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You Asked: Top 10 Questions about SEO from our webinar

The post You Asked: Top 10 Questions about SEO from our webinar appeared first on HostGator Blog . When you think about Search Engine Optimization, you probably think about how to increase your website’s ranking in Google. While that’s correct, it’s not as simple as it may sound, and there’s a lot that goes into the practice of SEO.  HostGator offered a free webinar about the 5 Steps to SEO Success to help website owners get started with optimizing their website for search.  We focused on on-page SEO and covered the following steps:  Implement keyword research  Set up metadata on all pages Create quality content Format URL structure and links Use schema, if appropriate  Missed the webinar? No worries. Check out the recording below. Here are the top 10 questions about SEO that our webinar attendees asked.  1. Once you have a website, what is the #1 thing you should do to immediately increase your rankings?  The easiest thing you can do to quickly impact your search results and rankings is to register your business with Google My Business. Google My Business is the official business profile listing from Google that integrates with Google Maps and Google search. GMB is Google’s way of allowing you to control what shows up in search by giving you the space to provide as much information as possible about your business. You’ll want to make sure that your Google My Business listing is accurate and matches all your listings online.  2. I don’t have a physical address or storefront. Do I still need a Google My Business account?   Yes! If you want to be found online you should definitely have a Google My Business account even if you don’t have a physical address or storefront. In fact, when you set up your Google My Business account, you can note your business as a “ service area business ,” meaning you serve a certain cities or zip codes.  When you set up your account, one of the first questions will be ‘do you have an address where customers can visit you?’ Follow these prompts to indicate that you do not have a physical location. If you already have a Google My Business account, you can edit your physical location from the dashboard. You will see that “service area” and “storefront address” can now be edited separately. 3. How important are sitemaps? Do I need one?  Sitemaps help Google identify and crawl all of your site’s pages and URLs. Without a sitemap, Google might not be able to index all of your pages – meaning you could be missing out on a lot of organic traffic.  A lot of CMSs automatically generate sitemaps; or if you use the Yoast plugin for WordPress, it will create your sitemap for you. Manually creating a sitemap is a fairly intensive process, especially if you have a lot of pages. So if your CMS has the functionality to create a sitemap for you, take advantage of it!  It’s important to note that when SEO’s refer to “sitemaps” we’re typically referring to sitemap.xml not HTML sitemaps that you might find front-of-site.  4. How important are good Google reviews for SEO?  Google reviews are important for SEO! Essentially, Google reviews show Google that your business is real and that people have interacted with it. Additionally, reviews frequently contain relevant keywords which add to Google’s understanding of your business. The more context you can provide to Google about your business, the better.  5. For SEO purposes, is it more important to update existing content or create new content?  This is a great question and one that we debate at HostGator as well! You should do both! As content gets old, it may no longer be relevant, which then causes it to not rank well anymore (don’t forget, you want your content to be timely!) For example, an article about ‘top web design tips of 2015’ only holds value during 2015 because people always want the most current tips. To improve your rankings of that article, you should update the content to make it more evergreen and relevant to your readers no matter when they find the article.  Updating older posts is great because they typically have more SEO value, since they have been indexed longer and have more backlinks. If you do have to delete a post or page however, you’ll want to do a 301 redirect to a new, highly-relevant article. A 301 redirect indicates to Google that the page has permanently moved and allows you to pass 90-95% of SEO value from the original article to the new one. 301 redirects allow you to both maintain your rankings and update your content.  If you can, we recommend that you publish new articles on a regular basis to indicate to Google that your website is current, relevant, and active.  6. How many keywords should I have? And where do I put them?  The number of keywords you need is really dependent on your business. You should have a mix of both long-tail keywords (phrases or questions that are fairly specific) and head terms (general keywords with high search volume). For HostGator, our head terms include our products, such as web hosting and shared hosting, while our long-tail keywords include phrases like what is web hosting, how expensive is web hosting, and how to keep my website secure.  If you are a local business, be sure to include the city or state in your keywords to target people in your area. We covered keyword research in detail during the webinar – go back and watch from minute mark 7:05-12:45. As a reminder, you can target three to five keywords on any given page and the biggest tip we can offer is this – use your keywords naturally.  Finally, think about keywords like topics. Don’t just “say” them, talk about them. Write as much as you know about the topic and make the conversation natural. 7. How do I get backlinks?  Essentially, a backlink is when another website links to yours. The absolute best way to get backlinks is to develop quality content, like blog articles, and wait for other websites to link to your articles. If your content is helpful and original, this should happen naturally.  If you want to take a more proactive approach to building backlinks, you can find a website that might find your information helpful for their readers and actually ask them to link to it.  If you are a local business, you can consider partnering with another business on a promotion and exchanging links in return. Think of this like networking in real life – meet people who have similar interests and ask them to link to your articles, specifically if the content is helpful for their readers.  8. What are the best SEO plugins for WordPress?  Yoast is well-known as the best SEO plugin for WordPress. With a few short configurations, Yoast will manage your metadata, canonicals, sitemaps and your robots.txt. While Yoast automatically selects certain configurations for you, you also have the ability to fully customize your selections. Check out this article for eight more awesome SEO plugins for WordPress .  9. If I’m working with a contractor for SEO, what questions should I be asking my SEO person each month?  I always want to see metrics. While it’s important to note that SEO changes usually take a long time to see results, there are still analytics your SEO contractor could be sharing with you. Things you might be interested in seeing are:  Month over month, or year over year keyword changes The number of keywords you have ranking on pages one and two Organic traffic, transactions and revenue Top organic landing pages Chances are that your SEO contractor is already pulling this information to guide their strategy, so it shouldn’t be too much effort to share that information with you.  You and your SEO contractor should also be monitoring your competitors and any changes they may be making to their sites that could impact their rankings and therefore affect your organic traffic.  10. Are SSL certificates important to being found on Google?  An SSL certificate is very important for a few reasons! To provide context, an SSL certificate prevents a “middle man” from stealing information as it is passed through to your website. This is especially helpful for eCommerce websites where customers are entering their credit card information. Even if you don’t have an online store, an SSl certificate can protect the contact forms on your website.  SSL certificates are also essential for ranking highly in the SERPs. For many years Google has indicated that the presence of an SSL certificate will help your site rankings. Google further proved this statement in July 2018 when Google Chrome started flagging websites without SSL certificates; as of last summer, website visitors started receiving notifications when they visited a site without an SSL certificate. Obviously when visitors see this alert, they will quickly leave your website, which will increase your bounce rate and decrease your rankings.   Luckily, HostGator offers free SSL certificates with all hosting plans . Follow the steps to set yours up today! Want to learn more about SEO? Check out our SEO blog articles or download our free ebook , the Beginner’s Guide to SEO.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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Issues with Firefox – Some sections are missing

Hi there, I have a client’s website and unfortunately this website have weird view on firefox. On Chrome everything is good, but on firef… | Read the rest of http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1762529&goto=newpost Continue reading

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How to find out which theme a WordPress site is using?

The post How to find out which theme a WordPress site is using? appeared first on HostGator Blog . Have you ever come across a website that you simply loved in terms of design and functionality? Better yet, have you ever found a website that you were so impressed with, you felt you just had to have it for yourself ( with your own branding elements, unique style and content of course! )? If you find yourself wanting to give your WordPress website a makeover, without starting over from scratch and re-doing everything from blog posts to pages, media uploads to comments, you’re in luck. All you have to do is change your site’s WordPress theme. In fact, WordPress is popular in part because its design is so flexible and can be changed at any moment, without affecting too much of your site’s foundation. Finding a fellow WordPress website that you want to draw inspiration from is great – until you realize you have no idea what WordPress theme it’s using . That’s why today I am going to walk you through how to manually find which theme any WordPress website is using , as well as share some helpful online tools that may speed up the process for you, so you can start your site redesign right away. So, let’s get started. How to Find the Theme of Any WordPress Website There are many online tools dedicated to helping you determine what theme WordPress websites are using ( more on those later ). But the problem is, sometimes website owners change the name of their WordPress themes, preventing these tools from recognizing the theme they’re using and spilling the beans to you. That’s why knowing how to manually find the theme of a WordPress website is so helpful. And the best part is, it’s not that hard to do! Each WordPress theme has what’s called a style.css file. This file contains information about the theme in use such as the name of the theme, the theme author, the stylesheet URL, the theme version, and more. It also has the CSS styles used by the theme. This file is what you need to find if you want to learn what theme a WordPress site is using. Step 1: Find the Style.CSS File The first thing you’ll want to do is go to the WordPress website you love. For this example, I’ll use my very own website https://www.websitehostingrating.com. Next, right click anywhere on the screen of the website you’re investigating. From the options available, choose the one labeled “ Inspect .” Note – You can click on the “View Page Source” option as well, though I find that Inspect Element makes searching for the specific theme file a whole lot easier. That said, if you do choose to use the View Page Source option, you can always use Ctrl + F ( on Windows ) or Cmd + F ( on Mac ) to open a search bar near the bottom to find the style.css file. Step 2: Inspect the CSS File When you click on Inspect Element, you’ll see a bunch of crazy looking code appear at the bottom of the screen. Don’t panic, you don’t need to understand all of this. All you need to do is find a line of code that looks something like this: This is the theme’s stylesheet – the css file. The easiest way to find this line is to enter the word “theme”, “style.css” or something similar into the search bar and click enter. This should bring up the line of code you’re looking for. In the above image, the line of code we’re looking for is highlighted in blue. Now, this bit of code may be enough for you to find the information you want, which is the name of the theme being used on the website. For instance, you can see that I use the theme Academy Pro , which happens to be a StudioPress theme built on the Genesis Framework . Notice the places the name Academy Pro appears. If you didn’t know that Academy Pro was a WordPress theme offhand, a simple Google search will bring it right up for you. If you’re looking for more information about the theme, you might be able to click on the URL in the style.css file and see data such as the theme’s URL or author. When you do this, it should look something like this: Theme Name: Academy Pro Theme URI: https://my.studiopress.com/themes/academy/ Description: The theme for online course creators, membership site owners, and educational content marketers. Author: StudioPress Author URI: https://www.studiopress.com/   Unfortunately, because WordPress themes are all different, and the code that comes with each theme file differs too, you may end up seeing a screen like this: I don’t know about you, but I have the theme name and that’s enough for me! I should also mention that this method won’t work for custom made themes or where the site owner has renamed, or deleted, the name of the WordPress theme he or she is using. Using an Online Tool to Determine a WordPress Theme Now that you know how to manually find the theme of any WordPress website out there, it’s time to make things easier by using an online theme detector tool. There are plenty of online WordPress detection tools to choose from, but in my opinion these two are the most accurate: WP Theme Detector WP Sniffer (Google Chrome extension) They both work really well, however some of them will also report the plugins that are being used on a website, which can be really helpful for that added functionality you might be after in your site’s redesign. For our example, I’ll use WP Theme Detector and see what pops up when I enter the URL: https://www.websitehostingrating.com . As you can see, this online tool determined that I am using the Academy Pro WordPress theme, which is a child theme of the Framework Genesis, which is authored by StudioPress, all of which I already determined manually. And there you have it! You now know how to manually find the theme any WordPress website is using should you want to look into using the same theme for your own website. And if you’re lucky, and the code is correct, you can find this information even faster using a free online tool such as WP Theme Detector and begin your site redesign right away! Have you ever had to manually determine the theme being used on a WordPress website? I would love to hear all about it in the comments below! Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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DIY Website Building Mistakes to Avoid

The post DIY Website Building Mistakes to Avoid appeared first on HostGator Blog . You need a website. If you have a business (or are thinking of starting one), a website is an absolute necessity for customers to find you and for you to show your legitimacy. And if you have art or content you want to share with the world, a website is the easiest path to getting your stuff in front of other people. Building a website used to be something that felt out of reach to a lot of people. Learning to code and design a website from scratch is a big job that requires time and skill that most people just don’t have. But even if you can’t afford to hire a web designer or devote time to learning how to code, you can create a website. DIY website building is now accessible to just about anyone – no coding required. With the right tools, you can build your own website within hours. But if you’re not careful, you can still fall prey to mistakes. Keep reading to learn more about how to do DIY website building right, and which DIY website design mistakes to avoid. How DIY Website Building Works You may be wondering, “ What is a website builder ?” and “How can I use it?” DIY website building is all about using the right tools. The main thing you need is a good website builder that has features that match your needs and an intuitive editor you can learn to use without much effort. Most website builders come with a number of website builder themes that give you a template to start from. Once you select your template, you use the editor to change out all the elements and details you want in order to make the website fully yours. With a good editor, you can easily:      Change the colors of each part of the page      Sub in new backgrounds      Upload new images      Add media like videos or music      Change out the text for your own      Add buttons and forms      Drag and drop different elements of a page to where you want them      Add a map of your store location      Add a shopping cart and check-out features for an ecommerce business The more you customize the template you start with, the more your website turns into something that’s uniquely yours. The right website builder makes designing a website for your business or personal project a fast and easy process. You can go from zero to a finished website in a matter of hours.   Website Design Mistakes to Avoid Website builders make DIY website building possible, but they don’t come with automatic knowledge of web design best practices. If you create your website without doing some basic research, you may find yourself guilty of one of the common website design mistakes to avoid. To help you steer clear of that fate, here are a few of the most important website mistakes to watch out for when building your first website.   Mistake #1: Building your website without clear goals Every website has a purpose. If you’re designing a small business website , building an eCommerce store, or starting a blog or podcast for fun – there’s a reason (or several) you’re putting time and money into creating something other people will see. Before you really get into building out your site, take time to work out what those reasons are. Write down what goals you want your website to accomplish. Do you want the website to drum up business for your online store? Do you want to build a community of followers who love teapots as much as you? Do you want to gain enough traffic blogging about something you love to start making money from ads or affiliate marketing links? In addition to defining the main goal(s) of your website, you’ll also want to clarify the primary goal of each page you add to the website. Most websites shouldn’t have the same goal for every page. For example, an eCommerce business website will have some pages where the main goal is getting customers to make a purchase, but may have others focused on building trust in the brand or getting new email subscribers. Having clear goals in mind as you design your website will ensure you build each page to better meet those goals.   Mistake #2: Focusing exclusively on the desktop experience Users now spend more time browsing the internet on mobile devices than they do on desktop. If you build a website only works well on a desktop, a significant number of your visitors will have a bad experience and leave. Making your website  mobile-friendly  isn’t optional ­– at least not if you want visitors to show up and stick around. When using a website builder, one of the easiest ways to create a mobile-friendly site is by starting with a responsive template. Responsive websites provide all the same information and visuals on any device you use, but rearrange how it all shows up to ensure the page looks good no matter the size of your screen.   Responsive website templates are already set up to work on any device your visitors come from. All you have to do from there is test out your final design on mobile devices to check that all the changes you made to the template still work well on all device types. Your mobile visitors should have no problem reading the text or clicking on a link. Testing gives you a chance to confirm that all your buttons and text are big enough.   Mistake #3: Not making your website your own The great thing about starting with a template is that a good amount of the initial work is done for you. The not-so-great thing about it is the possibility that hundreds of other websites out there could be using the same theme you are. But that’s only a problem if the end result of your DIY web design (and theirs) still looks a lot like the template you started with. If you take advantage of all the customization options a website builder makes available, you can create a website that’s truly unique. Be willing to switch up colors and move things around. Load original images and media, and fill in all the text with writing that tells visitors who you are and what you do (more on that part later). Even if you’re starting with someone else’s design, by the time you finish, you want it to be yours.   Mistake #4: Designing the website for yourself This could be confusing when paired with the last mistake on the list. We just told you to make it your own, but that doesn’t mean to design the website as though you’re the target audience.  Chances are, you’re not. Your goal isn’t to build a website that you think looks nice. You want a website that your visitors will like. And more specifically, you need your target audience – the visitors that you most want to find the site and stick around – to like it. Before you start designing your website, take some time to think about who your ideal visitors are. Do they have some general interests in common? Do they fit into any specific demographic categories? When you can picture who you’re designing your website for, you’ll do a better job creating something that will appeal to them.   Mistake #5: Organizing it in a confusing way You want every visitor to your website to have an easy time finding whatever they’re looking for.  Consider website organization best practices that require s organizing all your website pages in a clear and intuitive way. If your website will be fairly small and simple (say, 10 pages or less), creating a clear organization for the pages you create may be pretty easy. If you’ll have a larger website with a lot of different pages, then you need to figure out a few top-level categories to sort them into that will be useful for your visitors. For example, if you run a business that sells board games, then your top level categories could be something like genre (Trivia Games, Adventure Games, Horror Games, Fantasy Games, etc.) or something practical like number of players or the age group the games are for.  These categories would help your visitors jump more quickly to a choice that suits their preferences. Think about what your visitors will be looking for when they come to your site and figure out categories and menu items that help them quickly and easily find it.   Mistake #6: Not designing with a visual hierarchy Remember the goals you defined for each page of your website? As you design each page, the main thing you want your visitors to do or see should be near the top of the page. The less important information that you still want to include can go further down. The reason to organize each page with your most important information up top is because some of your visitors won’t bother scrolling down, so you want to capture their attention as quickly as possible. This is even more important for your mobile visitors. They see even less of the page on their devices and have to do more scrolling to get to the information further down on the page. By creating each page with a visual hierarchy in mind, you increase the chances that your visitors will see your most high-priority information.   Mistake #7: Having an inconsistent style If you spend some time browsing other websites, you’ll notice that different pages of the same website will be recognizably connected by a visual style. This provides a visual signal to visitors that you’re still in the same place. Even as you jump to a new page, you’re experiencing the same brand. If you click on a link and find yourself on a page with an entirely different color scheme or menu, then you’ll assume you’ve left the website you’re on, right? To keep your website experience consistent and avoid that kind of confusion, make sure that each page you design on your website looks similar to the others. You want a consistent color scheme, a matching menu and footer, similar images or illustrations, and consistent fonts and formatting. If you have a logo, putting it in the top left corner of each page is another good way to ensure your visitors always know where they are. Create a basic style guide for yourself before you start and stick with it. In a website builder, if you start working on each page by copying one you’ve already created, keeping the same visual style should be pretty easy to accomplish.   Mistake #8: Using stock photography You need images for your website and stock photography is the easiest and most affordable option. But stock photography has some real downsides. It looks generic. You could end up using the same photographs your visitors recognize from other sites. And a number of research studies have found that original photography simply gets better results. You should consider using professional photos for your business website if you want to develop memorable and original website content. If you need to use some stock photographs to get started in order to get your website out there, that’s better than not having a website at all. But make a plan to create original photographs or images to replace the stock images when you can. Your website experience will be better for it.   Mistake #9: Not optimizing your images Speaking of images, every one you add to your website provides some good SEO opportunities. Take a few seconds each time you add an image to make sure:      The image is sized well (if it’s too big it could slow down your page loading time, if it’s too small it could look fuzzy and make the page look bad)      Your image filename includes your target keywords      You add image alt text that includes your target keywords It doesn’t take long, but it makes your images optimized for SEO .   Mistake #10: Rushing the copy If you’re in a hurry to get your website out, then you may be tempted to just throw some words together that tell your visitors the basics of what your website is. This is a mistake. You don’t just need placeholder text that tells visitors the basics of what you do – you need copy that will convince them to care and take action. If you’re creating a business website that will help you make money, hiring someone with expertise in website copywriting is likely well worth the cost. If that’s out of your budget or you’re building a website for a personal project where bringing a professional in doesn’t make sense, then do some research into copywriting best practices . Some website writing tips to keep in mind:       Clarify your unique value proposition. The most important thing your copy needs to do is communicate to your visitors what you do and what makes you different from similar websites. This information needs to go high up on your home page and shape the messaging you provide throughout the rest of your website.       Focus on benefits you offer the visitor (rather than features). When you put a lot of work into developing a product or project, you tend to think of it in terms of what you did. Your copy needs to shift the focus away from what you did and toward what you can do for your visitors. For example, if you sell a reading light, talking about its brightness is a feature. Saying it makes it easier to read in bed without waking up your partner is a benefit because it solves a common problem your target audience has.       Keep your language simple and clear. If I weren’t taking my own advice here, I could have said “don’t use multisyllabic flowery language needlessly when there are more conversational words that work.” Same sentiment, but with more (and longer) words than needed to get the point across. Don’t use more words than you need and try to use language all your visitors will understand.       Use CTAs.   You want your visitors to take some kind of action, so tell them to. Calls to action are the phrases you use to get visitors to act, like “click here” or “learn more” or “sign up today.” Make sure that every page on your website explicitly tells your visitors what you want them to do.       Proofread ! Don’t let embarrassing types typos through. It makes you look sloppy and creates confusion for your visitors. Always read over your copy at least twice before publishing.   Mistake #11: Improper formatting Part of writing well for the web is getting the formatting right. People skim when they read online. Good formatting makes it easy for them to find the information they need as they quickly skim through your pages. Good formatting for the web includes:      Dividing your writing into sections with clear headings and subheadings      Using numbered lists and bullets where appropriate (kinda like we’ve done here. Meta, huh?)      Using bolds and italics for emphasis This will make your copy easier to read, gives you more opportunities to optimize your pages for SEO, and makes it easy to draw attention to the information you most want your visitors to notice.   Mistake #12: Not enough white space Nobody online wants to encounter a wall of text – your website isn’t a novel. White space makes your website look cleaner and less cluttered. It gives the words and images more room to breathe. Provide plenty of spacing between paragraphs and sections on your page. Some of the formatting options just shared will help with this, but just following those tips may not be enough. As you’re designing each page and deciding what will go where, make sure you leave space between different elements on the page. And “white space” doesn’t always literally mean the color white – if you have a green background, leaving space between the text, images, and other elements of the page still counts even if it looks more like “green space” to you.   Mistake #13: Forgetting on-site optimization You’re primarily designing your website for humans (and the humans in your target audience, more specifically). But for those humans to find your website, you need to incorporate design best practices for SEO . Do keyword research to learn the language your target audience is using when they search for what you provide.  Choose a primary keyword and some secondary keywords for each page, and incorporate them into a few main parts of the page:      The URL      The title tag      The headings      The image alt text      The meta description On-site optimization is just one part of doing SEO, but it’s the main part that’s in your control. It doesn’t take that long to make updates to each page that give it an edge in the search results.   Mistake #14: Skipping user testing You can try really hard to get inside the head of your target audience and create a website just for them. But you can’t know how they’ll respond to it without putting it to the test. The best way to find out if your website is intuitive and useful is to have some people test it out through usability testing . Try and find someone in your target audience if possible, whether they’re a current customer or a friend that fits the demographics. Ask them to browse the website for you and try out some of the actions you want visitors to take – filling out a form, making a purchase, looking for a specific page.  Their experience will show you if there’s anything that isn’t quite working with the way the site looks now. And be sure your user testing includes different devices and browser types. If everything looks great in Chrome, but something doesn’t load right in Firefox, you want to know about it.   Mistake #15: Showing no personality Your website will be your main face for your online presence. It should represent you. Don’t create something that’s dry and business like. Find ways to let some of your personality shine through on your personal or eCommerce website. It could be in the colors you choose, the media you add, or by including jokes or casual language in your copy. Don’t think that people will only take your website seriously if you make it bland. Being professional and having a unique personality aren’t mutually exclusive. Figure out how to let some of your more fun and human side through.   DIY Your Website – The Right Way DIY website building doesn’t have to be a lot of work, but that doesn’t mean you should be lazy about it. A website builder makes it easy to look good, but take some time to make sure your website will also work to achieve your goals and resonate with your audience. Doing the work to avoid these web design mistakes is a good start. Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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10 Ways to Speed Up Your Website

The post 10 Ways to Speed Up Your Website appeared first on HostGator Blog . There’s no doubt about it – website speed matters. As average internet connection speeds increase around the world and mobile use dominates, web users are becoming less and less tolerant of slow load times.   53% of mobile users will abandon a website that takes longer than three seconds to load, and nearly 10% of web users will bounce after 2 seconds. Clearly, every second counts. At the same time, Google has stated unequivocally that page speed is a ranking factor in search results . In short, a fast site gets better results both from visitors and Google. To take advantage of these dual benefits, you need to make site speed a priority on your site.   Any of the following ten tips will help to get you started on this important path. 1. Optimize Your Images. Every time someone visits a page on your website, their browser has to load every part of the page. On many pages, the parts that take up the most space and therefore take the longest time to load are the images. One of the best and easiest ways to get your pages loading faster is therefore to optimize your images . This quick two-step image optimization process can go a long way to speeding your website up.   Step 1: Re-size your images before uploading them. If you use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Joomla , you’ve probably noticed that you can upload images at full size and then adjust their display size within your website’s backend.  That’s convenient, but you may not know that doing so forces web browsers to execute multiple commands each time someone loads the page. They must pull up the initial image and then re-size it on the fly – which slows down your site. To prevent this from occurring, use an image-editing program to adjust images to the correct size yourself before adding them to your site. Most of us will have access to a simple tool like Preview (on Mac) or Microsoft Paint (on Windows). With these programs all you have to do is open up the image and re-size it in your editor of choice.   Step 2: Compress your images. Once you’ve done this you can take your image editing to the next level with a compression tool. Even after re-sizing an image the total file size could be large enough to still slow down your site’s loading speed. One of the best image compression tools available is ImageResize . All you have to do is click the link, upload your re-sized image and this tool will reduce the file size without reducing the resolution. Then, all you have to do is download the image and upload it to your site. Your images will look exactly the same, but will load much faster.     2. Do a Plugin Purge. The huge number of plugins and scripts that available for free makes it tempting for website owners to add more than they truly need. Keep in mind, every plugin you add requires resources to run – and more resources means a slower site. If you notice your site is running slowly, or you believe it could be running much more effectively, perform a plugin review. Go through the list and identify any plugins you aren’t actually using or that don’t seem to be adding anything worthwhile to your site performance. Go ahead and get rid of these. If you still feel your website isn’t loading as quickly as you’d like, do a test to find the culprit. Disable every plugin on your site, one by one. After you disable a plugin, run your site through a tool like GT Metrix to check the speed of your site with it gone. If your site speed increases after deactivating a particular plugin, then you’ve found the problem. If the plug-in in question provides a necessary functionality, experiment until you find another plugin that does the same thing without slowing your site down. To save yourself from this trouble in the future, ask yourself moving forward before adding a new plug-in if the functionality is really worth the trade-off in site speed.   3. Ensure Your Site Scripts Are Up to Date. Depending on the CMS or e-commerce platform your site uses, you may need to check back regularly to determine whether new releases of your site’s scripts are available.   If they are, upgrade your site as soon as possible (making sure that you have a current backup file in place first).  Site script developers are always working on improving their code for future releases, particularly when it comes to site speed.  Updating your scripts to the latest versions could go a long way toward eliminating coded roadblocks that prevent your site from loading quickly. If your site runs on WordPress, then you’ll find these updates within the Updates tab of your WordPress dashboard. Just one click and your site will install the latest software updates. No need for anything else on your end. Admittedly, remembering to check-in and update your website can be tough. Lucky for you this isn’t something you have to do on a daily basis. Once a month is enough to do a simple run-through of your site and install any updates that might be available. Set a recurring event on your calendar and set aside an hour every single month. Usually, it’ll take much less time than this, but it’s important to build the habit of always ensuring your site and plugins are running the latest version. Plus, having all of your software up to date will help to patch up any holes that could lead to your site being hacked .     4. Make Use of CDNs. Content Delivery Networks , or CDNs, are vast networks of servers that are housed around the world. Typically, if you’re not using a CDN, then your site will load from your web hosting server’s central location for every visitor to your site, no matter where they are geographically. This can lead to slow site speeds, especially if your visitors are located far away from the central location of your server. Additionally, if you’re just using a single server, there’s a chance it could get overloaded and cause your site to crash. CDN’s solve both of these problems by letting your users access a cached version of your site from the web host that’s closest to them. Better yet, if one of your server locations is overloaded, they can be switched to a new server location, ensuring faster speeds all around. To get started, look into the CDN services offered by SiteLock TrueSpeed , MaxCDN , or Cloudflare .   5. Enable Browser Caching. Browser caching is a technology that allows a visitor’s browser to store copies of your site’s individual pages so that when the visitor returns in the future, the content can be called up from within the cache rather than reloading the entire page. This saves the number of resources used to display your pages, resulting in faster overall load times for your visitor. If you use WordPress, you can easily enable browser caching with a plug-in like W3 Total Cache .  To install this plugin on your WordPress site, follow the steps below: Navigate to your site’s Dashboard, then Plugins > Add New , and search for W3 Total Cache. Click Install , then Activate . Once the plugin is activated, navigate to the new Performance tab at the top or lefthand side. This is where you’ll control all of the features of the plugin. There are a ton of features that you can turn on or off with this plugin. If you want to fully configure this plugin, then check out  this post by WPMU DEV . Alternatively, talk to your web developer about ways to integrate browser caching into your server-side scripting.     6. Turn On Gzip Compression. Gzip compression is a technology that minimizes the size of browser-based HTTP responses – sometimes by as much as 70%.  If that doesn’t make sense, don’t worry. You don’t need to fully understand how it works to implement it for your site. There are three ways to turn on Gzip compression on your site.  You can: 1. Add the following code to your site’s .htaccess file: # compress text, html, javascript, css, xml: AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript   # Or, compress certain file types by extension:   SetOutputFilter DEFLATE   2. Add the following code to the top of your HTML or PHP page:     3. Install a Gzip compression plugin like the  W3 Total Cache  tool for WordPress (just keep in mind what we said earlier about installing too many unnecessary plugins!).   7. Keep CSS files at the Top and Javascript at the Bottom. Finally, keep your site’s code neat and tidy by adding CSS files to the top of your page’s code and Javascript snippets to the bottom when working with raw HTML pages.   Adding your CSS files to the top of the page prohibits progressive rendering, saving resources that web browsers would otherwise use to load and redraw elements of your pages.   Adding Javascript to the bottom prevents your pages from waiting on full code execution before loading – leading to a faster browsing experience for your visitors.   8. Reduce Http Requests. When someone new visits your website, every single element on the web page has to download for them to view it. That includes images, videos, animations, style sheets, scripts, fonts — you name it. For each element you have on the page, a different http request is made. The more different parts each page on your site is made up of, the more http requests are made each time someone visits your site, and the longer the page will take to load. That doesn’t mean you need to strip your web pages down to a minimalist web design to slow down your loading time. There are tricks you can use to identify and reduce the number and size of http requests on your page without losing out on the style you want your site to have. To start, spot how many http requests are on a page on your website by using your browser tools. The process is similar in different browsers, here are specific steps for the main two: In Chrome:       Right-click on the webpage       Choose Inspect       Click the Network tab       Reload the page In Firefox:       Right-click on the page       Choose Inspect Element       Click on the Network tab       Reload the page This will show you not only how many http requests are required for the page, but also how long each one takes to load. You may be able to spot some items on the list that aren’t worth the time they require that you can remove altogether. Even if you don’t, you have options to speed things up:   Option 1: Reduce file size. Look for opportunities in the list to reduce the file size of different elements. Our section on optimizing images includes some good tips. You can also minify the codes in your HTML, CSS, and Javascript files by removing any unnecessary coding or whitespace. Online tools like Autoptimize (for WordPress) and HTML Minifier can make this step easier.   Option 2: Combine files. If you have more than one Javascript or CSS file for your webpage, combining them will reduce the number of http requests the page has to make. Tools like JCH Optimize and Cloudflare  can help with this.   9. Minimize and Optimize Redirects. Sometimes redirects are necessary, but if they’re used any more than required they can slow down page load times. Regularly check the links on your website to make sure that all your links — internal and external — go directly to the main URL for a page. In the cases where you do need to use redirects , make sure you only use one redirect for a page. You never want a browser to have to do the work of redirecting a visitor from one page to another that redirects it to a third. And avoid having additional URLs that redirect people back to your main site. It can be tempting to buy up all the variations on your URL name and primary keywords you can think of and have them all point page to your website, but that will both slow things down and could cause confusion for your visitors.     10. Upgrade Your Web Hosting. When starting out, you probably selected the cheapest hosting option for your website. That’s normal and usually works well enough for a new website while you’re starting to build visibility and traffic. As your marketing efforts start to pay off and your traffic increases, your hosting needs change. If your website traffic has increased considerably and you haven’t upgraded your hosting plan to match, that’s likely to cause slow or spotty performance issues. Going from shared hosting to cloud hosting , or from shared to a VPS , can make a huge difference to how quickly your website loads for visitors. Check with your web hosting provider to see if it’s time to upgrade, or consider if it might be time to switch to a new provider. HostGator’s known for having a 99.9% uptime guarantee and has representatives that will answer any questions you have about selecting the right web hosting plan to keep your website fast and functional.   Conclusion Although these are only a few of the different techniques that can be used to speed up your site, they’re some of the easiest to implement.  This list is a great place to start if you notice your site slowing down. When every second counts, every step you can take for a faster website is worth it. Having said all of the above, sometimes a slow site is simply caused by inadequate hosting. With HostGator , whether you have a cloud hosting, shared hosting or VPS hosting plan, your site will be served from industry-standard technology and backed by 24/7/365 award-winning technical support via telephone and LiveChat. 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