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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.
A Blogger’s Guide to Broken Link Building
The internet is broken (literally).
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Millions – if not billions – of links get broken daily due to expired hosting, incorrect site migrations, and typing errors.
That’s not good news for the respective site owners.
For link builders, however, the broken links present huge opportunities.
In this article, you will learn how to leverage these opportunities in the form of broken link building.
I will show you the exact process of scouring the web for broken links that you can turn into a backlink to your site!
Why do broken link building?
Before we begin, you need to understand why broken link building is one of the best ways to build a formidable link profile for your site.
And here’s the answer:
It’s all about reciprocation.
If you do something nice for the site owner, there’s a good chance that s/he will return the favor in kind.
In this case, if you point out broken links on a site owner’s page, s/he could be more willing to link back to one of your pages as a way of thanking you.
This principle is well above other link building tactics where people demand links from sites without giving something in return.
Let’s put it this way:
If I don’t scratch your back, will you scratch mine?
(Answer: probably not)
And that’s the thing with broken link building. Both parties benefit from this tactic.
The site owner points to pages within the content that work. You gain a backlink for your effort.
It’s a win-win!
Now that we’ve discussed the why, let’s hop onto how you can proceed with your broken link building campaign.
Below are the exact steps that you should follow to properly pull off this tactic for your blog:
Find resource pages
Have you heard of resource pages?
You know, pages with lots of outbound links related to a specific topic?
Here’s an example of one:
This page is a treasure trove for broken links!
The goal of resource pages is to provide visitors with information from third-party pages about a topic.
However, as the years go by, some of the sites no longer operate, which render their links broken.
And site owners don’t have the time to check each link on the page one by one and see if they work.
Therefore, consider this your job of helping them out.
By identifying the broken links, you can request to get one of your blog posts included in the page!
More importantly, site owners are more willing to link back to you on their resource pages. This is only assuming that the blog post you want a link from is relevant to the topic.
But first, we need to find resource pages related to your blog’s niche.
Hop on to Google and use the following search query:
[Niche] resource page
Replace [niche] with your actual niche.
From here, Google will return results of resource pages that you comb through. Click on each of the pages and keep the best ones in a spreadsheet.
Find broken links from pages
Here’s an example of a broken page.
It’s a page on a blog or site informing you that the link you visited no longer exists.
Your goal, therefore, is to find 404 pages or broken links from resource pages!
Using the Chrome extension, Check My Links, helps find broken links.
It’s what you need for quickly checking pages for broken links.
Install it and it’ll appear as a small checked icon alongside your address bar. Clicking it automatically scans links in the page.
It gets highlighted in red if there’s a broken link, together with an error report at the text’s right side.
Using the same spreadsheet, keep the pages with broken links and remove the ones without.
Find the email of the site owner
The next step is to inform site owners about the broken link.
However, you can only do this if there is a contact page or an email address available on the site.
But what if they don’t have either?
Not to worry – there’s FindThatLead to the rescue!
It’s another Chrome extension that lets you find email addresses of people who own or work on the site.
By installing and clicking on its icon, you will see the different emails of people who are part of the organization.
To help verify their emails, you must click on the check icon. It shows if it’s either GUESS or VALID. Filter out the guesses and keep the valid ones.
Inform site owner about the broken link
Once you have their emails, you need to craft a message informing them about the broken links.
Since you’ll be sending to as many site owners as possible, the process even becomes tedious and repetitive.
However, there’s a way you can automate the process to make the job easier for you.
Gmail’s Canned Response allows you to create an email template you can use for your broken link building campaign.
Therefore, instead of crafting new emails talking about the same thing, you can pull out the template and fill in the blanks for each new site owner!
In the email template, address the site owner by their first name. It’s the first step of personalizing your campaign.
Next, talk about how you came across their page. You were probably looking for resource pages to help you write a post about the topic they’re covering.
After that, point out the broken link on the page. It’s the very purpose of the email, after all.
Now, here’s the most important part:
Mention that your blog has a similar page that can replace the broken one.
In this part, don’t make it sound like you’re forcing your link to be included in the page. Just suggest your link to the site owner.
Give them the choice to either include your link or not. You have to trust them to make the best decision for their page.
Here are other tips on help you write the template:
- Make your email short and sweet. Your recipient is more likely to read the entire email. It’ll also be easier for them to understand and follow your requests.
- Be professional by maintaining the proper grammar and punctuation.
- Follow up with another email once or twice if they don’t respond. But more than that, and you end up spamming someone.
- Be polite and know that you’re just asking a favor. If they ignore your emails after multiple times of reaching out to them, move on to the next site.
Finally, review the results of the campaign with the template you’re using. If the response rate is low, maybe you need to tweak your template to generate better responses.
As you can see, broken link building is more about building relationships more than everything else.
Once you click “Send,” there’s nothing much you can do about it.
They may link to your site on their resource page. They may not.
However, as mentioned earlier, you need to trust people to do the right thing.
If you pull off your broken link building campaign flawless, they will link to your blog posts 100% of the time!
If you’re not confident in developing and implementing this campaign, you can ask agencies like SEOExplode that offers SEO services with years of experience in link building.
They will help guide you in the process of broken link building. This way, you can develop a link profile that will bolster your blog’s SEO performance.
Beware Who You Trust for Advice
Sometimes I ask questions on Quora.
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I asked a question recently about shadow boxing while walking and if this practice burns calories.
Peep 2 answers.
I was a personal trainer and fitness nut for 20 years. I know shadow boxing does in fact burn calories and help you get more ripped because since doing it every single day during my walks, my arms are becoming as defined as ropes. True; shadow-boxing does not increase muscle mass. But the individual gave me a false, untrue answer because he fears what he looks like and cares about the opinions of others. He is not shadow boxing while walking or jogging because it is not effective; he fears people will look at him and believe he is a fruit loop, whatever that means.
This individual actually offers honest, truthful advice; shadow-boxing while walking burns more calories. If he ended it there, the advice would have been helpful. But he also fears criticism, aka, what people think about him, so his fears advise me not to do the extra calorie burning thing, because I would look like a Rocky wannabe jerk.
Two well-meaning guys who offer poor fitness advice because each guy deeply fears what people think about them. If I was not a fitness pro I’d have believed their inaccurate advice and would have cheated myself out of calorie burning. All because of the illusion of fear and its hold over most of humanity.
Before you trust blogging advice, check the source. Does the blogger:
- radiate happiness?
- radiate compassion?
- exude success?
- inspire you to succeed?
- uplift bloggers?
If so, awesome. Trust the advice because you know the person offers advice from love, harmony and truth.
But if someone adds a fear-based element to the advice – like the fitness guys above who fear what people think about them and allowed their fears to become a projection on me – you know it’s bad advice because fear is not real, an illusion, and stepping into illusion moves you away from truth.
If you burn more calories, you burn more fat and get ripped. This is truth. Shadow boxing while walking made me super ripped so the truth shines through. But if I stopped shadow-boxing while walking because I feared what people thought about me or what they’d say about me, I would step into the illusion of fear, away from truth, and would not be as ripped and cut as I am now.
Imagine if I listened to those 2 fear-fitness guys last month when I returned home? I’d look a lot more like Olive Oil and less like Bruce Lee.
Be careful about who you trust for blogging advice guys. Most people mean well – like the fitness dudes – but project their deep fears onto you and offer poor, or downright terrible, blogging advice. I have compassion for afraid bloggers but I won’t listen to their illusory advice.
One Such Example
Many top bloggers feel terror at losing email subscribers so offer advice based on the fear. Meanwhile, guys like me who have no such fear offer advice to help you bond deeply with your most rabid fans through email, exponentially increasing your success. Loss is impossible in a Universe of abundance.
Who do you think inspires you to live your dreams?
The blogger offering advice from the illusion of fear, pulling you away from truth, into smoke, mirrors, and appearances, not really there?
Or the blogger offering advice from truth and abundance.
Follow heart-centered bloggers.
Live your dreams.
Do You Establish Work at Home Boundaries?
Some people love attention.
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I know a few who do their best to grab my attention. Phone calls, emails, cryptic Facebook Messages.
I ignore everything and every one outside of what I do in the moment since I set up work at home boundaries. I close the door and go into my office. No way I stop working for anything or anyone who starves for my attention. The house could burn down and I would scoot out at the last minute because work time is work time and I do nothing else save work during work time.
If you do not respect your time, people will not respect your time. If you give people your time whenever they want your time, for:
- small talk
- general BS
people will gladly ask for favors, engage in gossip, engage in small talk, chat you up and BS for hours, because you chose not to establish work at home boundaries.
100% of the time, if people appear to be using you or eating up your precious time, it is your fault. People treat you how you choose to treat yourself.
How a Happy and Successful Blogger Sets Up Work at Home Boundaries
Easy; I close the door, walk into the office and get to work. I do not leave the office until I complete my work. My phone? I turn it off. I check email rarely. I only check Messenger 2-3 times daily for 5 minutes at a clip.
I set up definite, clear, work at home boundaries to respect my time. People reflect my time-respecting back to me. Easy peasy.
If someone tries to grab my attention through Messenger, or the land line, or through email, or at the door, I completely ignore attempts made to grab my attention and time. Boundaries folks; you need to be clear and firm on your work at home boundaries to ensure everybody else respects your boundaries.
You Are Walking into a Word Office
Would a friend, family member or casual neighbor barge into your 9-5 job office asking for a favor? Would said folks barge into your 9-5 job office to spread the latest gossip? Nope. Then why allow said folks to barge into your work at home office to do similar things? Nope. Put up boundaries. Door closes. Enter office. You are busy. You are working. Even my 3 year old niece understands when Uncle Ryan goes to work in the home office. Everybody else can easily grasp this concept.
What About Impatient or Desperate Online Folks?
I completely ignore impatient, fear-filled, desperate folks who demand I answer Messenger or email requests in 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or in 24 hours. I respect my time and completely ignore people who do not respect my time.
I built my blogging business almost completely on a passive income model so nothing I do online is time sensitive. I have answered most questions 1,000 to 10,000 times through my courses, eBooks, blog posts and videos. It is up to these awesome but unclear folks to find and use the answers I created, to improve their lives.
I am generous daily, publishing a blog post and/or video. Plus I published about 800 posts on Blogging Tips, and over 2,000 posts on Blogging From Paradise. It is on the impatient folks screaming for my attention to follow my blog posts, guest posts, videos, eBooks and courses because I answered their questions many times.
People treat you exactly how you teach them to treat you. I have posture so I set up work at home boundaries for offline and online folks.
Respect your time and work schedule and other folks will do the same.
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