A resourceful semantic publishing software, WordPress is packed with a great set of features with a focus on ease of use, better user experience, standards-compliance, easy customization, free content management system and is blessed with an active community. Not to mention, it is as free as in freedom. However, like with everything else, you have to take the bitter with the sweet. With a horde of benefits that WordPress comes with, it can be quite slow and shorn of correct precautionary measures, you may end up with a snail-like website.
The importance of the speed of a website cannot be stressed enough as the attention span of an internet user is miniscule. When a visitor lands on your website especially for the first time, a website only has few seconds to attract the attention of the user in order for them to linger. The slower the website, the lesser the number of users for the site. A faster website also translate to more traffic and rank better in search. In short, a slow website is a recipe for failure. Here is a little smattering on the ways to improve your website speed.
Tips to improve your WordPress website:
Hosting and Type Of Hosting
A shared host, at the outset, sounds like a great option with unlimited page views and is very cost effective that most new entrepreneurs get attracted to it. However, a shared hosting can be a major reason for the slow speed and frequent downtime of a website. So, if you plan to stack a large amount of content on your website, it is advisable to invest in a proper hosting services, which wouldn’t be detrimental to the health of your website.
Choosing a Good Hosting Provider
A website needs a hosting plan as a fish needs water. Okay this may be little over stretched but you get the drift, right. A website needs a hosting plan but instead of visiting too many different hosting providers, you need to look inside first. Choose according to your need. If you own an Ecommerce site, a heavy CMS, expect a lot of traffic or traffic spikes, then avoid shared hosting plans. There are many different types of hosting available including shared hosting plans, dedicated hosting plans, managed WordPress hosting plans and virtual private server (VPS) hosting plans.
InterServer offers 30 day money back guarantee on shared hosting, 99.5% uptime guarantee, 100% power guarantee, fast and easy setups, easy to use control panel choices, and much more. With a 30 day money back guarantee, and a horde of other benefits, InterServer is a great option for start-ups and huge corporations alike.
When a user visit a website, the elements on the page they visit are stored in a cache, so the next time if the user again visit the same site, your browser can load the page without having to send another HTTP request to the server. Install WordPress plugins which will help capture caches more effectively and ensure a faster website. For more details check our previous blog on Optimizing your wordpress blog.
Image size reduction, specify image size, scale images and type (JPG/PNG)
Images are the major perpetrator when it comes to slowing the website. The keyword when it comes to images is ‘optimize’. You need to optimize your images (above 50KB) before uploading them to the website. The best way of optimizing them is to use Photoshop or any other image manipulation software. Progressive images should be used for JPG files because progressive furnishing of images provides a smoother user experience.
When loading images into WordPress the height and the width of the image has to be set without fail. If you fail in doing that, the browser has to wait until the image is fully loaded. Setting up the height and width allows the browser to allocate a box on the page for an image.
Type: Use JPG as your default. It’s the smallest and fastest loading file type. Use PNG only for images with text (JPG rasterizes text which makes it blurry) or if you need a transparent background. Minimize or even eliminate any heavy GIF files because they can drastically slow down the loading time of your site
Reduce number of plugins and Keep your WordPress installation updated.
The number of plugins is one of the greatest advantage that WordPress has. However, excess of anything is bad. Ensure that you aren’t adding all the plugins you can find. The more the plugins, the higher the chances of software conflicts which may lead to the website crash. Use only what’s really important and delete the rest. Also, be sure to keep your plugins up to date to prevent any further delay on loading the websites.
Choose a simple, clear and a clean theme
WordPress has abundant theme options, both in free and paid versions. To make sure that you have a theme that performs pretty well, ensure that it’s not majorly dependent on images. Images look great, but it should also be noted that they also reduce the speed of loading. Another thing to look for is a theme with a CSS based design.
Minimize the number of HTTP requests and Fix 404 errors
Incorporate these tips while investing in a good hosting provider such as InterServer to speed up your website, get more traffic, rank higher in search and make more sales.
Common website footer mistakes
There are several mistakes that are made by many, including website designers, when it comes to the design of a website footer. These include including a copyright notice and nothing else, but also failing to use the footer to repeat contact details or Calls to Action. Broken links, excessive placing of logos, and out of date information are all notorious footer mistakes.
Why the footer is important
The footer is important because it is visible on every page of your website, including your blog if it is part of your main site. Using the footer to its optimum capabilities also means that you need not clutter your main pages with text or images. The footer is also usually the last thing a visitor to your website sees, especially if they are viewing it using a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. This means it may be the last opportunity you have to make a connection with your site’s visitors and the last opportunity to make a sale.
What your footer should be used for
Your footer therefore, should be used for Calls to Action, links to other pages on your website, contact details, opening hours and social media buttons. It should also be used for a copyright notice and policies, because this is where most people are likely to look for them. You can also use your footer for a list of recent blog posts and their most popular categories, your Twitter and/or Facebook feed, and your logo.
Keep it simple
You may be thinking that this is a lot of information to put in your footer and this is true, so you will need to exercise discretion when choosing what to include. Do not include links that are of little value or interest to your users, for example, but rather focus on links that will take your users to places where you want them to be and which they will find entertaining, informative and relevant. Do make your contact details – business name, address, telephone number, email and operating hours – clearly visible so it is easy for users to get in touch.
The footer of your website is a prime opportunity to market your business and enhance engagement with your website users. Pay as much attention to your footer design as to the rest of your website to ensure that your site is working hard for you 24/7.
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Getting your content picked up on the internet is akin to shouting on top of your lungs in a chock-a-block souk. You may be an expert in a certain subject and able to weave interesting pearls of wisdom but if you are not able to bring people to read it, even great content means nothing. The world we live is driven by information overload. With every ragtag and bobtail sharing their thoughts, ideas and stories, we are filled with a deluge of data and are buried under the barrage of information.
If you want people to read your content, you need to ensure that you are catching people’s attention. Most people make small mistake and their seemingly good content gets buried under the volley of websites and thus keep people off from reading the good content in offer. One of the best ways to ensure that your content is being read is by ensuring SEO Friendly content. SEO and content go arm-in-arm and if you want to get ahead of your competitors, you must learn how to write exciting and SEO friendly content. Here is a little smattering on the must-know tips to enhance the visibility of your website and to write SEO friendly compelling content.
Write Quality Content
When it comes to writing content, the most important aspect is to write good quality content. You can have all SEO practices in place but if the content is not up to mark, it is bound for failure. Write meaningful content with well-researched and original idea. If you can leverage your industry experts to dish out some uncommon tips and ideas regarding the topic you are writing, and link your own research with a round-up of ideas from other experts, you can churn out content which is bound for success. Remember to choose topics and write content which are user-oriented and engaging.
More often than not, overenthusiastic writers stuff their content with keywords thinking that it would rank higher in search engine. Not only it backfires but most search engines penalize such practices. On top of it, it is a big nuisance for the readers, putting them off your posts for good. Of course it is important to add keywords to your content as it helps readers as well as search engines know what your content is all about but knowing how many keywords to use is what needs to be learnt. Use relevant keywords thoughtfully and sparingly spread across your post’s headline and body. The idea is to use keywords which don’t look stuffed in but give a more natural feel to the content. You could also take advantage of blog tags by tagging relevant keywords for your posts.
The meta-description is more like an advertising face of your posts. It is usually a short description on the search engine ranking page and gives a glimpse of what the post is all about to the viewers. It draws the readers to the website and a compelling, readable meta-description improves the click-through rates of a post which is very important when it comes to writing SEO friendly content. An intelligently woven short one to two liner with interspersed keywords is the key to a successful meta-description.
Write compelling headlines
Headlines are to your posts what promos are to a movie. An interesting headline may translate to more readers. The main role of a headline is to get people to click on the post to read more. An easy to understand enticing headline which projects to educate and inform the readers is the key to a successful content.
It is actually a no-brainer that a user wants to read unique content instead of duplicated ones. It is annoying for anyone in search for a post to be flagged by many different websites with the same content. According to search engines, unique content are the content which don’t replicate too much text from other sources. Ensure that your content is unique by ensuring a well-researched relevant content. You can check the uniqueness of your articles by testing it through plagiarism checker software.
Proofreading is to your posts what ironing is to your clothes. Dirty scrunched up clothes dispel people even if they may be branded and expensive. Similarly poorly written posts with typos and syntax errors can put off your readers off your posts even if the content may be unique or informative. Proofreading is an essential aspect of SEO friendly article.
Make it reader friendly
Make the article reader-friendly after all the reader is at the centre of it all. Use good headlines with sub headings and proper paragraphs with bulleted points for ease of read. Using relevant images to go with the post is also a good way to break text monotony and add entertainment value.
Provide your content and website a competitive edge by engaging these SEO friendly practices.
“Content is king”. You have heard this archaic cliché more times than you would care to admit. We all know that content is the back-bone of all things Internet. When it comes to posting content on the website, the most important tool at your disposal is Content Management System. As the name implies, Content Management System or CMS is a tool to create, edit, and store content in a convenient way. Having a CMS allows a user to add new information, products and services with speed and ease. Search Engines quest for new information is insatiate and that’s why they favour sites which are updated regularly. Updated content means better search engine results in turn translating to better traffic and return on investment.
Reasons to Use a Content Management System
Types of CMS
Content Management Systems can be roughly categorized into ‘open’ and ‘closed or proprietary’ systems. As the name suggests, an open source system is open to anybody working on the software and many people can work and create extensions which can be used with the original system. Since, the CMS is open, the best part is that it is available to use for free without any fee and the codes are more likely to be updated with many guides and tips on using the system. Open Source also ensures regular updates as it has a large developer base. The codes are available with a lot of documentation and ‘how-tos’ for the system. However, open system is more prone to hacker attacks as the codes are lying out in the open, making it vulnerable. Some of the most functional and easier to use open source CMS are Drupal, WordPress, Silverstripe, Joomla, Radiant CMS, etc.
Closed or proprietary systems are locked and secure systems built or maintained by single or group of organizations and normally do not allow general access to source code. These kinds of system may either be developed for a specific industry or edited to suit the needs of a specific website. With a monthly or annual subscription, you can avail the services of a proprietary system and get the features, training, design, development, etc., for your website with technical support. This helps you run your business without any hassles and extra need to hire developers and IT team. Closed System is more secure because it has closed codes and therefore is less prone to hacker attacks. Closed System also allows better and faster help with technical support. Some of the most functional closed source CMS in the market are Adobe CQ5 CMS, Magnolia, CoreMedia WCM, ECM Documentumetc, etc.
What to look for in a CMS
Whether you opt for an open or closed source Content Management System, there are a few things which you must ensure while choosing a Content Management System.
Easy and Quick Installation – The installation of a CMS shouldn’t be too complicated and should not take too long to install. A good CMS will have a simple and quick installation process leaving you up and running in no time!
Easy administration interface – Another feature which most popular CMSs provide is simple and easy interface which require no or minimum IT skills.
Supporting user community – Especially in case of open source CMS system, it is very important to have a thriving community where potential issues can be discussed and resolved.
Availability of extension of CMS – It is very important for website to keep evolving which means the CMS needs to be able to absorb and adjust to all website’s needs. A good CMS system will have continual availability of CMS extensions for added features and extra functionalities.
Easy template manipulation – A good CMS will provide a horde of templates which could be used for different pages of the website and should also accommodate easy manipulation to suit a website’s preference.
Scalability – The CMS you choose should be able to grow with your expanding business. Always remember to choose a CMS with a long-term vision.
Customization – Without the ability to customize, your website will end up looking like millions of websites strewn across the World Wide Web. A CMS you choose must have an ability to provide easy customization. It should allow manipulation of design, structure and the order of the content for unique visualization.
Security – One of the most important threats in real-life scenario for websites is hacking. A CMS you opt for must account for security and should have features to ensure maximum safety.
Before opting for a CMS, always research it thoroughly. The main purpose of a CMS is to make your life easier by creating and editing content, easily, effortlessly, and quickly. Always look from a user’s point of view and give preference to user experience over other functions. Make a list of all your requirements and choose a solution which works best for your audience and your business while being pocket-friendly. Remember that a CMS can make or break your website.