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How to Optimize Your WordPress Blog for Speed

How to Optimize Your WordPress Blog for Speed

Content marketing is more important than ever, and WordPress has become the major venue for businesses to talk about the ins and out of their industry to attract attention. It is the most used content management system in the Internet with over 500 sites being created every single day.

But with so many websites using WordPress, how can a single website stand out from the crowd? A good content marketing strategy is the most important thing which any business can think about, but there is more to attracting attention on WordPress than by churning out quality content. By optimizing your blog via techniques such as improving your links and improving your website’s hosting, you can get your website higher on the Google rankings. This can get more people to visit your website and ensure the success of your content marketing strategy.

Some tricks to improve your search ranking are technologically advanced, but there are things which anyone can pull off. Here are a few simple tips towards ensuring that your content is seen and shown by Google’s algorithms.

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Don’t try to trick Google

A lot of SEO optimization can sound like little tricks designed to fool Google, and to some degree it is. But understand that while Google allows tricks like the ones mentioned below, it frowns heavily on so-called “black hat tricks” that exist only to trick the search engine and provide no value to either the website or the readers.

Google has a list of behaviors which it will not tolerate, and the company will blacklist you from its search engines if it suspects that you have been trying to trick them. Read over those behaviors and make sure that you try none of those ideas. Ignorance is no excuse for violating Google’s policies.

Link and promote other websites

At a basic level, Google ranks websites by how many other websites link to them. So if you want other people to link to you, you can start by linking to other people. This is especially so if the two websites are in the same field. When your websites is linked to by another, it will get more views and those viewers will create new links, which will spur more views and so on.

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While you can obviously link to other websites whenever you wish, make sure that those websites know about it. On the Settings tab in WordPress, there are checkboxes to notify other websites you have linked to them and to let you know when you have been linked. Make sure those are checked.

Think about changing your Host

As the Internet has grown faster, customer are more impatient than ever. According to Kissmetrics, half of web users expect a web page to load in just 2 seconds and will “bounce” if it is not loaded within 3 seconds. When you consider that every web page basically has one chance to make a good impression on every visitor, to be held back by a poor page loading speed, absolutely cannot happen.

There are things which every website can do to improve loading time like using a WordPress theme with a smaller loading footprint. But one of the biggest things you can do is look into your host. Using a fast WordPress hosting is essential in optimizing your entire site. Do not just go with the cheapest host out there. Slower hosts mean slower loading pages which means bouncing visitors.

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Cache your Pages

Because decreasing your page’s loading time is so important, another means through which you can ensure visitors to quickly load your website,  is page caching.

With page caching, Google stores a back-up version of sections of your website. This is so that when a visitor returns to your website, his browser can just use the caches to quickly load up certain sections without having to query your database. The catch is that the cache can be out of date, but that should not be a problem if your website is not constantly changing its picture or layout.

Google recommends a cache time of preferably up to one year for those assets which change infrequently.

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Don’t forget about Content

There are a whole lot of other ways to optimize your WordPress website beyond these few tips. Using good key phrases and key words to attract visitors typing in particular phrases and promoting your posts on social media will ensure that others will follow your work.

But your WordPress blog is part of your content marketing strategy, and content is the most important thing of all. You need to regularly update content, make sure that it is high quality, and ensure that it is relatable to your targeted audience.

Google is a critical tool towards ensuring that your website receives traffic, but it is not the only method. By promoting your website through social media as well as through your personal and professional contacts, you can ensure a growing audience. That in and of itself should be able to attract Google and further perpetuate your marketing strategy’s success.

Featured photo credit: Venu Gopal via flickr.com

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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