Imagine this: your e-commerce site is losing visitors on Black Friday or the recent record-setting Cyber Monday – traditionally the two biggest shopping days of the year.
What’s worse is that this situation is totally unnecessary. You could have kept those visitors if you had just reduced your website’s load time.
By neglecting something so important, you are losing a significant amount of money and will continue to lose revenue until you tackle this problem.
Why Speed Matters
Speed matters first because it is one aspect of an efficient, high-functioning website. Nowadays, when most people access the Internet on the go from mobile devices, site speed has become especially important.
But site speed also matters because people’s attention spans are getting increasingly shorter. Data shows that almost half of all internet users expect website pages to load in less than two seconds. If your site takes longer than three seconds to load, 40% of users will move on. And speed matters to Google.
Ever since the introduction of Google’s Mobile-First Index, site speed is Google’s official ranking factor. This means slow load time means decreased rankings, hence poor site visibility.
Site speed has a huge effect on usability and conversions. If people are leaving because your site is too slow, they are not converting.
No wonder many companies are focusing on improving site speed nowadays. Pathwwway, a product design and development growth-oriented company, names load time any business’s top priority.
For these reasons, web developers say that increasing site speed is “an essential skill for any website owner.”
Heres an extensive list of strategies for speeding up WordPress (WP) websites in particular.
Evaluate Your Site
First, you should objectively test the speed of your site. To do so, you can use GTmetrix or Pingdom, both of which provide a detailed analysis of what (if anything) is causing your site to lag.
These tools measure if your site is too slow and you can also use them to continually monitor its performance. Remember that your goal should be for your pages to load in under two seconds. Faster than that is even better.
Have a Good Foundation
Make sure that you have a good hosting provider. Most likely your best bet is to opt for a virtual private server (VPS).
Shared hosting will slow you down too much, and a dedicated server probably has more power than you need and is too expensive.
You should also consider managed WordPress hosting created especially for WP sites. With managed hosting, you won’t have to be responsible for the technical aspects of your site.
Keep this same mentality when selecting your theme.
Choose one that only has what you need, keeping it as lightweight as possible. One strategy is to opt for a minimal theme and then add plug-ins to add additional functionality.
You might also consider utilizing a content delivery network (CDN).
The closer a server is to a user, the faster the loading time will be. A CDN takes your static files and distributes them on various servers across the world so that your site is closer to people than it would have been otherwise.
There are even solutions that will allow you to host parts of your site through a CDN. Some CDN resources you can check out are:
- Amazon Cloudfront
- Jetpack (a plugin)
- WOT Cache
Updates and Maintenance
It should go without saying that you should keep all of the elements of your site as up to date as possible.
This includes everything from HTML and PHP to your theme and plug-ins.
Your hosting provider is responsible for your site’s primary updates, but you should still keep an eye on them.
The more up to date your technology is, the more secure your site will be and the more efficiently it will run.
Clean up your database as it gets bloated with data you aren’t actually using. You should eliminate anything you aren’t using (plug-ins, widgets, etc.).
Other Tactics for Decreasing Loading Time
Speeding up your site is about enabling it to do as little as possible. With this principle in mind, consider doing the following:
- Don’t host videos on your site – auto-embed them
- Compress your images and your website files
- Reduce server requests (e.g., limit how many posts you show on each page, break comments and posts into pages, implement lazy loading for images)
- Allow caching, WP Rocket is a great WP Caching plugin.
- Concatenate files (i.e., combine them into one larger file)
- Minify files
- Limit what you can (such as post revisions, buttons, and widgets)
- Deactivate pingbacks and trackbacks
- Include an expires header in your static resources (this determines the length of time a visitor’s browser caches content)
- Optimize CSS delivery
- Prioritize above the fold content
Use a Web Design Platform Made for Site Speed
If your current content management system or theme is giving you a bad time, speed-wise, switch as soon as possible. Don’t try to fix or adjust. Use a website builder that gets it.
Duda is a solid example of an agency-friendly website building platform built from the ground up to minimize load times. Duda CTO Amir Glatt even published a detailed article describing what they have done to get Duda’s infrastructure as aligned as possible with Google’s best practices for page speed, achieving better scores than Wix, Weebly and even the mighty WordPress.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
It’s old news that people are using mobile more and more for all of their online activities. Not only does your site need to load quickly but it also needs to load quickly on smartphones. Because of the widespread use of mobile, Google has released Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which is “a whole new way of creating web pages and effectively changes the mobile web.”
AMP is open-source software designed to boost loading speeds on mobile devices. Even before AMP, Google took steps to favour mobile-friendly sites. So the better your site’s mobile-friendliness, the better it’s ranking.
Test, Audit, Fix
Testing, monitoring and auditing how your site performs should be done on a continuous basis. Your site might be generating errors any minute due to redesign, new features, new sections/products being added, seasonal traffic spikes, suddenly social media success, etc.
Serpstat is an advanced SEO platform that can help with auditing your website and alerting you of errors on a regular basis. It will break loading speed issues into two groups for you to easily prioritize:
- High priority
- Middle priority
It will also provide explanations for each item they are checking for you to better understand any issue and easily delegate the task to a non-SEO team member.
Everyone Benefits from Fast Loading Speed
No matter what area of life we’re talking about, people appreciate having experiences that are orderly, seamless, and fast.
Optimizing your site for speed will set you ahead of the majority of websites on the internet. The result will be that you lose fewer visitors and increase your revenue.
7 Reasons Why Its Important to Have a Niche
A niche is a focused, targetable segment of the market. You are a specialist providing a product or service that focuses on the specific needs of an identified client group, which cannot or are not being addressed in such detail by the dominant providers in your industry.
But it is important to understand that there is, in fact, a difference between your identified niche and your target market.
Your target market is a specific identifiable group of people you work with, e.g. women in the city, technology start-ups, creative agency owners, small and medium businesses in a particular revenue range.
Your niche is the service you specialise in offering to your target market.
Here are 7 reasons why it is important to have a niche:
To avoid spreading yourself too thin
Instead of the risk of spreading yourself too thin in saying that ‘everyone’ is your potential client, niche marketing will help you to focus on a specific grouping of people, and particularly on what their needs and wants are.
You will unlikely to be able to serve everybody, so it is important to focus on what you do best and aim it at a specific group of people who will likely buy what you offer.
It is important to find out what is important to them, what blogs they read, their beliefs and attitudes, who the main influencers in that network are.
Having these insights means that you can develop products or services specifically aimed at this group, based on your thorough knowledge and understanding of what they are interested in.
It’s easier to identify and target potential clients and partners to work with
As the pool of people that exists for a niche is smaller than its mainstream equivalent, it will be easier to identify potential clients and partners to work with, as you can be much more targeted and laser-focused with your marketing efforts.
It’s easier to become an expert and well known in your niche
Niching means it will be much easier for others to understand ‘what you do’ and ‘for whom’, which will make it easier to position you as an expert in your field. As this group is more targeted and of a smaller size, you can rapidly become well known within this group of people.
Your profile and overall visibility will increase within this group. It is a small world after all!
More and better referrals
Since it will be easier for others to understand what you do and for whom, it, in turn, becomes much easier for them to refer more and better quality clients to you that fit the profile of your ideal client, as you have built up trust, credibility, visibility, and it is very clear as to what your specialism is.
The more unique you are, the less competition you will have
There will be less competition, as you will provide the specific services or create the specific products for the specific people you are seeking to help in a specific way that meets their needs. The BIG advantage of becoming more unique is that usually it can’t be easily replicated by your competition!
Marketing becomes much easier
Effective niche marketing should really help with your marketing, positioning and branding as you will attract the ‘right people’ much more easily and quickly. People with similar interests tend to behave and are attracted to similar things. This means that many of your clients will do all the hard work for you as they will refer you more and more because your profile, credibility and influence are readily apparent within your tribe.
More repeat business
As you are able to provide an increasingly better service or product, based on your specific client’s needs, it is likely that you will get more repeat business – people will come back for more, and as an added benefit will often start spending more with you as your relationship grows with them.
How To Make Your Business Successful Using Social Media
Social media is an essential tool for any business in the modern world. However, as with any tool, it must be used in the correct manner if it is to work well. You have to get to know your audience and what they are looking for.
Here are some effective ways to promote your business be more successful with social media:
Plan your social media strategy
A scattergun approach will not be as effective as planning will, so work out a social media strategy. You need to identify what your audience will be looking for, and what will grab their attention. Look for the keywords that they are likely to search for, and work on ideas for content that they will want to read.
Consider the most useful ways of reaching your target market, conveying your message, and persuading potential customers that they need your product or service.
Engage with your followers
An effective social media account encourages followers to engage with the company. Give them opportunities to ask questions, and respond when they tweet to you. Encourage them to provide you with feedback, and make them feel as though you are really interested in them.
Social media is a great opportunity to find out what your customers want, so run polls, look at what gets the most significant number of likes, and see what your followers are posting about. Take as much interest in their ‘negative’ posts as their positive ones. It will show you what is not working in their opinion, and allows you to improve your service or products.
Giveaways and competitions can be hugely useful if you ask people to share the giveaway in return for being entered into the draw. It can also help you gain more followers quickly.
Use a social media manager
Not everyone uses a social media manager, but for larger companies, in particular, it is a necessity. Your decision to use one may depend on whether it would repay the investment, and whether there is sufficient work to justify employing someone for this role.
However, a social media manager will have the knowledge necessary to run effective campaigns.
With a smaller business, it will allow you to focus on other aspects of the company instead of having to update your profiles. The decision is yours, but you may be losing money if you’re being diverted away from other tasks.
Delegating responsibility for your social media activity to someone else might also allow you to concentrate on building your business, as well as enhancing its reputation.
Create great titles
A great title will have an impact on your followers. Yes, it’s click-bait, but you want people to read your content or click through to your website, don’t you?
A title that is eye-catching will be far more effective than a factual but boring one.
Consider the following:
Vegans live longer than meat-eaters
Vegans: healthy, happy, & heading for 100?
The first title may be referring to studies that suggest vegans live longer, but you’ve already summed it up in the title. There’s nothing that will really draw the reader in. The second title, however, is asking questions that could make the reader want to know more.
They will wonder if turning vegan will help them live longer and healthier lives, or if there’s any truth to the claim. It will make them want to read more to see what the conclusions of the article are.
Keep your brand strong
Your social media style and the content you post should always conform to the style of your brand and your reputation. Posting content that is witty and entertaining, but that has little or nothing to do with your brand, can detract from the message you want to give.
Bear your brand in mind at all times and make sure that your content fits in with it.
Make use of images
It goes without saying that Instagram is for images. But you should also make use of them on the other social media platforms, as images increase engagement. Videos can also be immensely effective. Of course, they need to be relevant to your brand if they’re going to work well – don’t just post an image because you like it.
Concentrate on the platforms that are more ‘profitable’
When you first begin to use social media for your company, it’s better to start with one or two platforms and build your social media up once your business grows.
Eventually, you should aim to have accounts on every social media network. The bulk of your time, however, should be spent on the platforms that offer a greater reward for the time invested, and that best fit the profile of your target customers.
Customize your content
You may be posting essentially the same material on each platform, but the same approach may not work for each one. Tailor your material to suit the platform, For instance, Instagram and Facebook offer greater scope for visual material, whereas Twitter is largely a written medium and should be used to encourage your followers to click through to your website as well as share your content.
Twitter is also a great way to present a ‘human’ side to your company, but try to keep it appropriate to your business.
Changing your posting style could be very confusing for your followers, so try to be consistent. In addition, if you start off posting several times daily and then slack off, your customers may forget about you or grow tired of waiting for new content.
Consistency is best. It’s better to post less frequently, but regularly than to switch between posting all the time and hardly at all.
Have a LinkedIn profile
A LinkedIn profile is essential for any business nowadays. It’s a good way to connect with people who could be useful to your business, and explain what it is about.
Use a social media content calendar
As essential as social media may be, maintaining so many accounts can be stressful and demanding. The answer is to have a social media calendar. It will allow you to organize and plan your social media for the coming days, weeks, and months, decide who will be responsible for each task, and when each task should be carried out.
Pick the best time of day to post
The time of day you post can be crucial. If your company is based in the US, but a lot of your customers are in the UK, you need to bear in mind the time difference when you post. If you post while your clients are asleep, you risk your posts being lost in their timeline. Check when your followers are online and schedule your tweets or posts to be sent during that time period.
Monitor what people are saying
For a business, using social media is an essential tool for ascertaining what your customers are saying, both about you and about other companies. Negative publicity can quickly spread and damage a company’s reputation, so you need to be monitoring your social media continuously.
The sooner you are aware of a problem, the sooner you can act to reduce the impact on your business. Equally, responding to appeals or customer queries can quickly gain you extensive positive publicity. There have been many examples of companies that delight children by replacing lost toys.
Keep an eye on your competitors
It’s not just your customers that you need to monitor; you should keep an equally close eye on what your competitors are saying and doing. This will allow you to keep ahead of them and be forewarned about their plans. It will also show you what customers think of them; for example, if they’re receiving negative press, you could seize the opportunity to jump in and offer a superior service.
Ensure your social media activity is positive
We’ve all seen examples of a business social media account getting into a very public argument with a disgruntled customer. This nearly always reflects poorly on the business and should be avoided. In fact, it is possible to turn the situation to your advantage if you politely accept that the customer is upset and offer a solution that will mollify them.
A business that argues with a customer on social media will give a negative impression, whereas one that does everything it can to demonstrate a willingness to keep their customers happy can win itself a great deal of public goodwill.
It’s not enough merely to have a social media presence; it must be used in the most efficient manner. Reputations can be made or ruined thanks to the rapid response enabled by social media.
You can be entirely sure that a bad experience will spread much faster than praise will. So, good management is essential. You should also keep up with changes in the social media field, and adapt your response accordingly; what worked last year may be entirely unsuccessful from now on.