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9 Simple Tips to Make Your WordPress Blog Faster

9 Simple Tips to Make Your WordPress Blog Faster

You’ve experienced it. You type in a URL, or click a link, and it takes forever for the site to load. It’s frustrating. Finally, the site begins to load, little by little, chunk by chunk. You really want the information that’s on the site, but you are in a hurry. Maybe you’ll try later. You are typical of today’s digital consumer. We expect our navigation to be fast; in fact, recommended load time is under three seconds for site owners.[1] And others, accessing your blog expect the same thing. Here are nine tips to give visitors the speed they want.

1. Test Your Website Speed Objectively

If you have checked your blog and the load time is any more than three seconds, understand that visitors and even those who used to be regular readers are probably bouncing. What’s more, Google does not like slow loading websites. Here is what you need to know to analyze your speed.

Your blog may load faster for you because your browser will have cached images that don’t need to load again. And if you are using a high-speed connection, it may be loading faster than those on mobile devices. Always check the mobile load time from someone else’s phone, not yours.

For an objective check on your blog’s performance, you can try GTMetrix. It’s a great tool for analyzing speed of website pages and generating a report that is pretty easy to read. It also will explain what the reading means. You can try it for free and see if you like it. This is the type of report you will get.

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    Image Credit via GTMetrix

    You’ll also get some recommendations for speeding up your load time. For example, if you haven’t optimized your images it will tell you. Then, you can either learn how to do that yourself, or find someone who can do it for you.

    This is not the only tool for analysis – Google has PageSpeed Insights, and Pingdom is another free tool. The key is to pick one and use the same one, so that you can check improvement or new suggestions.

    2. Get a Great Host

    No, all web hosting services are not created equal. You may want to explore hosts other than the one you are using, because that can make a big difference in load time. A great hosting service will do more than just rent you space on their server.[2] It will provide WordPress themes that are built for speed and performance, will have plugins already built in for this purpose, will provide unlimited bandwidth so that traffic is not limited, and do all of this at a reasonable cost. Check and compare – hosting is important.[3]

    3. Choose a Good Caching Plugin

    There are several WordPress plugins for caching, and any of them will work to improve page load time. Basically, caching is the storing of data in a browser that has accessed your blog before. Once someone has accessed your blog, elements will be cached in their browser and load time will be faster from then on. One favorite WordPress cache plugin is W3 Total Cache. It’s free (all cache plugins are, actually) and it is easy to install.

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    4. Get a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

    Load time is impacted by the distance of a visitor from your server. A CDN allows your content to be served on servers closer to your visitors. Most CDNs come with a fee, such as Max CDN Content Delivery Network, which is great for WordPress sites. But WordPress also offers a free one, Free-CDN, which many say is just as good as the fee-based ones.

    5. All Images Must be Optimized

    If your analysis tool has recommended that you optimize images, you must do so. Images are really important because they will engage a visitor much more than just walls of text.[4] The problem is that every image you include increases the file size of your pages. Over time, the more images you add to your blog, the slower your pages will load, because each image has to be downloaded.

    Optimizing your images is simply compressing them and reducing their file size. You can optimize each image individually, which is a lot of work, or you can have it done automatically (much better idea). Yahoo has an image optimizer, Smush.it that does a great job without affecting image quality. But you have to do them one at a time. WordPress, however, has a free plugin, WP-SmushIt, that will optimize all of your images automatically – what could be easier? And it’s simple to install.

    6. Optimize Your Blog Homepage

    There isn’t a single magic bullet plugin for this, but there are several things you can do individually to make your home page load faster.

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    • Provide only “teasers” to your most recent or most popular posts on the homepage, rather than the full posts
    • Show fewer posts on the homepage
    • Get rid of any plugins that you loaded thinking you would use them but did not. Every plugin you add slows you down just a bit.
    • Take sharing widgets off the homepage. Put them in your individual posts instead. (You probably already have them there anyway – most people will not “share” your entire blog with their friends – they will share individual posts.)

    De-cluttering your homepage will not only make it load faster – it will look cleaner and neater to visitors.

    7. Install LazyLoad

    If all of your images have to load the instant a visitor accesses your site, the load time will be slower. Instead, you can install jQuery Image Lazy Load plugin and have the images load as the visitor navigates – they will load as the visitor gets to that spot. And they will not load if a visitor doesn’t go any further, but stays to read one of your posts. Efficient and much better for load time.

    8. Reduce the Storage of Drafts and Revisions

    You work on a post over a day; you review it, revise it, and have thus created several drafts all of which WordPress has stored. You don’t need these earlier drafts, so why keep them in your stored data? It is just more to load when your blog is accessed.

    Install the Revision Control plugin and save maybe only the last draft before you have the final draft published. Saving just the most recent draft will allow you access if, by some huge error, you delete your post. You have a backup, but you only need one.

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    9. Get Rid of Unused Plugins

    This belongs in its own category. WordPress bloggers have an amazing number of available plugins, most of which are actually free. Just check out the WordPress.org/plugins site and you will see. But which ones to choose? Sometimes WordPress hosts will have the major plugins already added in. You will probably add others as you go along. But the more plugins you add, the slower the load time.

    Every WordPress blogger should re-evaluate his/her plugins over time. What you once thought would be cool, you have never used. Get rid of them and stick to plugins that are the most important.[5]

    Any one of these tips will not, by itself, give you breakneck speed. But if you follow this checklist of tips and regularly analyze your load time, you will keep your visitors/readers happy.

    Reference

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    Last Updated on September 28, 2020

    How to Change Careers Successfully When It Seems too Late

    How to Change Careers Successfully When It Seems too Late

    The wake-up call often comes when you least expect it. Maybe you’re enjoying a relaxing get-together with your old college buddies when someone turns to you and says, “Wow, I never thought you’d become an investment banker. I always thought you’d write a novel!” If this leaves you wondering how to change careers, you’re not alone.

    Before you know it, you find yourself remembering your old dreams—and comparing them to the career field where you are now. Life rarely goes according to plan. Marriage, kids, and grandkids often come earlier than imagined—or later.

    Maybe you pursued one career path because you were considered the breadwinner, but now someone else in the family is the breadwinner. Conversely, maybe you landed a job, thinking you’d stay for six months, and now you’ve been there for sixteen years.

    A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics pointed out that “baby boomers held an average of 12.3 jobs from ages 18 to 52″[1]. For millennials, who are more technologically apt, that number is likely to be much higher.

    As this proves, it’s perfectly normal to change careers and begin a job search even when it seems too late! Steering your way through a career change is part calculation, part chance, and part leap-of-faith.

    If you feel stuck and are ready for a career change, take these steps to guide you.

    Step 1: Be Mentally Prepared

    These points can help you master the psychological aspects of a career change at any age.

    Now or Never Is a Fallacy

    For most professionals, there is no cut-off age for striking out in a new direction. People do it at all stages of their careers.

    If you’ve ever dreamed of leaving a large company to start your own business, you are not alone. Similarly, thousands of entrepreneurs and people working for one-man shops decide each year that they’d like to work for larger organizations.

    You’ll find hordes of baby boomers looking for a redo alongside mobs of GenXers and Millennials—especially as the boomers now remain in the workforce longer than their predecessors.

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    Your Career Is not a Straight Line From A to B

    You don’t have to have your career trajectory completely decided from the start. In fact, that’s an unrealistic expectation, no matter how methodical you are.

    People change. Industries merge, morph, and in some cases, disappear. Careers rarely follow the straight and narrow.

    Many careers can be compared to journeys—there are the adventurous patches, boring patches, downright scary patches, and the hills and valleys, too. The trick is to try to have a little fun while you’re charting out your various careers.

    Don’t panic if you find you need to change your career. It may take some work as you sort through job posts, write cover letters, and pursue your dream job, but you’re up for it.

    Career Changers Are Among Good Company

    Consider these well-known trailblazers whose careers took a radical turn:

    Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, studied computer science and electrical engineering at Princeton, went on to establish himself as a Wall Street prodigy, then quit to launch Amazon.com.

    Sara Blakely, a billionaire businesswoman, was a fax machine salesperson before creating her signature slim wear line, Spanx.

    Jonah Peretti, co-founder of the media sites Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, initially taught computer science to middle schoolers.

    Be Ready to Take on the Naysayers

    Expect plenty of advice—usually of the discouraging kind—from friends and family when they learn that you’re exploring a career change. Those you know best are often the most vocal in trying to thwart your plans.

    Be prepared to field a flurry of pessimistic conjecture and doomsday scenarios. Know, though, that when your loved ones question your judgment, they’re not necessarily doubting your talent but trying to look out for your wellbeing. Stepping out of your comfort zone will make anyone close to you uncomfortable.

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    Keep in mind that pessimists avoid the unknown, while optimists invite new challenges. Above all, believe in yourself and follow your instincts. Don’t let your fear of change paralyze you from seeking out your new career path.

    Project an aura of enthusiasm, energy, and passion. You’ll find it’s contagious.

    Step 2: Be Proactive

    These tips can help you master the practical aspects of changing careers at any age.

    Take Baby Steps

    Ease into your new direction. Start building the skills you’ll need to make the switch.

    Find out what skills you will need, and do whatever it takes to add them to your skills arsenal. Make the time to invest in additional training.

    Start by devoting a half-day each week to your new pursuit until you’re ready to confidently make a move.

    Clearly define where you want to go and what you’ll need to do to get there. Take an inventory of your strengths. Read trade magazines, and study up on industry trends.

    Volunteer

    Charitable organizations are often looking for volunteers to help them with their outreach, social media, and engagement. You can show up without the requisite skills and learn as you go in a fun, convivial, low-pressure environment, which will help you expand your experience and skills.

    Take Online Courses

    Today, LinkedIn and many other providers offer online courses in everything from accounting software to time management to mastering Excel. For extra credit, see if you can find classes that award online badges for completing each course.

    Don’t be shy about adding these certificates to your online profile. Keep your profile fresh by adding more and more skills to it.

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    Take a Temp Job

    Depending on your field, it may be possible to freelance at a company where you learn on the job.

    Remember that you can’t just show up at a potential employer’s claiming you have the skills. Taking a temporary job that allows you to polish your skills is proof that you’re serious about your career change.

    Network!

    Build a family tree of contacts. Explore beyond the main branches of your work acquaintances, industry groups, and social contacts. Join your alumni organization. Tell everyone.

    Ask friends and friends-of-friends to meet you for coffee to explain what it is they do and tell you which skills you’ll need to succeed in your chosen field[2].

    When you want to learn how to change careers, start by networking!

      If you have friends or associates with ties to the organizations where you want to work, ask your contacts to make an introduction. The majority of today’s jobs are found through one’s own networks. When jobs open up, companies invite informal recommendations from internal and external channels.

      Step 3: Take It Online

      This last step can help you master the online aspects of a career change at any age.

      Develop an Online Presence in the Field of Your Dreams

      Reconfiguring your online presence will be a critical step in your career change. Fine-tune your digital identity to reflect your new direction, tailoring your profile to the role and industry you’re after. Include keywords that are relevant to the industry so that recruiters can find you.

      Craft a clever personal statement that states your interests, your values, and your dreams. Once you’ve zeroed in on your message, also pick and choose which outlets make the most sense for it.

      Will your personal statement resonate on LinkedIn? Or is it highly visual—making it a better fit for Instagram?

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      Polish your sites until they gleam, then get active so others take notice. Add insightful content to your social media pages that goes deeper than the information on your resume, such as commentaries on something taking place in your newly chosen field.

      For more on how to build an online presence, check out this article.

      Final Thoughts

      Americans spend 1,800 hours or more each year working. That’s nearly one-third of your life, and it goes without saying that your job satisfaction and career goals have a great bearing on your life’s happiness barometer.

      Set out to intentionally pursue career satisfaction, looking for opportunities to fine-tune your working life so that you find fulfillment.

      If playing the piano is your personal bliss, could you meld your love of music with your clinical psychology background and find a job using music to promote healing? Perhaps there’s a foundation that would fund you in a multiyear study.

      Or, if you’re a movie buff for whom every encounter has the makings of a screenplay, why not sign up for an evening class and see if your years of writing advertising copy could morph into a career move into the film industry?

      Achieving your career change successfully will occur when you mentally prepare, take a proactive approach, and mine your personal and online networks. The pay-off will be in a life well-lived in a successful career.

      More Tips on How to Change Careers

      Featured photo credit: Jason Strull via unsplash.com

      Reference

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