User experience of a blog or website largely depends upon the time it takes for the page to load. More time it takes to load, chances are pretty high that user may press the back button and go on to explore other sites. In fact, Google has also said that while giving ratings to a particular site, they are also going to consider the page load times. So we see, how important it is to optimize this parameter for the sake of Search Engine ratings.
Out of all the dependencies (such as sever side, assets based), reducing number of HTTP request seems to be the most important one. If proper care is taken, it can be easily managed with little wit and tools available over the net. Lets take a look how this can be accomplished.
The three most important factors in reducing HTTP request is taking care of Java script, CSS call and image optimization. Lets dig a little deeper in and find out what steps can be followed to optimize them.
Check Performance of your Pages
Even small things such as removing extra white space can have its effect! You can also use tools such as Y!Slow and Firebug to further analyze the site issues and take corrective action.
CSS optimization is equally important to reduce HTTP calls from browser. There are many tools available on the net for the purpose but you can use WordPress inbuilt Java Script and CSS compression tool called WP minify. This tool can be downloaded from this link.
By using CSS sprites technology it’s possible to reduce the number of requests. This technology converts all your small images into a one big large image and then eventually reproduces using mapping technique.
Before using CSS Sprite
After using CSS Sprite
You can even use easy CSS Sprites Generator to get your work done faster.
As far as images are concerned use lesser number of images and optimize them by using the right size. Say for example if you have image 1000px by 1000px and you actually require 500px x 500px, then use any good image editor to reduce the resolution.
WordPress Data caching
Its possible to cache some website data into browser itself so that when the web page loads, it picks up the data from cache, reducing HTTP request in the process. There are multiple WordPress themes available for the purpose. One of the highly used and recommended by many is W3 Total Cache.
Reduce number of extra Plugins and Functions
Extra functions such as visit counter, chat box, guest book etc if used shall create its own HTTP request and in the process slow down the page loading. Remove all the extra Plugin that you feel are unimportant since each Plugin shall have its own number of calls.
You will be amazed to know that Google just makes one HTTP request per search click, hence much faster compared to other search engines. All in all you need to take a look at the code and remove anything which is undesired to have overall benefit for you website.