It’s important for bloggers to keep in mind that at least half of all internet users are currently using dial up connections.
What that means to us is that half of our visitors are downloading the pages at about 3-4 kilobytes per second. And it’s estimated that if a page has not loaded with within 3- 5 seconds we can stand to lose one third of our visitors.
The question of whether broadband will replace dial-up residential service for Internet connectivity is not the issue. Someday, the vast majority of connections will be full-time, high-speed connections using one of the emerging broadband technologies. And the majority of the Internet industry is devoting substantial efforts and resources to make that happen more quickly.
This effort, however, does not automatically spell the end of dial-up connectivity. For starters, the explosion of broadband is limited to a handful of countries that include the US, Australia, Canada and Japan. In great Britain, for example, broadband connections account for only about one percent of the residential Internet market. By most estimates, and these are very conservative, there will be a healthy market for dial-up residential and small business accounts for years to come. — Dave McClure, President, US Internet Industry Association
Online page loading time checkers and other tools
Use Yslow, Firebug and PageSpeed (Firefox addons) to analyze your site’s load time and make improvements – JP of codeforexcelandoutlook
With Site-Perf.com, you get an accurate, realistic, and helpful estimation of your site’s loading speed ( images, CSS, JS and other files) – Ishan of bloggingwithsucess
(1) Reduce the size of images, the number of media embeds and the number of widgets running script
Your blog’s load time will increase in accord with the number of images, videos, other media embeds and the number of widgets running script you have on your blog. Images, flash and sometimes even sound files can draw visitors but do you really need all that you have now? If you don’t need sharp resolution, choose GIFs over JPEGs, as GIFs load more quickly. JPGs are generally best for photos, GIFs for anything else. Reduce the number of widgets, embeds. Optimize and decrease the size of your images or use thumbnails that link to the full-size image.
Keeping the images in their native sizes will help with load time. Resize and optimize all images to the exact size they will be in the blog before uploading them. – Aveccioni of spagettiboxkids
(2) Limit the number of scripts
(3) Use excerpts and/or limit the number of posts on front page
Your blog’s load time will increase in accord with the number of posts you display on your main page. To reduce blog loading time use the “read more” tag in your posts and display only excerpts there, and/or reduce the number of posts on your front page.
You can use CSS to improve your web sites load time. With your styles in an external .css file, the browser can cache all the formatting and stylizing for your pages instead of having to read each and every single tag all over again. This reduces lengthy tags and replaces them with smaller class styles instead. Combine your background images into a single image and use the CSS
background-position properties to display the desired image segment. If you add any custom CSS to your blog, make sure it validates.
Use a theme that loads content before sidebars. Many optimized themes do this and if you choose a theme with right sidebar, it is automatically done.
The most important thing (for hosted blogs) is using a good host. No matter how much optimization is done, if server is slow, nothing will work!
Reference: Optimizing Page Load Time
Additional Reference - Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site
Related post found in this blog: Page loading time: A new ranking factor