Use WordPress? Feel a Need for Speed?

If you’re looking to take your WordPress site from slow-poke to Speedy Gonzalez, install WP Minify plugin.

Faster pussycat!Since Google have now been very public that site speed is a ranking factor, albeit a minor one, now is a good time to get testing your site’s speed.

I’ve been using Google’s Page Speed Firefox extension, you can also use YSlow from Yahoo. For either you’ll need to install Firebug first.

There are plenty of tutorials online for how to use these Firefox extensions, and each of them has built in suggestions and information on what it all means. Some of the suggestions can be a bit cryptic, also there’s a limit to how many of the suggestions you can implement (seriously, how do I ‘parallelize downloads’ by loading static files from different hosts and at the same time keep DNS requests to a minimum?).

Most of the suggestions (Enable compression, Leverage browser caching) can be handled using .htaccess rules, but some are a bit more involved.

This one’s a three-fer

Some of the suggestions would be a pain to implement manually but you can get at least 7-10 points closer to 100, using the WP Minify WordPress plugin. This marvellous bit of code will take care of the ‘Minify CSS’, ‘Combine external CSS’ and ‘Combine external JavaScript’ suggestions, on the fly too, and it’s just a case of turning it on.

Implementing this plugin, and a couple of .htaccess rules took this site to 86/100 according to Page Speed. The rest of the suggestions would be impractical to implement, requiring the use of a content delivery network that a personal blog like this wouldn’t warrant, and spending a lot of time rewriting CSS.

Image credit: heikof via Creative Commons on Flickr

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