Speed, Speed and more Speed
Speed and more speed. When you run a stock photo site you should be nuts about trying to optimize your page load time. Yeah, I learned the hard way when my initial average page load times ran about 12 seconds.
Now i’m no expert at this stuff but was able to tap into a couple cool resources:
- Cache everything under the sun. I’ve tried W3 Cache, didn’t like it and just tried WP-Rocket. Now don’t get me wrong, i was a little leery of paying $39 for a cache plugin when there so many options for free. I’ll save you time. They rock. Totally worth it
- Re-size Your images! So we use Amazon EC2 to host the big files but you should still resize images for the thumbnails.
- Measure performance. Sites I use to measure performance: Pingdom and GtMetrix and WebPageTest.org. Now there are probably a ton more tools out there, but why overthink it? Basically the goal is to try to keep site load time under 2-3 seconds. You can ignore the rest of the metrics. So its pretty well known that you start losing people around 3 second load time. And eventually I’ll shoot for getting things under 1 second (but its tough with my current server setup). Anyways, coming from 12 seconds its a big improvement.
- You Host Matters. I have a pretty bizarre story about my hosting company. I’ve been using Hostmonster for the past 10 years with little to no issues. When I started hitting some of their soft limits, I was told to check out their sister company, Bluehost. New, fast cloud service? Sounds awesome. How do I sign up? Well, it pretty much went downhill from there; what was supposed to be a ‘couple hour’ migration turned into a week. Then I wasn’t able to add any content to my site because they wouldn’t let me customize the server time outs limits (something I could do previously). Hours and hours of tech support and frustration later, I went back to Hostmonster. Lesson? Newer and more expensive isn’t always the best option.
- Check out your local meetups: big shout out to New York Web Performance Group. These guys are great; I went to one of their performance sessions, paid a couple bucks and ended up being the only person there. Loved it. Had two experts spend two hours working with me on my site. They even fed me pizza which is doubly cool.