How to Speed Up a Slow WordPress Website

Optimizing WordPress at a coffeehouse

The speed of your WordPress website is important for SEO and also for retaining site visitors and converting them to prospects or customers. Various

studies by Google, CloudFlare and others have consistently found that bounce rates go down and conversion rates get better as site speed improves, sometimes dramatically. For example, according to Google, as page load time goes from 1s to 5s, the probability of a visitor bouncing increases 90%! *

Before racing down the road of optimizing your site speed, we recommend that you read The Problems with Google PageSpeed Insights so that you are certain you are measuring the performance of your site by the correct metrics. If you are just using the “grades” that Google and other site speed tests provide, you may be mis-informed. The only true metric is page load speed.

If you have a WordPress site that is slow, here are some ways you can improve its speed. The list below is not comprehensive and different sites will have different reasons for why they are slow, but we’ve ordered the list in terms of what we’ve found to have the greatest effect on speed, with the most impactful at the top.

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How To Prevent Your WordPress Website From Being Hacked

Microsoft Windows has the largest worldwide market share of all operating systems. As a result, it’s also the number one target for virus writers. If you want your virus or malware to infect the most number of computers, you would logically write it for Windows.

Similarly, WordPress has the largest market share among web platforms worldwide. And, like Windows, it’s also the number one targeted platform for hackers. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use WordPress. It just means that you need to take precautions to ensure that your site is secure. We’ve helped secure hundreds of WordPress websites and helped fix many hacked sites over the years. Following is a discussion, based on our own experience, of the most important things you can do to keep your site from being hacked. This is not a comprehensive list of everything you could do, but rather a highly selective list of the things we believe will make the most difference in keeping your site secure.

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Don’t Listen to Everything Google Tells You

In the last post on Google PageSpeed Insights, we discussed the problems with that tool and how the advice it gives is interpretive and not always beneficial from either a user experience standpoint or a search engine ranking standpoint. In this article we look at a newer tool by Google, TestMySite. TestMySite purportedly analyzes the speed of your website from a mobile device.

Google is very focused on mobile search these days. In fact, because mobile search now exceeds desktop search, they are actually ranking your site more on its mobile characteristics than on its desktop ones. So there is no question that your site needs to be mobile optimized both in terms of user experience and load speed. Google’s tools are supposed to help you with this. Only they don’t! (more…)

The Problems with Google PageSpeed Insights

Google provides two tools for testing the performance of your website from a desktop or mobile device. PageSpeed Insights offers desktop and mobile recommendations and is the oldest and most-used while TestMySite is a recent addition that only tests the mobile version of your site.

There are a few serious misconceptions about these tools which frequently cause website owners and even developers to focus on the wrong factors regarding the performance of their sites. Worse, you can spend a lot of money trying to get a good “grade” on these sites without getting any real benefit. (more…)

The Pros and Cons of Commercial WordPress Themes

One of the great things about WordPress is the thousands of high quality themes available for the platform. What is a theme? A WordPress theme defines the look-and-feel of your site, or its design. The theme contains a specific set of style sheets and templates that determine the fonts, colors, styles and layouts of the pages within a WordPress website. Themes in WordPress can be installed and activated, rapidly transforming the way your whole site looks, much like a paint job and window tinting can transform the look of your car. The car interior and engine remain the same, but it looks very different on the outside.

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WordPress or Drupal: Which should you choose?

Both WordPress and Drupal are powerful, mature content management systems with worldwide support and large websites counted among their users. So, which should you build your next website in?

We’ve built very large websites, as well as many smaller ones, in both WordPress and Drupal. There are things that we like about both of them, but since WordPress has rapidly jumped into the lead in terms of total users, following are the top 3 reasons for and against using WordPress for your website.

Reasons For: (more…)

A Scientific Approach to a Better Online Lead Generation

a-b split testingHistorically, if you wanted more leads from your website, you would hire a consultant or an agency to help make your website “better.” You would design a more attractive website, write marketing copy that was more compelling or work on your SEO to try to increase the number of visitors to your site. All of these are valid approaches to improving website performance, however, there are problems with this approach. What is a “better” design and who is it more attractive to? Have you come across websites that you loved but your spouse or partner hated? How about marketing copy that turned you off but got a friend or associate so excited, they couldn’t stop talking about the product or service?

The problem with “better,” is that it’s relative.

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Custom Designed WordPress Theme versus an Off-the-shelf Theme

The graphic design, or look and feel, is the first impression every visitor gets from a website. It’s a critical component in establishing credibility and inspiring people to stick around. Poorly or generically designed websites have higher bounce rates than professionally designed ones. (more…)

SEO and Mobile is Anyone Listening

Ask anyone in the industry, and they’ll tell you that mobile is the future. You hear it everywhere. In fact, mobile has been the future so long, it seems like it should be the present by now! This is actually supported by data, which indicated that mobile user volume surpassed that of desktop in 2014. Let that sink in for a moment: this isn’t just the abstract future, but the actual present.

It’s true everywhere you look, too. We already know how attached people are to their smartphones. Why doesn’t Google recognize this across its business?

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Selecting a Good WordPress Hosting Company

If you are developing a new site in WordPress, it may make sense to select a hosting company that has specific experience with WordPress. Since WordPress will be powering your entire site, it’s important to have a hosting company that understands its unique requirements. Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting a WordPress hosting company. (more…)

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