How to SPEED up Blogger!
Using Blogger has several key advantages. Not worrying about setting up hosting, managing updates, or bandwidth limitations are a couple of those advantages. And of course, there is no need to worry about your site crashing due to too many visitors at once.
However, the lack of restrictions can lead to other issues, like page weight getting too high and slowing down load times, especially since there are no real limits on size imposed by Blogger other than through Auto Pagination. But even with Auto Pagination in play, Blogger pages can get “overstuffed” and this is going to lead to very slow load times.
RELATED POST: What is Blogger Auto Pagination?
Why Site Speed Matters
Backlinkto.com, a popular SEO site, analyzed 1 million Google results to try to shed light on what super secret factors affect Google search rankings. In their study, they found, among other interesting factors, that speed is a big factor in search ranking. Sites that load faster rank better, period.
Organic traffic driven to your site by Google and other search engines is free traffic. It’s quality traffic because internet users who find your site via a search engine are targeted traffic, which is the most valuable kind of website traffic.
So, keeping your site zippy fast is important to getting organic search traffic to your site.
There are other reasons why a fast loading blog is important and we’ll touch on those in this article. But getting more traffic alone should be enough to motivate you to make your site load faster.
In this article we’re going to examine the most common reasons that Blogger blogs slow down. And we’re going to examine some ways to help you get around these issues and increase your speed.
Problem #1: Your images are HUGE!
Images that aren’t properly optimized can seriously slow down your page load time.
One large image file is rarely a problem, but the more images you add the greater the issue becomes. So let’s take a look at your images and see what we can do to “lighten the load”.
Start with the Header.
Having a very large header image file can have a huge impact on your page load time because it is one of the first things to load so it can slow the process down right from the start. Page load time is important for a number of reasons but most importantly if your page isn’t loading fast your readers may decide they don’t want to wait and will go elsewhere.
The dimensions of your header image file are not as important as the overall file size.
An image that appears small may not have a small file size. Resolution plays a big part in this. Web browsers cannot display images that are greater than 72dpi resolution. So, don’t bother uploading those 300dpi high quality header images. Make sure you save using web settings at 72dpi resolution.
And it always pays to pay attention to the file size usually listed underneath the image. Sometimes you may need to hover over the image especially in File Explorer on Windows systems, this will show you the image dimensions and file size is listed at the bottom of the hover window.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to try to keep your header file below 5oKb.
What’s in the background?
Do you really even need a background image? Simple solid colors or simple patterns can make for a beautiful background and it’s what many professional designers use.
If a solid color just isn’t going to work for your site try using a background image with a small file size. Blogger will let you upload a background image of up to 300Kb but this is a very large file size. Try keeping it under 20Kb to optimize your speed.
This site has an astounding variety of background images and patterns that all have fairly small file sizes: https://www.toptal.com/designers/subtlepatterns/
One of the worst things you can do in this category is to use a huge full page background image. These often have a file size in the MB range. Keep in mind the browser has to load this for every page and it has a huge negative effect on your page load time.
Large Images in your Posts
In many cases, your images are what makes up a majority of your posts. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. However, as previously noted, without optimizing images prior to posting, this can lead to a very significant slowing of your site.
Photo optimization is a very broad topic with a lot of information out there. So here are some useful articles that cover the topic in more depth:
Resize Your Images
Note: You should never “upsize” your images. Always size down. And keep ratio/proportions when editing your image size or your images will end up stretched and weird. You can crop your image to create different shape images (square vs. rectangle).
Photoshop and Lightroom from Adobe are great photo editing tools. But there are some great FREE tools for re-sizing and cropping your images online:
Optimize Your Images
We’ve already discussed a couple tips to optimize your blog images, namely resolution and image size. Another trick is to compress your images.
Compression removes unnecessary file size. The trick is to keep good quality on your photos without all the bulk in the file size.
But good news, there are some great online tools that are FREE to help you compress your images. Our favorites are:
Both of these tools provides before and after shots of your image so you can retain quality while reducing file size.
Here’s a quick checklist to keep your images optimized:
- 72 dpi resolution
- No larger than necessary to fit space
- Compress your images
Problem #2: All those Gadgets and Ads
Many gadgets and ads contain content that is hosted on another server outside of your blog. And that content’s location on the web can affect your page load time.
This article by Gizmodo, recounts an incident in 2013 when a Facebook bug brought down a large chunk of the internet. Though this type of result is extremely rare and is not a reason to avoid using gadgets or ads, it does serve to illustrate how a gadget with offsite content can affect you load time when something goes wrong at the source.
Even if your ads or gadgets aren’t using offsite content, there is still the possibility that they are poorly coded.
Too many ads and gadgets can slow your page down. Choose your ads and ad networks with care.
Even if your ads are coded well and come from a fast server, having too many will increase your page load time. And though it may not have a direct effect on your speed, having excessive adds can also negatively affect your SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and your readers may also not appreciate it. Too many ads looks spammy and sometimes they even cover up your blog content or make it hard to read. A big no-no.
Isolating slow gadgets and Ads
It’s easy to figure out which gadgets or ads are slowing your site down. Just go to the Pingdom Speed Tool.
Pop your blog address into the box and run the test. Check out the graph at the bottom that shows exactly how long it takes each item on your site to load.
If you find your gadgets or ads take an excessive amount of time to load, see which ones you can live without and cut them from your site.
If some of your ads are still a problem at this point but you don’t want to give them up, try getting in touch with the ad host and let them know you are having performance issues. They may be able to help.
Sum It Up
Large image files and slow loading ads and gadgets are the usual suspects when it comes to a slow loading Blogger template. Follow the tips above to get your site loading in a flash. Your search engine rankings will improve and your readers will be much more likely to stick around when they don’t have to wait for your pages to load for too long.