How much time does your blog take to load itself on the browser?
Many of you may reply – just a few seconds.
My next question would be – How many seconds?

Based on your answer, please feel free to place you in one of the below categories.
Category 1- Below 15 seconds
Category 2- Below 10 seconds
Category 3- Below 4 seconds
Category 4- Below 2 seconds

If you belong to Category 3 or 4, you are safe otherwise, you may have to look at redesigning your template today.
Almost every school of web-design agree that “page-load-time” is something that should be kept as minimal as possible, what ever your design platform is.
CSS enabled, or HTML or Flash or AJAX, whatever it is the page load time should be below 4 seconds optimally. Same goes with blogs.
Whatever fancy template you use, they must load below four seconds.

Normally, people calculate the page load time from the “feel” of it. Let me warn you, this way you never get to understand what your actual page load time is.
The reason is that the “feel” will be different on various environments, that is on a different browser with a speedy internet connection the “feel” may be different.
But the idea about outstanding optimized pages is – To achieve the minimum page load time across all platforms and environments.

How to calculate or quantify the page load time?
Here is a tool that will help you quantify the page load time. It’s a firefox plugin that will tell you exactly how much time a page takes to load. Also, a remarkable feature is that it tells you exactly how many “events” are triggerrd before loading the page.
“Events” are basically the temporary occurrences due to a script/function/link loading etc that counts as steps while loading a page.The number of events depend on the HTML code of your blog and the plugins/widgets used.

Get the plugin here.

Now, let’s look at the factors that decide the page loading time on a browser and how we can keep it to a minimum.

1 – Number of links
Keep them on the blogroll to an optimal number of 10-15. Long blogrolls are a perfect No-No.

2 – Number of images
Keep the number of images to a minimum. Now what is minimum depends on your blog template.But even if there are more number of them, keep them optimized.Use gif’s in place of Jpegs.

3 – Your basic blog layout
Make sure that the blog template layout is smooth,streamlined and not broken.Most of the custome wordpress templates available are closed and not broken. But you will have to worry once you start adding plugins and widgets.Make sure there are no open tags and no open tables.

4 – Excessive javascript usage
Excessive loading of javascript snippets can increase your page loading time, like the google analytics one, the technorati and other commenting systems scripts.

5 – Hot linking and script sourcing to other websites
If you have hotlinked an image or a widget(by loading javascript from another site like technorati), then the time taken to connect and load from those websites will increase the page load time of your website.So avoid them as much as possible or in case of blogs, keep them in the internal article pages rather than the landing page.

6 – Use of AJAX elements
Excessive use of AJAX elements will simply increase the page load time. When you have to use AJAX, keep it minimal and if possible towards the last end(third column) of the blog template.If you place an AJAX element on the left hand panel, then it is likely that all the other elements will load only after the AJAX is loaded.

7 – Use of FLash animations

Some people fancy using Flash enabled headers or title texts. Bad bad decision.Though flash elements give a rich user experience you are risking on the useablity factor. Keep them minimal, and if possible do not use huge elements, make them simple and small.And remember, load the elemts on a flash elemt in pages with a preloader.

8 – Frames
Do not use frames please. I can’t think of one good reason why anyone should use frames.It is an outdated concept.More over, they are not search engine friendly too.So avoid them where ever possible.

These are not just the only things that will increase your page load time, there are other factors as well. But concerning blogs, these are the ones that may matter on the first look.
The basic idea to decrease page load time is to KISS – (yeah, keep it simple stupid).More of the above points are related to your basic blog template, whether it follows a streamlined approach or not.

Hope the above points will help you have a second look at your existing template and redesign it if necessary so that you keep your loading time to the minimum.
Hey, there are millions of blogs around,may be your folks would wait for your blog to load but not a surfer, all he needs is info – be it on your blog or the other. You don’t want to lose him – do you?