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3 Reasons Your Real Estate Blog Loads So Darn Slow, and the Solutions

Slow-as-a-snail-in-molasses-in-JanuaryWant to lose the interest of a new visitor to your blog?
Ensure that it takes more than a few seconds for your blogsite to load.
Not only will you lose their attention, but your site will give the impression that it is not user-friendly.
Both are the kiss of death.

The challenge is that many of the offenders have no idea that their site is taking so long to load.

By regularly visiting their own blog, Temporary Internet Files get collected onto the site owner’s computer, facilitating the speedy display of their site, keeping them oblivious to the ugly reality.

A new visitor to your site has no 'build up' of temporary files, so their first experience entails loading all the files on your site upon visit.  If you have any of the following challenges, your site may be guilty of turning off new visitors.

1. Image Size.

It's not the visual size of the image, it's the file size.
An image that appears no larger than a postage stamp can actually be a 5MB image that will take several seconds to load on even the fastest of internet connections.

The Solution:
Avoid resizing images inside your blog article editor. 
This is where challenge happens.  Shrinking an image in the blog editor does not make the file size any smaller.

Resize before uploading them to the blog article editor using an image editor.
My preferred free image editors:
Irfan View – Downloadable program
Picasa – Downloadable program
Pixer – Online
Picnik – Online (registration required)

2. JavaScript

Widgets, Chiclets and Data gathering tools are the cause.

Widgets that use JavaScript to enable their functionality (no need to list them, almost all do) need to contact their host to load and function properly. This means that there is code on your site that is instructed to look on a separate server for the program that runs the widget.  Any time you are depending on the availability and speed of a separate server, you put your clients’ experience at risk of being lagged.  

It gets ugly when you have several of these working at once.

Chiclets and Data gathering tools function the same way.  Sitemeter and MyBlogLog for example, are a JavaScript enabled and will at times be the cause of a slowed site.

Solution:
Cut the crap with the Widgets.  Do you really need them? 
What is the user experience, and is your addiction to added functionalities actually improving it?

3. Length of Homepage

The-Slowskys-Would-Love-ItHow many articles are on the front page of your site?

If your blog’s homepage just scrolls on and on and on, you have to understand that all that has to load every time someone visits your site.  All the images, YouTube videos, and slide shows are just bogging down that load time.

Solution:
There is a setting in the options (name of area may vary; “preferences” for example) that allows you to choose the number of articles that you showcase on the homepage.  If you are including potentially ‘heavy’ items in your posts, you may want to consider dropping that number to under 10.  I use 5.

In addition, you can always use the "Continue Reading" function (aka the “more tag”) that chops article so that only part of each appears on the homepage, and the rest is location on the permalink page.

This is done either with the toolbar in your blog editor, or in the HTML.
In the toolbar, look for an icon that shows an article separated by a dashed line.
Or, in the HTML, look for where you want to split the article and you simply type the following code on a line of its own.

<!--more-->

How To Test If Your Site Is Suffering a Slow Load Speed

1. Try a hard refresh by hitting Ctrl and the F5 keys at the same time. 
This will reload your site unconditionally.

2. Ask someone who has never been to your site to go and check it out.

3. Run an speed analization test.
(Disclaimer – I can’t verify the validity of these tools, but the results are curious at a minimum.)

For Speed
WebsiteOptimization
SelfSEO

For Overall Website Grading
WebsiteGrader

If you still insist on keeping your widgets and infinite homepage, I recommend testing your load speed regularly to ensure the best experience for your visitor. 

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Comments

You must have visited my blog on Saturday. I accidentally loaded the wrong photo and it loaded so slowly that while I was out on appointments I kept getting email about it. Frustrating becasue it was several hours before I could get to a computer. Then my dad called me to tell me my blog was loading slow. On the one hand it is nice to know someone is reading it, on the other hand I am only human, I do the best I can, they could have just gone and read someone else's blog and left me alone. :) Widgets can really slow things up. The feedburner widget on my blog has been removed several times becasue of performance problems as has the Zookoda widget. Then there are those times when Typepad is slow, like someone for got to feed the hamsters. I know all this yet . . . . sometimes my blog is slow.

Hugely practical! Thanks tomatoes!

Great post. I am glad even in this era where many are on high speed connections that you brought this up. Pages should most certainly load quickly or your visitors will go elsewhere where the page loads quicker!
Thanks for sharing the image resizer tools as well, although I use photoshop, I will reference your post for local agents in the office who seem not to know how to resize :)

> Sitemeter and HitTail for example, are a JavaScript enabled and will at times be the cause of a slowed site.

HitTail is one of the most light-weight, fast-loading pieces of JavaScript code on the Internet. I'd be happy to describe the precautions we've taken to ensure your pages delivered as fast to full-speed as possible.

Teresa,
You know I don't read your site ;) jk
That was a coincidence. I see the oversized image so often...this is a post that I have been meaning to write for some time. Then I actually came across a blog that had several widgets, and I left before it finally fully loaded because I was turned off.

Jamey,
Great seeing you in the comments. It was a pleasure speaking with you last week.

Michael,
I am happy to change the example I used to something more appropriate. My apologies.

Jim:

1) Today's resolutions: Slash the number of articles on the blogs.

2) Re-evaluate HitTail.

Thanks for an excellent article!

Jim - you should read my blog, you might learn something . . OK just kidding. Google analytics was causing the problem. I want to put it back in but need to figure out why it is slowing the thing down so much. had people complaining all weekend. it is super fast now.

With or without HitTail? I just want to make sure we clarify whether or not HitTail is actually causing any slow-down. We've taken some remarkable precautions against this.

Weird. I just did 2 of these things before I even read this blog. But it was not to speed up my blog, it was to reduce the links on my home page. But I really noticed my blog loaded a lot faster after I took off some chicklets and reduced the articles displayed to 7. Great information about Google analyzer though. I hadn't thought of that.

Great Pointers!!!

Jim, thanks for talking about page load speeds. This has been a concern from the start. It was always a hassle clearing the cache but your ctrl F5 trick is awesome!

Jamey, can you elaborate on HitTail a bit? Is this something valuable that I should be using on my blogsite?

Thanks

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