Since Google is considering using page load times as a ranking factor in Caffeine and slow load times cause a bad experience for users, I have been looking for solutions to make my pages load faster.
I've been looking at typical solutions, primarily caching plugins like WP Cache and WP Super Cache. But I've hesitated to install them. I keep my plugins to a bare bones minimum - Akismet, Contact Form 7, and Really Simple CAPTCHA are the only ones I use. I've also read some disturbing things about issues such caching plugins have caused on other sites.
Well, last night I stumbled onto a tip from a guy (Jim Morgan) who I REALLY respect when it comes to Apache and Mod_Rewrite. This guy knows more about Mod_Rewrite than anyone I've corresponded with on the web... bar none. And to boot, he is an effeciency freak!
Basically, your WordPress performance can be improved by optimizing the code that WordPress adds to your root folder's .htaccess. The default code from WordPress can be very inefficient depending on your web host's server configuration and server traffic volumes.
Check it out... try it out... and let me know what if any improvements or issues you run into. I installed it last night and page load times went from 4-8 seconds down to 1-3 seconds immediately. It was a VERY noticeable difference on my site.