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.
When Is It Too Late to Start Blogging?
Ego sometimes clings to limiting ideas. One such idea is the notion that starting a blog at some specific age proves to be futile because of it being too late. I recall hearing Gary Vaynerchuk professing how people in their early 20’s ask him if it is too late to begin a business. Do you see why ego deludes you? Fear manifests as all types of crippling beliefs holding you back. Someone clinging to fear, being 21 years old, asks if being 21 is too old for starting a business. Why? Some 21 year olds observe 14 year olds who create million dollar ventures. Or some 21 year olds see fellow 21 year olds who already became millionaires, when the limited-thinking 21 year old simply has never been an entrepreneur. Guess what? It is never late to begin blogging. It is never too late to begin blogging. I recall a 73 year old new to blogging who bought 4 of my eBooks after I wrote a guest post on Build Your Own Blog. He began blogging at 73 years old. Imagine that? Yet 21 year olds some 50 years his minor fear being 21 is too old for beginning a successful venture.
Fear makes you think silly things. Be beyond fear. Feel fear. Release fear. Move in a direction of possibilities. Move toward opportunities. Now is the time to begin blogging whether you are 21 or 101. Now is the time to begin. Seize the moment. Do you plan to be around for a bit? Blog. Begin blogging. It is never too late to start blogging because you and I sit in the perfect place at the perfect time for our individual journeys. I began blogging in my mid 30’s. 35 years old, to be exact. Being a 35 year old beginner blogger never crossed my mind as being too old because I did not cling to the fear fueling that too old, aged, limiting belief. I saw actual 12 year olds blogging during my newbie blogging days. Who cares that a kid 20 years my junior began blogging? I had 20 more years LIFE experience than he. Possessing 20 more years life experience puts you at a tremendous advantage when it comes to learning the in’s and out’s of blogging the right way. Heck; the 73 year old new blogger may have zero blogging experience but 73 years of life experience. What seems more important at that point in your life? Does knowing how to format a blog post at 73 count more than the fearlessness, serenity and peace you acquired from facing 73 years worth of fears? Dude begins blogging with the mindset of a Blogging Yoda, for all he faced and for all the experience he has. Does THAT sound like it’s too late for blogging?
The only thing I would say is to begin blogging now because blogging experience is your best ally. Do not wait on the sidelines. Even though you can begin blogging at any age, why wait until you turn 45 when you can begin blogging now, at age 40? Why hesitate? Experience benefits you tremendously. Whether you start blogging at 13 or 73, experience earned and learned from, accelerates your blogging success. But you need to see the journey through and you need to begin blogging now. Go ahead. Blog. It’s not too late!
Do you fear deleting your worn out, failing blog to start over? Buy my eBook:
A Simple Guide to Collecting Feedback from Your Blog Users
Poor feedback from your readers and customers can spread like wildfire. So sometimes it’s best to go to the route of a problem and fix it before you lose your readers or hear them discuss your site around the web.
By making it easy for people to share their feedback about your website or service you’re providing, you can find out what your site users really think, improve your work and then watch your subscribers and conversions grow.
Prevent the trouble
Before going into much detail on how to collect and address your readers’ feedback, let’s start with the most important aspect of that: Prevention.
Whether you are starting a new blog or setting up a site to promote affiliate products, you can avoid a lot of problems by monitoring your competitors or the brands you are going to advertise on your site.
Let’s say you are going to resell a hosting service, and you may even like it yourself. But have you ever thought of unhappy customers of that brand? How likely are they to accuse you of promoting a poor service? Do a quick Google search and read though the customer review to understand common problems their customers are dealing with.
Run a quick question research to get a better idea of what their customers are dealing with and whether you can answer those questions. Text Optimizer is a great tool for that as it goes right to Google to extract data around any search query. Its question research feature will give you a good idea of the type of struggles your readers may be dealing with:
Don’t ignore the numbers
An easy and simple way of honing in on the problems of your site is to keep an eye on the numbers that your blog provides you with.
Web analytics will very clearly show you what pages on your site bring in the clicks and views, and which ones drive your customers away. You will also see what is and isn’t working and what requires your attention.
Get techy with it
If web analytics isn’t giving you all the answers, think about investing in some technology that goes straight to the source and tells you what’s going on in the background of your site.
Exit-intent technology is perfect for collecting customer feedback in terms of statistics so you can see exactly how many people are leaving your site.
Alter is a great option to use here as it uses Artificial Intelligence to personalize exit-intent popups and keep your blog readers on your site.
Alter needs 1 minute to install and no time customizing it (unless you really want to play with the features). The tool will analyze your blog visitors’ behavior and learn to engage each of them in a most effective way. It is also completely free unless you have too much traffic coming in to analyze.
Survey your readers
Surveys are often the easiest way to get feedback from your readers. The fact that they can be embedded straight into your blog means that they are eye-catching and difficult to miss when positioned correctly. A quick search online can show you many different ways to create surveys that can be attached to your blog, from the simple to the majestic, depending on your budget. Here’s a good option to get you started.
The problem with surveys is that people often get bored of them halfway through and click off before completing, particularly when the questions seem to go on forever, or are too long. So keep them short and sweet. Make the questions open-ended when possible to ensure that the answers you’re getting are not only honest, but also creative. This will lead you to original insight you may never have thought of yourself – and this can be like gold dust when it comes to improving your site.
Incentivize those opinions
Having trouble getting people to complete your survey? Well then make it worth their while! The easiest way to get people to do what you want (especially if it means their taking time out of their day) is to incentivize them, make them want to do this for you.
Make sure to do this by providing them a free gift, template, or entrance in a giveaway upon their contacting you with feedback. The choice depends on you and what your website is about.
Pick an incentive that is relevant to your blog to make sure that it’s something your users will be interested in and watch the feedback coming in… Just make sure to follow through on your promise of incentives or that feedback might end up being entirely negative.
Chat your way to success
If you are looking for a far more personalized form of feedback from your users and want to make sure that they are aware of you being behind the website, you could use a live chat to have a two-way conversation. This will help get to the heart of their opinions and struggles.
Not only is live chat convenient and affordable to utilize, but it also bridges the gap between the reader and the blogger which can help form bonds and ultimately build community around your site.
This also means that if anyone is particularly angry or has a complaint, they’ll be dealing with someone polite, apologetic and enthusiastically wanting to improve their service. So you can win their hearts back. This is something an automatic email cannot always achieve.
If you’re concerned about where to put a live chat, remember to put it somewhere clear that your readers will be able to see it. There are many different forms of live chat software out there for you to choose from. Make sure the one you decide upon is simple to use and won’t intimidate anyone who plans to use it. Here are a few live chat plugins for WordPress blogs.
If you are into lead generation business, it is a good idea to use a CRM solution to collect and organize feedback as well as turn those readers into leads.
What happens after you get your feedback?
Gaining feedback on your site is only useful if you actually go ahead and do something with it! Don’t have an ego about your work and make sure to listen to what your readers are saying. They have no reason to lie to you, so if you listen to them, your business will definitely be improved, even if it stings at first to see negative feedback.
Make an effort to reach out to the people who shared feedback not only to thank them but also to ask them any more burning questions you may have – what led them to their opinion? What do they think will help improve the problems? Make them feel included in the development of your site. They could be a great (free!) resource for you to make the most of.
And finally, declare any positive feedback you get as loud and as proud as possible – highlight it on your website and social media. Show people why other people were impressed with you and why they would be too!
Do You Surround Yourself with the Wrong Type of Blogger?
Who do you hang out with blogging-wise? Who do you learn from blogging-wise? What bloggers do you seek for counsel? Who do you surround yourself with as far as blogging buddies? Blogging feels challenging sometimes. Surrounding yourself with the wrong type of blogger only increases these challenges in a major league way.
What bloggers do you connect with daily? Most bloggers struggle. Many bloggers have no idea what they are doing blogging-wise. But foolishly, the majority of bloggers surround themselves with failing, struggling bloggers. How can these bloggers teach you to overcome blogging obstacles? None of these folks knows how to overcome resistance. Guaranteed, none of these bloggers teaches you how to succeed because they only know how to struggle, fail, complain or make excuses. Stop surrounding yourself with bloggers who make excuses. Cease surrounding yourself with complaining bloggers. Quit hanging out with bloggers who fail because failures do not teach you, goad you and inspire you to succeed. Connect with successful bloggers. Learn from these pros. Follow their lead. Model your blogging campaign on their shining example. Naturally, you slowly evolve into the person influenced heavily by your blogging buddy network. Culture shapes your blogging path. Environment plays a chief role in your blogging direction. Successful bloggers surround themselves with successful bloggers. Failing bloggers who wish to succeed lose failing blogging buddies and surround themselves with successful bloggers.
Imagine you drive 4 people to your blog daily. Look at your blogger buddy network. Everyone sits in a similar boat, driving 4 to 20 people to their blogs daily. The only lesson you learn from these bloggers is how to drive 4 to 20 people to your blog daily. Do you aspire to boost your blog traffic to only 20 people daily? Of course, you have bigger dreams than that! Aim higher by socializing only with highly successful bloggers. Learn their ways. Follow their lead. Position yourself to succeed. Learn from the best by surrounding yourself only with the best bloggers. Release everybody else. Never look at this releasing process as being personal or emotionally charged. But do see your blogging freedom, success and happiness as being at stake. I released a few negative nellie blogging buddies over the years for their energetic vampire ways. Suckers need to go. So, you can replace energy vampires with people who give energy, love, support and inspiration to you. Think gain, not loss. Be honest about assessing your blogging buddy network, too. Doing so feels uncomfortable because awkwardness, guilt and other fear-filled energies arise as you assess who needs to stay, and who needs to go.
Be with uncomfortable emotions triggered during these blogger buddy pruning lessons. Your success, freedom, happiness and peace of mind is on the line! Did you ever think of it that way? Let go struggling, negative bloggers. Communicate with happy, free, successful bloggers. Allow these pros to create a positive influence around you. Sponge up their inspiration. Follow their shining example. Take their inspired lead. Learn how to free yourself through their empowerment, and un-learn the victim mentality taught to you by your departed, failing, former blogging buddies. Surround yourself only with blogging heroes. Your success is on the line. Of course, your happiness, freedom and peace of mind is on the line, too. Honestly assess who needs to go and find new, empowered, successful blogging buddies to follow, to learn from and to gain inspiration from.
Where do you find these folks? Start with successful bloggers you follow on Blogging Tips. Virtually all of these bloggers are full time pros. Network with these leaders. Help them generously. Ask for nothing. Allow friendships to take root.
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