We all get told to set up a website, add content and drive traffic but what about the other side of your business? And that is running a fast website that people will visit without leaving because of slow page times and so forth.
We are all told to watch our bounce rates but what should we actually do? Here Dominic is going to share with you his tips after speeding up our websites over the last couple of weeks.
After been online a while we thought we should take a look at 2 aspects of owning and running an online business, these are speed of your websites and security of your websites. I will be covering exactly what we did over the next 2 days.
We have our websites hosted on a vps server with Hostgator. We found that through last year our visitors have doubled and also that the amount of content through our blog pages and posts were growing at a fast rate so we had to do something about it.
Our nodes on the shared Hostgator account which are located on the left hand side of your cpanel were going to exceed the required 250,000 which means your sites could be made to slow down and also our sites will not be backed up. This is not good.
We looked at several different options and decided to go with the vps option as the package is a good fit for our sites and now after selling a few websites we are at 59% of our hard drive limit which is good as it means we have a lot of growing room.
We are on the WordPress platform for our blogs as we find it is very easy to install and we can change things very easily and the code to change the themes is not too complicated. I noticed a few weeks ago after reading a blog post online certain aspects about how a page is loaded on a web browser and how easy it is to slow the site down.
This really clicked something in my head about if my sites are slow to load then am I missing out on search results I should be ranking for?
These 2 are the most popular page speed test sites, so you put your URL in and just wait until it tells you how you can optimize your website and what exactly you could do to help with the speed. Up until this point I had never really thought about how my website would react when I add certain codes to it.
I just thought it looks nice then great, but these tests really let you know what you could do to optimize your websites. The scripts I had running the images I had and server speed were all factors. So I set to work on maximizing the resources I have and try to make my websites quicker for our readers and hopefully our bounce rate would be going down!
Firstly I looked into a caching plug-in and there were a few to choose from but I opted for the w3 cache plug-in but even though it is hard to set up it does seem to be the best one.
I am not going to go into the set up of the plug-in because there is loads of blog posts online about what seems to work best, so I installed the plug-in and just like that my website loaded a lot faster but something that was in the plug-in intrigued me even more a CDN.
I have not come across one of these before since I have being on the internet basically what it does is load your website from different servers around the world.
So if a visitor comes from England then the server the company have in England will load your website for you and the same goes for most places around the world.
I looked into a few companies and it was between max cdn and cloudflare. I opted for cloudflare.com as they have integration with w3 cache and they have a free account for you to try.
I have not done much work with my DNS network since we changed to a vps, so I was hoping it was not going to be too difficult to implement Cloudflare into my websites. I liked the ease of use of the website and at a click of a button both my sites were set up and running through Cloudflares servers.
Now I had to optimize my website again and even though I had w3 cache I seemed to be having a conflict with them both on my sites together so I took of w3 cache plug-in and ran the speed tests again they were slower but the staff at Cloudflare helped out a lot and said sometimes they do get a conflict between themselves and the plug-in.
After fiddling around and adding some services to dsm-publishing.com that Cloudflare has some of them were not compatible with the theme we have on at the moment but with our other site we have it fully optimised and it is very quick.
We chose Cloudflare also because a lot of our visitors to our other website that come from England and it just made sense having it load closer to them which will obviously make the user experience better. Another positive about Clouflare is its reporting.
I log in and have daily reports of the traffic to our site, threats and crawlers and bots. We all just want organic traffic but that is not the reality of running a website now and Cloudflare cleans up a lot of the traffic we now get to our websites.
Of course the more things you have checking your website for the amount of traffic you get cannot be a bad thing as all your results together must mean something. I pay for the pro option which is $20 a month then for an extra website $5 so we pay $25 a month to make our websites run faster and clean up alot of things to do with the type of traffic you want going to your websites.
So my conclusion to the speed of our websites is that I am glad I looked into it. After all Google and other search engines say the user experience is one of the most important factors, so if the speed of my website helps this and helps my rankings it cannot be a bad thing.
I am looking at this as an ongoing project as I still have a few things to do to optimize my website more like optimizing the scripts in my header which will be a big job, and optimizing the images on our websites. But having my traffic going through Cloudflare is one of the best things I have ever done for my website.