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What makes for good social posting, anyway? In order to craft the perfect social post, we need to take a look at why people follow businesses in the first place.
The 3 Golden Rules of Local Social Media Marketing
Creating content for social media is essential—you need to be present where your customers are, and they’re on social. While it is free to partake, creating an effective social media strategy and sticking to it takes diligence and determination.
Since the early 2000s, social media platforms have revolutionized the way people connect with one another. Today, there are 2.3 billion active users of social media worldwide. Business owners who take advantage of the ocean-sized lead pool created by social media channels will undoubtedly reel in a boatload of benefits.
Currently, the number of brands present on two or more social media platforms has surpassed 90%, and in 2016, Facebook reported reaching 50 million small business users. Despite this level of online presence, business owners consistently report that social media is the second most difficult marketing tactic to execute effectively (immediately behind Search Engine Optimisation, AKA SEO). Business owners believe that learning how to properly utilise social media platforms is time consuming, and that their time would be better spent on other marketing tactics.
Don’t take the bait—social media IS important!
Remember the boatload of benefits discussed earlier? We didn’t mean this:
Making the effort to rock your customers’ worlds through the effective use of social media will pay off for your business, here’s how!
Social media increases your brand’s visibility
Just as there are plenty of fish in the social media sea, there are also a TON of boats looking to land a big catch. Ensuring your business and brand are present and active on multiple social channels will create the opportunity for consumers from different demographics to find and follow you. Also, half of consumers follow brands to indicate their loyalty, so a business’s current customer base will also increase brand awareness and visibility. The more followers a business has, the more likely it is to be seen. Additionally, if a business owner treats these followers as a sentient community rather than a stagnant lead pool, it will help improve customer service and brand image.
Social media improves your customer service
A business’s presence on social media creates the opportunity for dialogue with consumers, and 60% of followers expect a brand to interact with their followers directly through social media. With more than half of marketers utilising social media as two-way street for communication, it is important for business owners to give their audience what it wants. By providing engaging content, exclusive social offers and genuine responses to feedback like reviews or questions, you will be able to build brand loyalty and lasting customer relationships with your social community. Did we mention that all of this comes with a minimal price tag?
Social media is easy on your budget
Old school marketing tactics like snail mail ads or flyers can be expensive, and it will undoubtedly take time to measure their ROI. Joining and posting to social media is free of charge—there’s no limit to how many posts you can publish, and your efforts are seen by followers immediately. Paid advertising on social media is also an option, and this tactic will allow you to target specific audiences you want to reach. The best part is that your budget for paid social advertising can be as large or as small as you see fit, it’s all designed to meet your business’s unique marketing needs. Investing in social media with time or money can help with more than just a business’s social accounts, too.
Social media can boost search engine ranking
Effective social media use will allow your business to harness the power of another internet beast.
You may recall from earlier that business owners find SEO to be the most daunting digital marketing tactic to take on. By fostering a social media following, providing content that will likely be shared, and interacting with its consumers online, businesses are able to climb the ranks in search engines. The better your ranking, the more likely you are to be found, and thus the social media cycle begins all over again!
Keep the fish biting
With so many benefits tied to using social media, you’re probably wondering how to move your business forward using such a powerful tool. Posting in social channels can be intimidating, and oftentimes you might be left wondering if you have anything worth posting at all.
Teach a marketer to fish…
It’s important to create social media content that provides value to your customers without hocking spam day in and day out. To succeed on social media you need to know your consumers and keep them entertained. Don’t have time to test the waters?
We’ve compiled five easy tips that businesses can use to climb search rankings with speed. We aren’t saying that you’ll appear at the top of the search results in a couple days, but we do guarantee that using these tips will help a business climb search rankings on all major search engines over time. Persistence and patience are key factors in search engine optimisation, and while it won’t happen overnight, keeping these best practices top of mind will help your content rank.
Tip 1: keyword planning
It all starts with keyword planning
Businesses with great content on their websites tend to appear at the top of the search results, and great content has a focus on keywords. Before a webpage is created, your business must first determine what word or words you want to rank for. Keyword planning is not simple, especially for businesses that don’t understand how to plan. Your business cannot simply pick a word, type it a bunch of times and cross your fingers to appear at the top of Google search rankings. Search engines are not fooled by this. Keyword density is important, but it’s not the only thing that the search algorithms consider when ranking pages in search results, especially with new progress with Google’s RankBrain. There are many factors that affect local search, and it’s important to dominate the ones you have control of to move into the coveted Snack Pack.
Make target keywords niche, targeted and relevant
When keyword planning, be sure to use niche words, and target keywords that are relevant enough to get your business appearing in front of the right people online. If your local company wants to appear to the right local audience, you must be sure to be specific to your community. A local windshield repair company is going to have a hard time appearing for the keyword “windshield.” It’s not impossible, but it’s difficult for local companies to appear in the top few results for broad focused keywords. There is a much better chance to appear at the top of the search results if the keywords are narrowed down.
Keyword planning example
For example, a windshield company in Buffalo, New York wants to appear in front of local customers who may have a crack or chip in their window. They’d be much more successful aiming to rank for “rock chip repair in Buffalo” rather than the word “windshield.”
Tip 2: strengthen meta descriptions
Meta descriptions should contain your keywords
A meta description is a small description of what your webpage contains, it’s basically a summary of your business’s webpage in ~160 characters. These too must have a focus on keywords, and for smaller businesses such as local windshield repair companies, it’s important to have the right keywords in the meta description.
Meta description example
To keep this example consistent, “rock chip repair in Buffalo” was set as the Google search terms to see which businesses appear in the search results. It’s always a good idea to look at the business that appears first, see how they are doing it, and try to better their meta description.
In this case, this local windshield repair company that clearly knows what they are doing! As you look above, you can see that the meta description contains most of the words that we searched for. This is a fantastic way to target the specific search query of “rock chip repair in Buffalo” and to get frantic drivers with broken windshields through a business’s front door.
Help guide customers from page to page
Proper meta descriptions not only help in search result rankings, but they also give your prospective customers a summary of exactly what they may be looking for. Customers want it easy, they don’t want to spend a long time browsing for repair shops—they want to find answers easily and the solutions fast.
Tip 3: be unique
Search engine bots search for unique content
It’s tough for your business to be unique from the fifty other local companies that compete in your company’s industry. However, the content on your business’s website should aim to be unique and somewhat different from the rest in order to stand out in the search rankings. The reason being that Google and other search engines search for original content when their bots are crawling sites. This means every site in a specific industry that has similar webpage copy will likely blend in, and the bots won’t declare those pages as original or unique. Don’t expect a local business page to appear high on the search rankings if it sounds exactly like every other local business page!
Tip 4: stay active everywhere online
The more online activity, the better
You business has to stay active online if you want to climb search rankings, make a name for yourself on places other than your company website. Your business can improve your local search by using data aggregators, or you can manually create listings on tons of directory sites.
Online mentions increase search engine influence
One thing many smaller businesses fail to understand is that business pages on reputable websites are so important! Social platforms like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn are an easy way for your business to index your name across various sources on the web. Likewise, review sites are hugely important! The more your business is mentioned online, the greater the influence you will have on search rankings.
Tip 5: blog
Blogs help keep web content fresh
Blogs are not only fun to write, but also a way to continuously produce new website content. Google’s algorithm specifically calls for continuous web content and publishing if your business wants to appear high on the search rankings. Google is pushing web developers and content writers to keep websites from getting irrelevant or outdated, making content marketing a healthy company strategy.
Blog with a strategy in mind
Your business should establish a blog plan, no matter the industry. If that same windshield repair company in Buffalo New York wanted to blog, maybe they’d write about the “Top 10 windshield crack horror stories” or “How a rock chip ruined this man’s day.” These types of articles are relevant to their industry, and are loaded with keywords about their business. Tools such as WordPress, Medium and Ghost are all super useful in order to easily get started with blog publishing.
A blog presents a huge opportunity
It could be a funny blog, or serious industry stories, as long as the content that is being produced has a focus on their respective business industry. That’s just one example, but there are tons of opportunities for businesses in any specific industry. Don’t believe us that blogging is important? Here’s 58 reasons why businesses should run a blog.
Conclusion: content is key
Whether it’s keyword planning for the content you write, writing great meta descriptions, writing original content or blogging, it all involves the production of content. That’s because content is key. Implement these strategies and monitor your rankings. There are a variety of SEO tools, both free and paid that your business can use to do so. While your rankings won’t shoot up overnight, your business has a huge opportunity to improve your search engine rankings and outrank your competitors to get more business through your doors.
Gone are the days of a “form over function” internet. Where once the simple novelty of seeing a business online, in any fashion, was often enough. Now, today’s more savvy audiences simply want to get where they are going. So with the priorities of today’s business websites being speed and ease of use, here are 3 tips that can make sure you are providing your customers the information they require in the best way possible to help you make conversions either on your site or in person.
1. Where is the business?
Contact information is the most important information you can have on the internet. Seems simple enough, yet many well-intentioned websites make this information difficult to find. Studies show that people will tend to look at the top left corner of your website first, like they’re reading a book. This is where the most important information should be, your contact info—don’t make customers scour the page looking for a way to find your business.
There is lots of data you can include in the contact information section. The trick is finding the balance of information overload vs. unnecessary vagueness. There are three things you need to specifically include:
Hours of operation
People seeking this information are likely close to buying, so having your hours of operation listed accurately and in a fashion that’s easy to read is a huge priority. Here are two examples, one bad and one good, to showcase how your hours should be listed online
Don’t do it like this
We are open Mondays – 8:00 am-5:00 pm, Tuesdays – 8:00 am-5:00 pm, Wednesdays – 8:00 am-7:00 pm, Thursdays – 8:00 am-5:00 pm, Fridays – 8:00 am-7:00 pm, Saturdays 12:00 pm-5:00 pm and the service shop is also open until 7:00 pm.
Looks hard to read, right? It doesn’t look nice, it’s hard to look at specific days, and you don’t know if the service shop is just open on Saturdays, or if it’s always open until 7:00 pm every evening.
A better example
Mon 8 – 5
Tues 8 – 5
Wed 8 – 7
Thurs 8 – 5
Fri 8 – 7
Sat 12 – 5
Mon-Sat: 12 – 7
Looks a lot nicer, right? It’s a lot easier to read and find the information you need. The most important part is to make sure the hours are accurate. Even if it takes an extra line to better explain a confusing set of hours, customers greatly appreciate knowing when they can expect your business to be open.
Unless you’re an online retailer, your address is an essential part of your contact listing. But just like hours of operation there is are a variety of ways to share your location. Here is how we recommend it. Provide enough information so that Google maps can locate the business. For people in major cities, often times just your street address is sufficient. But if your business is a little tricky to find consider linking to a map application, or have the map right on the website. If you’re going that direction, make sure to use an accredited map engine like Google Maps, instead of a hand-drawn creation. People tend to be a lot more familiar with popular map formats and might get confused/scared at the sight of your beautiful artwork.
This is the number where customers can most easily reach you. Businesses with multiple departments equipped with individual phone lines, might want to stick those on a “Contact Us” page. There’s no sense in cluttering your home page with 30 different phone numbers. Businesses should have one phone number on the homepage display to be a catch-all for any inquiries. Don’t forget an area code for those out-of-town customers. Make it easy for on-the-go customers to hit a button and have their mobile device ring the business instantly.
2. Who is the business?
You likely have a lot to say about your business so the real challenge here is the distillation of your story. Here, think of the company from the customer’s’ perspective; what makes you unique? Why are you better than their competitors? What do you do for customers? These question will likely shed light on the most important information to share, at least at the top of the page.
Once you’ve got your top level information cased, consider designing a way for interested customers to learn even more about the business. There you can dive deeper into your history, philosophy, and share any achievements or media coverage your business has had in its past.
3. What does the business do?
This is where functionality needs to be the highest priority. Customers are looking for confirmation that your business is what they are looking for in the moment they are searching. You can’t afford to have this information be anything but concise, easy to find, and extremely helpful. It’s challenging to know the exact right strategy for your business but a tactic we recommend is taking a look at your closest competitors for insight.
Look at those website and assume the perspective of their customer. If you like something about the way their website works, make a note. If you find something super inconvenient or confusing, again, make a note. Have these notes inform your approach.
A lot of people think a website should be an online version of your business. In reality, this is virtually impossible. A website is more like a messenger for your business. It’s a tool for relaying information about the business to potential customers. If your messenger is long-winded, confusing and tries to use flashy bright colours to grab attention, the customer is not going to be engaged. If your messenger relays all the information in a simple, concise and memorable way, customers will be much more likely to engage. It is quite likely a website is the first impression the customer might have of your business—remember, you only get once chance to make a first impression!
Websites are important for every business. In today’s digital age, having accessible online information is crucial for success. Just having a website isn’t enough, though. What matters is what’s on your website.
Website content needs to be geared toward making the consumer want to interact and engage with it. So, let’s take a look at what not to do when creating an appealing website, and I’ll show you what you should do instead along the way.
You’ve read this far for one of three reasons:
Are your eyes bleeding yet? I wouldn’t blame you.
We know your website can’t possibly look this bad, and we also know that this website is TRYING to look bad. Now, what are the chances you scrolled down to see what was listed on this site? If they gave out a million dollars at the bottom for clicking a link, chances are that you wouldn’t have walked away with a penny.
Why is this? Consumers don’t want to engage with unattractive content. Think of your own website content for a moment. If somebody looked at it and felt the same way you just felt, do you think they would stay and interact with it? Probably not.
Start by thinking of all the things you’ve hated on websites you’ve visited in the past. Chances are, one or more of these was on your list. If they weren’t, they will be now.
1. Ugly domain
Do you find it easier to go back to a website with a simple domain like website.com (an example), or do you prefer to type in randomwebsite123.org/data0=184/net%/ (another example)? You may be saying, “But hey, I just Google the name and click on the link!” Sure that might work for you usually, but would you be happy having to find your favorite and most visited websites by Googling them every single day? You’re better off having a website that people can remember if they choose to. A consumer’s first impression of a website is largely design-related, so don’t you think some of the people in that category want to see a neat and tidy domain? Of course they do!
2. Long loading times
I considered leaving a bunch of blank space here so you would have to scroll down and waste your time to prove my point, but I decided to make you read this sentence instead.
Consumers hate waiting. This is the digital age of instant information. It takes consumers only a split second to form an opinion about your website. That tiny amount of time shouldn’t be spent on a blank loading screen! Even worse than that, if there is a long loading time every time a consumer tries to interact with your website or navigate the different pages, they are going to get increasingly annoyed.
Here is the worst case scenario: You have a consumer who is ready to buy from your online shop, they start gathering up products into their cart, then they get fed up with waiting and instead buy from your competitor. Want to avoid the tragedy? Keep it fast!
3. Complicated or overwhelming interface
Does your website have too many buttons on it? Are people being bombarded with information? People are being trained to ignore huge amounts of website content due to websites crawling with ads. Keep it simple and focus on important topics or focal points that they can engage with. With plenty of consumers abandoning a site due to poor design, you can’t afford to hide your crucial information in text-garbage. Don’t lose consumers because they can’t find where you hid the crucial information on your jumbled page.
4. Automatic music or videos
Many people listen to music while they work or surf in their free time. If you’ve ever noticed a little speaker icon on the right side of your internet tabs, it means that sound is coming from that page. Many people’s first instinct is to kill that tab because it’s forcing disruptive sound onto their experience, and autoplaying audio or visual content can cause valuable consumers to leave your site.
If you have videos on your main page, great! Just make sure you let people click the play button on their own. At the very least, it will give consumers a chance to silence their other music and video sources before they listen.
5. Website doesn’t scale
Do you always look at a website on your computer, or do you sometimes use your phone or tablet? Don’t you hate it when you’re interacting with website content on your phone and you have to scroll all the way to the right to read the full line and then scroll all the way back for the next line? It’s terrible! Make sure your website bends and twists to fit every screen—this is called responsive web design, and it’s very important. If people don’t realize your website actually operates differently on their smaller screen, you’ve done something right.
Your website content is one of your most important marketing tools. Whether or not people engage can mean the difference between one dollar and one million dollars in revenue. It’s worth it to take the time to make your website beautiful.
Search engines strive to create the best user experience possible, providing the most relevant, useful information based on the user’s search terms. If they didn’t, users would no longer rely on them for information.
This is good news: the more relevant, informative and useful user experience you create, the better the chances that search engines will serve your pages. By practicing good search engine optimization (SEO) habits, you can continually work to increase your search engine results page (SERPs) position. Here are some top SEO practices for SERP success.
On page (your website) SEO practices:
1. Relevant keywords: Using a keyword tool can help determine which words will help attract the most visitors based on popular search terms. Pick the most relevant, popular keywords for your business and try to rank for different keywords on your web page.
2. Short, catchy and original title tags: Title tags describe what your website is all about while attracting the user’s attention enough to (hopefully) click through to your pages. Limit the title tag description to 55 characters so it will display well on SERPs. Keep title tags descriptive yet short and sweet to help crawlers and users determine the relevancy of your page.
3. Keywords at the beginning of page title tags: Google puts more weight on the start of the title tag, so try to keep the keywords at the beginning.
4. Keyword focused meta descriptions: The meta description appears under the title tag on SERPs and gives users a chance to learn more about your company before clicking into your site. Aim for a meta-description length of 150-160 characters.
5. Proper sitemap: Make sure your website’s structure is up-to-date and easy to navigate. The better the site structure, the easier search engine crawlers can find and index pages. Aim for a three-click rule—customers should find what they need on your site in three clicks.
6. Properly structured, SEO-friendly URLs: URLs help crawlers to figure out page topic and relevancy. Creating short URLs with your keyword in it, using “-” instead of “_” between words as well as static words (rather than numbers) will help users and crawlers read URLs faster and easier. Also, try to use sub-directory root domains instead of sub-domains.
7. Link internally with anchor text: Linking internally to your other web pages adds keyword-rich internal links to every page. Internal linking helps search engines crawl and index your site, provides readers with more reading options and improves ranking for some of your keywords.
8. Outbound links: Referencing and linking to reputable (authoritative) sources shows you are a helpful internet information steward that is willing to share pagerank. On the internet, helpful sharing is caring.
9. Website’s loading speed: Search engines do not like slow pages as they know that users will not wait long for a website to load. Strive for lickity-split load times.
10. Really helpful content: Create relevant content on your pages that is easy to read, unique, helpful, fresh and grammatically flawless. Your content should be so helpful and relevant that your target audience will want to stay on your page and others will want to link to it.
Off page SEO practices:
1. Search engine submission: It can take a while for search engines to find and crawl your site. You can help to speed up the process by submitting your website to popular search engines.
2. Local directory submission: Submitting your business listing information to top or niche directories creates more places where users can find you and crawlers can confirm your business information. Be sure to submit NAP (name, address, phone number). And, if possible, website and category. A high percentage of searches are by keyword rather than business name, so strive to use category information wherever possible.
3. Social media marketing: Be present on all relevant social channels and manage your online reputation. Strive to get likes, shares and links by being 80% helpful and 20% promotional.
4. Video marketing: Help users find out about your business by sharing your relevant and helpful videos on sites such as Youtube, Vimeo, etc.
5. Backlink outreach: Earn backlinks by conducting content PR to get others to read your pages and possibly link to you. The more quality backlinks your web page has, the more authority it has, and the more search engines will deem the page as relevant and useful.
6. Forums and communities: Answering questions in forums and communities can help to build your reputation as an industry expert. This can provide a possible opportunity to include your website or blog link if it is relevant to the answer.
Search Engine Optimisation—or SEO—is a term that may sound scary at first, but is simple when you break it down. It’s the process of optimising your online content (website, blog or otherwise) for search engine algorithms like Google’s. Search engine algorithms are what look at all the content on the web, and lay it out on the search engine results pages. This is where your business will get found, or be lost in the world of “second page and beyond.” Your business’ SEO efforts are what determines your SERP (search engine results page) ranking, and consequently, determines how “findable” you are online to your customers.
Still confused? Basically, SEO is the process of tweaking your website, blog and other online content so that Google, Bing and other search engines will put you at the top of the search results page when customers start looking for you online.
Basic SEO terms
Stands for Search Engine Results Page. The list of results that search engines formulate and present to the user after a search is made. Your SERP rank is where your website/content appears on the list of results.
When one webpage hyperlinks to another website; very popular in blogging and creative writing. The more backlinks your website gets, the better your SERP rank!
A word or phrase that a consumer enters in search. Your website and content should be optimised to draw in the consumers who are searching for specific keywords. E.g “best hairdresser Texas”
that tells the search engines what your web page/content is about. This helps the search engine algorithms know if your content is relevant to what the consumer is looking for.
Why does SEO matter to my business?
If you’re thinking “well, that doesn’t matter for my business,” then you’re wrong! Optimising your website and blog content with the right keywords, meta data and other SEO factors will be hugely beneficial to your business.
If you play your SEO cards right, it will get your business found when customers ask Google and Bing about things relevant to your business. If you’re a Texan hairdresser, SEO can help you be found whether local Texans are searching “www.yourhairdresser.com (you)” or “best hairdresser Texas,” or even “where should I get my hair cut?”!
Here are the four biggest reasons you should care about SEO, no matter what your business is.
If one person types in “best hairdresser in Texas” into Google, and your business is at the top, then they’re likely going to click on your name. But there isn’t just one person Googling that term—there are thousands. Each person who clicks on your name from Google is another boost to your website traffic, and more potential business and sales for you! Hello SEO, hello more traffic, hello higher revenue!
Offering helpful solutions for customers
Optimising your content for specific keywords like “hairstyle tips” or “best hair for my face shape” means that when a customer goes to Google to find answers to their questions, they’ll find you. Creating a name for yourself in your industry as a helpful, informative brand will improve your reputation, and get more customers flocking your way!
SEO makes marketing easier (and cheaper)
If a customer can find you at the top of Google by typing in “best hairdresser Dallas,” then why would you need to pay for ad space at the top of the page? SEO is what determines where your business appears on Google, so optimising your content for the search engines just makes sense when it comes to where you spend your marketing bucks.
Don’t give business to your competitors
Still not sure why you should use SEO? Well here’s a big one—if you don’t implement SEO tactics for your business, then it’s your competitors who will be found when local customers go looking. Someone has to be at the top page of Google, right? If you’re not employing SEO tactics for your business, then it will be your competitors who show up when your potential customer turns to Google for advice and answers.
Search Engine Optimisation is important to consider when creating and publishing any kind of online content—whether it’s your business website, blog or otherwise. The better your business gets at optimising your content for SEO, the more likely you are to be seen online, and the more business you’ll get to your storefront!
What is Page Speed?
Page speed is the amount of time it takes for the content on a website’s page to fully load. In a world where people have come to expect instantaneous results, faster is better.
In fact, nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds, according to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com.
But how long do most websites take to load?
The standards many have been using for page load time come from a study conducted by Geoff Kenyon where he compares website speed against the rest of the web:
So how can you determine how your website stacks up?
How to Determine Your Page Speed and Score
Here’s how to measure how your website stacks up:
Note: Don’t puzzle yourself when you see different speed timing in Pingdom and Gtmetrix. As Pingdom will show you load time (The time it takes to show the first result of your website—that’s what google counts and you should too) and GTmetrix will show you full load time (The time it takes to show full page with it’s full functionality running).
For further understanding, it’s always good to see the speed waterfall from both tools.
Why Does Page Speed Matter?
Bridging the gap between user expectations (2 seconds) and average website load time (5 seconds) is the goal of page speed optimisation and the tactics we’ll outline later. But why exactly does page speed matter? It comes down to 3 main interconnected reasons:
1. Speed Kills UX
User experience is probably the most important reason you should care about website speed, so we’ll start here.
People don’t have the patience for slow loading websites anymore. In the beginning, just connecting to the internet required a tolerance that just doesn’t exist anymore.
Today, people are constantly online and you’ve got 3 seconds maximum to display your page or they’re gone. More than 3 seconds creates a poor user experience and the bar is only going to get higher in the future.
2. Speed Kills SEO
User experience is actually the driving force behind the SEO implications of site speed. While Google has been slow to officially reveal whether slow websites would receive ranking demotions, it appears that those days are coming. You need to make sure your website is ready.
3. Speed Kills Conversions
Your site speed’s effect on conversions is what should really catch your attention. How can you move people through your funnel if each step takes forever? Your super-fans will do it, but those new, hesitant people who are prone to buyers-remorse will bounce.
8 Tactics to Make Your Website Load Faster
Speeding up your site is not necessarily going to be a snap. If you have a small, light site you may just need to try a couple of tactics on this list.
However, large, older sites with a lot of code and content may require some persistence and the implementation of several tactics on the following list.
Here’s where to start:
1. Leverage browser caching:
When you visit sites, your browser often caches pages on the site to speed up load time.
Browser caching stores webpage resource files on a local computer when a user visits a webpage, so leveraging browser caching is when you instruct browsers how their resources should be dealt with.
Things can slow down when the response from your server does not include caching headers or if resources are specified to be cached for only a short time.
Leveraging caching will load your pages much faster for repeat visitors and so will other pages that share those same resources.
Here’s how to do it
2. Optimise images
If images load faster, your site loads faster, period. Google notes that “…images often account for most of the downloaded bytes on a page. As a result, optimising images can often yield some of the largest byte savings and performance improvements.”
This means that you can get some big improvements when the images on your pages can be optimised to reduce their file size without significantly impacting their visual quality.
Here’s how to do it
Minifying removes any unnecessary characters that are not required for the code to execute.
Sources of redundant data that you can remove includes code comments and formatting, removing unused code, using shorter variable and function names, and more.
Here’s how to do it
4. Enable gzip compression:
Gzip compression drastically reduces the size of files sent from your server when someone visits your website.
This will speed things up considerably.
According to GTMetrix,
“The reason gzip works so well in a web environment is because CSS files and HTML files use a lot of repeated text and have loads of whitespace. Since gzip compresses common strings, this can reduce the size of pages and style sheets by up to 70%!”
5. Reduce server response time:
Server response time is the amount of time it takes for a web server to respond to a request from a browser. This is a key issue to address because if your server response time is slow your pages will display slow, no matter how optimised your pages are for speed.
Google says you should reduce your server response time under 200ms. So how do you make this happen?
Here’s how to do it
6. Avoid landing page redirects:
Your site can really slow down when you have more than one redirect from the given URL to the final landing page. This sets off a redirect loop that takes time to process.
Here are a few examples of redirects that can slow things down:
example.com → m.example.com/home – multi-roundtrip penalty for mobile users.
example.com → www.example.com → m.example.com – very slow mobile experience.
Here’s how to do it
7. Prioritize visible content:
This is the exact message you’ll get from Google’s PageSpeed tool when additional network round trips are required to render the above the fold content of the page.
Here’s how to do it
However, this is a common message you’ll get from Google about site speed, and addressing it can really take your page speed up a few notches.
Here’s how to do it
Note: This is the hardest thing to fix for most people. There are WordPress plugins that just do it but they can make your site look like Frankenstein on every load.
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