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Since Google announced in late 2010, that they are a mobile first company they officially started counting website speed as a ranking factor.
Leave alone Google, researches have shown that even users tend to abandon a site that takes 3 seconds or longer to load (source).
Having a swift site that loads faster will definitely help you increase your rankings and please your readers. If you have a site that loads slow here is a detailed guide to speed up your WordPress site.
Start, Shall we?
Why WordPress speed matters?
If you’re a WordPress user you’ll know that your site tends to get slow over time. This is not because WordPress is buggy but because of the fact that most of us install way too many plugins and take unfair advantage of the freedom WordPress offers us. In fact, there are many different ways to speed up a WordPress site, and depending on the method you want to use, it can take more/less time than you might have expected. Some methods are as simple as installing a WordPress plugin, while advanced methods include server work and reconfiguring how content loads on your site.
But, this does take a toll on your site conversions. For example, Mozilla boosted its conversions (downloads) by 15.4% by just improving the loading time of it’s landing pages by 2.2 seconds only. Even Amazon calculated that a delay of 1 second in loading time could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year.
Website loading time has similar effect on conversions if you’re a blogger, selling a service, affiliate marketing or any other website owner.
Now that you know how important website loading time is and why speed matters, let’s head over to the factors that play a key role in shaping your website loading time.
Factors Which Affect Site Loading Time
Before you start your speed optimization process, you must understand the factors those affect your site loading time. Once you understand them then you can optimize your site accordingly.
1) Website Hosting Matters
Your web host plays a key role in the time your site takes to load completely. Mediocre or cheap shared hosting services might appear to be lucrative on the outside, but on the inside, they are just stacks of Apache and their servers are optimized.
Cost effective hosting are a great way to start blogging but you should know these do limit your ranking potential in various ways, one being the time to first byte. Time to first byte is actually the time taken by the server to deliver its first byte of data to the browser. Typically a site should have below 200 ms of TTFB (recommended by Google) and you’d be surprised one hosting I used for a site of mine had a TTFB of 2 long seconds.
Having a website sharing its server with 200+ other websites is a bit scary as you don’t know how unoptimized your neighbor sites are. Furthermore, most shared hosting sites have frequent downtime which leaks visitors and deteriorate your site rankings at the same time.
On the other hand, managed WordPress hosting services like Flywheel hosting gives you a first hand in site speed and user experience.
2) Choice of Themes, Plugins and Add-ons
After choosing a WordPress host, your work is half done. you need to optimize your site for being light-weight and giving less stress to hosting on its end.
WordPress themes and plugins (specially the ones that come with multiple theme design setups like betheme are great but they do add to the bloat by giving you extra codes you’d never need).
Similarly, simple widgets and plugins that we use daily like a social media widget, a Google plus follow button etc can add up to your loading time. Use them only when you absolutely need.
Sometimes, we add up certain plugins that we are not using currently. For example plugins like WordPress migration, custom font and typography plugins etc add to the weight of the site. These plugins get loaded everytime when a page that uses them loads on your website. So, it is better to get rid of those plugins or only activate them when you need them.
3) Messy Sidebar With Ads and Affiliate Banners
Blog monetization is a very important part of blogging and we cannot ignore it completely for the sake of boosting the speed of your website.
Naturally, with the addition of every new method of monetization your blog ends up with one more new ad on the sidebar.
There are various ways in which you can declutter your sidebar and increase your website speed while not compromising on your earning potential.
You can remove banner ads and create text or CSS based ads that are definitely a notch lighter than banners. Writing product reviews or linking similar products in your content can do the same affiliate wonders than sidebars. (We’ll talk more about this below!)
4) Other factors
There are a lot of other factors that can slow down your site like unoptimized images, unused codes and formatting at a per page level and even scripts like your Google analytics script, social sharing widget scripts add to your page weight.
Redirects pointing your page and many other factors which you can get a clear insight of by just punching your URL to a page speed testing tool like Google page speed insights tool.
How To Speed Up Your WordPress Site Like A Pro?
According to a case study, your website speed affects your website conversion rates.
While there are a ton of articles on Google related to speeding up WordPress sites, here are some of the easy and quick tips to speed up a WordPress site like a pro.
Expert Tips to Speed Up A WordPress Website Quickly
Pro tip: Go to Pingdom tools and enter your domain to find out your website performance. You can quickly figure out how much time your website takes to load on browsers. The tool also gives you quick recommendations on how to speed up your site loading times.
#1. Pick the RIGHT Web Hosting
Whether you’re using WordPress or not, choosing the right web hosting is important. Many WordPress users are still not aware of the fact that their web hosting performance is directly proportional to their website speed.
Unfortunately though, the web hosting industry is flooded with a gazillion number of hosting choices which makes it really hard for most WordPress users to pick the right web hosting to run their sites faster.
Instead of using shared hosting, you can quadruple your website’s speed and performance by using VPS hosting. Dedicated (or VPS) hosting usually costs a bit more than shared hosting servers but it is worth every penny when you want faster loading sites.
In a research done by Search Engine Journal, it’s proved that VPS hosting can make your site loading extremely faster (twice faster) than hosting your site on shared hosting servers.
#2. Optimize Everything
Here are a few essential things you need to optimize in order to speed up your WordPress loading times really quickly.
Optimize your images
Most of your website hosting bandwidth is consumed by the amount of images you use within your blog posts and pages. Most WordPress users aren’t aware of this simple thing and they often use images without optimizing their sizes.
When you don’t optimize (read compress) images, your hosting bandwidth increases hence your website speed decreases. The simplest remedy for this is to compress images before you even use them.
Either use image compression tools online or install plugins like WP Smush to compress bulk amount of images from your WordPress dashboard at once to quickly speed up your WordPress sites.
Optimize your databases
Most of your files (data including posts, plugins cache, image files etc) are stored in your hosting databases. The bigger your website becomes the more burden lies on your databases. By optimizing your databases, you can immensely improve your site loading time as it reduces spam comments, fake users who register on your site etc.
Database optimization can be done in two ways – either by using a WordPress plugin or through phpMyAdmin. If you’re not a WordPress tech-savvy and don’t want to spend too much time in exploring your database files from hosting servers optimize, use simple plugins like WP Optimize to quickly optimize your website databases.
Optimize your post revisions
Your WordPress website stores revisions in your databases whenever you revise or update your blog posts. Few WordPress users have a habit of doing too many post revisions which only create an extra burden on their databases which ultimately reduces their website loading times.
Here’s how your website blog post revisions look like (from your WP dashboard).
So make sure to limit your post revisions and here’s a great tutorial on how to do it manually. If you prefer using a plugin to control your post revisions, you can use a free plugin called Revision Control.
#3. Install A Caching Plugin
Clearing cache from your website regularly can be one of the simplest and quickest ways to speed up any WordPress site. Caching daily or regularly can minify all the unwanted stuff from your databases and improves your website user experience.
Almost every WordPress user who gives top priority to their WordPress loading times uses a caching plugin. Although there are a ton of caching related plugins available in the WordPress plugin directory, the following two are highly recommended.
WP Super Cache: This caching plugin is developed by Automattic (the WordPress team itself). This can be super useful for compressing pages, simple caching and to generate static html files from your dynamic WordPress site.
#4. Get Your WordPress Basics Right
There are a couple of basic things related to WordPress that you need to implement regularly to keep your WordPress sites both faster and safer.
- Keep your WordPress site up-to-date: WordPress core platform gets updated frequently and make sure to update your WordPress whenever there’s a new version is available. Every WordPress update eliminates security risks and enhances your overall site performance.
- Limit your plugins usage: You might be using too many plugins to run your WordPress sites and most of them are NOT really essential. Using too many plugins can only reduce your website speed and performance and in the worst case, it may even lead to crashing your site all at once. As a good rule of thumb, limit your WordPress site plugin usage to 15 or even less.
- Add lazy load to your videos and images: Lazy loading allows your WordPress site to show images and videos only when the visitor scrolls down the page to actually see them. That way your website takes less time to load your web pages. You can use plugins like BJ Lazy Load to lazy load all your post images, post thumbnails, gravatar images etc.
- Update your plugins: Most WordPress plugins get updated frequently and make sure to update them whenever you their newer versions. Also take regular backups of your site whenever you update your core WordPress version or plugins to ensure that all your files are safe including images, blog posts, pages, comments etc.
- Use a lightweight theme or framework: There are a ton of WordPress themes available over the web and if you want to boost your site loading times, make sure to grab a lightweight and fast loading theme framework such as Genesis, or Divi themes etc instead of installing free or nulled WordPress themes. Before buying a premium theme for your WordPress sites, make sure to test the demo version of it on Pingdom tools to analyse the performance and speed.
#5. Start Using A Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN (also known as content delivery network) helps you move your website static files closer to visitors and also ensures that every page renders as fast as possible from whatever device a visitor is surfing from (mobile or desktop). It also allows you to give high quality speeds to all the users around the globe.
So moving content physically closer to your website visitors is the easiest and simplest way to dramatically boost your WordPress site speed and it can only be possible with a CDN.
Here are some of the benefits of using a CDN just case if you’re still wondering about the usage of it.
- Increases your page loading times (so less website bounce rates)
- Improves search engine rankings (your website speed impacts your search rankings)
- Reduces your website servers load
- Controls your website bandwidth to enhance speed
There are a ton of CDN’s are available but MaxCDN and Cloudflare are widely used by WordPress uses worldwide to speed up their sites.
Apart from the use of a CDN, GZip compression is also much needed to speed up your site performance. A Gzip is simply a file format and a software application used for file compression and decompression.
GZip reduces the used bandwidth and loading speed of every page on your WordPress site and optimizes your important files smaller and is achieved via plugins like PageSPeed Ninja.
Final verdict about speeding up a WordPress site
Online marketing is growing rapidly and thousands of websites are going live every single day. The competition is only getting bigger and everyone who’s thinking about buying online is turning to a website before making a purchase (to find reviews, product comparison, better deals and discounts etc).
That being said, no matter how good your website is – if it is taking too much time to load, you’ll be losing a lot of money and traffic to your competitors. Keeping an eye on your website loading times can double your website conversions.
5 Must-Do Tips Before Publishing A Lifestyle Blog
Running a lifestyle blog can be very profitable. You can make a steady stream of passive income writing about everyday topics that you are passionate about. The best part is that lifestyle blogs are pretty simple to take on and keep going. Your blogs can be about travel, daily life experiences, or even a vlog (video blog).
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However, prior to publishing your blog online, you need to adhere to a few important, yet simple principles. The most important step is finding your niche. Choosing the right niche can save you a tremendous number of headaches down the road. Once you selected the perfect niche, there are some other factors you need to keep in mind while finding your voice. We compiled a list of must-do tips for anyone ready to publish a lifestyle blog. Let’s dive in!
1 – What niche is best for your lifestyle blog?
Before you begin any work toward launching a lifestyle blog, you need to carefully define your niche. Some blogs have very broad niches, while others are much narrower. The blogs with a broader niche can generate a lot more revenue if they become prominent enough. However, it is difficult to succeed with a very broad niche without a massive budget and a willingness to create thousands of posts. If you are trying to get results more quickly and on a smaller budget, then you should stick a tighter niche.
If you plan on writing about your world travels, your niche could be traveling the world while blogging. If you plan on traveling by boat only, maybe your niche can be sailing and blogging. You can draw from a number of best boating blogs for inspiration on this.
Whatever your niche, be sure to have it clearly defined before doing anything else. Why? Having a solid niche market and idea in place will dictate the type of content you plan on publishing. It also helps keep your content unique and authoritative. People do like to read, but they would rather be entertained and engaged when doing so. Defining your niche can do just that. It also helps you stay focused down the road as well.
2 – Identify your ideal target audience
You can write until your fingers bleed, but if you don’t have a clearly defined target audience that is easy to monetize, it is all just a waste of time. If you aren’t specific enough when defining your audience, then you will not be able to create content that resonates with any of them. What steps should you take to define and get a better understanding of your target audience?
Aim for 1,000 true followers and the rest will fall into place. By having a very defined target audience, you can essentially write just for them. That is why 1,000 people should be your hallmark. Because if you can get 1,000 people truly engaged in your content, you can get 100,000 people later on. That’s because it is the same process, only scaled. And your 1,000 true followers will help you reach 100,000 by becoming advocates for you and your content.
3 – Have a clever blog name and tagline
You are not simply creating a blog and writing content for your target audience. You are creating a brand. You are your brand, and every successful brand has a clever name and tagline. This is essential if you want to have growth and success with some passive income rolling in.
With your niche on your mind, start brainstorming name and tagline ideas. It is best practice not to rush this process. By the end of a few hours of brainstorming, you should have at least 50 names and taglines on paper. After that, narrow it to 10, then three, then just one. Feel free to get family and friends advice too, because you may not be seeing something they can. Once you have it, check to make sure it is available for use on WordPress and social media channels.
4 – Choose The Right Blogging Platform For You And Your Budget
Once you have chosen a domain name and outlined the general direction of your blog, you should choose a blogging platform and content management system (CMS) that works for you. One of the best is WordPress. With WordPress, you can get a paid or free blogging website. It is best to go with paid, because you can lock in your domain name, serve up ads, and have more control of the user experience (UX) you deliver to your target audience.
5 – Do Detailed Keyword Research And Write 10 Blogs
This is going to be the hardest part of starting your lifestyle blog. You can’t just start writing content that you think readers will like. It needs to get attention and help you build your audience. Content is certainly great, but ensuring your content is ranking well on search engines, like Google, as well as having enough content for site visitors to browse is critical.
For example, if you attract a visitor to your site via one blog and they love it, but can’t find anything else, they will probably not subscribe to your site, or visit again. You just lost one of your 1,000 true followers right from the start. Instead, write 10 blog posts and have them ready to go when it is time to publish your blogging site online.
And do your due diligence when it comes to keyword research. There are plenty of platforms out there you can use to find great keywords that have low ranking difficulty with reasonable monthly search volume. Google Keyword Planner is useful for this, and free.
Good Luck With Your Lifestyle Blog!
Starting a lifestyle blog is exciting. The above must-do tips can serve as your quick startup guide, but they are certainly not all the aspects you need to know. Do your research and be sure to put your best foot forward when you decide to publish your lifestyle blog online. What is your top blogging tip?
Every Blogger Starts Somewhere
The NBA all star game went down during the past weekend.
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Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Joel Embid and D’Angelo Russel all made the all star team. These 4 bright, young stars share something in common; each was coached in high school by Kevin Boyle.
Kevin Boyle is one of the top high school coaches in the nation. Coaching 4 players who would be all stars during the same year is an unreal feat, when you consider the odds. Well before Kevin became a superstar coach at Montverde Academy in Florida or at St Pat’s high school in New Jersey, I remember him stalking the sidelines as a high energy, sometimes nutty, but always passionate, grammar school coach at St. Joe’s in Roselle, New Jersey, in the mid 80’s.
The coaching superstar who coached 4 future NBA all stars once coached little kids during a CYO game in gyms with capacity of, say 30 people.
As a grammar school CYO all star, I remember this intense coach trying to get his guards to trap me into a turnover. I had handles back then, so I danced through his press. Anyway, that passionate grade school coach persistently asked the athletic director at St. Pat’s for the soon to be open coaching job. Kevin was no veteran, but still hung out at the American Legion, where the AD spent time. Eventually, the athletic director hired Boyle, and Kevin built St. Pat’s into a national power, spawning NBA talents like Al Harrington, Sam Dalembert, Kyrie Irving and Michael Gilchrist. He made the move to Montverde, coaching stars like Simmons, Russel and Embid, as well as current Duke star Rowan Barrett.
But 35 years before he coached 4 NBA all stars, he stalked the sidelines as a grammar school coach, persistently pressing for a high school coaching job of a St. Pat’s program that had struggled for a decade.
We all start somewhere in life, blogging-wise, and often, the beginnings are humble.
I was an unemployed security guard who did not know the definition of blogging, 10 years ago. Yet today, I circle the globe through blogging, having been featured on world famous sites. Struggling bloggers wrongly assume I was always successful, but 10 years ago, I was a broke, laid off security guard, not a successful blogger.
We all start somewhere.
Virtually all of us start from humble beginnings.
Never assume successful bloggers:
- had it easy
- were connected
- were always successful
- never had to face daunting obstacles
- had everything handed to them
You need to be:
to succeed with blogging. You need to have a vision, too. Kevin Boyle did not see himself as just a grammar school basketball coach. He saw himself building St. Pat’s into a national power, landed the job through being persistent and being passionate about the game, took some lumps, and eventually helped build the basketball team into one of the top 5 or 10 teams year in and year out, before heading to Montverde and turning that program into the dominant power in high school basketball.
Fools assume that he was always connected, that he got lucky and that everything fell into place for him. I can personally attest; seeing him stalk the sidelines in 1985, at tiny OLP in New Providence, New Jersey, I knew he was different than any CYO coach I had seen. I eventually followed his St. Patrick’s program for some 15 years after my high school career and still keep tabs on his success at Montverde.
The high school coach who turns out more NBA all stars than Coach K at Duke had the most humble beginnings. Remember this, if nobody seems to read your blog, right now. Develop a vision. See through blogging obstacles.
We all start somewhere, seemingly light years away from where we will be down the road.
1 Mental Block that Plagued Every Blogger Who Ever Blogged
Unless you are the Dalai Lama, you, at one time or another, became highly attached to a single blog post. I do not care who you are. 8 figure bloggers allowed their fears to attach them to a blog post. 8 cent bloggers allowed fear to attach them to blog posts.
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Now, the happiest, most successful bloggers face, hug and release this fear, for sure. But every blogger allowed fear to goad them to TRY LIKE HELL to drive traffic or profits to a single blog post. Or, being human and foolish, we allow fear-attachment to goad us into thinking that publishing a guest post on a blog with a million member community instantly leads to millions of dollars in blogging profits.
I recall being featured on Virgin Dot Com. Floored and humbled, for sure, but I was kinda detached about the feature, being more grounded in love and gratitude, and less fear-attached to any single platform, post or opportunity.
Happy, successful bloggers own this fear-attachment, let it go and adopt an abundance mentality. While most bloggers publish a single post and try to SQUEEZE as much out of it as possible, due to fear and attachment, I developed an abundance mentality and published 700 posts on Blogging Tips Dot Com. Heck; I have published 70 guest posts on the blog of Enstine Muki. For most bloggers, publishing 70 guest posts in total is quite a feat. I published 770 guest posts….between 2 blogs alone.
How am I so prolific?
I have largely conquered the fear of trying to GET as much traffic and profits as possible through any single blog post. I blog from an energy of love, fun and abundance, mainly, not fear, tension and scarcity. Few bloggers have mastered this mindset; only the happiest, most detached bloggers become so prolific, it makes our heads spin.
You Are Human
Of course you become a little attached to any one blog post. This is not a problem. But you need to be honest; the attachment is fear, and as the attachment and fear grow, you move from abundance and worldly success, to scarcity and blogging struggle.
A Good Mindset for Abundance Mentality
Alonzo Pichardo wisely advises to publish content, and let it do what it does. I agree. I never check metrics. Genuinely; if blogging is energy and if I am having fun, I reached my goal. Increasing success is imminent. I trust my feelings, not inanimate numbers on a screen. This is the abundance mentality in action.
Why this Mindset Prospers
I appear to be in a million places at once because I never attachment to any one post or video. Per Alonzo, I let the content do what it does. Not being shackled by stats, I keep creating, expand my presence, appear to be all over, and see greater success. Meanwhile, most fear-scarcity bloggers write a single post and waste their time and energy:
- trying to GET as much as possible through it, promoting it in thousands of places over the next 30 days
- obsessively checking post metrics every few minutes, or, every hour, after publishing the post
- panicking and bailing on proven strategies when a single post does not meet their expectations
All while this crowd makes all these mistakes, I am publishing hundreds of pieces of content over the same month, and also, meeting tons of new bloggers through genuine blog commenting, enjoying the ride.
Publish a post, promote it in a few spots, then move on to the next post, video or blog comment.
Develop an abundance mindset.
See increased blogging success and enjoy the ride.
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