What Is Shared Hosting?

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If you’re setting up your first site and need hosting, it can all be a little confusing. You probably already know that ‘hosting’ is where your site ‘lives’ online. There are all kinds of hosting, such as shared hosting, dedicated hosting, cloud hosting, and even self-hosting. Shared hosting is one of the most popular forms of web hosting.

So what exactly is shared hosting?

Shared hosting simply means that you are sharing your resources with other website owners that tap in one server for their resources such as space, bandwidth, databases and emails. Using one common server you can access your host provider through a control panel. Users have predominantly have control panel like cPanel or Plesk. Shared hosting is considered to be the cheapest form of hosting service. The advantage of subscribing to a shared hosting service is that you do not have to worry over minor or major problems, hardware issues and crashing server since all of these are handled by your web host company.

How does it work?

The reason shared hosting works is that it plays on the idea that most websites will not generate enough incoming traffic or tie up enough server resources to become an issue for other sites on the same shared server. In reality, the hosting service providers almost always provide more than enough resources to run all of the features on all of the sites sharing that server. Since they only have to pay for a single server, service providers make a sweet profit off of partitioning the server up for sale in pieces.

3 Pitfalls of Shared Hosting

1. Some hosts will overload their servers with too many sites which impacts negatively on the performance of your site caused by increased competition for the server resources by all the sites on the server. This will slow your site down & could even cause a server to crash.

2. Shared hosting accounts also have restrictions placed on them limitations placed on them with regard to the amount of disk space, data transfers, email addresses and domains that they can have. There are also often restrictions related to running scripts and databases that use quite a bit of CPU (processing power). This type of server activity causes reduced performance for all sites on the server which is beyond your control.

3. Stability and Security of the server & consequently your website. A poorly managed server which hosts one or two exceptionally busy sites could exhaust the server’s resources and cause downtime for all sites hosted on the server. The same is true if one site on the server is subject to a DOS attack which can impact all sites on the server. Therefore any site on a shared server that is compromised, that security breach can pose a serious risk to all of the sites on that server.

How to Pick a Shared Hosting Plan

The cost and reliability of a web host is a huge factor when choosing a host, you will need something that’s affordable but you will also need a quality hosting plan, thankfully the best web hosts are both affordable and offer a quality service.

You will also need to take into account bandwidth, if you’re not sure what bandwidth is, it’s simply the amount of hits your website will be able to receive before your host cuts you off, however if you pick a good host you will receive unlimited bandwidth and you won’t need to worry about being cut off or having to pay more to put your website back online.

Storage space is the amount of storage that the host offers, if you’re looking to host many pages with images and other media you will more than likely need quite a bit of storage, once again depending on which host you choose will affect the amount of storage you get. The top website hosts will offer unlimited storage.

The best web hosts will also offer you added deals which will include free advertising vouchers, free scripts and free website templates.

Pros and cons of shared hosting

Few of the benefits due to which this method should be selected are as follows:

• No cost for the maintenance: This form of web hosting when availed is inclusive of all the cost. You need not to spend a single penny as you are not required for the maintenance of the setup of your website and the server.

• Affordable price and cheaper cost: In comparison to other forms of web hosting, Shared website hosting is the most affordable and cheapest type for hosting. Today in the industry there are hundreds of companies that offer services at lesser prices. Even the market share of this option is greater in comparison to other options for hosting available in the market.

• More beneficial for small sites: For the small websites and the beginners this is the most appropriate option to get the websites published and expand their business all over the world.

• Quick setup: If you select this option you can get the web site on the Internet within a day while you selected this. The only thing you should ensure for this is selection of a person who is update about all technical details required for your website to be published.

However along with all advantages it also has some of the disadvantages. While making the selection you also need to consider the negative aspects so that you can make a wise decision. The problems or the disadvantages of shared web hosting are as follows:

• Limited resources: Since there are many users sharing the same server it sometimes gets difficult if for the other sites if a single site makes use of all or majority of resources. This actually affects other websites adversely by decreasing the speed and also leads to crash sometimes of all the available sites on the Internet.

• Security issues: The major drawback due to the use of this method is that security. As there are many other websites that are being hosted on same server, security sometimes becomes an issue that needs to be emphasized.

• Dynamic IP: Another important problem this web hosting is lack of stagnant Internet Protocol. Changing protocol is a risk for the user who is performing the e-commerce transaction. However this problem can be overcome by selection of a company that provides static Internet Protocol.

• Unsuitability for e-commerce site with huge database: It sometimes become difficult to for the users if their sites have huge database as it become difficult for getting required resources.

In conclusion, the web hosting service that you choose for your website can make a massive difference in the success and functionality of your site. Shared web hosting services are perfect for many small businesses and organizations, but if there are alternatives. For large businesses, or ones that intend to expand in the near future, a dedicated server or VPS service may be more appropriate.

The Best SEO & PBN Hosting Companies in 2020

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SEO and PBN hosting isn’t anywhere near as simple as your normal hosting setup, and requires several additional features to make sure you aren’t going to lose a very valuable asset to your SEO campaigns. 

Domains, PBN Builds and content can all add up to be very expensive.. And choosing the wrong host for your PBN could negate that entire investment and result in penalties & a huge loss of earnings. So, you better choose wisely.

Luckily for you, we’ve done the majority of the testing you would ever think of and have tried over 15 different SEO and PBN Hosting providers to make sure you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for.

What Is SEO & PBN Hosting?

SEO hosting, also known as PBN hosting is a specific setup that providers offer where you get multiple IP addresses so you can (theoretically) host sites that look completely separate of each other. ​This benefits people trying to setup sites to be part of a private blog network, which is one of the strongest backlink strategies currently being used in the black and grey hat SEO worlds. 

Most SEO hosting companies will buy reseller or cloud based solutions from tens (or even hundreds) of other hosting providers, so they can split your sites across as many different IP addresses and name servers as possible.

SEO Hosting Companies Reviewed

Though we went through over 15 different companies, we decided to just pick 4 that stood out as either the best of the best, or quite literally, the worst of the worst – And a middle of the pack company to keep the balance too.

The Deindexation Test & Comparison 

We decided to do a pretty prolonged test against several of the providers we mentioned here, and see which one’s stood the test of time when it came to Google being able to pick-up on dodgy hosts and deindex our PBN Blogs as a result.

Of course, it may not be JUST the host that resulted in these sites being removed from Google’s index, but we made sure to be as safe as possible when it came to everything but the hosting provider. That being said, the results correlated pretty nicely with our initial opinion on each provider.​

The Best SEO Hosting Company

If you’ve read through the above post and reviews, then you’ll know we have a clear overall winner in terms of safety, design, ease of use and pricing. I’m of course speaking about Easy Blog Networks.​

Conclusion

When it comes to looking for SEO hosting, you have to be extremely careful with who you select. The best option is to always buy multiple premium hosting solutions yourself, but this can run into the hundreds of dollars a month for hosting just a handful of sites.

Check out our reviews and see which one you think fits the mark the best for your requirements, and tell us what you thought was your favorite pick (or if you’ve had any previous experience with the mentioned companies) in the comments section down below. ​

What Is Web Hosting?

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Web hosting is a service that makes your website available to be viewed by other internet users. It is an online location where people store their websites. The companies that provide the service are called web hosting providers.

InMotion Hosting gave an interesting comparison that providers are like shopping center owners. The only difference is that they own servers instead of physical real estate. These servers are then divided up, and rented out to webmasters. 

The business units in a shopping center can be of different sizes. It’s the same with web hosting packages. You decide which one you need based on the size of your website, the amount of visitors you receive and any other specific requirements you have.

Once you have your portion of space on the web, you can upload files and images to it. If you’ve already built a website on your computer, you need to upload it to make it accessible for internet users. Alternatively, you can use content management systems, such as WordPress.

Web Hosting Vs. Domains: What’s The Difference?

A domain name is the URL address used to access a particular website. Think of it like giving your business a name. Once you register a domain name, you have the exclusive right to use it. People all over the world can then type this name into their browsers and access your website.

The domain name comes with various extensions. General ones include .com, .net, and .org, while each country also has its extension. For example, GoDaddy uses a domain name godaddy.com.

What’s the difference between a domain name and web hosting? A domain name provides only the address for your website. Web hosting provides space for storing it online. You need to have them both to run a functional internet site.

Do I Need to Pay for Web Hosting?

No, you can publish your website free of cost. Several providers offer free space and a free subdomain name. However, Technofare claims that cost-effectiveness is the only advantage of a free web hosting package.

The disadvantages include:

· Advertisements – providers will place their ads on your website. That is how they charge you for the allegedly �free’ web hosting service

· Noprimary domain – you must have seen personal blogs with addresses like mywebsite.blogspot.com. They are called subdomains and are the only domain names available for free

· Restricted bandwidth and speed – while you may find free web hosting providers offering a vast amount of space, they often limit their bandwidth and speed. For example, providers may restrict the number of users that can visit your website per month

· Lack of customer support

If you’re only learning about websites, you can use free web hosting to test a few options. However, a paid web hosting deal is an essential part of every reputable internet site.

Different Types of Web Hosting

According to Hosting Facts, there are four different web hosting types:

· Shared hosting

· VPS (virtual private server) hosting

· Dedicated server hosting

· Cloud hosting

A shared hosting package means that your website is stored on the same server as other sites. This amount can vary from a couple of hundreds to thousands of sites. All sites located on one server share the server’s resources, such as RAM or the CPU.

A virtual private server divides a single server into virtual servers. You don’t get a separated server for your website, but you share it with several other users. The number of people you share it with is far less than in shared hosting. VPS also gives you greater control and provides additional safety for your website.

A dedicated server means that you exclusively rent an entire server for your site. With great power comes great cost, which is why this option is used only by large sites.

In cloud hosting, multiple servers work together to host a group of websites. That increases the ability to handle traffic spikes and high traffic levels.

If you want to know more on the subject, make sure to read Peter Pollock’sWeb Hosting for Dummies. The book is an excellent source of information, whether you are on the hunt for the right package or want to make maximum use from your current web hosting deal.

Of course there’s a whole lot of other considerations when it comes to web hosting, for example one of the most popular setups for any of the above types of hosting is a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP​) setup. These technologies drive most websites such as WordPress. If you’re a startup, then it might be that your developers have built your site for different kinds of technologies. In which case a LAMP environment might not be the best choice for you.

How to Choose the Right Web Hosting?

The guys that run WHSR wrote an extensive guide on the issue. According to them, these are the steps you need to follow to find the right web hosting for you:

· Know your needs–what kind of a website are you building? What is the volume of the traffic you expect it to generate? Do you need Windows applications?

· Investigate the provider–make sure that they guarantee a 99,99% uptime for your website. Readthe reviews from other users, and ensure that they have a 24/7 customer support

· Check all the features of your hosting packages–make sure that it provides everything that your website needs

· Compare the prices–they may vary from one provider to another. It might be a good idea to check renewal and upgrading options, in case you need a bigger package

· Read TOS agreement–always read terms of services agreement on the provider’s website. Some companies don’t allow certain website types to be hosted on their servers

Conclusion

I believe we covered everything you need to know about the basics of what web hosting is in one introductory article. We answered the most important question – What is web hosting? Plus, we discussed various hosting types and why paid hosting is better than its free alternative. For more extensive information on the topic, make sure to read Web Hosting for Dummies guide by Peter Pollock.

Remember, it’s easy to get your website up and running today. All you need to do to make this happen is to:

· Think about which web hosting package you need

· Purchase the desired package and a domain name

· Upload your website and make it available to the internet community

Further Reading:

DIY WordPress SEO [The Ultimate Guide]

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I began my journey on WordPress in 2007 I bought a domain name and hosting and fumbled around setting up my very first website myself. I wasn’t aware of the right way to do it and much like you reading this had searched for “set up wordpress” and walked myself through draft to live. I admit the website looked horrible, I created the website to schedule a local suburban sporting competition. What I didn’t do that I should have? I failed to record the logins was not aware of a H1 or what an Alt tag was. My concept of SEO was so far from what it is today, my intention was to create a website that people could access information absolutely nothing like what google wants today.

Now this is not the bible for supreme domination with SEO for your WordPress website it is my recommendation. To dominate the SERP’s you need more than just a optimal WordPress website so take note these are common sense suggestions and some additional tips for giving your WordPress website the best setup for your SEO campaigns.

Four Goals of This Post

  1. Walk you through setting up your WordPress site for SEO
  2. Explain the finer workings of WordPress and the inner settings
  3. Show you some hands on, practical tips for setting up your WordPress site with an SEO focus
  4. We provide you with an overall SEO guide for use on a WordPress site

Know Your Limits

Reading this post you are either versed in WordPress or not. Those with an understanding of WordPress proceed, if you are not and completely new to building websites with WordPress you can fast track your understanding by reading more on getting started with WordPress visit this link.

To millions of website owners WordPress is seen as the better Content Management System. WordPress as a CMS is the preferred option over Weebly, Wix and a host of other website building platforms. Why do people love WordPress more? it might be the immense flexibility or the simple enough to use functionality of the dashboard. Robust and functional with an array of plugins and themes available to customise your website the way you want

I enjoy using WordPress for the almost limitless way of customisation for how I want to have my website display, function and be used by visitors. I do also want to point out that I’m a massive nerd and also enjoy interacting with the large community and helpful forums available. I head to the forums and WordPress community to help troubleshoot when I get stuck or a function I have seen on another site has some more technical background to it and I need a verbal walkthrough.

The main two content functions you will be using on WordPress are pages and posts for your content management. Using pages to identify core information on this site we use Home > Top 10 Hosting Companies > Knowledge Base > Contact as our pages and then there are posts that are for posting articles on your blog.

HTTP or HTTPS

Google explained in a statement that “Loading a HTTP website When you load a website over HTTP, someone else on the network can look at or modify the site before it gets to you”.

Those that frequent the Search Console for their websites will notice some additional information here now regarding security issues and fixes. This comes due to suggestive inclusion by the Google Safe Browsing team. Information updates will include how Google defines deceptive pages, malware, harmful and unwanted downloads to help webmasters better prevent their websites from activating the not secure warnings.

The choice is yours but to move with the times HTTPS may be better for newer websites.

If you have HTTP and want to change to HTTPS there are plugins that can make this a smooth changeover. If you have an older site with an extensive link profile you may want to hire a professional to assist with the changeover. Imagine the heartache of building years of great content getting a lot of backlinks and once you change status code your backlinks now link to a non existent version of your website.

DIY Move to HTTPS with Google.

To select the best hosting for your WordPress website that gives you an SEO advantage click here

Advanced WordPress SEO OnPage Adjustments

Using these adjustments and tweaks you can further increase the effectiveness of your WordPress SEO Settings.

Robots.txt

I urge you to not use the default robots.txt instead you can use this variation.

User-agent: *

Disallow: /wp-admin/

Disallow: /wp-content/

Allow: /wp-admin/admin-ajax.php

Sitemap: https://cooliosings.co/sitemap.xml (please tell me you know this is a fake site)

Manually upload this robots.txt file to use it to overwrite the WordPress default file.

Block bad bots with this PasteBin List.

Website Display in Multiple Languages

The process of making your website Multilingual sounds extremely technical but WordPress has various multi language display plugins available. These plugins that you can use some paid and some free. Using many of the free ones caused me headaches until I was put onto Polylang now making content to display for multiple languages is a breeze.Polylang

– Free download and instal easy to use and very useful.

Nofollow Link Juice Keeping

Having links in your footer and leaving them follow or nofollow is a choice you can make. I know many web design firms that swear by leaving the follow link in their client website footer. The example would look like “designed by Coolio Web Firm” if you want to rank a page and you have follow links on the page you should consider making them nofollow to preserve that link juice.

HTML standard link:

http://cooliosings.co“>Gangstas Paradise

Now this external link shows with the nofollow attribute:

http://cooliosings.co” rel=”nofollow”>Gangstas Paradise</a> 

301 or 302? Always 301 internal links to the new page. Using 301 links you can also add a buffer around your site with incoming links.

​Handle your 404 page displays with internal redirections and 301’s combined with a redirection plugin.

Caching

Using a caching plugin is a smart move to help increase your page load speeds.

I can recommend W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache these will help boost page load speed by caching

To fully boost your caching plugin you can take a step further and add a CDN service. These content delivery networks will work with your caching plugin to really lower those page load speeds for your WordPress website.

Popular Content Delivery Networks

Cloudflare – Free​ & Paid

Cloudflare uses various data centres around the globe very simple setup just sign up add your site and follow their instructions and you can be enjoying the Cloudflare CDN Network for free.

MaxCDN – Paid from $6.95 to $899.00 monthlyMaxCDN

has a very powerful service and packages that won’t break your bank and you can upgrade at any time integration with WP super Cache is a breeze.

Settings

General

Set your website title and tagline so your visitors can clearly identify your website.

For those using exact match domains or EMD’s this is where you have an exact match keyword in your domain you should be careful not to use an exact match of your keyword in the tagline and should perhaps look at LSI or synonyms of your keywords to avoid repeating the keyword again.

Example

site name: www.coolio.io

Tagline: Coolio the Coolest Kid on the block

Recommended: Home of Creator of Gangsta’s Paradise

There are two website address boxes the WordPress address and your website address make sure your they are both the same.

You should have an idea of how you want your website to appear do you want www.coolisings.co or do you want it to show as cooliosings.co? What are the benefits of www opposed to naked domain well not a lot but interestingly enough adding www. In front of your domain in appearance acts as the hostname helping DNS flexibility and the ability to cookie restrict when multiple subdomains are in use the non www. Version of your website has no technical gain.

The check box sections here are very self explanatory and you can go through them and customise your sites new user roles to the way the date and time are displayed.

Writing

In the writing settings you can allocate the category of your posts and set their default format to suit the need of your website, there is options for mail server settings and Update Services this is one section I use to notify other indexer type websites of a new post just add your desired websites one per line the default inclusion is http://rpc.pingomatic.com/

Reading

​Set your homepage to show a Static page or your latest posts. Set up your home page to suit your preference with the static option or the latest posts. This choice is different for each type of website, you can split test the best performing variant and go with what works.

Should you choose static or latest posts homepage?

The benefit of having a set home page is that you can create a high converting home almost landing page and then have the blog house the latest posts as most websites do but, for a news, information and ecommerce website you would want to have your latest posts or products available for viewing on your homepage so the choice rests with your website purpose

There is a box called “Search Engine Visibility” leave this blank or you will enjoy the long wait for search engines to find your site so it is of high importance that you do not tick this box.

Discussion

Allow pingbacks & trackbacks and also check the box for attempt to notify blogs linked to from the article this helps with your visibility and getting traffic.

WP-settings-pingbacks

You can turn off comments or leave them on this would depend on your website if you have a popular website that you expect to get a lot of discussion about trending topics or own one of the hundreds of Donald Trump websites that popped up during 2016’s United States election the comments section would be going mental with supporters and the outraged discussing the redness of his neck so this is completely your choice I turn comments off.

If you do leave comments on there is a moderation section for blacklisting phrases and words so readers do not see a unlimited scrolling through naughty words and name calling in your comments section, avoid this by moderating comments before they post live.

Permalinks

A permalink is the URL of your page or post. The default setting would show a URL like this www.coolsite.io/?-1245 that looks pretty messy and adds no benefits to your WordPress SEO strategy. You have full functionality to edit the permalink so that it can read as your post name something that will help search engines understand your page topic.

Using this with our example www.coolsite.io/ice-cold/ to get this you select custom structure and ADD “/%postname%/” an alternative is to use /%category%/%postname%/ but for best results you should aim for using shorter URL’s

Sharing

This is a relatively new feature for social sharing on social media where you can add sharing buttons to your website without plugins by connecting direct to the WordPress dashboard and you will have access to 14 social media choices 1 email button and 1 print page button.

Connect as many social profiles as you feel needed and I’m in two minds about how many social media profiles to connect to websites if its a website that I want to direct the visitor to buy something I want as little distractions as possible and a very alluring neon arrow pointing to the buy now button so they are attracted to the page and sent to the money maker.

If I was a local business or a social focused site I would 6 to 8 social profiles connected to my website so my followers could follow me across the web social sharing and engagement does have a place in your SEO campaigns for attracting and directing traffic to targeted web pages and add to those target pages things like “Share now or share with” buttons so you can get double the return from visitors.

Bringing traffic to your website and have that traffic promote and advertise your website is a winning strategy that you should include into your SEO arsenal.

What WordPress Themes are best for SEO?

There are thousands of WordPress themes in the repository the number grows each month but how do you select a theme that is helpful for your SEO purposes and looks attractive enough that people will actually enjoy browsing your website, you can look at reviews, you could google “best WordPress themes for SEO” and sift through the search results for a theme

Some of the Key features you want in an SEO focused theme

  • Responsive to different screen sizes
  • Lightweight and does not hog the server
  • Does not use a Slider on the home page

Recommended reading: Best WordPress Affiliate Marketing Themes

Despite all the sales pitches on the best WordPress SEO theme sales page you can always benefit from adding function specific plugins that compliment these optimized themes.

I’ve found that adding these plugins below helps to increase the effectiveness of an SEO optimized WordPress theme. What are they and what do they do?

  • Broken Link Checker – This plugin checks websites for broken links and sends notifications when broken links are detected.
  • W3 Total Cache – Excellent for increases in upload speed of your website a must have.
  • WP Smush – Free version and paid, helps reduce images file size without reducing quality.
  • WP – Optimize – Add this plugin to clean up and optimize your database.
  • Google XML Sitemap – This plugin creates an XML sitemap for your website.

Lower Your Page Load Speed

Google places a page load speed as a ranking factor and having a lightweight fast loading website will decrease the chances of having a high bounce rate, the faster your page loads the longer your visitor will stay on your website makes sense to me I can’t stand waiting 8 seconds for a website page to load.

To help you take that extra step in reducing your page load speeds we wrote this little piece on WordPress Speed.​

It is essential to have low page load speed of most optimal times 1.5 to 2 seconds and gain favour with the search engines as well as being prepared for AMP or accelerated mobile pages where your website is trimmed of the fat and displayed as lightweight as possible for mobile viewing if you have AMP configured your viewer will receive a condensed version of your website and not the same as a normal mobile version.

Optimizing images for SEO also includes cutting down the size of the image so that the load time is not affected by the size of the file by optimizing the CSS files Ive had a good run with these CSS optimizersCleanCSS.com

andGiftofSpeed.com

or install one of the various CSS optimization plugins.

Reducing page load speed can also be affected by the hosting service you use lucky for you we have some in depth reviews of the assorted hosting service providers around the web to read more of the best hosting provider.

These page Load Speed testing websites will help you identify slow loading themes and pages

Responsive Viewing WordPress Themes

The days of optimising for a mobile device keyword there is “a” mobile device is gone we now have to optimise for Desktop, Mobile, Ipad, Tablet the screen sizes vary and so does the display requirements for the images. A responsive designed website is one that moves fluidly with the screen that will resize and rearrange page elements to suit the screen they are being displayed on.

Mobile viewing is the new thing so much so Google has created a Mobile search index that will become the primary search engine this is at the time of writing still in its early rollout but the best recommendation I can give is to go responsive so that your desktop and your mobile versions are the same regardless of what device is being used to view your site.

A clever WordPress theme designer would build this into their theme from the start so that there is no concern. While ranking signals are believed to be drawn from the new mobile index over the desktop index how this works exactly we will see but take the fear out of this change with a responsive designed theme, WordPress has so many free stater themes that are responsive it’s not hard to make a smart choice when selecting your new WordPress theme.

Use these websites to check the overall responsiveness of your website.​

Do Away With Homepage Sliders

While a home page slider looks flashy and can get your viewers attention they are the Web Designer verse SEO argument like Trump or Clinton both have valid points for and against.

Very popular and business owners love them but they also don’t know how bad they are towards WordPress SEO efforts by using multiple images on a carousel rotation the use of H1 headings multiplies and the load time they take adds to users bouncing from the site while they wait for a slider to load they are not conversion friendly.

After we went through all the effort in the above paragraphs of speeding up our WordPress websites we now add a slider and have risk slowing down our website load times so let’s all agree that home page sliders are best not used for websites that we want optimal SEO benefits.

Security for WordPress SEO

WordPress admin login screens the /wp-admin/ URL can be suspect to attack I have lost a website before to lack of attention to the website and protecting what could be your Money site from hacking is paramount so first things first how secure do you need to be?

Will changing the login screen from the /wp-admin/ URL to something else make a difference yes it will I’ve also looked at adding two step authentication so the software type of hack attacks need to solve a riddle or mathematical problem before access is granted to the website.

How does the security of your website play a part in WordPress SEO?

Having a secure website makes me sleep better at night knowing the hours and hours I spend working on my website are not going to go to waste when the site security is compromised by a hacker.

WordPress Security Plugins

Wordfence – Paid from $99.00 annually

Sucuri – Paid from $199.00 annually

iThemes – Paid from $80.00 annually

​Best WordPress SEO Plugins 2017

The below listed plugins are the most popular downloaded WordPress SEO plugins and I made my list of top plugins for SEO.

Yoast SEO​

All in One

Premium SEO Pack

SEOPressor

Yoast:

When it comes to WordPress SEO the plugin that comes up first in every discussion is Yoast SEO the most downloaded SEO plugin on WordPress Yoast is robust and gets the job done.

Being free to download and instal there are some upsells and they will add to the functionality of what Yoast can do. The bonus to using Yoast is the inclusion of providing an XML sitemap a must have for search engines to fully understand the inner workings of your website. Control how your titles and meta descriptions look, the open graph and Twitter cards can be edited using Yoast.

Using Yoast for your WordPress SEO efforts it has an extremely simple way of letting your know how your on page rates by using a red to green traffic light icon letting you see what’s good and what needs to edited. If you are brand new to using this plugin you will pick it up very quickly it is a nice on page companion. Optimize your page fight in the Yoast control box before you go live and you even have a amount of control over the social sharing of your post’s

If you want a reliable free plugin for your wordpress SEO Yoast is your tool.

All in One SEO Pack

Over a million downloads All in One SEO is highly regarded as a powerful free WordPress SEO plugin that helps users take control of on page elements showcasing all the features you need to have an effective campaign.

Using All in One SEO pack you can automatically optimze your website page and post titles, and meta descriptions for the search engine or you can manually overwrite them how you see fit. The automated descriptions and titles could pose as OnPage SEO freelancers on Upwork and get paid but for those that want that extra control the option is there.

Other noteworthy features are the only free WordPress SEO plugin to integrate with ecommerce sites and WooCommerce, built in API for easy integration, AMP Supported, XML sitemap generator.

Rich Snippet ready so you can claim those SERP’s.

There is no learning curve to using All in One SEO Pack it is point and click ready for the newbies and for a free SEO plugin you can’t go wrong.

Premium SEO pack:

Using this plugin you can use features such as mass optimization of meta descriptions, page titles, 404 pages, Google Analytics and a lightweight backlink builder. Additional features are a SERP tracking tool where you can see where your keywords rank in an easy to use dashboard handy for you SEO’s out there spending your hard earned on rank trackers.

SEO Pressor

Using the powerful WordPress plugin SEO Pressor on your website is a smart choice I’ve had the pleasure and it will certainly help you take control of your website and drive traffic with optimized pages and posts. This is a paid SEO plugin but at $9.00 per month you can add affordable to its description.

Quite well rounded and easy to use a standout feature not many WordPress SEO plugins come out of instal with is a minification tool for helping speed up your website and keep your visitors browsing with fast page loading taken care of this premium plugin also helps optimize images for SEO.

Built in Semantic IQ tells you if your content are semantically related to your target keywords very handy with the way SEO is heading topical relevance is key, Analysis of multiple keywords and comes packing the standard features of SEO plugins but adds smart links manager control all outbound links, Knowledge graph ready, SEO trend tracker, Over optimization checker and an enhanced progressive LSI keyword engine that powers from LSI Graph you know the cool LSI keyword explorer with the trippy red moving patterns.

Very powerful WordPress SEO Plugin and worthy of a mention in the best SEO plugins as you can see these plugins will give you an advantage as SEO’s but an important reminder to don’t leave your entire SEO efforts to a free wordpress seo plugin it takes more than all green lights on a post with Yoast to rank.

​Wordpress Website Structure

Your website architecture – the way pages are linked together – should be an essential part of your website planning. Well-structured navigation, inner links, and content will make it easier for bots to crawl and index your pages, improving their chances of ranking higher in Google’s results. It will also increase the quality of your visitors’ experience, helping them find information more quickly.

So, when choosing a WordPress theme, pay attention to the layout structure – its navigation and logic. Examine the live demo of the template you are going to purchase, for usability, i.e. if the way of finding what you want is intuitive and simple

OnPage SEO

One of the key elements to ranking in 2017 and beyond is good On Page SEO

Page Title Tags

Utilizing keywords in your page and post title tags is one of the most crucial points for showing search engines what your page is about.

For help when optimizing your titles and meta refer to the earlier mentioned WordPress SEO plugins section. These plugins will make this process a breeze providing previews of how your titles will look.

Page Meta Descriptions

While learning SEO I was told that meta descriptions are useless and not to worry about them, I figured out on my own by testing pretty quickly that they matter. You can chose to automate these with plugins but the most ideal way to fill your page meta descriptions is by manually writing them.

The meta description is what shows under your page title in the search result listings and can be the point of attraction that makes someone click on your website. You can add a keyword or key phrase into your meta description that solidifies what your page is about.

Attracting visitors to your website is your target and by utilizing custom meta descriptions that attract and entice visitors should be your focus. I’ve noticed when working with ecommerce clients just how valuable meta descriptions are, wording these to describe the product but entice the potential buyer is my strategy.

Limit your meta descriptions to 156 characters as a maximum.

Header Tags

These are different to your title tags and are represented as

<h1>

<h2>

<h3>

Use your header tags numerical top of page running down to the bottom of your page. This means you don’t use a <h3> and then below it use a <h2> if you have used a <h3> only use <h4> and below from that point downwards.

Example:

<h1> Gangsters Paradise Hits Number 1

<h2> Best Rap song Gangsters Paradise Dominates The Charts

<h3> Coolio’s Latest Hit Tune Breaking Records

<h4> Rap Artist of the Year Coolio

These header tags help identify your page content for search engines and allow you yet another way to target keywords.

Targeting Keywords and Phrases

We all know how important keywords are for SEO and targeting the right keywords can bring you both large amounts of search traffic and help make you money. There are a hundreds of keyword tutorials out there so if you don’t know how to do keyword research go and educate yourself on this process it can help change your business.

Using your keyword in phrases is also a very useful way of attracting searches for long tail queries of your target keyword.

Where can you use your Keywords?

Placement of your keywords can help you push your website up in the search results and some of my suggestions are obvious and covered in this WordPress SEO guide but some are less obvious.

The obvious –

  • ​Domain names
  • Page titles
  • Bullet Page URL’s
  • ​Meta descriptions
  • ​OnPage content
  • Anchor text

The less obvious​

  • In your Images
  • In Video titles and descriptions
  • ​In your Logo
  • On associated Social Media Profiles

Finding yourself stuck in the rankings then check the less obvious and add them into your other profiles and multimedia for that extra push.

Alt Tags​

When you use Images in WordPress they are automatically assigned a file name. When WordPress assigns a file name to your images it is a generic name, now one of the great features I like about using WordPress is that I can edit the Alt Tag of my images with ease.

You want to edit this Alt tag to tell search engines about your images and your images can appear in the Google images search function adding another avenue for traffic to visit your website. Optimizing your Alt tag allows another section where you can add your keywords and remember not to stuff keywords into your image Alt tag just add the keyword as a natural extension of what the image is about.

Often disregarded is the additional user functionality for the disabled when browsing your website having optimized images can add value for those less fortunate.

Category & Tags​

One of the features WordPress allows you to make use of is categories and tags for grouping content making it easy for visitors to find content they are looking for. The search engine also reads and understands these categories and tags as structure within your website

How should you use categories and tags for your WordPress SEO?

Use Categories for:

  • Main grouping of topics
  • Associate the most relevant pages with your categories
  • ​Posts can belong to several categories
  • ​You want to index these
  • ​Don’t use the default “uncategorized” category
  • You can place the categories in a main menu or a sidebar

Use Tags for:

  • Use to tag focus points of your post
  • ​Similar to hashtags
  • ​The same tag can be used for several posts
  • ​You want to Noindex these
  • ​You can select as many tags as you want
  • ​Not recommended to use in the main menu
  • Personal choice is to not include in a sidebar either

You should not repeat a category and tag with the same word

When using tags think of them like hashtags when you see an Instagram post that has 30 hashtags I think spam central. When someone sees your post has 30+ tags they may think the same and bypass your post die to overuse of tags. Adding keyword tags does not improve your SEO it is used as an associating bridge of relevance and should be used in this fashion.

Pagination

Pagination is quite similar to the numerical system contained within a book page 1 leads to page 2 and so on see the image below

There is some mixed thoughts on pagination where some web designers believe that using Back & Next is better for UX, but some like me believe that including all content on a single page is better for UX and SEO purposes.

Example of bad pagination is you are on a product page where there are 15 items displayed on page. You click the next page to show the products on the next page and that page contains 2 products. These 2 products could of been added to the page with the 15 items.

Important points about pagination:

  1. Direct search bots to crawl your all pages and posts at once.
  2. All paginated content must contain a canonical URL.

If you are confused about the many factors of pagination (I was) head to Google support

Noindex

Using the Noindex function allows you to avoid duplicate content issues and preserve link juice for target pages and posts. When you choose what you want not indexed you are telling the search engine crawlers to not index your target page or post.

Noindex code snippets appear like so:

<META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”NOINDEX, FOLLOW”>

Do Index code snippet:

<META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”INDEX, FOLLOW”>

In short this code snippet example is giving instruction to the Google crawler robots not to record the content in its index with the noindex but that the page content should still be relative to pages that link out with the follow directive.

You should use Noindex for:

  • Archives
  • Tags
  • ​Pages containing duplicate content
  • ​Membership areas 
  • ​Employee or client areas, sensitive information pages
  • ​Special promotion or areas where you set paid downloads
  • Goal completion pages like a thank you page, this helps reduce false counts with your analytics count if applicable

If you are not confident editing code seek help when editing the index status of pages. The wrong code adjustment and your page may not see the light of day.

For further help with Noindex functions read more on the Google support page.

Silo Page Structure

I’ve designed WordPress websites with and without Silo structure. My findings from using both with and without has not provided any significant results that you must use one or the other. You should take into account your own business model to decide how best to structure your web pages. My personal preference is to use silo’s for website structure.

In this day and age of topical relevance silo structure can benefit your website architecture when used correctly. I have used images below from  Bruce Clay who is looked at as a leading source for website structure.

When you take the above image and breakdown the process it looks much like the image below.

From the images above you should be able to see the process of structuring your web pages into keyword focused topics. This example uses color to highlight topical relevance. The aim is to add all your web pages that are relative into one silo and repeat that process until you have a web page structure similar to the image above.

Internal Linking SEO strategy

Once you have identified your pages that you want to rank this tip can help you get that page ranking with topical relevance by creating blog posts that link to the target ranking page now that’s not the half of it you will nofollow all links on that post except the link to your target ranking page so that the only link juice you are passing is to the targeted ranking page.

Using exact match some partial match anchor text links from the blog posts to the target ranking page now the trick here is to be building links to these blog posts so they can buffer between the target ranking page and backlinks that are pointing to the blog posts about the ranking pages keywords so that the power is channeled from blog post to ranking page if that makes sense.

Think of this method as a long tail keyword funnel to your target head keyword pushing traffic to the blog pages that will follow the link to your target page neato internal linking strategy that gets results.

Page Comments

Covered in the general settings but should you have the comments turned on then you can take advantage of an engaging website with lots of comments Google will see the comments as a strong signal that your website is generating interest.

Moderate each comment before going live as once spammers get note of your open commenting function you will have spammers submitting viagra links, but WordPress being aware of this comes with Akismet out of the box a plugin that comes with every new installation of WordPress all you need to do is activate it and it helps combat comment spam.

WordPress SEO Best Practices

Rating OnPage SEO as the most important factor for optimizing your website for ranking success. To think that you’re building of links will be enough to push your site to the top spot with generic unoptimized OnPage SEO is ludicrous.

Perfect the OnPage technique and your effectiveness from link building will give you much more impact. Combine great OnPage with performance optimization and you have the foundations to climb the rankings.

Create content regularly that helps reinforce what your website is about this keeps your website active for new readers.

Web Hosting see our reviews of popular website hosting

Optimize WordPress for UX

Can User experience and SEO get along and work together in harmony I certainly hope so many SEO’s underestimate that conversion rate optimization is a skill that they really need to start taking notice of as it has benefits that work alongside what they can provide as a service adding CRO consulting can help now how does this fit into UX well understanding human behavior can have an impact on the end conversion rate of UX looking at a webpage

The iPhone made us aware of the 3 commandments of great UX designs. It has to be useful, usable and enjoyable

Optimizing for UX so that visitors to your WordPress website experience a seamless journey from landing page to the next page and so on throughout your website making the browsing experience enjoyable this includes

  • Fast loading pages
  • Interactive media
  • ​Accessability
  • ​Simplicity
  • Can users understand features and functions

Thinking like a human and not a computer can result in an overall more enjoyable UX for visitors who really want to browse a website that they find

How do I define UX Design?

The user is the at the centre design for humans and optimise for search engines that’s how I define User experience design using an intuitive design process to identify journeys the visitor may take from landing page to naturally moving to the next page and so on with no pushing to target pages.

Schema

Should you add Schema to your WordPress Website?

Not every website will require schema to rank just look at the search results for your phrases and keywords and you will see websites without schema markup ranking all day I believe that schema is more useful for telling Google more information about your website and its collective associations and for optimising for a better click through.

Would wordpress use Schema by default or do you need to instal a plugin? You need to instal a plugin or you can add schema manually it’s up to you although adding schema manually involves editing some code in the header/footer..

How do I check if my competitor is using schema markup? Open your competitors webpage and right click your mouse to show the “View Source Code” the page source code will load and you can click CTRL+F to open the page search function here you type in “schema.org” or “itemscope” if these come up then your competitor is using schema markup

Should you use a WordPress theme that has schema built in? Why not, you don’t need to muck about with coding in headers and footers and you don’t need a plugin it’s all there ready to plug and play.

Another development that has helped reduce sandbox time for new sites is creating entities with schema SameAs showing Google all of your social properties and associated brands and businesses all tied into one entity and building that trust.

By using this markup, publishers can include documentation in their pages that can help the search engines better understand that content. This in turn can lead to a more relevant classification in their listings. While HTML tags such as <title> and <description> are a good start, you can do a lot more with schema. Visit schema.org for more information on schema markup.

What is a Rich Snippet?

Adding rich snippets to your website posts improve how these posts will appear in the search results by providing more structured information about the information contained within the post such as, prices, author, star ratings, event times, display photos and more they make your post appear much more interactive and attract visitors to your website over selecting your competitors website.

We review products and services regularly and Google rich snippets will be an effective way for Bit Pak to introduce additional traffic to these review posts by having a rich snippet about the review of a product or service giving the posts a more interactive SERP listing.

At the present time giving you step by step advice on how to get this coveted search result is hard as there is no existing method to obtain the snippet consistently. My ninja tip is to provide content that helps satisfy user enquiries, try it out and monitor your web pages.

I took the liberty to use three searches for the creator of Gangsta’s paradise the one the only Coolio. I used three search phrases and each one returned a different result display. The search phrase for the artist shows me a knowledge graph his social links and the Wikipedia Bio. A search for a question about the hit song Gangsta’s paradise returned the lyrics and information regarding the album it was featured on. The final search phrase was for lyrics of the hit song and the search results showed the video clip and the song and album information along with song lyrics. 

This is useful because you want to optimize for your readers and your followers thinking of the search terms they would use to find you. When you cover these bases you can help answer questions and provide your visitors with answers to their search terms. Using this mentality will help you in the pursuit of the rich snippet and for having a more complete knowledge graph displayed.

Rich Snippet Solution for WordPress SEO

The WordPress plugin repository holds over 40 rich snippet focused plugins that you can instal as you would any other plugin, these are hit and miss some do a fantastic job while others just plain suck. Activate your desired plugin and set up the necessary details to add the markups you need to show rich snippets and off you go.

Disclaimer – Plugins that focus on helping you get the rich snippet and review stars in the SERP’s help you but do not guarantee you or your web pages will show rich snippets that is entirely up to Google and in no control of the WordPress plugin.

Conclusion

This concludes the WordPress SEO tutorial and my final thoughts on optimizing your WordPress website for the best SEO foundations is to combine these elements into your website build process. Design for humans not for search engines, you can optimize for search engines. Review your website periodically by looking at the journey visitors will take, optimize for conversion by split testing colours, titles and copy. The most important factors for more of an SEO view is website speed and mobile viewing the change has happened and you need to be mobile responsive, I hope you have enjoyed the read and find the guide useful if you did drop a comment below.

WordPress Speed Optimization – The Complete Guide

Categories
General

We live in the age of now! everything is at your fingertips thanks to technology. Browsing a website is no different and when you think of why you browse a website its usually to find information, feed a secret habit, buy something, stalk someone and so on and so on. When you browse or stalk what ever tickles your fancy, you have a subliminal time allocated to the task. The exception for this is FaceBook and the social media, like where you can be lured with flashy images and click bait titles to lose hours of your day. When the target website you want to visit has a loading  time over 3 seconds, you generally like me lose interest in watching the little page loader spin in circles waiting for the website to load.

In this guide we will cover some tips and techniques that you can use to optimize your website for speed.​

Google made it clear that having a fast loading website was one of 200 ranking factors. This is something that should not be ignored with the way we are heading with a mobile first browsing habit. Imagine your customers visit your web store to buy those brand new Nike KD9’s and your site takes 7.5 seconds to load but Larry’s most best nike store loads in 2 seconds. The truth is 9 times out of 10 you lose that customer to damn Larry for having a sucky slow website that takes forever to load. Larry on the other hand is balling thanks to his speed first website taking all the orders. Having a problem like this can kill a business that depends on online orders and that is the hard truth.

In order to perform surgery a doctor must know what is wrong with the patient, we will be taking the same approach. Firstly you need to know whats wrong with your website before you can fix it. This WordPress website speed optimization guide will show how to take steps to make your website load faster.

Execute a Website Audit

First lets identify your targets, use this speed testing tool to calculate your performance optimization budget, just input your desired load speed and connection type. All credit to Jonathon Fielding​ for this neat tool for planning out our performance budget. The tool is a little off but it is also very handy and gives you a guide of where you need to be focusing on for improvements.

Now we need to measure how far off you are from your target load speed. Use all six of these testing tools to identify your website speed problems, we will want to work on these with the techniques and tips outlined below. Use the tabs below to begin your website audit.

When you execute your speed tests with Pingdom, 90% of people who use this for this exact test only measure the home page. Understanding you also have other pages that need to be tested is website auditing 101, Now check your product and category pages make sure you dissect that report so that you know just what is slowing down your site and where it is. The data you will get returned by Pingdom will contain page size, page display load time and the overall performance grade. You will have the option to see what areas require action for improvement and a very handy page analysis feature that tells you in summary content type browsed, time spent per website and the domain, very useful for data nerds like me.

Next run your site through the other toolsets and record the data, some results may be different from different tools. If you have a competitor website that you want to see where they are and what the difference is between the two websites use Which Loads Faster for a side by side display of the two websites. This is very handy for competitor analysis.

Now you have your website speed optimization to do list, and you can work alongside this guide to fix the problems. For those that are more SEO inclined and looking for a beefy test tool to showcase problems to potential clients during video audits a popular website for this is GTMetrix very detailed reporting and easy to understand where the problems are. Another very popular tool for this is SEMrush, you can point out client and competitor traffic stats and some site problems if you have set projects up. 

Read our Ultimate guide on WordPress SEO

Firstly this is a guide for WordPress websites and not shopify stores or magneto or other CMS websites. The information is applicable to websites developed on WordPress only some may work with other platforms so use at your discretion.

Page Load Speed

Getting 100 on the Google page speed testing tool is like catching a unicorn, extremely rare! but just how close can you get to 100? I haven’t seen a perfect 100 score from anyone in my communities that was legit and not photoshopped. If you have proof of a perfect 100 score with the Google page speed testing tool please post in the comments Id love to see this unicorn.

​Kissmetrics conducted a case study where they asked specifically about page speed load times and they found that 51% of users with mobile internet say that they’ve had a website that crashed, froze, or received an error while going to make a purchase. Every second past the ideal loading time of three seconds costs you a seven percent reduction in sales! If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay can potentially cost your store $2.5 million in missed opportunity revenue each year.

Page Load Speed Key Points:​

  • Better UX
  • Lower bounce rates
  • Load speed is a ranking factor
  • Increase in organic traffic and conversions​

Look at your website speed score from your tests, If you have a score of 50 and above that average standard with a lot of room to improve. If you have a website score of 70 and above well done you are a Wiley web head but don’t get ahead of yourself you can still improve your score. 

​How many resources will a browser download from a given domain at a time? This all depends on your resource set up and the drain your website will be putting up to load. For an isight into browser resource requests visit this site for a sneaky tip.

Now you know page load speed is important enough but how do you measure the good speed from the bad apart from the obvious, ​

Use this as a guideline:​

  • Below 1 second perfect
  • Below 2 seconds above average
  • From 2-3 seconds decent
  • From 3 to 7 seconds is average
  • Above 7 seconds call a doctor

The above guidelines came about from a case study carried out by university students on peoples expectations regarding website load times and the amount of time that passes before they would bounce from that website. The study revels that 47% of people expected the websites to load within 2 seconds, and 57% of people said that they would bounce from a website if it took longer than 3 seconds to load and fair call on that. 

For everyone with slow loading websites now is your chance to target that 43 % that were not phased with the 3 second load time.

​John Mueller a webmaster trend analyst for Google stated on Twitter that his benchmark for page speed load times is around 2 to 3 seconds. He also stated his go-to testing tool was Google’s page speed insights test tool.

If you read this guide and action the items that you found as errors or warnings on your tests, you are going to have a head start. Your competitors might be web savvy but chances are they are not as web smart as you. Getting all your ducks lined up so that you can put the best website forward to Google for consideration as having a fast loading website​ puts you in a good place for getting those page 1 listings.

To understand where you sit and where your competitor sits on the speed dial a popular competitor research tool is WhichLoadsFaster ​

Neil Patel completed a case study on Walmart, in the case study they uncovered that customers would abandon cart when load times jumped from 1 second to a 4-second load. They also found that for every 1 second of increased page load speed that the conversion rate increased by 2%​. 

Just think of what 2% of sales for Walmart means, Walmart was recorded to have operational a total of 6,300 stores in March 2016.

Slow websites affect website visitors as shown in this example, if you optimize for speed you must include often overlooked association factors for your overall website speed optimization plan.

A wise habit to implement is weekly checks on not only the website but on your analytics. Measure and record the bounce rates and decrease in page views, that could indicate a problem.​

​ Why Ecommerce Store owners should read this guide

Hosting Success

To have a fast loading web page you need solid foundations, by this I mean having premium hosting helps considerably. Fun fact we actually recommend several hosting options right here on Bit Pak.​ 

If like me you have more than a couple of websites for whatever reason you will know the headache of increasing your hosting plan or managing multiple hosting plans. Ive tested a dozen or more hosting services and I can tell you the stand out’s for adding speed to your load times have been covered in our Top 10 Reviews.

Hosting Tips:

  • Cheaper hosting services will have down time
  • More expensive hosting services are up 100% of the time.
  • When Hostgator is down so is the support.
  • ​The more you can do to reduce server requests the better.
  • You have to spend money to make money.

When I took the dive into making a full time living from web marketing it was all about the budget making sure I didn’t spend to much on hosting and splurging on a premium hosting plan so I could have a lot of test sites for trying new techniques, themes and plugins. ​My point is the $2.95 monthly hosting fee and those 12 months free when we build your website plans are not up to scratch for helping your website and may be hurting your website.

Caching

A quick win for cutting load times in half is leveraging the power of caching. To set this up you can use one of many WordPress plugins that do this well, I recommend free downloads WP 3, WP Comet Cache, WP Total Cache and finally WP Super Cache.

When you utilize a caching plugin you don’t just get browser caching functionality if you have one of the good ones.​ Once installed it pays to actually visit the plugin settings section of the caching plugin to se what other hidden features they offer.

HTTP Cache Headers

Header caches work on freshness and by validating the content delivery. A cache will utilize a fresh replica of available content assets but a validated representation will send snippets of the entire representation if it is unchanged. 

Server Cache

Server side caching varies in performance based on the overall traffic of the websites it would be more common on higher traffic sites than smaller more local orientated websites.  When setup to respond like so cache control directives will control who caches the responses, how long for and on what conditions. Using a server side caching method allows for every resource to establish its own caching policy from the HTTP cache control header.

As the image to the right states, I was casually checking out some competitor blogs and came across a website where a guy was speaking about optimizing for speed and gave some props to his friend Matt who has a beast of a speedster website. I took the chance to check out this intriguing speed demon of a website and the below image is what I arrived to and I refreshed the browser twice.​

​I don’t know who Matt is and sorry Matt but that actually happened as I was writing this article. Timing is impeccable and I gave an extra chance to see if the website would reload but it took me all of 6 seconds to bounce off the website. 

If anyone wants to reach out to ​Matt by all means, go fourth and help a brother out.

Cache Control.

One of the most important HTTP cache headers is probably Cache-Control which is a header comprised of a set of directives that allow you define when / how a response should be cached and for how long. HTTP caching occurs when a browser stores copies of resources for faster access. This can be used with your HTTPS implementation

​Content Delivery Networks 

You might not of heard of a content delivery network in its entirety before as it is more commonly known as a CDN. What a CDN does is hosting of your media files across global servers all connected to the CDN. When your website is loaded the server nearest to the  geo location of the web page visitor​ is used to action the request therefore removing the strain on your website to load those media files. This type of delivery system is excellent at increasing web page load speeds by reducing the load that a single server would of endured. 

What kind of speed reduction could I see when I use a CDN? You can see a reduction in 40 to 60% of load times that alone is worth looking at. Some of the popular CDN’s are MaxCDN and Cloud flare.​

Another positive about using a CDN is they are handy at helping protect your website against sudden spikes in traffic for example your photo of you in a spiderman costume goes viral and 2 million people visit your website to see this picture your normal server may not be set up to handle that kind of traffic. Using a CDN you have the access to multiple servers that can spread out the load and handle large surges in website traffic.

You can add to the benefits of using a CDN protection against DDoS attacks ​

Load Testing

You should test your website stress load by checking to see what may be causing problems and forcing your site to react slow. This can also be used for testing your backend of your website especially on a WordPress website you should test your plugins and deactivate any that you do not use. 

WP Performance Profiler is very good at locking onto to plugin hogs that slow down your website.

Blitz is a good performance testing tool

  • Load Impact – Three things LI is good at 1 API testing, 2 Web & App testing, 3 Automated testing
  • Blaze Meter – Open source performance based testing, real user testing captures real mobile traffic.
  • Blitz – Test web apps, APIs and website performance

For load testing tools these websites have various testing features just pick the one that has the features you need to test away. 

Reduce Your HTTP Requests

The fancier you make your website with plugins and interactive media the more you call on your stylesheet and the build up of dependancy requests are made. These slow your page load speed considerably, every time you install a plugin or add an image to gallery that boosts the beefiness of the layers needed to display your web pages. Lightweight wins every time, 

How can we minimize HTTP and dependancy requests? well let us leverage CSS sprites, image compression, minify everything and utilize SVG (scalable Vector Graphics). Exhaust all methods of scaling down the requests, Using a CDN is another great way to remove some of the strain and we covered that in the above paragraph.

Checking Unused Requests

For the corporate and ultra professional websites you might want to remove a well known more suited to mobile texting friends feature. Emoji’s should be kept to the mobile phone text to text basis and not have a place on websites that are all about business.

To remove emoji’s from your website requests you can use this WordPress plugin to make it an easy actionable task.​

For those DIY types that love getting their keyboards dirty here is an excerpt for the removal of emoji’s from your functions.php file. Look in your header for the default, javascript file wp-emoji-release.min.js?ver=4.3.1 this should be in your header section, if you don’t see it you don’t have it. 

/**

* Disable the emoji's

*/

function disable_emojis() {

remove_action( 'wp_head', 'print_emoji_detection_script', 7 );

remove_action( 'admin_print_scripts', 'print_emoji_detection_script' );

remove_action( 'wp_print_styles', 'print_emoji_styles' );

remove_action( 'admin_print_styles', 'print_emoji_styles' );

remove_filter( 'the_content_feed', 'wp_staticize_emoji' );

remove_filter( 'comment_text_rss', 'wp_staticize_emoji' );

remove_filter( 'wp_mail', 'wp_staticize_emoji_for_email' );

add_filter( 'tiny_mce_plugins', 'disable_emojis_tinymce' );

}

add_action( 'init', 'disable_emojis' );

​

/**

* Filter function used to remove the tinymce emoji plugin.

*

* @param array $plugins

* @return array Difference betwen the two arrays

*/

function disable_emojis_tinymce( $plugins ) {

if ( is_array( $plugins ) ) {

return array_diff( $plugins, array( 'wpemoji' ) );

} else {

return array();

}

}

​Take charge of your website and put a hold on requests for resources that are not being used and as outlined above do not work with the websites profile. Go through each page on your website and look at the code, as delightful as that sounds you could hire someone to do that for you and provide a report back.

Minify CSS and Javascript.

When I started web design it was like an Alice in wonderland trip, all this new information and a new world had opened up to me. That new world came with some scary terminology JS files and CSS. At the time I didn’t know what these were or how they interacted in web pages, it was a little scary going head first into the technical side of web design. There is no point and click web builder were we are going.

I managed multiple websites and a common problem regardless of the type or design of the website was the JS and CSS files. WordPress a serial pest with hoarding defunct information would hold onto chunks of unwanted javascript files and CSS files loading like dial up internet. I can touch on compression of files again to fix this issue, but there was a plugin made just for this called WP Minify.​

Minify will compress both the Javascript and the CSS files into one single file that reduces the load times instead of having the default setting that installs chunks of JS and CSS every time you instal a new plugin, and holds onto it.​ Use Minify to delete old files while reducing the load time, what a  genius.

What is CSS?

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets a language for describing how web pages should be presented. The description covers all design elements including how colours, layout, and fonts should display. This language can be used to change the adaptiveness of the presentation to different types of device sizes and screen lengths. The language used to identify fonts, colour, spaces and all style elements so that web pages can be properly interpreted and correctly displayed. The markup of CSS can be used when styling HTML, XML and XHTML.

What is JavaScript?

​an object-oriented computer programming language commonly used to create interactive effects within web browsers.

​Best practice for using JS and CSS is to have CSS sitting at the top of your page and then add Javascript near the bottom of your web page. The reason behind this is for loading, a browser needs the CSS file to begin loading the page. Javascript is placed lower as its mechanism is to prevent parsing of the browser before its loaded and after the tag.

Where you can use a CSS sprite, a sprite is a large image file that contains all of your web pages images. They work by being one image with 100 images within them and by hiding the other images. The usefulness of CSS sprites are that loading one item while a large size is faster than loading 50 items of smaller sizes. Think of it like this, One browser request one image item load request and you have a page load on one request while showing 50 images. The key is to minify the JS & CSS requests, Harness the Sprites to use one file instead of 50 and to cut out the need for a request heavy browser.

Word of advice is to check on requests that you don’t need. When I say this I mean why does your contact form need to be called on when on your blog pages, or why does your blog commenting system need to be called on while browsing the about us page. Reduce requests that are unrelated and help reduce the overall request profile.​

The website Spriteme.org is great for taking care of sprite business.​

RTT’s Optimize Your Round Trip Times

Round trip times are amount of time it takes for the client request to send and the server to answer with a response. When you really narrow down and think about what happens here the exchange it can be quite fascinating, in short if the requests are light then the response time is fast but if there are lots of requests then the response time is affected. Always minimize requests and minify files.

Monitor the use of any redirects with total RTT, if the total time is lacking measure the importance of the redirect verse page load speed.​

  • Minimize redirects
  • Combine all JS files into one. Tech heads read this.​
  • Change CSS @import to <link> tag for each stylesheet.
  • Combine CSS Sprites with your images. Merge smaller images into one request.

Render Blocking Resources JS

You may find some of you javascript interrupts content above the fold, that will be affecting how the web page loads. The javascript coding sends unclear messages during the download that slows down rendering. To correct this problem check your JS code for the “jQuery” from the header of the web page in HTML.

Move the location of where the jQuery  snippet appears in the HTML of the web page.

Database Management

Databases can sound organized ​but even the most structured of storage can get out of line occasionally. WordPress is known for hoarding expired information, imagine holding onto all the update information, deleted themes, deleted plugins, post drafts, saves, image uploads and code snippets. One super handy and reliable plugin that whips databases into shape is WP Optimize, what it does is scheduled maintenance and clearance of your WordPress database.

​When you reduce the pressure of collecting and returning files to and from the database you can expect to save a couple of megabytes depending on how big and how untidy your database is. Code Like a Boss or source someone that speaks code in their sleep. Messy code can add dead weight to your load speed, not like adding fat Albert onto your website load time but the devil is in the details.

Compression Session

Ill state the obvious here, if you want to speed things up you need to compress file sizes simple science. Large heavy loads make slow movements while smaller compact loads are faster. ​

Understanding why we need to be compressing helps us understand other aspects of optimizing for speed. Take the second sentence of this section and read it again that is your optimize for speed mantra. ​

One plugin you need to be using is Gzip to compress website files. Speeding up the load time of your web pages is our goal and by saving any bandwidth we can will help us reach our goals. ​The process of Gzip is when you activate the plugin it zip’s your websites files into a zip file, when a browser loads the web pages they unzip form your zip file its an effective way to to transfer information fast.

Feeling a bit nerdy? You can add the same code to your .htaccess file here:

# compress text, html, javascript, css, xml:

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html

​AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml

​AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css

​AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml

​AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml

​AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml

​AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript

​AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript

​# Or, compress certain file types by extension:

​SetOutputFilter DEFLATE

​Unsure if you nailed it? not a problem, use this website to test your skills to pay the bills. In english this website will test if your website has Gzip enabled.

WordPress Theme Selection

Before you think about your WordPress theme you should of already had your website hosting setup for optimal speeds, along with using a CDN and now you are ready to add the theme elements into the mix. Optimizing for speed is the goal of this guide but important factors to keep in mind is mobile responsive design & user experience. 

The problem comes into play when you need a beautifully designed, functional website that caters to speed, takes care of the responsive design and allows maximum UX. How do you combine each of these elements into one theme? you search long and hard looking for your own preferences. 

There is a disclaimer and this is for all those in web design if you are presenting to the public as a web designer please do yourself some justice and have a website that is amazing. 

My own personal dilemma is my website theme, I was 14 theme changes in before I reached out for support and asked for someone to choose a theme and set it up for me, I even had the password changed so i couldn’t tinker with the design while they were setting it up. Yes it was that bad a sucker for design punishment but the end result I loved it. My weakness was seeking improvement for my website weekly changing themes looking for the ultimate theme, It exists but if like me you have this problem get a friend to set you up with a theme and run with it.

As well as having some recommendations linked at the bottom of this guide, if you’re an affiliate you might find these affiliate marketing themes useful.

WordPress Plugins

Yes bloating your website with plugins is more common than you think. We have an obsession with shiny objects and one trip to the WordPress plugin repository can wind up adding 5 new plugins to your CMS dashboard. 

What is Plugin Bloating?​

Im guilty of plugin bloating at some stage we have all been there. Having a plugin that does one set task and not a plugin that handles 5 specific tasks. Always revisit your dashboard each week and review your plugin settings what you actually use and what you don’t use. Deactivating plugins that you don’t use often can help reduce your overall load times and is also a good habit to get into.

Plugins that are notorious for slowing down websites:

  • Google Analytics plugin 
  • Heatmap plugins
  • In Dashboard analytics

Using Images

What is the right way to upload images to WordPress? Read this guide top to bottom and then ask yourself that question again. This is a guide for helping you optimize for speed there is 101 ways to do it but use this as your measuring stick and you will be on the right path. Your website multimedia will be your number one drain on the load times of your web pages, if you optimize the images you can cut your weight problem in half.

What image file size is a good measurement to aim for? Peoples opinion differ’s but I want to keep my images under 100 Kb.​

The creative team I work with live inside Photoshop. When they save their work they save it oblivious to file size, I had to educate them that there is an option that enables image compress called “Save for Web” a simple solution to those crazy 9 Mb file sizes they usually produce. ​

Why bother editing them? Imagine Ronnie Coleman is your website first thoughts he is a beast of a man. Ronnie is a very big man, bulky, heavy and an authority on building muscles.

Ecommerce store owners will come across this more so as the product pages tend to grow and grow before you know it, your website is a beast of a website a couple of hundred pages deep.​ 

Imagine Ronnie trying to adapt to speed as the determining factor in the Arnold classic tournament, how do you think big Ronnie will do with speed? ​He won’t win that battle.

How can you use Ronnie’s supreme bulk and optimize for page load speed? You minify images, compress files and make everything you have on your website smaller in size and use less resources. ​

For the people using Shopify, I think this will help Shopify Image Guide.​

I have used WordPress plugin Lazy Load to help with reducing the load time of images and found it useful on sites not using a CDN.​

Do they really slow down a site that much? YES large images can slow down a website. Multimedia files are the biggest drain on a website load time, by reducing the size of these multimedia files you can shave seconds off your load times. Plus if you have an athletic website like Mr Coleman you might need to bring in the big guns…FAT BURNERS! 

Fat Burning for Images!

Our Fat Burners are plugins that reduce image file sizes and compress data into smaller more easily accessible bite sizes. How do you do this? You can take charge of your compression session by using any of the plugins and browser add ons mentioned above. When you smush it you reduce the file size but not the image quality.  Compressing the image will save space and result in savings of requests on the server. When you upload images to the media gallery of WordPress the plugin reads the files in the background and when you go to use the image at the bottom of the right info panel of the media section is an option to smush it! you should always smush it.

Auto Scaling your images is bad practise for the reasons that with everything automated they need to checked over by human eyes. The automation isn’t broken its the human settings that control the automation, example auto scaled images may show smaller than intended or stretched further ending up looking distorted and not like the original uploaded image. Using auto scale functions for larger images often triggers the error with the image being minimised in display size, while helpful for the content creators its not the best practise. 

Tip: Always be thinking about mobile viewers.​ The world is turning to their smart devices to browse the web, think mobile and device for your websites as well. I would also add that AMP the accelerated mobile pages is a real thing here is the details on it and here is a testing tool on how to check your AMP.

One common problem I come across working with web designers is the lazy upload. I refer to the lazy upload method when a content creator or the designer uploads an image and instead of uploading the variant sizes they use auto scale for the image and this is ok in some instances but for the serious craftsmen reading this it is not ok! The example is your header image is also being used for a side banner and when the large header image is being loaded in the sidebar that file is loading as the larger header image to be auto scaled into a smaller sidebar image if that makes sense, a shortcut by design but a negative to your page load speed. 

You should be using responsive themes for the benefit of display flexibility, but if you are not then you need to be. Not using responsive design practises means having your images set for desktop, mobile and tablet. Do you know what is the most enjoyable thing to do after you have set up a website and gone live? It most definitely is NOT having to look at the site through a responsive view tester to see you need to edit multiple images.

Be responsive and use themes that take the manual work out of your hands.​ Reducing image sizes wont improve your site alone it is a combination of these techniques that will improve the overall score but the attention to detail splits you and your competitor apart.

Web Fonts

Using a theme called EasyWeb I noticed the Fonts were using a higher than normal allocation of resources and upon a closer look into other websites in that heavy digital design space it appeared to be the standard that because of race for the competitive edge most websites that looked decent enough to take a enterprise web design contract were using excessive font requests. Over 68% of these firms websites were also running slower than those websites that had opted to take a slimline approach and focus on speed over flashy design.  Heavy Fonts add extra HTTP requests and slow down the system, look at compromising on either design or speed to work your way around this one.

  1. Choose only the styles you need
  2. Keep character sets down to a minimum
  3. Prioritize based on browser support
  4. Your preference but host fonts locally or on CDN

Google fonts perhaps the heavier of the most used font family drains the request line, but a smart man would offload this strain to his CDN for an improved delivery. You can download the fonts that you need from Googles Fonts Helper site. Use this open source application to help extract what you need and then hit the download button to get your goodies. Fonts Helper will zip file the font package for you so you have everything stored together.

You will need to be semi organized here with your FTP readily available for the font upload. ​ Hit the fonts folder with your zip file and then you will need to begin the CSS update. Now this can get confusing and people will get lost, to avoid this use a plugin called Simple Custom JS and CSS. The CSS custom copy will need to be added to the header. You will need to update and point source URLs  to your CDN. Test this and see if you have Google fonts working from your CDN and also test your website speed with Pingdom.

google-webfonts-helper

Look at Your Link Profile

Take a good look at your link profile to see if you have any broken links, using 404 error code. How does link profile affect speed optimization? great question. Have you ever been to a website where they had a 404 page and if they did what did you do? bounced right off that website didn’t you, I know I do.

I used screaming frog on this website to check on some broken links I noticed while filling my head with information, Ive since contacted John  and let him know that there were several 404 errors and that Bit Pak is kick ass, so please don’t bombard him with cold outreach scripts for broken link replacements.

Digital Marketer has a very clever 404 page tactic that they use where they say something funny and then direct you back to a page they want you to go to right back into their strategic little hands. ​Why didn’t you bounce off their website when you hit that 404 page? because of the way the page was constructed they hit you with humour, very smart indeed.

When you decrease page load speed you are doing the right thing but if you can limit the 404 error pages at the same time then you will be eliminating the potential for a high bounce rate from your website. ​ Fixing these small items can help add up to an improved load speed and lower bounce rate.

Ive left some tools in the resources section at the bottom of this page that will simplify this part of the process for you.​ 

​Avoid Redirects

Limiting the number of redirects on your website can have a slight impact on your page load speed.​ If you have read the Ultimate DIY WordPress SEO Guide I mentioned using 301’s was a good thing and it is, it can also be not so good for optimizing for speed. Using a 301 is much preferred than having a 404 error on your website and 404 is horrible for your visitors unless you are as clever as Ryan Deiss. When you place a 301 on a web page thats great for SEO usefulness, but a browser still needs to hit that page understand the redirection and then locate and connect with the 301 end page.

If you have missing files you are going to have a 404 page generated and this is when they start building up can start to put a load tax on your server.​I used to use broken link checker on my website but I pinpointed one of the main vein drains to be that plugin so I deleted it and did manual checks, a little bit more time consuming but I think you should get to know your website enough to know how many pages you have off the top of your head. When I have to check other peoples website there is no questions, I use screaming frog every time. 

Redirects contribute to the total RTT and should be used with caution.​

​Time to First Byte (TTFB)

​This is the measuring of the time duration from the client making the HTTP request to the time the first data byte of the web page is received by the clients browser. Another measure that TTFB is used is for is measuring the responsiveness of a web server and other network resources.

Use these 5 tips to minimize your TTFB​

  1. Reduce your HTTP requests​
  2. Use a CDN
  3. Organise & Optimize your database
  4. Use RFPL (respond first and process later) caching method
  5. Monitor your server response time and make improvements outlined in this guide

BitPak Speed Testing Case Study coming soon.

Videos on Page Load Speed

Resources

Here are the tools mentioned in this guide feel free to use them and provide feedback on your results I’d love to see your speed increases as a result of this guide.

Speed Testing

  • Which-Loads-Faster​ – Compare your website speed against a competitor’s.
  • Pingdom – The most popular speed testing website.
  • Web Page Test – The presentation looks out dated but this is a sold test site.
  • Gift of Speed – Uses 16 elements to test web pages for speed.

Websites Mentioned:

  • CSS Sprites – ​Use this to combine your requests into one request.

Plugins Mentioned:

  • WP Minify – Combines JS and CSS files into a compressed single file.​
  • WP Smush it – WordPress plugin that helps you minify image sizes without losing quality.

Responsive WordPress Themes:

  • The Retailer – $55.00 powerful ecommerce focused theme, complete tracking for sales of products. Built in tax, shipping and product reviews.​
  • Bellaina – $75.00 Great for Real Estate websites giving you power to add filtered search functions and add multiple display options.  Map display previews and property submissions the perfect theme for Real Estate’s.
  • Salient – $55.00  A very smooth theme offering support for video background, plug and play for WooCommerce and set for SEO.
  • Porto – $45.00 Premium WordPress multipurpose theme comes with the revolution slider, pricing tables and drag n drop builder, Custom layouts and parallax design options.
  • Medicenter – $45.00 Designed for medical professional services websites comes with six pre-defined colour sets, 

Site Health Checks

  • Screaming Frog – Use screaming frog to scan websites (Free for 500 links per site) find 404’s and unoptimized pages
  • SEMRush​ – Identify website traffic, website health reports and keywords
  • Ahrefs – Backlink analysis and crawl reports, paid membership
  • Google Webmaster Tools – Search Console – Crawl Errors 

​For the lazy, time poor and people who skipped to the bottom of the page, just do these 3 things for an increase.

  1. ​Compress your images
  2. Instal a caching plugin
  3. Utilize a CDN

Conclusion

The race to be the fastest will continue and the rules will change as Google updates processes and algorithms. The list is extensive and doing half of these will help you improve your website page load speed optimization. Take your speed report from the first task you did and work your way through those errors, post your end results in the comments. I would like to see an improvement in web browsers and Im watching this space right now for movement. Having a good looking website is only one part of the puzzle optimize for speed and you optimize for success.