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.
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.
1 of My Secrets to Being Kinda Prolific
I have written hundreds of guest posts for this blog.
I have written about 1000 on Blogging From Paradise between posts and travel pages.
A few moments ago I checked my DA for a sponsored post opportunity. The business owner wanted to know blog domain authority before deciding to place a sponsored post on the blog.
Blogging From Paradise has a DA of 48 and 22,457 external links in.
Not super shabby.
I am kinda prolific.
If you want to publish helpful content frequently, just run with my most basic of tips.
Do not wait around for folks to read your content, comment on your content and share your content before writing your next blog post or guest post.
Do not wait to create.
Do Not Wait to Create
The old me – and most bloggers – became highly attached to any single piece of content I created because I feared the content would not register enough shares, comments, page views and sales. Fear drove me to share this piece of content in many places to boost my stats. All well and good but because fear drove me, I resisted my prolific nature, allowing worry and lack to goad me to do stuff that led to me being the farthest thing from prolific.
Eventually, I observed how bloggers who seemed to be in 10,000,000 places at once simply prolifically created a high volume of helpful blog posts, guest posts and videos. Success found these folks because they did not wait around for readers to check out their blog posts. Said bloggers moved on to writing and publishing their next blog post.
Acting abundantly – not allowing their fears to eat into their prolific nature – promoted these blogger’s success as they created generously, publishing a high volume of content across multiple platforms.
I finally learned of this secret and used it effectively when I chose NOT to wait to create.
Now I publish 3 posts daily on Blogging From Paradise. I also publish the odd guest post from time to time. My success accelerated and my online presence expanded when I decided not to get attached much at all to any one blog post, because the next blog post called me.
No sense waiting around for folks to read my stuff because they simply will read at their own leisure. My job is to keep creating helpful content to help readers build successful blogs. As I move in this direction, everything keeps expanding for me.
All because I chose not to wait to create.
Being Prolific Impacts Folks
Peep this tweet from my friend Corey Hinde of The Good Oil Marketing:
awesome!! Congrats Ryan – one of the hardest working bloggers on the planet you are!!
— CoreyHinde-GoodOil (@thecorsta) July 16, 2018
I am humbled by such kind words from an established, super successful internet marketer. This is pretty much what happens when you are prolific; you impact folks in a positive way, and you also expand your reach and help more folks, all because you refuse to hold back.
Tips to Be Prolific
- Blog mainly for the fun of blogging
- Nudge yourself out of your comfort zone daily
- Surround yourself with prolific bloggers to feast on their creative energy
- Do not wait to create
- Beware getting attached to any one piece of content; promote posts freely across a wide range of channels but look toward the next blog post, guest post or video to create, in order to become incredibly prolific.
Guys; this journey gets a little uncomfortable at times but if you love fun and freedom more than you fear doing some uncomfortable things you will become a highly prolific blogger.
How to Get Your Blogging Mojo Going if You Feel Hopelessly Stuck
I lose blogging momentum sometimes.
You may be in the same boat, being human and all.
But if you regularly find yourself saying “I need to get serious about building my blog” over the course of years it is time to own this fact: you need to get your blogging mojo going before you become permanently stuck in a blogging rut.
I was rut-stuck here and there for many years, on and off. Maybe I didn’t quit blogging totally but I’d start blogging, then stop, and continue this process for weeks on end. Not good.
You can find your blogging mojo and get unstuck by following these blogging tips.
1: Pick a Dream that Makes You Feel Alive
I am led by my dreams, not pushed by problems, because I picked a big old dream a while back. I wanted to circle the globe. Bingo!
Since I wanted to travel the world more than I feared doing uncomfortable, blogging-building things, I built a rocking blog and kept on moving, keeping my blogging mojo going.
What is your dream? Figure it out. Hold it tight.
If you need inspiration watch my video from New Zealand. I filmed this one at Mount Cook a few months ago.
2: Feel Fears Fueling Your Struggles
Some folks believe they lack motivation to blog. Others feel they are lazy. But at the end of the day, if you are not acting, you are afraid of something or someone.
Laziness is fear manifest. So find your fears, by shutting a door and sitting in a quiet room, and if you feel the deep fears you purge the energies and proceed from an inspired, loving, persistent, energized space.
I kept putting off writing an eBook for many years. Turns out I was not lazy; I just feared nobody would buy the eBook because I saw myself as a loser who knew little. I also feared people would criticize me. But I went forward and wrote my first eBook to get out of my fear-rut and to keep on moving.
Some of my eBooks do not sell as much as others and people sometimes post negative reviews of my eBooks but since I do not fear these outcomes, neither have any power over me. I just keep expanding my success, helping folks and befriending blogging pros because I move forward, unburdened by many blogging fears I faced, embraced and released.
3: Study Persistently Energized Bloggers
I am no Tony Robbins but blog persistently from an energized space.
Each day I:
- do 1 hour of deep yin yoga
- exercise for 1 hour
- usually take an icy cold shower
- focus on having fun with my blog versus attaching to money or traffic outcomes
I have written thousands of guest posts, over 10,000 blog posts (old and new blogs combined) and I have also written over 100 eBooks. Toss in the thousands of videos I created over many YouTube channels (since closed) and you see I am a pretty prolific dude. An energized, prolific dude at that.
You’d be wise to see how I go about my energy ritual daily to take a few pointers. Consider deep yin yoga to open up your body, to open your mind and to form the habit of being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Maybe meditating daily opens your awareness. Exercise is definitely a must, every single day.
Circulating your energy freely moves you from being fear-based, lazy and sluggish to being love-based, energized and prolific. I was once pretty dang lazy before I dove deep into energy work.
Wrapping it Up
Keep at it guys. I know this blogging journey feels scary sometimes but if you grab the right blogging resources and follow the above tips you will avoid common blogging ruts that appear to cripple most bloggers.
1 Clever Way to Find Blogs for Reading and Commenting
Have you missed me?
I dove full bore into promoting my eBook through blog commenting a number of months back. Toss in a prolific blogging campaign over at Blogging From Paradise and some serious video creation and you see I am a busy bee.
A few days ago I uncovered an incredibly neat and pretty clever way to drive traffic to your blog through blog commenting, via a neat method of finding new blogs for your collection.
Do you feel stagnant, blog-reading-wise?
I did. For a minute.
Turns out I dug deep into my blogging comfort zone for too many years, reading and commenting on the same blogs week after week, month after month.
If you know anything about successful blogging you likely know that all blogging growth occurs well outside of your comfort zone. So I had to venture out of the familiar by finding new blogs in both the blogging and travel blogging niches because my readers gravitate to both.
Enter a cool method for identifying new blogs for reading and commenting.
Google Image Search
The other day a neat little idea knocked on my mind’s door; why not use a Google image search to find blogs in my niches?
5 minutes later I literally had an unlimited number of blogs for enjoying, commenting and for connecting with fellow bloggers.
The method is simple. Google a competitive keyword in your niche. Example; I Googled “blogging” to start my search.
I then clicked on the “image” link by the top of the page. A series of images popped up related to that keyword.
Some images link to business sites but for the “blogging” keyword, most images linked to well-read, reputable blogs. Perfect.
Blog by blog, I slowly worked through each image, clinking on the blog post URL related to each picture. After reading each post I published a personalized comment and retweeted every blog post, adding the #blogging hashtag for increased targeting on Twitter.
Why this Strategy Is So Powerful
I – like you – have run into stagnant blogging circles on social media and through forums. Even if new bloggers join sites like Facebook and G Plus daily you cannot access and unlimited number of new blogs on a daily basis through either channel once you become an established blogger.
This is not the case with a Google Image search because the sheer volume of new blogs – for competitive keywords – yielded through such a search boggles the mind. Even better? Ranking high for an image search usually indicates a high quality blog for reading, for commenting and for building friendships with top shelf bloggers.
Some of these blogs linked to images are low quality offerings. Resist the urge to grab and scarf down rotten blogging low hanging fruit. Stick to quality blogs.
Some images point to business sites. I found this to be especially true when Googling major cities and islands around the world to find new travel bloggers. A high volume of images found during a search linked to tour operator sites. Sifting through tour sites or local chamber of commerce sites to find legit travel blogs requires a significant amount of time and energy.
Spending the time and energy to find new blogs is worth the effort but if you find some keyword image searches seem dominated by business sites – not blogs – feel free to try another keyword that may be linked to predominantly blogs for an image search on Google.
I only dove into this traffic driving strategy a few weeks ago but I noted new bloggers finding me daily through this approach.
If you are stagnating in familiar blogging circles commit 100% to this Google image search method. Reach out to new bloggers, build brand awareness and drive traffic through an easy to follow tactic.
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