3 Ways to Increase Site Load Time

3 Ways to Increase Site Load Time

3 Ways to Increase Site Load Time

I previously posted that I discovered my site did not load very quickly – you can read that post here.

So, in the week I have been looking at what could potentially be slowing my site down.

There are a lot of things to consider, but for this post I am going to concentrate on 3 of them.

 Plugins

Plugins are a great addition to any WordPress website and I don’t know about you, but I like testing out new ones I hear about, just to see if they are any good.  What I sometimes do though, if I decide not to keep them, is just deactivate them and not delete them.  This is a big no no if you are trying to have your site load faster.

Deactivated plugins do not directly slow the site down, they just take up extra space, which could lead to the slowing down of your site.  Either way, deleting unwanted plugins, is a good habit to get into.

 Cache

 A cache plugin stores copies of your generated pages as flat html files. This means that, unless something changes (new post/ comment), subsequent visits do not need to touch the database, saving a lot of processing. So, when visitors visit your site they are seeing a stored version of your page.

 The two most popular plugins seem to be:

 W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache

W3 Total Cache does all of the things that WP Super Cache does and then has some more advanced features.  For now, I am going with WP Super Cache, as I found it easier to set up.

 Web Trick Blogs has a great post to talk you through setting WP Super Cache onto your website.

 Similarly, WP Lift has a post to take you through the setup of W3 Total Cache.

 Images

Image size plays a massive part in the load speed of your site.  You can optimise images using any photo editing software you have on your computer, or another option is to use Yahoo Smush It. You can either upload the picture to the site or supply the image URL and it will ‘smush’ the image for you – optimising the image without losing any of the quality.  It gives you the results of how much it was able to ‘smush’ the image. You can then download the modified image to your computer.

There is also a WordPress plugin, by the same name, that images automatically get run through when they are uploaded to the site.  You can even ‘smush’ all of the images that are already on your website.  The best result I had was a 66% reduction in size of one of my images.

Let me know how you get on with trying these out on your own sites.

Write your comments below.

Thanks!!


Stacey Myers, getting started, wordpress training
Stacey is a coach, trainer and speaker who supports people getting started with an online presence through WordPress and Social Media training. Stacey's hands-on style, supportive nature and extensive knowledge make her the perfect go-to resource for new entrepreneurs, and small business owners, who need a one-on-one or small group approach. She will also help you to overcome your mindset barriers so you too, can feel the freedom of living your passion.
Do I Need a Shopping Cart?

Do I Need a Shopping Cart?

Do I need a shopping cart?

Many people have been asking me lately if they should get a shopping cart.
In most circumstances, when you are just starting out, I do not think you need a shopping cart. If you are only selling a few things off your website and they are not expensive (under $1000) PayPal is a very good option.
One of the major factors in choosing to use a shopping cart is that PayPal does not have any capability to track affiliates.  I use a shopping cart, as I have affiliates promoting some of my services.  I use the functionality within the shopping cart to track the affiliates, so I know how much commission to send them. If I did not work with affiliates, I would still only be using PayPal.
As a side note – a shopping cart is not the only way to track affiliates.  There are various other programs and plugins that can do that for you.
Another misconception is that the shopping cart processes the payments for you – this is not correct, you still need to link to PayPal or have a merchant account to process the payments once the products have been put into the shopping cart.
PayPal has Website Standard – a free service, and Website Pro – which is a merchant account service with varying fees, depending on the services you choose.  Regardless, of whether you go with Standard or Pro, you will still pay a percentage of the purchase amount to PayPal – approximately 3% – though it may vary country to country.
The other question that I get asked is if you want to be an affiliate and promote other people’s products and programs do you need a shopping cart.  The answer to that is no, all of that is taken care of by the person promoting the product or program.
It is very easy to start selling items on your website using PayPal.  I will take you through the steps.
Firstly, sign up for a business account, or log in if you already have one.  Click on the Merchant Services tab.  Click on Website Payments Standard link. You will then have the option of what type of button you want to add to your website.
For the purposes of this demonstration I have chosen the ‘Buy Now' button. As you can see from the picture below, I can then add in a description and the price of the item.  You can then make any other customizations you want, for example – creating a drop down menu for different sizes or prices.  This is also where you would put in an amount for postage.  Once you have completed all of the sections click, ‘Create Button' at the bottom of the page.
That will take you to this screen – where you will get the code, that is specific to that button and the information you added – like the price, postage, etc.  You can either copy the code into your website or click the email tab – which gives you a link you can copy straight into an email.
I have created a short video to show you how to add the code to a page in your WordPress blog.

Happy Selling!!
Stacey Myers, getting started, wordpress trainingStacey is a coach, trainer and speaker who supports people getting started with an online presence through WordPress and Social Media training. Stacey's hands-on style, supportive nature and extensive knowledge make her the perfect go-to resource for new entrepreneurs, and small business owners, who need a one-on-one or small group approach. She will also help you to overcome your mindset barriers so you too, can feel the freedom of living your passion.

Would love to get your feedback and comments, please share them below.

Thanks!!

Plugins for your WordPress Site

Plugins for your WordPress Site

Plugins for your WordPress Site

Plugins for your WordPress Site

There are literally thousands of plugins out there and I am not going to overwhelm you with them all. I will share with you some of the ones that I personally use. It is enough to get you well and truly started. I previously wrote a blog post about plugins to use to share your content so I will not repeat those ones here.
So, what exactly are plugins?  WordPress.org says – Plugins can extend WordPress to do almost anything you can imagine. For me, plugins are to WordPress as apps are to phones.  They increase the functionality and/or apearance of your site.  Some plugins work in the background and some are visible on your site.
If you are not sure how to add plugins to your site, I have included a video at the end of this post.

Akismet – is one of the only plugins that comes already installed when you install WordPress. It is comment spam prevention for your blog– that basically means it mostly catches when people (or robots) are writing spam in the comment section of your website.

Contact Form 7 – Creates a simple form for your contact page – or any other page you want a contact form on. Very easy to use – if you use the default template it takes about 4 clicks.
Dean’s FCKEditor for WordPress – This plugin replaces the default WordPress editor. This gives you more ‘Word’ like editing functionality when creating pages and posts.
For the next 2 plugins you need to have set up a Google Analytics account.

Google Analytics Dashboard – gives you the ability to view your Google Analytics data in your WordPress dashboard.

This plugin does not provide the tracking code for Google Analytics. For that you will need to use a plugin like Google Analytics for WordPress (which is the next one on our list).
Google Analytics for WordPress – Track your WordPress site easily and with lots of metadata: views per author & category, automatic tracking of outbound clicks and page views.
Google XML Sitemaps – This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which helps search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it's much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently.
Scribe SEO – is a keyword research tool that you use to optimize your posts and pages. Once you have written your content Scribe analyses your writing and suggests keyword phrases that you may have missed. It gives your writing a percentage score out of 100. The score is made up of the top SEO best practices – it then offers suggestions of things you can do to increase your score. It also helps you create backlinks from other sites, crosslink the content with your own site and identify social media users who may want to share your content.
Tweet Old Post – Tweet Old Posts is a plugin designed to tweet your older posts to get more traffic. It randomly picks your older post and posts them out on Twitter, based on the intervals specified by you.

WordPress Database Backup – WordPress database backup creates backups of your core WordPress tables as well as other tables of your choice in the same database. You can set up the frequency of how often you want it to back up your site – it then emails it to you.
It only backups your database. It does not backup your plugins, uploaded files etc. If you want to have all of that backed up there is a service called VaultPress. The price for this service starts at $15 per month. They say – VaultPress keeps your site safe. Every post, picture, and page. Every comment, revision, and setting. Everything.
WPTouch – A simple, powerful and elegant mobile theme for your website. WPtouch automatically transforms your WordPress blog into a phone style theme. It turns the appearance of your website into one that is easy to use and read from any smart phone. There is a pro version of this plugin, called WPTouch Pro, which sells for $39 for one site. I am more than happy with the free version. It also allows people to switch between mobile view and the site’s regular view on their phones.
Here is the video to teach you how to install plugins into your WordPress site.

Stacey Myers, getting started, wordpress trainingStacey is a coach, trainer and speaker who supports people getting started with an online presence through WordPress and Social Media training. Stacey's hands-on style, supportive nature and extensive knowledge make her the perfect go-to resource for new entrepreneurs, and small business owners, who need a one-on-one or small group approach. She will also help you to overcome your mindset barriers so you too, can feel the freedom of living your passion.

I am always looking for great new plugins.  If you know of one, or more, please share them below.

Thanks!!

Social Media Sharing Options for your Website

Social Media Sharing Options for your Website

Social Media Sharing Options

Social Media Sharing Options

Sharing your blog posts and pages from your website is one of the best ways to get your content out to the masses.  It also gives other people an easy way of sharing your content if they find it useful or interesting.

There are many many plugins that you can use to share your content on social media.  I am going to share a few of the more popular ones with you.

WordPress plugins make this easier than ever and this is what I am going to focus on here.

One of the most popular ones is Sexy Bookmarks by Shareaholic. It is a plugin that makes it easy to share content across a variety of social and bookmarking sites.  You can choose from over 75 sites that you would like your visitors to share to. All they have to do is hover over the icon and then click. It also includes Facebook Like Button, Facebook Send and Google +.  Shareaholic also has counters for Twitter and Facebook. so you know how many times your content has been shared.

I did hear that the plugin has been downloaded over 1 million times.  Which would not surprise me, as it is on most of the blog sites that I visit.

Social Media Sharing Options

Another popular plugin is +addtoany.  It has a lot of the same options that Shareaholic but looks different.  It has a little bar that opens out when you put your mouse over it.  Again, all your visitors need to do is click on the site they would like to share it to.

Social Media Sharing Options

Another option is Sociable. Again, it is very similar to the previous two.   All of these have a lot of the same components.  It is generally personal choice that has people choose one over the other.  As I said previously, and you can see at the bottom of this post, that I use Shareaholic because I like its ease of use and look.

Social Media Sharing Options

TweetMeme is another popular plugin.  It easily allows your blog post or page to be retweeted.  It does not have any other options except to retweet to twitter. It is, however, very popular and you will notice that it is on a lot of sites.

Social Media Sharing Options

These are all options you can add to the visible (front end) of your website.  There are also many other tools you can use in the back end of your website to share your content.  I will be covering these over the next few weeks.

In the spirit of sharing content I would really appreciate it if you shared mine!

Stacey Myers is a coach, trainer and speaker in supporting people to get started fulfilling on their dreams.  Stacey loves giving people access to something else in life, something that may have been previously unimaginable.  She will help you overcome your mindset barriers so you too can feel the freedom of living your passion.

 

Would love to hear what you think? Please also tell us any other options you use to allow people to share content from your website.
Please leave a comment below. Thanks!!