Category Archives: Tips

Secure a Website in 10 Minutes with HTTPS (TLS/SSL)

Every effort should be made to ensure your visitors information is secure with browsing your website.  Even if you are not actively collecting personal details, such as those parameters required for e-commerce, the very act of browsing a website can be intercepted by a third party and observed if your website only supports the standard HTTP protocol.  We’ll show you how to secure a website in ten minutes with HTTPS.

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Understanding Your Visitors for Better Conversion

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:

Speed is Everything — First Step to Faster a WordPress Site

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.

Speeding Up Your Web Pages: A Google PageSpeed Checklist

When Google PageSpeed first hit our radar, it seemed there was a lot of vague and sometimes contradictory information available on how to optimize web pages to load and render faster.

It was hard to tell where to start, and in which order to proceed. We wish we had had a simple checklist telling us exactly what needed to be done.

If you’re one of those webmasters that loves to follow a checklist, we hope this will help you out.

Google PageSpeed Checklist

  • Enable GZIP Compression
  • Enable Browser Caching
  • Optimize your Images
  • Minify all CSS files
  • Minify all JavaScript
  • Defer or Asynchronously load all JavaScript links
  • Asynchronously load all CSS links
  • Inline any Critical Above-The-Fold Styles
  • Minify the web page itself (HTML)

If you can get through that, you should be getting a 95 out of 100 for Google PageSpeed.

In A Little More Detail

Enabling GZIP Compression

With this step, you would turn on your server’s compression technology with instructions in a special control file.

Enabling Browser Caching

Here, you would provide specific instructions in a control file, that would tell the server to tell the visitor’s web browser, how long to keep static resources (JS, CSS, Images) cached.

Optimizing Your Images

This is actually one of the most important and easiest things you can do to improve your PageSpeed score.  Run your images through tinypng.com

Minify your CSS Files

This is where you strip  your CSS files of any white-space and comments.  By minifying, you can often reduce the file size of your resources by half.

Minify your JavaScript Files

This is where you strip  your JS files of any white-space and comments.  This step is a little trickier than that of the CSS minification, as JavaScript is very sensitive to an incorrectly minified file.  Be sure to test your code once you’ve minified your JavaScript.  Always keep a backup of your non-minified JS.

Defer or Asynchronously Load all JavaScript Files

JavaScript files are considered “render blocking” resources, which means that the HTML page will not “render” until all “render blocking” resources have loaded.  To speed up the rendering of your HTML, to have your page appear to load faster to the visitor, you need to “defer” or “asynchronously load” all of your JavaScript resources.

Asynchronously Load all CSS Files

Just like the JavaScript files, CSS files are also considered “render blocking”.  By asynchronously loading the CSS files, you will have the HTML render immediately.  The trouble with doing this step, however, is that the page will show as unstyled until the “asynchronously loaded” CSS files are loaded.  This is called the “Flash of Unstyled Text” (FoUT).  You can overcome this by implementing the next step.

Inline any Critical Above-The-Fold Styles

Determine which styles are critical to the rendering of the above-the-fold content, and inline them into the HEAD region of your HTML Page.  If done correctly, this will eliminate the FoUT.

Minify your Web Page (HTML)

Last thing to do is to minify your actual web page.  This can reduce the size of your web page by 50%.

See How You’re Doing

Each one of the above tasks is worth a different “weight” of score depending upon  what else may or may not already be completed.  You can test out to see how your page is working by going to superaccelerator.io

The one website optimization technique that could be dramatically speed up your website.

We all want a fast website.  Well, not just fast, but BLAZING fast.

And there are hundreds, if not thousands of tips and tricks available to slog through to try to get your website to score better with the likes of Google PageSpeed Insights.

In fact, there’s so much information out there, it can be both overwhelming and confusing to determine what is right, and what is easy to implement.

But listen up, I can save you a little bit of time here just telling you this one technique that can dramatically speed up your website.

It should be no surprise that the number of images, the quality of your images, and the size (width x height) of your images impacts the load time of your web pages.

Compare an un-optimized website that uses the following set of images:

  • 8 x 1600×1200 JPG files for the slider with a total size of about 3.9MB
  • 12 x assortedly  sized JPG files for a secondary info box carousel for a total size of about 9.9MB
  • 15 x assortedly sized JPG images for a testimonial rotator, for a total size of about 2.9MB
  • 6 x 280×200 JPG assorted images, for a total of  340KB

That totals a staggering 17MB of images for a single page load!  This particular page scored 0/100 with Google PageSpeed because it was so image heavy.

But, once sized to the dimensions they needed to be, and then optimized, the total was reduced down to under 2.5MB.  That’s a reduction of 85%!

It also resulted, with a few other updates to the web page using our Accelerator website plugin that targets a number of other techniques designed to speed up a web pages, in a 97/100 Google PageSpeed score.

So, if you want to significantly speed up your web pages, focus FIRST on sizing your images appropriately, and then optimizing them.

One of the best online image optimization tools available is TinyPNG.  We use the TinyPNG in our Accelerator website plugin, however you can also use the TinyPNG to manually optimize your own images.