- Management of Content Distribution Network (CDN)
The tool is a bit technical for the average user but the default setup of W3C Total Cache is more than enough. In my case the install this tool to improve the loading speed by 15%.
2. Image Compression Tools
The main content in a photography website are the photos, it is important that these are large enough for good quality and small enough to lighten the page loading time. The basic thing is to find a standard format for uploading images, in my case I seek medium to high quality jpeg and a maximum size of 1024 x 1024 pixels and the image does not exceed 1000 KB or 1MB.
Additionally I use a service called Yahoo Smush it! which is a service of image compression. I do this through a free WordPress plugin called WP Smush.it. This plugin automatically compresses the images within WordPress lightening its size. In my case the compression is a 5.10% per image, little long-term but saves time in loading images. This will greatly improve the performance of the photo galleries and improve the site experience.
3. Content Delivery Network (CDN)
CDN or Content Delivery Network is a network that handles cache take the contents of your website on servers closer to those users. This prevents the user from having to connect to the source server in many cases this long distance to instead connect to the closest server and download content faster. This means that the CDN servers located globally stored in its cache and distribute your product faster to the users of that network.
There are several CDN, Akamai, Amazon Cloudfront another call, etc.. most are paid, but they are not expensive. I use a free one called Cloudfare. It is a basic service that redirects your CDN product Cloudfront servers to speed up page loading. This service improved the speed of my site by 10%. Test it and see the difference.
These are basic tools speed optimization, although not accelerate your site to 100 x 100 make small changes are noticeable long term. Photography websites by their nature need to have good content management and with optimal tools you can eliminate the frustration in the loading time of photos and galleries. I recommend you to at least try a couple of these and see if it improves your site performance, it also will help your site be more visited and crawlable by the Google bot.