A brand new year, and it is time again for the great push to make old websites new again. It happens every year, like clockwork.
Probably one of the most common questions we get these days, is “I got an SSL certificate, but my page is broken: how do I fix my web pages?” as there has such a big push to get sites using HTTPS in recent months.
If you’re running WordPress and want to have your site optimized for Google PageSpeed, you probably realize how technical it can be.
Well, if PageSpeed Optimization is ‘Greek to you’, you’re going to get some heroic help from our latest service.
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.
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:
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 get the Pegasaas Accelerator automated Google PageSpeed optimization 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.
But Pegasaas Accelerator is more than a just a caching plugin. It used to be that getting a caching plugin was enough. But with over 50% of search now being performed on a mobile devices, Google is making a push to have all websites be as optimized for performance as possible, because it takes longer to download web pages on a mobile devices.
If you don’t have a WordPress plugin that caches your content, you absolutely MUST get one. If you aren’t optimizing your website for Google PageSpeed, you absolutely must get Pegasaas Accelerator. Yes, it performs page caching, but it does a ton of other tasks that squeezes every last millisecond out of your load time. 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.
Again, get Pegasaas Accelerator and watch your PageSpeed scores jump into the high 90s in just a few minutes. You can even try it out for 14 days for free.
It could mean the difference between keeping and losing those precious visitors that need your product, service, or content.
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
- 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.
Asynchronously Load all CSS Files
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
One of the biggest disservices you can do for your website’s ranking is to not tailor your page titles to what it is on your page.
And we see this time and time again where website operators will have had their website online for years, and not change the home page title from the boiler-plate “Welcome”.
One of the most surprising things that we find when we do website content transfers, is that only 5% of sites are previously set up with any sort of Analytics package.
This is absolutely shocking!