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8-Step Process to Speeding Up Your WordPress Site

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How fast does your website load? If you don’t know, then you could be missing out on a lot of traffic and lost revenue as a result of a slow loading site. Just because your site loads fast for you, it doesn’t mean it will load fast for everyone. It’s actually depends on a wide range of factors… all of which we will be covering in this article.

First of all, a fast loading website is extremely important for a number of reasons. Here are just a few of them:

  • Keep your audience happy
  • Limit your bounce rate
  • Google ranks fast sites higher
  • Faster website earn more per visitor

These are just four of the most obvious reasons to have a fast loading site. Besides the obvious point of a slow loading site being extremely annoying, it’s a huge financial and growth factor as well.

I’ve already covered most of these points in previous articles on this blog, so this time I want to focus solely on how you can actually speed up your site — step by step. However, just to provide a reminder of how important loading time and page speed is to your business and brand, take a look at the graphic below provided by Aberdeen Group. No matter how much traffic, revenue or business your site is generating online… it can still be leaving a lot of money on the table if it’s not loading as fast as possible.

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8 Steps to a Faster Loading WordPress Site

Each of the methods below will be used to increase the loading time and speed of your site in different ways. For this reason, I highly recommend you do a Google Speed Test on your website before implementing any of them tips, then running it again each time you make changes to your site. This way you can see what improvements have worked best. Special thanks to Blogging Basics 101 for the infographic below.

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1 – Identify What Causes Your Site to Slow Down

If you want to have a fast loading website or blog, you will find need to find out what areas are slowing it down. A great way to accomplish this is to run a simple speed and optimization test through sites like Pingdom, WebPageTest or GT Metrix.

Each of these solutions will analyze your site and then provide a report for you on how fast each section of your site is loading. As mentioned earlier, this is one of the first things you should be doing before moving forward with any of the steps below.

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2 – Get Rid of Unnecessary Plugins

WordPress is one of the greatest content management platforms ever created, however it can also be loaded up with some unnecessary features as well — such as plugins.

It’s important to not only remove such plugins after installing WordPress on your site, but also to remove any unwanted or unused plugins after you may no longer need them. A good rule of thumb to remember is, the more complex a WordPress plugin in… the more likely it is slowing down your site.

P3Profiler is a great plugin for analyzing WordPress plugins and see letting you know which may be affecting the speed of your site.

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3 – Practice Optimizing Your Database

The power behind your WordPress site is actually the database that it’s running off of. Just like a computer, this database can fill up with junk over time and slow down in it’s processing speed. Other areas that can slow down your WordPress site include spam comments, drafts, revisions and old plugin tables.

Optimizing your database is not only a great way to speed up your site, it’s also quite easy to accomplish as well. Garbage Collector is a plugin that will help clean up unwanted tables and different areas of your site.

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4 – Understand Content Delivery Networks (CDN)

One of the best ways to immediately improve the loading time of your site is to connect with a content delivery network. The way a CDN works is simple, they basically host a copy of your site in different places around the world so your readers are directed to a server closer to them.

For a CDN to work, all a site owner needs to do is modify their root domain DNS configurations (ie: domain.com) and those of its subdomain as well (www.domain.com / img.domain.com). The root domain (A record) will also need to point to the CDN’s IP ranges as well. It sounds like a complicated process, but it’s actually quite simple and will only need to be set up once. Most CDNs will also provide you with a complete tutorial on how to set this up as well.

Content delivery networks can actually help your site with a lot more than just increasing its loading time. Further benefits of having a CDN associated with your site includes:

  • Improve page load speed
  • Handle high traffic loads
  • Block spammers, scrapers and other bad bots
  • Localize coverage without the cost
  • Reduce bandwidth consumption
  • Load balance between multiple servers
  • Protect your website from DDoS attacks
  • Secure your application

I personally like the CDN from Incapsula, since it has integrated DDoS protection, WAF and real-time traffic monitoring (failover and HA).

W3 Total Cache is definitely my recommendation as a popular WordPress plugin that is often used to connect WordPress sites with their CDN of choice.

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5 – Learn to Speed Up Images Issues

One of the heaviest areas of content and resources on your site is going to be image use. Every photo on our site must be downloaded by your audience every time your site is accessed. This includes site design images and content as well. In short… the more images you have, the longer your site is going to take to load.

An excellent way to speed up your site while lowering image loading issues is to add lazy loading to your site. This will only load images as the reader scrolls down into your site content. Some popular plugins for this are Lazy Load, BT Lazy Load and Lazy Widget Leader.

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6 – Never Forget to Use Caching

Caching is a great way to speed up your site and content delivery while also reducing the amount of requests that are being sent to and from your server. The more and longer they processes to your server takes, the longer loading time your site will have.

To help with this process, you can implement a caching plugin to do most of this work for you. Such plugins change dynamic files into static HTML files, thus speeding up the time is takes for your site to load.

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7 – Minimize and Minify Your Code

While WordPress has made the concept of creating websites and content very easy, it hasn’t done a world of wonders for the actual coding and page sizes that are being published. A better way to get around this and release sites and content with smaller loading times is to minimize and minify your coding wherever possible.

This is best accomplished through the use of GZIP, which can reduce your page size by up to 70%. This can be done by modifying your .htaccess file or using a plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP HTTP Compression.

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8 – Social Media Sharing

We all know about the importance of social media sharing and adding those cool Facebook Fan Page boxes and sharing buttons to our sites, but are you using the right ones? As great as some of them might look, they could actually be causing more damage than good.

Many of these tools and plugins are very heavy in coding or resources, which ultimately slows down your site. Some of the most recommended and fast loading WP plugins for social sharing are Floating Social Bar, Share Center Pro or WP MashSocial widget.

Speeding Up Your WordPress Site Infographic

In addition to everything we’ve laid out above in detail, you can also walk through this same 8-step process in the visual infographic below.

speeding-up-wordpress-hd-infographic-e1469662373320-png

 

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Blogging

5 Reasons Why Your Business Should Be Writing Blogs Right Now

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Blogging is a great way to get your website noticed and generate more traffic and sales. 86% of companies use a blog on their websites, so you can’t afford to miss out.

You may think that blogs aren’t that important, or that they don’t make a lot of difference to your business. But they are a lot more effective than you may think.

Blogging can increase your lead generation by 67%. Whether you’re a new or established business, this can prove invaluable. Here are 5 reasons your business needs to start writing blogs now.

1. Generate Traffic

Blog posts add more content to your website and thus attract more people to visit your site. Creating web content means that you can direct your readers to other parts of your website.

This means you can write a post about one of your products or services and use yours as an example. When readers discover this, you have a greater chance of boosting sales.

2. Boost SEO

When it comes to marketing your business, SEO is king. SEO determines where your website ranks on search engine results. In turn, it impacts how many people find you.

There are a lot of things that affect your SEO. Things like a fully optimized website and using the right links can make a real difference. Hook Agency says that having the right SEO can double or even triple your traffic from search engines.

Once you have your website sorted, blog content is next. The more blogs you write, the better the SEO. Use popular keywords and terms that your audience would search for. This will make your posts rank higher on search engines and get customers your way.

3. Create a Brand Voice

There are a lot of company blogs out there which may be interesting, but they have no distinctive voice. When they have no voice, they all blend into one.

But if you write blogs with a specific voice, you make an impression. When people can recognise your writing style, they recognise your company.

Set featured imageTry to give your posts a personality. They are more fun to read and will keep people coming back to read for more. They make your brand more trustworthy and encourage people to choose your brand.

4. Showcase Your Services

When it comes to your business, you’re the expert. You know all about your own products and services, so use your blog to show off this knowledge!

Explain what you offer and what you can do for your customers. People want brands to know exactly what they’re selling and it makes you more reliable.

It also serves as a free way to advertise your business. You can write as much or as little as you want on the services you’re offering.  

5. You Stay Ahead of the Curve

When you give your website a blog, you’re also future proofing your business. Those who don’t have blogs are lagging behind and missing out on a lot of great opportunities.

It gives you the chance to be creative and boost your business in a whole new way. You can also add other media like videos and photos to your posts to boost your SEO even further.

Chances are, you’ll find blogging very fun. Regular content on your site gives your business a firm presence and will keep you on the SEO map for longer.

Your Business Needs to Start Writing Blogs Now

Now that you know how important it is to start writing blogs for your business, it’s time to get started. It’s a fun creative challenge which can lead to more traffic and more sales.

Want to start a blog on your website? Check out our services and see how we can help you set it up.

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Blogging

Cyber Monday and Black Friday Deals Going on Right Now!

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Black Friday is always a great time to take advantage of the huge holiday sales rush. Not only is this true with retail locations, it’s also MASSIVE for online businesses and shopping as well.

To provide our audience with a selection of the best Black Friday offers on the market today, we’ve hand selected a few of the best out there. Not only are these tools that are trusted and used by thousands, they are also tools and solutions that we love and personally use daily.

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Discover how to start a profitable online business by mastering affiliate marketing, content creation, social media, paid search & more.

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Blogging.org University has created “The Complete Guide to Affiliate Marketing & Blogging” to make the concept of creating an online website, blog, brand, or business easy for anyone.

In these video sessions, industry expert Zac Johnson, will walk students through everything they need to know to create a successful and profitable blog online. Such topics include finding that perfect niche market, creating a site from scratch, how to make money with affiliate marketing, and much more!

And of course, all students get lifetime access to all course content, videos, and updates.

Online Coaching with Industry Expert Zac Johnson

Zac Johnson is the Founder of Blogging.org, and has been making money online with content and affiliate marketing for over 20 years now. Having first started making money online back in the mid-to-late 90s, Zac first found affiliate marketing success with Amazon.com, then started building out his own sites and ad campaigns.

Over the past two decade, Zac Johnson has lunched hundreds of websites, thousands of ad campaigns and has also taught his students how to make millions of dollars in the process.

The Complete Guide to Affiliate Marketing & Blogging” is simply one of the best courses for learning how to create a legitimate and profitable business on the internet, while also being 100% taught through lessons created by Zac Johnson himself.

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Blogging

Quick and Effective Tips to Maximize Speed of your Website or Blog

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Few things are worse than when you click over to a new website or blog, and then it’s loading slow as anything. With everyone having an extremely short attention span, and so many options for other websites and entertainment online, a fast loading website is a must for every blogger, brand, or business on the internet.

There are also many benefits associated with a fast loading site, beyond just user experience. Google is now penalizing sites that take too long to load, and boosting up other sites that a mobile-optimized and running super fast.

Depending on how technical your design or WordPress skills might be, the process of speeding up your site and maximizing it’s optimization might vary. To help with this process, I’ve listed a few of the best working methods below.

Optimize your Homepage to Load Quickly

With the homepage being one of the most vital parts of your website or blog, you should be doing everything possible to make sure it loads quickly. Different things can be done to speed up your homepage such as lowering the number of posts on the main page, minimizing applications and widgets from third-party sites, and also optimizing your images so they are either loading as a smaller sized file or through a CDN service. It’s also a good idea to use an SEO friendly theme or template, as these are more often cleaner with their coding and already optimized right out of the box.

Use an Effective Caching Plugin

If you are using a CMS like WordPress or blogger, then using an effective cashing plugin can contribute nicely in the process of making sure your site is loading as fast as possible. Since caching is an apparatus for a temporary storage of web pages to diminish bandwidth and to improve page loading performance as well, it saves the server’s time to make web pages load faster. Caching plugins are easy to install and use. All you need to do is perform some research online to see which plugin is best for your site, then click a few buttons to have it installed right within WordPress. Once this is done, it’s usually just a matter of copying the account number of your CDN and letting the hosting provider and WordPress plugin do its work.

Use CDN (content delivery network)

We’ve already referenced content delivery networks or CDNs, a few times now. The way these solutions work is that they host a version of your site on their server, and then loads the content from another server that is closest to that individual’s location. More and more site owners and bloggers are using CDNs not only to improve page load speed but to provide users with a great experience to make them stay longer on the website. Also mentioned earlier, this can help with how well a site ranks in Google, while also moving your site above the competition. Moreover, if one of your server locations is overloaded due to huge traffic and visitors, then users can automatically be switched to a new server location to enjoy fast loading website experience.

Improve Your Hosting Plan

If you have a slow loading website or blog, it’s likely due to your hosting plan. If you are pushing a lot of traffic through your site and making money in the process, you should definitely upgrade from a shared server. Shared hosting is often fine for new site owners and bloggers, but as your site gains more attention, backlinks, and traffic, it will also likely be using more server resource. On a shared server, your site is also sharing the server resources with many other sites — sometimes hundreds, or even thousands! Upgrading your hosting plan to a VPS or dedicated hosting package can greatly improve the performance of your site as well. So, if you are still using a cheap web hosting plan with an average price below $5/mo and receiving massive traffic from search engines, then it would be the right time for you to upgrade your hosting plan with a better one to speed up your website loading speed.

Use Optimized Images

Big images take up a lot of space and resources when it comes to loading data from your site. This is especially true with very high-quality images. While these images are going to play a big role in the beauty and engagement on your site, there are still ways to optimize such large images so they load faster and put less stress on your server. There are many plugins are available that can drastically reduce the file size of an image without reducing the quality. Image optimization will not only help you boost website load time but will also save disk space for more files and media. If you really don’t want to overload your website with plugins, then you can also use online image reducer apps and software to optimize image before uploading to the media library of the site.

Minimize HTTP Redirects Requests

How and where content is being loaded on your site can also affect its overall performance. You may need to use redirect requests to redirect the web browser from one URL to another. There are a variety of reasons as to why you might want to do this, such as to specify a new URL location, to track visits and clicks on the site or to connect different elements of the website with each other. Since redirects might be necessary to enhance overall UX of the website, you should only be using the redirect requests that are most important because excessive redirect requests can have an ultimate impact on the loading speed of your website/blog.

Don’t Leave Your Audience Hanging

When browsing the internet, few things are more annoying than accessing a slow loading website. It’s hard enough to get someone to visit your site, let alone stay for a few seconds. Don’t give them a reason to leave right away because your site isn’t loading as fast as it should be.

Follow each of the simple and effective site speed optimization tips above to make sure your site loads as fast as possible, ranks higher than the competition and also doesn’t disappoint your audience when they hit your site.

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