Have you noticed that your website is blah and want to make improvements?
Or maybe you looked at your page insights and found that it is running as slow as maple syrup in January? Let’s look at how you can make your website better in 3 steps!
Real world websites and making them work!
I know ! I know! You don’t have the time and patience to read a million pages of Google documents on Panda, Penguin and other assorted animals! Neither do I !
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know coding or the other Jedi mind tricks that people think are needed to be successful! I don’t either!
But I have made time along the way to learn the basic integration and tips to keep things running the way I need them in order to keep my 2 blogs functioning and ranking well !
There’s no shortage of time-consuming hacks to follow and SEO tips that might be over the head of most people who are mostly new to the online space, and haven’t tackled such things yet!
What we will talk about is the steps that will help beginner to intermediate website owners make huge strides with small improvements that anyone can accomplish with minimal time!
I’ve been lucky enough to take the advice of really smart and crazy nice people like Neil Patel, and Mr Pat Flynn to go along with the training, mentoring, and community program that I got started with as well as others and keep the main thing the main thing! And my main thing is creating helpful and relevant content!
The main thing has nothing to do with learning code and reading the SEO opinions of every techie in the online space!
I don’t have time for that!
After all I started like many of you likely did! I was working and raising a family with 40-60 hour work weeks and raising children with my wife! Time is something that wasn’t a luxury ! So with the help of many people I learned how to keep things working, not learning how it works !
Website management is one thing that I honestly didn’t take into consideration when I started, and mostly still don’t! I’m not a coder and my main goal is keeping the main thing the main thing! That main thing for me is adding blog content to my niche website!
Although I am not a techie I do understand the need to keep your website looking and functioning properly or the blog posts that I share with the world will suffer greatly!
The difference of opinion is as varied as the stars concerning what is important and what is not!
One person will tell you that your website load speed is super important while the next one will say that it doesn’t matter that much as long as you don’t view your website load time as slow! I even had one really technical guy tell me that as long as your website loads in less than 3 seconds you are OK! Really?
I do have some level of common sense to help guide me! For instance I know that when I do a Google search for a certain query that I’m not going to wait an eternity for the site to load before I bounce !
Google has made it evident and outspoken that site load speed is now a big part of their algorithm and greatly effects search rankings to provide a better experience !
I’m not sure where Mr. four seconds gets his info, but I think I’ll go with Google on this one!
Take a breath!
You can breathe now because none of the things we are about to cover includes coding or any other Jedi Mind tricks that some big boys use!
These are all steps that you can do in a fairly short amount of time, and with little or no experience!
Look at these types of tasks as something that you can learn from and have fun with it, because if you consider it adds a hindrance and necassary evil, you will not have as much fun and will look at it in a negative light!
Were gonna have some fun, because this isn’t difficult!
What we are going to be doing!
- Back up your WordPress website
- Optimize plugins
- Optimize photos with the use of a great plugin
- Cache maintenance with a plugin
I can hear the drums beating already! No more plugins, No More plugins is the chant as the drums grow louder!
Rest assured! We will be optimizing those plugins !
I really never like to have over about 8 plugins on my websites just for the reason that plugins make your website load speed become slower than Google’s algorithm likes!
Yes a slow website will greatly affect your rankings, but fear not! We shall be increasing your website speed, not slowing it down!
If you aren’t aware of it, here;s a link to the google page speed insights!
I really forgot to get a screen shot before I did this “procedure”, but the screenshot to the left shows the results after ! My optimization was 54 Mobil and 61 Desktop before.
As you can see the results speak for themselves! With a new Mobil score of 99 and a desktop score of 94, there’s not much left to be desired!
First things first ! Back up your website!
I would highly recommend that before you do any adjustments, plugin installations or anything beyond editing content in your WordPress back office, that you back up your website!
No! back up and remove where I said that I recommend backing up your website! Instead make it your everlasting law to back up your website before making any types of changes and maintenance! That way it becomes a part of your process and you won’t forget to do it at some time in the future when you will wish you had!
There is nothing like calling your hosting support or designer and they tell you that it’s really broken now, and you have to use an older backup that doesn’t include your last 30 blog post!
Or worse yet, you don’t have a backup at all! To make sure we don’t scare the baby with nightmare screams, let’s just forgo the discussion about not having a backup of any sort!
If you’re not familiar with backing up your wordpress website, no fear! It’s as easy as falling out of your chair in a crowded restaurant ! Don’t laugh! I’m sure other people have done it too! And if they haven’t just forget that I brought it up!
The Steps for backing up your WordPress website:
Click on Tools in your WordPress dashboard/ back office
- Click on Export
- Click All content on the next page
- Then click on the download Export button at the bottom of the page
- Go to the download and copy it. Use select all if you have a bunch of posts or you’ll be here all day, because it’s a gigantic file!
- Copy and Paste this file into a word Doc and name it so that you can locate it.
- Every time you do a new backup, delete the old one! ( I back up my site at least once per week)
By keeping recent backups you can rest assured that you are covered in the event that you break your website and it takes that off your mind! Needless to say that not having a recent backup when/ if your website breaks will be a recipe for a visit to counseling!
Let’s clean up those Plugins, shall we!
Plugins are not the evil device of Satan in slowing down your website as many people think!
The plugins that cause problems are the bulky, heavy and slow plugins that cause issues with site load time ! We will be checking out our plugin catalog and cleaning up the ones that are bulking up our load time! And guess how we are going to do it! Yep, you guessed it! A plugin ! LOL
- Go to your WordPress back office and click on Plugins.
- Then click on new
- Type in P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)
- Click Install and then Click Activate (No need to change any of the settings)
- Go to Tools on left-hand side and click P3 Plugin Performance
- When it opens simply click scan
- When the popup comes up give the scan a name such as “Scan1” (No spaces)
- Click Auto Scan
- When scan completes click View results
The first result you see will be a pie chart. You can click through all the metrics buttons to check different aspects of the scan results.
What you want to look for are plugins that have a higher load time than the others. If you see plugins with load times over a second you may want to look at uninstalling that plugin and finding another plugin that is lighter on load time .
If you see a plugin that has a load time of 2 or 3 seconds that is a definite issue and should be replaced by a lighter plugin immediately!
Some themes will have plugins associated with them that are slower and may be the slowest plugins on your website. If that is the case it is a plugin from the developer and you will have to contact support. Do not uninstall developer plugins! They will be described with the term theme.
Just because a theme plugin is the slowest doesn’t mean that it’s bad! In the example pie chart the plugin that is the slowest is like .047 seconds. That isn’t an issue. You are looking for crazy anomalies in your plugins!
*If you want you can deactivate the P3 plugin until the next time you optimize so that it too will not have to load.
Deleting your website’s cache
Your website’s cache is the caching or temporary storage of web documents such as HTML pages and images. It is a good idea to clear this cache from time to time in order to optimize your website load speed.
We will be doing this with a great plugin named W3 Total cache ! It has been installed and reviewed many times and has tons of five star ratings.
*Note- Some free themes may not be best friends with this plugin. I have used it on a sample website with the Admiral free theme and it didn’t work out too good.
Well coded and modern themes shouldn’t be an issue. I have also never had an issue with a paid theme !
Let’s get started!
- Go to plugins and click on install new
- Type in W3 Total cache
- Install and activate the plugin
- Follow the setting below
Click on settings and change the settings to match the following (Remember to click the “Save Settings” button in each section after setting .
- Page code= Enable , Page Cache Method= Disk , Enhanced
- Minify = Enabled , Minify Code Method=Disk
- Database Code= *Enabled only if you do not have shared hosting if you enable it set it to disk
- Object cache = Enabled, Set Method to disk
- Browser cache= Enabled
- Skip the CDN and Proxy settings
- Fragmented Cache= Enabled and set Method to Disk.
The settings are ready!
Go to your website and analyze the page again. Again this should be the page with the most traffic on your website! You should see a slight improvement. But remember we cleared the cache. Now go to your website and refresh the page. Then click through 2 or 3 of the pages to reload the cache.
Now analyze the page again in Google insights, and you should see a greater improvement!
We aren’t done yet!
The Image optimizer should generate the biggest improvement!
Here we will be using the EWWW Image optimizer plugin to optimize our images to the best performance with the best quality! You will likely not be able to tell a difference in the quality, but the file sizes will be reduced a good bit!
When you reduce the file size of each image by anywhere from 2% to 25% you will see a huge benefit if you have hundreds of images on your website!
Go to your Plugins section and click new.
- Type EWWW Image optimizer in the search
- Install and activate the plugin
- Go to setting on the left side of your WordPress back office
- Click on EWWW Image Optimizer (When it opens you should not see a bunch of errors. If you do it will likely be because you have a super discounted hosting or something of that type of cause. Just click support to get it set up pretty easily.
- There are some advanced settings that I do not use. But I will add a video at the end of this section from WordPress tutorials to help you if you want to tweak the settings.
- Go to media on the left side of the WordPress back office and click on Bulk Optimize.
- Click “Scan for optimized images”
- After the scan ends simply click on “Start Optimizing” (This may take several minutes to complete)
Once the EWWW Image optimizer has finished all you need to do is go back to Google insights and analyze one more time!
You should see a huge difference from the beginning of these methods to the end!
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There are many methods and techniques to optimizing a website and honing the SEO (Search Engine Optimization). But Many of them are very small gains that are not worth the time it takes to do them in my opinion!
By using these simple optimization plugins you can make a huge difference in the optimization and site load speed of your website and get back to the main thing as fast as possible!
I do prefer to deactivate all these plugins between use so that they don’t have to load as well!
I really hope you found this article helpful and got some value from it by speeding up your website! Not everyone is a seasoned pro, and not everyone has the time to learn and practice all the techie steps of SEO!
The #1 criteria for SEO in the Google algorithm is quality content. I personally am not interested in trading the time working on the # 1 most important thing to tweak #7.
If you have comments, questions or suggestions please leave them in the comments section! Your feedback helps me to better serve my audience!
Have a great and blessed day!
Best of success to you!