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If you’ve ever cooked for a hungry crowd, you know that the more we want something, the less time we want to wait for it. Assuming your food blog has gained a following of eager readers hungry for your culinary wisdom, you’ll want to make sure that they can dig into your content quickly. According to one resource, one in four people will abandon your blog for good if its pages takes longer than four seconds to load.
Let that sink in. That makes those thirty minute meals seem like epic undertakings by comparison.
Your food blog’s page speed is, therefore, one of the most important factors in its success. Yes. Even if your content is worth the wait. If you’ve ever zipped through a McDonald’s Drive-Thru on your way home from the grocery store, you’ll understand why.
So what is page speed? In simple terms, it’s how long it takes for a page on your website to serve up content to the reader. Basically, if your page isn’t poised with a tray of goodies the minute your URL is entered into the address box, your readers are already looking at their watches.
Page speed isn’t just important for keeping readers on your site, however. A site that loads pages quickly will also rank better as page loading speed is an element of Google’s page ranking algorithm.
Good news! The most common causes of slow page loading time are also the easiest to fix, so we’ve added solutions in these cases directly beneath the cause of the problem.
The most popular food bloggers invest time and effort into gorgeous images, and in the case of many bloggers, photos are included with each step of a recipe. While your readers no doubt love this visual guide, they may not love the loading time added by images.
To continue with the dinner guest allegory, serving a meal for 100 people to 10 guests would lead to bloated proportions and way more prep time. And it just doesn’t make sense.
The incredibly large images created by most cameras can be hundreds of megabytes in size, and that was the chief culprit in slow load times in 90% of Alexa’s top 1000 websites, according to one survey.
This is actually a pretty easy fix for even the tech-fearful.
Most cameras create gigantic files. Seriously. Gigantic. Hundreds of megabytes.
Instead, identify the sizes that images will appear on the site and then size them appropriately before uploading them to your website.
Use .png when an image contains fewer than 16 colors. Logos, buttons, and social media icons can all be created as .png files.
Use .jpeg for those mouth-watering photos. By resizing photos and exporting as .jpeg files, you’ll see a file size savings of as much as 80%.
Plugins are pretty amazing, and it’s easy to get carried away. If you’re a kitchen gadget collector, you may have experienced a similar dilemma. Getting all those nifty tools plugged in, up and running, and cleaned up after can actually consume more time than they save.
Likewise, adding more and more plugins to manage different functions of your blog can lead to slow load time. In some cases, the slow loading is a result of the site having to work too hard. In other cases, it’s because poor quality or out-of-date plugins are the cause of the problem.
I know. It hurts. How do you get rid of something so cool? Check for multiple plugins that may be competing to perform the same function, and assess them all to be sure that you haven’t installed a problematic plugin by accident. Get rid of any that are so old they’re no longer being updated, and keep remaining plugins up-to-date.
As much as you may love the income potential of your food blog’s ad revenue, too many ads and ads implemented shabbily through low quality networks can slow your load time. Just as plugins create extra work for your website, so do ads, by increasing the size of each page and the amount of data that must be called. Over time, that slowdown will negatively impact your traffic, which will negatively impact your ad revenue. It’s a vicious cycle.
To avoid bloating your blog with carelessly implemented ads, be sure that you go with an ad network that is tried and trusted.
While we’re not saying you should eliminate ads, it’s definitely a good idea not to overload your food blog with them. And, in fact, over-stuffing pages with ads is a signal to Google algorithms, meaning too many ads can create problems for your SEO. We’ve provided many other examples in the past of different income streams, such as building sponsor partnerships as well as selling digital cookbooks and other products. By diversifying, you can minimize your reliance on ads and speed up your site.
Imagine that you put your great-grandma at the door to welcome your guests in for this imaginary dinner party. She’s the equivalent of a slow web host, the web hosting providers that delivers your web content to your readers’ browsers.
If your audience and your site have grown considerably, maybe it’s time to invest in a better quality web host. According to speed tests conducted by the web development agency Woodstitch, the fastest web host providers of 2016 are Ipage, 1&1, and Network Solutions.
It could be that your problem is a little more complex, like bloated user interface scripts or server-side problems. If that’s the case, you may need to seek guidance from web development pros familiar with the challenging technical issues. If that’s the case, get in touch with us here at Once Coupled. We’re eager to help you build and maintain a food blog that dishes out quality content quickly!