I don’t know about you, but I use checklists for everything. From website setups to camping with the family, checklists are critical to making sure you haven’t forgotten anything important. Like bug repellent.
There was a time, when I first started golfing with the Frazoo boys, that I was known as “Hurricane”. I had such an incredibly fas golf swing. That it also happened to be a little out of control only made the analogy more apt.
We’ve been talking about this for a while now, but it’s really something that we think it’s important to hit home about — when it comes to your website, speed really is everything.
If you’ve got a slow loading WordPress website, you know awful it is waiting for your pages to load. You wonder whether or not you’re losing visitors, an whether your search engine ranking is hurting because of it.
And you wish there was a simple solution, a simple plugin that just fixed the problem.
Well, we’re excited to announce that development has begun on the WordPress plugin version of the incredible Accelerator website plugin that dramatically improves Google PageSpeed scores.
Accelerator, as a website plugin, installs to a traditional website and in minutes it optimizes the web pages and “ticks off all of the checkboxes” that Google PageSpeed Insights recommends that webmasters optimize in order for their pages to load blazing fast.
All without the webmaster needing to know all the technical mumbo-jumbo.
And now we’re bringing that same functionality to the WordPress platform. Development started April 3rd, and as of the time of this post (April 11th) it is already a week ahead of schedule. Expected completion and release date is July 4th — expect some fireworks!
This plugin will include support for:
- GZIP Compression
- Browser Caching of static resources
- Minification of HTML
- Minification of CSS
- Image Optimization
- Deferral of Render blocking Resources (CSS/JS)
- Automatic detection and injection of critical above the fold CSS
The best part of all of this is that it is expected that you’ll be able to take advantage of all of those features, just as easily as the Accelerator as a Website Plugin version, but right through the WordPress plugin interface.
We are totally killing it this week here in development of our respective projects!
When revamping, upgrading, or renovating your website, you absolutely must re-evalulate your ideal customer/buyer/visitor persona.
If you don’t know what an ideal customer persona is, it is essentially a description of your ideal customer, one who values your product or services, that somehow helps you achieve your end goal.
Now, you may actually have multiple customer personas, each with different needs, wants, and desires. It is absolutely imperative that you understand who your ideal customers in order to effectively first target and market to, and then have a website that delivers what they need.
For example, say you had a holistic pet food store, specializing in all natural, specially tailored foods for cats and dogs. Right there, you have two unique types of customers: dog owners, and cat owners. Both are concerned about their pets, and are willing to spend top dollar for the best possible, balanced diet, for their cherished furry companions. Understanding who your ideal customers are, you can begin to build your business and marketing appropriately.
You can also properly build out your website. And this is a very important key point.
If you market your product to a particular segment, but your website doesn’t match that particular customer’s needs, wants, and desires, you’ve just wasted a boat-load of time, energy, and money on your marketing.
Many do-it-yourself website operators believe that how THEY want their website to operate is how their customers need and want it to operate. In reality, website owners need to really dig down and take a good hard look at your customer personas, and then determine what is important to those ideal visitors.
If you’re going to be marketing to Millennials, it is important to do your market research to find out what device they are likely to be using to browse your website. If you’re targeting the 50+ crowd, should you be providing links front and center to your research and benefits, or to your “about” and “contact” pages.
Every customer type is different, but understanding who you’re targeting is the first step to building a successful website. Because, while you may think your preferences for your website are what should be built out, in reality, you may not be your own preferred customer.
Check out these links to figure out who your ideal customer personal is:
Last week I wrote about the very first thing you should do to speed up your WordPress site: install a caching plugin.
Now that you’ve done the most critical thing that will help to improve your website performance, you should now move on to optimizing your WordPress site for Google PageSpeed.
Every day is, more or less, design and development mode here at i3dTHEMES. But this last week of March we started design and development of two new projects.
If your website doesn’t load fast, you’re kissing your visitors goodbye before they even get to you.
Let’s face it, we’re all impatient when it comes to web page load time. We’ve become accustomed to the internet being fast, and when we go to our local search engine, click on a link, and come across a website that doesn’t load in under 3 seconds, we’re very much inclined to hit the “Back” button and try out the next result in the search results page.
Because we’re all about not wasting a second, because life is too precious to waste on a slow loading site… even if it has better content, or a better product or service.
This is why you should do EVERYthing you can to speed up your website. But, when your website is running WordPress, it is prone to running slower. You’ve probably noticed that your site may not load as fast as other “static” websites.
Why is that?
There’s A Lot Going On
Well, there’s the WordPress engine core which has, at last count, over 484,000 lines of code in it. When you throw a theme on top, there’s bound to be another 10,000 more lines of code for the theme framework. Then there’s all the plugins that enhance the WordPress system that you install over top of the core and theme.
Before you know it, you’ve got a fantastically feature rich and robust site… that is slower than molasses.
And when I say slow, I mean slow to generate the HTML that gets sent to the browser. I’m not even talking about optimizing for Google PageSpeed, which is a whole other topic.
What I’m talking about is just the time it takes to compile and render the HTML code that the browser uses to render the web page.
And with all of the code and database access that it takes to build the HTML, it can take a few seconds before the page is sent to the requesting web browser.
So how on earth can we speed this up?
Glad you asked.
Speed It Up
The very first thing you should do is install a “caching” plugin.
A caching plugin basically stores a static version of your Page and Posts so that there is virtually no build time — it just requests the “saved” copy of the page and serves that to the end user. And as many pages and posts don’t get updated ‘often’, you can store a cached copy of your pages and posts until your content is updated.
If you don’t have a WordPress plugin that caches your content, you absolutely MUST get one.
If you need some place to start, we would recommend you look at either WP Total Cache or WP Super Cache. Both have their own set of features that you can configure, and we’ll let you decide which one works best for your situation.
But you need to have one or the other.
It could mean the difference between keeping and losing those precious visitors that need your product, service, or content.
Sometimes the hardest problems have the easiest solutions, which is why you should never give up.
Working through a problem, just putting in the effort and persevering through whatever challenge you’re up against, whether it’s in working with your website, or in business, or in life, is key.