In this episode, my husband, business partner, and tech extraordinaire, David, and I are talking about why site speed can hurt your blog and how to fix it.
Have you been blogging for a bit, but you aren’t seeing the traffic you thought you’d see? Or is your bounce rate super high?
If you’re dealing with issues like these, perhaps your problem isn’t your content; perhaps your site speed is to blame. In this episode
We’re digging deep into why site speed matters, and how to be sure that yours is where it needs to be.
But first, if you’re new here, I wanted to take a minute to explain what MiloTree is about and what we offer to our customers, besides this podcast! I like to call this the “MiloTree Umbrella.”
First off, if you are a new blogger, or you’re thinking about being a blogger but you haven’t started yet, we are here to help. Setting up your blog is what holds back the majority of people who want to blog.
And we get it. Tech can be confusing and it can make you procrastinate indefinitely. But lucky for you, my husband and business partner, David, is a genius with all the tech stuff.
So, if you head over to MiloTree/BlogStart, you can sign up for our blog start service. We will set up and optimize your WordPress blog, and get everything in place for you to begin creating content.
Then, once you have your blog up and running, you’ll want to install our MiloTree pop-up on your site. This allows you to grow your social media platforms, email list, online shopping platforms, or whatever you want to grow!
Go to MiloTree and click on the purple text in the top right corner to start your free 30-day trial and see how quickly you can begin to grow your audience.
And then finally, David and I are finally offering blog coaching for entrepreneurs! I’m so excited about helping you all develop a real business through your blog.
We are currently in our first 6-week entrepreneur coaching session, and we would love to have you in a future group. If you aren’t getting the results you want, come join us and let us help you reach your goals and build a business that will grow with you.
Just click through to sign up for your spot in our next session.
Now let’s get technical, without being too technical…
What Is Blog Site Speed and Why Does It Matter?
Site speed, simply defined, is how fast your blog pages load when someone comes to your site.
Pretty simple, right? The question though, is why should you care? David explains there are 2 reasons why site speed matters.
- You want to give your visitors a fantastic user experience
- Site speed plays a role in how friendly Google judges your site to be, and how much traffic they send you
- It will help lower your bounce rate because people will want to stick around
Be Your Own User and Tester
If you want to know how quickly your site loads, the best place to start is with your eyes.
Be your own user, in other words: go to your site and see how fast your pages download for you. Do you find yourself waiting for the full page to load?
David also recommends getting out of your usual space to check your site speed.
If you’re like us, you’re blessed with really fast internet at home. So, when you get on your desktop in your home office, your site might load really quickly.
But you need to know how it loads for people on their phones, iPads, and for those with slower internet. So, go to a coffee shop or local hangout, and using only your cell phone data, see how quickly it loads.
And obviously, if your pages load slowly when you have optimal internet, you know you’ve got some work to do.
What Exactly Is Slow Site Speed?
When you’re watching your site load, do you notice that larger things like welcome banners take a bit longer to fill in? Are you having to sit there and wait for them to be done?
Next, can you scroll? Or is the page frozen in the loading pattern, with the bottom half not filled in yet?
These are the kinds of things that make visitors leave your site before they ever even see what you have to offer.
The Two Sides of Site Speed
Site speed encompasses several different parts of your actual site. It’s not only what the user sees. Site speed begins before the user sees anything.
- The server side – meaning how long does it take your actual WordPress (or other host) to load the site itself.
- The user side – meaning how long it takes for the actual content to load (photos, fonts, text, videos, banners, etc.)
How to Have Good Site Speed? Get a Good Host
If your site seems slow, or you’ve had people complain about it taking a long time to load, you can take some definite steps to speed things up.
But the best place to start is with your hosting.
If you are currently paying less than $3 per month for hosting, you may be at risk for less than desirable site speed. If you’d like to know which hosts David recommends, email me at email@example.com.
Use a Caching Plug-in to Help with Site Speed
There are plug-ins to help with almost everything on your site, but be careful, because too many plug-ins can cause your site to be slow.
The first plug-in you need for site speed is a great caching plug-in. Caching means your pages are preloaded, in a sense.
So, the first person to visit your site gets a full download, but following visitors get a snapshot, of sorts, of the pages. Your site doesn’t have to go through all the work of loading everything again; it uses the cache it has built to show the pages.
We use and recommend WP Rocket for our site cache. (This is our affiliate link.)
Optimize Your Content for Site Speed
Your caching plug-in will help on the server-side to bring the site up more quickly, but you’ve got content that needs to download for the user.
So, what can you do to help your photos, videos, and written content, including those awesome fonts you used, to download more quickly?
The first step to take here is to compress your images. Images take a long time to download, so you need to reduce the file size.
Here again, there are plug-ins that, when installed, automatically optimize your images for you.
*We use WP Smush for our photos. This is a free plugin we also use.
How to Check Your Blog’s Site Speed?
If you’ve checked your site with your own eyeballs, you’ve used the correct plug-ins to reduce load time and to optimize your images, and it’s still slow, there are some things you can do to figure out what’s going on.
All that is required to use these tools is to put in your URL and let the tool do its work. It will load your page, analyze it, and tell you what is slowing it down.
What Slows Our Sites Down?
We talked a little bit about how plugins and photos can slow our site down. But the truth is, every single thing you add to your site slows it down some.
Even adding another few words affects your site speed. Now, a few words will have a negligible effect, but another photo could add a second or more to the loading speed.
Back in the early days of blogging, before Google was the one setting all the rules, we could add as many photos as we wanted to our posts. And I will admit to being a little too in love with all my photos and not wanting to leave any out.
So, you would see recipe posts with upwards of a dozen photos of the finished recipe alone.
Nowadays, I aim to only include photos that serve a purpose.
The MiloTree Plug-In
If you’re using the MiloTree pop-up on your site, David and I want to reassure you that when he built our pop-up, he built it with site speed in mind.
So while, yes, every single thing you add to your site slows it down some, one thing you don’t need to worry about is your MiloTree pop-up.
We barely scratched the surface on site speed today, so stay tuned because David will be back to help with additional technical content in the future. If you have any questions for David or me, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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