Monday, October 16, 2017 by Kevin Wood
What Do I Do About My Website Loading Slowly?If one thing is true about your website, it’s that loading speed matters. When your site loads slowly you’ll not only provide a poor user experience, but you’ll also rank lower in the search engines. Luckily for you, improving your site speed doesn’t have to take a lot of additional work. Plus, the benefits you’ll receive from improving your site’s loading speed are well worth the time spent. Below we look at five different ways you can improve the speed of your website.
1. Enable CachingWhenever you visit a website, certain elements are stored in a cache, so the next time you visit the site it can easily access those parts and load much faster. With caching, instead of your browser having to download every single resource, it only has to download a few of them. By turning on caching you can considerably improve your site’s loading for return visitors. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress you can install a plugin like W3 Total Cache or W3 Super Cache, either of which will let you enable sitewide caching, or caching of certain site elements. If you aren’t using a CMS, then there are additional steps you’ll need to take in order to leverage browser caching.
2. Remove Resource-Hogging Plugins and Add-onsIf your site is currently running too many plugins you’re not only slowing down the speed of your site, but you’re making it more susceptible to security risks. You might require a handful of plugins for your site to function the way you like, but chances are there are some you can live without, especially if they’re resource hogs. The best way to do this is to get a baseline test of your loading speed via a tool like GTMetrix or Google Pagespeed Insights. Then, go down your plugin list and deactivate one plugin at a time. Then, run the speed test with the plugin deactivated. This might be time-consuming, but it will help you find the plugins that are harming your site’s loading speed the most. At that point, you can search for a less resource-heavy plugin or find another workaround.
3. Optimize and Reduce the Size of Your ImagesIf your site has tons of images that aren’t optimized, then this will negatively impact your site’s loading speed. By having oversized images you’ll be requiring the browser to load larger files. There are a few different ways you can optimize your images to load faster.
- Ensure that your images are unnecessarily large. For example, if the width of your blog page is 900px, then make sure that’s how wide your images are.
- If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, you can install a plugin like WPSmush that will automatically reduce the filesize of the images.
- Before you upload images, first run them through a tool called Tiny PNG to reduce the file size of your image, without sacrificing the quality.
5. Use a CDNThe loading speed of your site is affected by the proximity of the user to the server where your site’s files are stored. The farther away they are from this physical location, the slower your site will load. Using a CDN can solve this problem. A CDN distributes your site’s files across a network of global servers, that way your users can access your site via the server that’s closest to them. Some solid options for a CDN are CloudFlare and KeyCDN. In some cases, your existing web host might even have the option to utilize a CDN for your site. (HostGator does!) Hopefully, the tips above will help to speed up your website and improve your overall user experience. Any tips we didn’t mention above that you’ve used to help speed up your site? Share your own recommendations in the comments below.
Best WordPress Plugins for RecipesFood blogs are incredibly popular. People love to find new and interesting recipes they can try out. If you run a recipe-based website, then you’re probably looking for better and more effective ways you can show off your favorite recipes. To have an effective recipe-based website you need to showcase your recipes in a clear and engaging manner. The plugins we highlight below will allow you to do just that, and more. Below we profile our five favorite WordPress recipe plugins you can use to transform your food blog. premium version of the plugin available that lets you do things like create meal plans, add nutritional information, let visitors save their favorites, and a lot more.
2. Recipe BoxRecipe Box lets you create stylish recipes that will definitely please your visitors. This plugin offers you over 60 different customizable options, so you can create recipes that will fit the existing design of your site. You’ll be able to do things like create recipe descriptions, add images of your ingredients and finished dishes, update cooking and preparation instructions, and much more. Plus, all of your recipes are responsive, so they’ll look good on smartphones to desktop computers.
3. CookedCooked is a feature-packed premium plugin that allows you easily create attractive recipes. The drag and drop interface is very intuitive and lets you easily create unique recipe layouts. It also comes with a community feature, so your users can interact and leave feedback and reviews regarding your recipes. If you’ve been looking for a way to create unique recipe profiles, then this plugin is worth checking out. This plugin is best suited for websites that have hundreds of different recipes and are looking for a more effective way to categorize and highlight those recipes.
Sunday, October 1, 2017 by Kevin Wood
Best WordPress Plugins for Craft BloggersAs a craft blogger, you’ve already made a great decision by using WordPress to power your new and growing website. However, there are also hundreds of plugins you can use to more effectively grow your site and add new features without any additional effort. Your blog exists to share your passion with the world, and help people become better at their own DIY crafts. Below we highlight a few of the most useful WordPress plugins for craft bloggers that’ll help you increase your traffic, cultivate a community, and build a tribe of followers.
Categorizing Your Craft BlogYou probably have dozens of different categories for your craft blog and different kinds of projects you’re showcasing. Instead of making your readers dig through posts that aren’t relevant to them you can easily categorize your posts, so your users can select the kind of content they want to read.
Improve Social Sharing for your Craft BlogBuilding a social presence is a great way to improve traffic to your craft blog. The plugins below will make it easier for your readers to share your content, and more easily embed your existing social media accounts into your site.
Get More Traffic and Subscribers to your Craft BlogChances are you didn’t start a craft blog to write for an audience of zero. The plugins below will help you improve your search engine rankings, build an email list, and more.
Monday, September 18, 2017 by Kevin Wood
How Do I Create a Website For My Church?If you run a church, then you need a website to both attract new members, and give your current members any information they require. But, what if you have a small budget? Most churches don’t have a ton of money to invest into a website. Luckily, with tools like WordPress, you can quickly build a high-quality site that will become your virtual home on the Internet. Below we’ll walk you through the process of creating a website for your church using WordPress. There are other options out there, but WordPress will give you the most freedom and customization abilities.
1. Choose a Host and DomainThe first thing you’ll need to do is purchase hosting and a domain name. There are a ton of beginner friendly hosts out there like HostGator. Plus, all of the hosts mentioned have a one-click install of WordPress, so all it takes is a few minutes to get WordPress installed on your site. You’ll also need a domain name to go along with your hosting package. The domain you choose will be part of your overall branding, so make sure you choose wisely. You may be able to get your church’s name, or if it’s common, then you might have to add your location to the end of it.
2. Install Your CMSIf you choose a beginner friendly host, then this will make installing WordPress on your site much easier. All you have to do is go to your cPanel and find an application that is named something like one-click install. Then, follow the directions on the screen and it will automatically install WordPress on your site. If you’re having trouble finding your cPanel or figuring out how to install WordPress, then make sure you look through your host’s documentation and tutorials.
3. Pick a ThemeLuckily there are dozens of existing WordPress themes that are designed specifically for the functionality that churches require. Below we highlight some of the most popular church themes. Any of the following would be a great choice for your organization. Most of the themes below are premium themes, which means they’ll cost a little money, but we also highlight one free theme that could work for your church as well.
- Outreach Pro Theme
- Any theme from Church Themes
- Forgiven Theme
- WP for Church
- Charitas Lite, a solid free WordPress theme
- Risen Theme
4. Choose Your PluginsYou don’t technically need any plugins for your WordPress site to function, but they can offer additional features you might enjoy. Two plugins almost every site should install are Yoast SEO for search engine optimization and Akismet for spam blocking. Below we offer a few church-specific plugins you might want to try out:
5. Customize Your SitePlanning out your website is an important step of the website building process. This will help you determine what content needs to be written, how users will navigate your site, and the overall functionality you require. For your church site, you’ll need to cater to your current congregation, new members, as well as any groups like youth groups or Bible study. With your site planned out, you can begin customizing the visual appearance of your site. Depending on the theme you chose, you might be able to upload the theme’s demo content, which will mirror the demo theme. Then, all you have to do is swap out your own content and images and you’re all set. You may also have a separate customization panel, or you can use the built-in theme customizer by navigating to Appearance>Customize.
6. Launch Your SiteWith your site built-out and your content uploaded it’s time to launch your site. You may not need to do a big launch, but if you have any existing social media profiles you can share the link there. Also, make sure current members of your congregation are aware that your site exists, and you’ll be posting events and sermons there on a regular basis. Building your church website doesn’t have to be a difficult task. By using WordPress to build out your church website you’ll simplify the building process and end up with an attractive and functional website. Any questions related to building out your church website? Please ask away in the comments below or contact our support team.