Optimize WordPress for Speed

Pepsi ThrowbackOver the last few days, I’ve spent several hours working on several self-hosted WordPress sites to optimize the page load times. Not only for my clients’ sites, but also for my own websites. I have also been drinking entirely too much Throwback Pepsi. In fact, I was very close to calling this article “Optimize WordPress for Speed. And Throwback Pepsi!,” but decided against it to avoid confusion. After all, Throwback Pepsi is the only optimized Pepsi as far as I’m concerned.

There are several aspects to a self-hosted WordPress site that factor into page load times: numbers of cascading style sheets, number of external javascript files, the number and size of images, whether or not content is delivered gzipped, and if caching is used. There are other factors of course, but the above items comprise the bulk of optimization techniques.

Firefox add-ons like Yahoo’s YSlow and Google’s Page Speed when used in conjunction with Firebug, are great for identifying and measuring how well a site performs. In the past few days, I have been able to improve the Page Speed scores on many sites from 75/100 to 97/100 or 98/100, and the YSlow grade from “D” with a Performance Score of 65 to grade “A” with a Performance Score of 100.

Optimizing a self-hosted WordPress site takes some time. But even when the site is hosted on a “shared hosting” plan (like my sites), speed improvements are significant and noticeable. Based on my experience, I can now optimize a mid-sized self-hosted WordPress site within one work day.

You’re saying: “But I’m not a Techie!”

limited time offerBut what if you have a self-hosted WordPress site, but are fairly non-technical? That’s where I come in. For a brief background: I have been a WordPress user since 2006, have a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Programming and Information Systems, and have worked professionally in Software Engineer and Systems Administrator roles since 2000. So, yeah, you could say I’m a technical guy. Not trying to brag. I promise. I’m here to help you via my “WordPress Site Speed Up and Tune-Up” package!

Here’s what this package includes. Or: “What I will do to improve your self-hosted WordPress site”:

  • 1. Benchmark your site using YSlow and Page Speed.
  • 2. Install, activate, and configure WordPress plugins to improve page load times for your site.
  • 3. Make small server configuration tweaks to improve load times.
  • 4. Optimize images for the web to have smaller file sizes, for faster page loads.
  • 5. Perform all other possible optimizations to achieve the highest possible Page Speed – usually 95 (or higher) out of 100.
  • 6. Report the “before” and “after” scores to you.

Much like the Throwback Pepsi (tastier than regular Pepsi, since it’s made with real sugar instead of corn syrup), this offer is only for a Limited Time. If you sign up before October 1, 2010, you can get in on this awesome deal for only $99! Update:The price is now $197:Update 2: Offer expired.

On October 1st, I am doubling the price – so sign up now while the price is low. Sites will be be completed in the order that I receive them. Throwback Pepsi not included.

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