How fast does your blog load? If it loads too slow, you may lose visitors because they might not be patient enough. Search engines like Google have openly declared they treat the site loading speed as a factor in the ranking process.
Here are some tips to improve the rendering speed of your blog. This is mainly based on Wordpress based blogs but most of the blogs built with other platforms can also benefit with similar changes:
- Show fewer number of posts on the home page. Many bloggers show a large number of posts (even 20) on the home page hoping to entice the readers with at least one post. This works to their disadvantage because loading too many posts can really slow down the home page rendering. I recommend between 5 and 10 posts depending on their length.
- Put fewer images per blog post. Unless you are demonstrating a process which requires showing many screen-shots, you should not use more than 102 images per post.
- Crop and resize the images. Don’t upload large size images and make the blog software resize them on the fly. This causes the full image to be downloaded resulting in delay. Try to crop the image so that only important part of the image is shown.
- You may also like to reduce the pixels per inch of the image to 72 by saving in the web-friendly format. This really trims down the image.
- Install a caching plugin like WP Super Cache. These plugins save an HTML copy of the page which can be sent to all the users till the time content of the page is changed. This reduces the number of database queries by a huge number and may be the biggest factor your blog may survive a mention on Digg or any similar burst o traffic. Too many blogs go down when they are mentioned on a popular site like Techcrunch or Digg.
- Activate Gzip or Deflate based compression on your server if you are hosting on an Apache based server. This mode compresses the html output as well as CSS and JS files at the server end and the browser decompresses the files before rendering the page. This can save a large amount of data traffic and can help render the page much faster. Contact the folks at www.webmaintain.co.uk if you are not sure about implementing this on your site.
- Deactivate the plugins that you don’t use. Having a large number of plugins that do nothing can slow down your blog.
- Consider using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) like Cachefly if you are expecting a good amount of traffic coming from a wider geographical distribution.
Applying some or all of these suggestions can make you blog load faster and deliver a much better user experience resulting in more page views per person. Feel free to suggest your tips in the comments below.
Are you tracking the terms that people are searching for, using the site search option of your website? These can give vital clues to the keywords that you are not targeting clearly on your home page.
Say I have a blog that talks about my web design service. Now if I discover that lots of people are searching for ‘prices’ through the site search option, I will get a signal that lots of people are interested to know what kind of prices I charge. If I make this aspect of my service clearer on my home page, I will be able to retain and may be convert more of my visitors into prospects.
An easy way to track this statistic is through Google Analytics. Yu should edit the site profile option and activate the site search option as shown in the picture here. Click on the ‘Do track the site search’ option and then enter ‘s’ in the query string parameter. Save the settings and Google Analytics will now start tracking the site searches for your blog.
Do you want your blog to rank higher in the search engines? Did I hear a loud ‘Yes, of course!’?
While we all understand that posting regularly with quality and unique content is the most vital thing you can do to get better search engine rankings, here are a few more tips to improve your results:
- Link 1-2 times to your money pages (main site, sales pages) with keyword-rich anchor text. Vary the anchor text – don’t use the same text always.
- Link to other posts in the blog. This increases the number of incoming links to those pages and improves their ranking potential.
- The links should be included in the main content. Sidebar links carry less weight.
- Use the main keyword at the beginning of the post title and a variation near the end.
- For longer posts, use H2 and H3 tags in the sub-headings to break up the posts.
- Have a juicy introduction para that draws a causal visitor in to the post.
- Have a nice summary as the last para with a powerful call to action, sending the visitor to the main sales page.
- Keep your blog software updated. The new versions include features for better SEO, while providing more security against hackers.
These quick-to-implement tips will definitely give your rankings a nice boost. Please share your experience with other fellow readers.
If you have a Semiologic blog, you don’t have to use a short-url service like TinyURL where you can’t change the destination later. This is also great for the control freaks who are very scared to use a 3rd party service.
The redirect feature on a Semiologic blog is quite simple and works very nicely if you don’t have a long blog address. Here is how I created a redirect to my reference link for Semiologic:
- I verified that the redirect manager plugin was activated. You can activate it if it is not activated.
- Then I added a new page. I gave it a short and direct name – Semiologic.
- I entered nothing in the content area and scrolled down to the lower side where there was a box for the redirect URL. Here I entered the destination URL.
- Saved the post.
That’s all. Now if I type www.rentablogger.com/blog/semiologic, it gets redirected to my reference link for Semiologic blogging system. This is a 301 redirect, comes with my blog URL and therefore promotes my brand instead of the URL-shortening service’s brand.
If I ever had to change the target URL, I can easily do so from my site.
Note: If you don’t want to have this page included in the Sitemap, you should tick on the options shown here.
Do you know Google is now giving less weight to run-of-site links (the ones you put in the sidebar or footer, available on all the pages)? It is much better to link to your favorite sites from the content – the blog post itself.
The reason is simple – we won’t think much before putting a link to a golf-training guide on a dog-related site’s sidebar. However the relationship has to be much closer if we were to link to it from the content. Thus it is fair to assume that a link from the content is a closer-in-context link as well as lesser likely to be a spam link (mass link exchange or paid-for link). And search engines tend to treat this as a more valuable link.
Want to keep your visitors on your blog longer? The more they read, the more they are convinced of your expert status. This will definitely increase the chance that they will buy whatever you are offering. Here’s how to achieve this “stay longer” target:
Use the related posts plugin to show a few related posts just after your blog post. This way when a visitor has finished reading your blog post, she gets to see a quick list of some more posts on similar topics. Hopefully she will find one of these interesting and go ahead and read that. Then she will get another list of related posts and … you get the message.
- It is quite easy to accomplish this on a Semiologic blog.
- Click on Appearance | Widgets.
- Choose “Each entry” in the dropdown in top-right side and click on show.
- Add the Related widget from the list of available widgets (middle column list). The widget will be added to the list of widgets being used in each entry.
- Click on Save changes. The settings are saved and the list shows again.
- Now drag and drop the Entry: Actions widget to the end of the list. This is done to make sure that the related posts do not appear to belong to the next entry.
- Click on Save changes again. You are done.
View the blog to see the effect. Now your visitors will be staying on your blog longer than before.
If you don’t feel confident you can pull it off or are strapped for time, we can apply these SEO changes to your blog for a nominal feel. Contact us!
Did you know that your blog post tiles are very important for the SEO of your blog? There are some simple but important considerations to get your post (more) popular. Are you doing it the right way?
You must have heard that you must spend 5 times more time on your headline than your sales page. It applies equally well to the blog post titles. A good curiosity enhancing title can make more people consume your post. Here are some interesting options for the post title:
- How to <do whatever you are writing about>…
- 7 (or some other number) ways to <something you are writing about>…
- Are you making these mistakes <in your whatever>? Or some other question?
You will notice that Wordpress or Semiologic will create a slug from your title that will become part of the URL. You should edit this to take out all sundries like did, or, of, the etc while keeping the meaning intact. Think newspaper headlines. Study how they create a meaningful sentence with the minimum words.
As a final tip (only applicable if you are using Semiologic or a SEO-plugin enhanced Wordpress), edit the title of the page. Normally the title of the page (the meta-tag, not the headline) is same as the blog post title. You can edit this to score well on the SEO front while retaining a different blog post title.
You can see the image on the left to see how you can enter a specific set of meta tags for each post.
Further to my earlier post about improving the SEO potential of your blog with a suitable title, today I will like to cover the use of tags to improve the rankings.
In all your posts, you should add a few tags related to the subjects, name of people or other important topics that the post covers. Note that the tags are different to the category. While there are only a few categories which indicate the main subject of the post, tags are specific to this post. You can use some generic as well as some long tail tags to mark this post.
I will be putting this post under the Blog SEO category but will use several tags – some general, some very specific. The tags pages can help a lot in distributing link juice to the different pages and are very useful for SEO.
If you use Semiologic as your blogging software (I call it Wordpress on steroids), make sure you enter a keyword rich and attractive title for the home page. The blog generally defaults to displaying your blog description as the title of the home page, which is not such a great idea.
In admin section, you can click on Settings and then choose SEO to enter a title and some other parameters for the home page. I have got a nice improvement in rankings of some of my client blogs by this change alone.