Website Usability: Additional Steps to Improve Blog Post Loading Speed

Blog UsabilityIf your blog loading time is below normal then you need to take urgent actions to improve its performance. You don’t want to irritate your visitors. So here are couple things you can do to get your blog loading time back to normal. Initial steps are described in the previous post: “Website Usability: How to Create Optimal Blog Posts from Technical Point of View

Now let’s dig a bit deeper.

It’s better not to use many images and videos in one post. Using 2-3 images or 1-2 videos is perfectly fine, but what if according to your storyline you just have to post 9 videos in one blog post, and there is just no way for 2 videos to tell the whole story?

If you will post all 9 videos in one blog post, and this post ends up at the home page of your blog then your loading time will be terrible.

You don’t want to irritate your visitors. So here are couple things you can do to get your blog loading time back to normal

Split Your Post into Multiple Pages

You can split your long blog post into several pages, so each video will be on a separate page. This way you’re essentially loading 9-10 pages which tell your whole story and at the same time are lightning fast in loading time.

If you think it will be difficult for you to split post into multiple pages, and it will require a lot of programming- think again.

This blog is built on WordPress platform, so I will be talking about the ways to improve blog speed on WordPress, but I am sure that other blog platforms have similar solutions.

WordPress has built-in solution for pagination.
All you have to do is type in the following piece of code in the text editor (not visual editor) exactly in the place where do you want to split the page:

<!–nextpage–>

That’s it. Using this code you can split your blog post into as many pages as you like. Simple, right?

There are also different WordPress plugins that offer enhanced pagination functionality. Just search for the “next page” in the WP plugin directory…

Cache Your Content

Another way to minimize the server load, save bandwidth and reduce loading time is by caching your content.

Cashing is a method of storing part of information on visitor’s computers. It’s especially important for repeat visitors. Instead of sending requests to your server each time they can use the locally stored elements (images, etc) to load your blog much faster.

There are many caching plugins available, some are simple,others offer tons of bells and whistles.

Just find the one that suits you better and install it.
Have you done these two steps? Congratulations, your blog should run much smoother now.

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Website Usability: How to Create Optimal Blog Posts from Technical Point of View

Editor Growth and Contribution Program logoWhen you write a blog post you most likely primarily think how to better express your thoughts and what images to use to illustrate your points. The more images and videos you use in a blog post the merrier, right? After all, you want to provide your readers with rich content. Images and videos turn the process of reading a post into multi-sensational experience appealing to both visual and auditory types of your website visitors.

Though kinesthetic sensory can’t be currently achieved through normal interaction with web content, addressing two out of three main sensory modalities is better than catering to only visual learners, correct?

Theoretically yes. On practice though there are many other factors that should be considered during blog post creation.

When less is more

If you illustrate your post with several large size images, and then insert 5-7 Youtube videos to make your blog post more interesting, suddenly your content-rich blog post turns into usability nightmare.

Here is why. Each of those elements adds additional bandwidth to the total loading bandwidth of a blog page. You might think that if you embed videos hosted on Youtube then you don’t use your own bandwidth.

It’s a common misconception. Each instance of Youtube video published on your site loads swf file (in layman terms, a flash player) which is used to actually display a video content. And such file can reach up to 500 KB (half a megabyte).

That might not sound like much, but if you have 5 videos in one blog post, all over sudden you’re looking at 2.5 MB (megabytes) of loading bandwidth per one page load. Add here large size blog post images, all the plugins used on your blog, plus other elements required for page loading – and you might end up with 5-6 megabytes of loading bandwidth.

Why is it bad to have large pages on your blog? Because they will take a long time to load. Instead of 1.5-2 seconds of normal page loading time it might take over 5 seconds.

Keep in mind that it takes visitor on average 9 seconds to make a decision whether to stay on a page or go elsewhere. If your blog post is overloaded with images and videos, more than half of this valuable time will be spend on page loading… And you will lose the majority of your visitors…

Even the most engaging and content-rich blog post is useless if it’s not loaded quickly. Not to mention that you will face hefty hosting expenses since such page loading bandwidth will balloon your bandwidth usage to the moon.

There are many sites that can help you to test the bandwidth usage of a site and each of its elements. One of the most popular is tools.pingdom.com. Enter the url of the page in question – and pingdom will tell you loading time, used bandwidth and most importantly will show the bandwidth used by all page elements, so you will be able to easily identify all bandwidth eaters.

Pay close attention to all plugins you installed. After inspecting bandwidth used by each plugin you might want to decide that some of them are not worth the price (bandwidth price that is).

The morale of this story? Use both images and videos to make your blog posts more attractive, but use them sparingly. Use other elements that will increase interactivity, but don’t forget to check their loading “price”

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