Welcome to Find It Friday in which we help you find the answers to your blogging questions.
This week’s question may seem a bit techie..but bear with us..it is an important element of how your blog ranks in Google and enhances your reader experience.
I noticed that my blog took a while to load when I opened it up to show a friend on his computer recently. He said that speed difference will affect my Google ranking. Is he right and if so, how fast should a page load and what can I do to make it load faster?
Yes, he is right. Google uses site speed (i.e. how quickly a website responds to web requests) as part of their search ranking algorithms.
Here is what Google has to say:
Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there.
Blog expert, Heidi Cohen recommends that your pages should load in under two seconds and at most three. After checking the speed, determine which elements slow your page down. Google has a list of free tools that you can use to evaluate the speed of your site at code.google.com/speed.
Final word from Google…
While site speed is a new signal, it doesn’t carry as much weight as the relevance of a page. (However) We encourage you to start looking at your site’s speed (the tools above provide a great starting point) — not only to improve your ranking in search engines, but also to improve everyone’s experience on the Internet.
Do you have a question on how to blog effectively?
Leave a comment below and we will be happy to help you find the answer.
Lorna wrote a post back in March outlining the benefits of installing the all in one seo plugin for WordPress (note: it isn’t available on wordpress.com). If you have chosen to go down the route of self hosting your blog, you will want to install some shiny new plugins. Now, while there are many great ones out there, there are also some not so great plugins, and be aware that by installing the wrong plugin, you can compromise the speed at which your site loads.
Our advice is to choose quality over quantity. Start with the all in one as recommended by Lorna, then test new ones until you find the best for your site that doesn’t compromise your speed.
To help you determine which plugins are slowing down you site, check out the P3 plugin on WordPress.org. Often times, WordPress sites load slowly because of poorly configured plugins or because there are so many of them. By using the P3, you can narrow down anything causing slowness on your site.
If you are a beginner blogger, you may be wondering how to add an image to your blog post.
Place your cursor where you want to put the image, then click the button beside where it says Upload/Insert.
If the image is in a folder on your computer, click my computer, then click Choose File, select the image from the folder and click upload.
Then you need to fill out some information, this information makes a difference to the SEO (search engine optimisation) of your blog so it is worth taking a few seconds to do it. Fill out the title, alt tag and the description. If you are selling a featured product, it is worthwhile adding the url of that product to the link URL bar, then if someone clicks on the picture, it will bring them directly to that page.
Then decide if you would like the image to be to the left, centre or right of your page (this also affects where the text goes, ie selecting the left option means that the text will be wrapped around the next image as you’ll see I have done).
Select the size that you would like the image to be and then click on Insert into Post and it’s done for you.
What is ‘Use as featured image’ all about?
It means that the image you select to use as a featured image is then the photograph that is shown if anyone links to that blog post. It will show up as a thumbnail on any facebook or google+ links for example. However, if your wordpress theme allows custom header images and has the facility of ‘featured header image enabled‘ then the feature image will become the header image on that post or page. Handy if you want to have different headers on different pages of your blog e.g. the About Us page.
If you have any questions, do ask. Marie and I freely admit to being very non-technical and you will never find us spouting about complicated code or anything like that. We speak in plain English and hope you found this explanation of adding an image simple to use and helpful.