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How To Speed Up WordPress Like A Pro In 5 Easy Steps

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How to speed up WordPress like a pro

I have spoken a lot about website speed and how to decrease your load time time and again on the blog.

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.

Why website speed is important

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.

Effect of hosting on website speed

#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.

W3 Total Cache: This is one of the widely used WordPress caching plugins that integrates CDN (Content Delivery Network) to optimize your website performance to speed up your WordPress site. Helpful for browser caching, HTTP compression of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and feeds.

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.

Swadhin Agrawal is a professional blogger, often writing articles about the intersection of social media, blogging and online marketing tools and how businesses can scale with his suggested tactics. He is the founder of DigitalGYD.com and WPChime, a blog about WordPress tips and tricks.

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Does Blog Content Make You Money?

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Nope.

My eBook:

How My Wildest Travel Experiences Can Help You Become a Successful Blogger

starts off with a Bali Bang. I slammed into the ground during a wicked motorbike accident. Pain followed. Big time pain. Excruciating pain. What was my life and blogging lesson? Never take your eyes off of the road. I looked at a dog for a split second who’d been hit by a car or motorbike. Shaking my head at his injured paw, I missed the oil slick ahead. Ouch. 2 seconds later, I felt like 40,000 monkeys stabbed me in the back and lungs, after hitting pavement, Superman-style.

Blogging is similar. You will be punished if you take your eyes off of the proven, straight and narrow road of blogging fundamentals. One such fundamental is knowing YOU, not your blog, and not your content, makes money. Sometimes, we say blogs or content makes money because we speak in casual terms to help people see importance in creating and connecting. But getting clear, and helping you understand this simple concept, behooves me to stress how your generous practice, your creations and your connections make you money through your blog. Never, ever is it the other way around because blogs are inanimate objects. Content is an inanimate object too; it cannot do anything, or be anything,

You are the one, the blogger, the being, that puts everything into motion. This involves your generous effort, your willingness to learn a skill and your daily practice, creating and connecting for years, to make your content pop. Sure I sell stuff THROUGH my content but it was me, and my generous effort, and not the content itself, that did the selling. The content is not anything. Content cannot do anything. Content is worthless unless bloggers inject worth into it; see what I mean? The blogger makes it pop, or, makes content a dud, and that pop-dud outcome bases itself solely on a blogger’s generous effort and full commitment to learning their craft, day after day, for years of their lives.

You can and will succeed. You can do it. Really. But you need to understand how you are the center of it all. Everything moves according to your focus, practice and generosity. Content is a tool; like a hammer, if by itself, totally useless. Hammers need humans to work, and hammers need skilled carpenters to really sing. Content needs skilled, generous bloggers to make it sing, too, and the skills increase as your focus and generous practice, and service, increases.

Does blog content make you money? Nope, not at all. Put in the time and energy to helping folks for free. Improve your skills. Increase your exposure. In time, slowly add multiple streams of income to your blogging campaign. Allow cash to flow to you as people see you in all types of spots, making a serious impact where you show up, because of your blogging skills. Everything gets easier if you commit 100% to honing your skills blogging-wise because the content genuinely sings when you get the job done, with your prodigious, polished blogging skills.

Content makes zero dollars.

You, through your practice and generous service, develop the skills through which you make your content top notch. Profits follow.

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Why Do You Want to Publish an eBook?

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One subsection of my eBook on writing eBooks is:

Know Why You Want to Publish an eBook

Knowing why gives you clarity if you write to free yourself and to free your readers. But if you write just to make money or to be well know, clarity lessons. Fear invades your mind because you write mainly to get, not to give. Shifting from fear to fun intent-wise just takes a little decision on your part. Small potatoes really. But this shift does feel a bit uncomfortable if you are new to the eBook writing process because you need to face fears. Who wants to face fear? Nobody, really.

But facing fear is one tax to pay for being successful in blogging and life. Ditto for your self-publishing journey. I largely faced fears to be who I am today, although I keep uncovering fears along the way. Part of the journey. I am cool with that. I had to ask why I wanted to publish an eBook about 4 years ago when I went on a tear, but even before, in 2014, I asked why I published an eBook in the first place? Simple. I created a new blog and brand in Blogging From Paradise and just believed having an accompanying eBook would help me be successful. I only had one eBook in mind. I never thought beyond the single eBook. But someone told me I deserved to write another eBook so after my first, I wrote and self-published a second eBook. I caught the writing bug.

100 plus eBooks later, here I am, writing eBooks for years, and now, promoting the eBooks effectively. The why, the emotion I chose in writing eBooks, propels me forward because I do what I do to have fun, to spread love and to help you, largely. One small part of me wants to make money online too. This is OK. As long as it is a small part of what you do, eBook-wise. Moving that money aspect mostly to the side gives me the energy to keep writing and to keep promoting, should I choose to write another eBook. Now I am all about promoting those suckers.

Why did you consider writing and shipping an eBook? Be honest with yourself. Think through your driver. Money? Fame? Sweet passive income stream? Each primary driver saps your energy because money, fame and passive income flow to you years or minimum, months, after publishing your eBook. What do you do during that zero dollar time? Money drives you, but you see no money. Since you lose your motivator, you quit. This is why so many authors fade into obscurity. Poor driver. Sell 3 eBooks, get flustered because you made $4.35 over 6 months, and quit, because money drove you but you made no money. On the flip side, bloggers and authors who choose a fun, freeing intent promote and write every day for their online career because the work is the reward. All else feels like a bonus, gravy, extra, or icing on the cake….including money.

Be straight with your eBook driver. Do not bother writing an eBook if you mainly want money because you quit and fail when money does not arrive. Even in rare cases if you make money pretty fast, you lose your heart and feel bad reaching money goals because we are mainly designed to have fun and help people, not to make money.

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Do You Believe You Deserve Blogging Success?

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My friend Alonzo Pichardo sent me an interview recently.

Pay close attention guys; one concept behind the video can be destroying your blogging success. Sure killed my career, for years.

Boxing legend Evander Holyfield went bankrupt, it has been claimed, as of 2012. He lost/spent $530,000,000 USD, 530 million dollars. Allow that idea to sink in. I read how Mike Tyson reportedly went bankrupt after spending/losing over $300,000,000, 300 million dollars. Most of these ideas astound people because we do our best to manage money effectively. I could live 40 life times on 500 million dollars. Anyway, a recent Mike Tyson interview highlighted one reason why he went bankrupt after amassing 300 million. I deeply suspect Evander blew through 500 million largely due to the same mindset. Iron Mike noted how he believed he did not deserve the big bucks. He saw himself as a broke kid from a rough neighborhood who did not deserve money, because he loved fighting for free, and also, clung to the past, keeping the same self image from when he lived in poverty.

If Tyson believed he did not deserve 300 million, the quickest way to get rid of 300 million is to spend like mad and blow the money irresponsibly. Most humans say he is foolish but this is not true; HIS BELIEF SYSTEM ensured he would do everything to get rid of the 300 million he did not deserve…and it became so.

Blogging and Deserving

Do you genuinely believe you deserve $10, or $100, or $100,000 through blogging? Most bloggers do not believe this, so they never make much money. Other bloggers make some money but lose it quickly through poor financial decisions, ensuring that they do NOT keep the money that they believe they do not deserve. Blogging, money or financial conditions have nothing to do with the money woes. The blogger’s belief system concerning money is 100% the root cause behind the problem. Change the deserving issue, and you change the income. Or cling to deserving problems, and keep slamming into blogging financial problems.

I recall not believing I deserved more than 99 cents for an eBook. I slammed into financial issues, sold few eBooks, then decided to face my deserving issues and deep fears concerning money and my self-worth. I eventually rose all my eBook pricing to $6.99, $9.99 and $20. Why? I deserve to sell 7 to 20 dollar eBooks. People buy at these prices – far more than at the dirt cheap prices – because I BELIEVE I deserve to make sales at those prices. Why? I faced deep fears concerning deserving. But if I never faced deserving-fears, I never make the money. Plus I would quickly lose money I made because if I still believed I did not deserve much money, my subconscious mind would find a quick way to lose my money. My belief system creates the experience. Ditto for your belief system; even if your ego does not agree with this point.

Like I say in my eBook:

7 Smart Monetizing Tips for Hungry Travel Bloggers

you may leave your comfort zone if you learn new, scary techniques for monetizing your blog effectively. One scary and uncomfortable tactic involves observing your money limiting beliefs in the light of truth. If you do not believe you deserve money, you never make money or you make money and lose it incredibly quickly. Belief created the experience. You believing you do not deserve money creates the experience. Clear the fears, release deserving issues and money will flow to you more easily. Plus you will keep the money, too. Pure win-win, if you ask me.

 

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