Business Bites Episode 113: Optimizing Your Website to Work For You Instead of Against You

Optimizing Your Website to Work For You Instead of Against You

Episode 113 on the Business Bites Podcast

The Gist Of This Episode: A website for your business can be a great asset but there are things you can do to make it better. Join Rachel as she talks with Scott Wyden Kivowitz about things you can do to improve your website so it works for you and brings in clients.

 

What you will learn: 

  • why it’s important to optimize for mobile
  • what you can do to improve load speeds
  • plug-ins that Scott recommends
  • tips for knowing how plug-ins will work together or against each other before you load them on your site
  • and more!

Expand To Read Episode Transcripts

Rachel Brenke:
… isolation from pandemic, running across the world with no restrictions. It doesn’t matter what time or life circumstances we’re having. If you’re in business, you need to have a website, but having a website’s not even enough. You need to have it optimized so that it can load quickly, it can be navigable so that your consumers can find you, get to know you, and buy into you.

In this episode today, I am joined with somebody who has saved my butt and helped to optimize a lot of my websites. Scott Wyden Kivowitz is a father, photographer, blogger, and educator just north of me in New Jersey, and he is a storyteller with a camera. He has a fabulous YouTube channel for photographers and as a photographer himself, but he is also the Chief Community Officer at Imagely, a WordPress development company that makes some amazing, incredible tools for photography websites.

He is coming on to talk about optimizing websites today. We’re going to get to talk about some of the mistakes that I’ve made in my websites and quick tips for you guys to focus on optimizing your website so that you can keep your business growing online and improve your little corner of the web.

Speaker 2:
Welcome to the Business Bites podcast, the podcast for busy entrepreneurs. Whether you’re an online entrepreneur or seeking after brick and mortar success, this podcast brings you quick bites of content so you can learn and grow anywhere you are. Now, here’s your host, Rachel Brenke.

Rachel Brenke:
Stories can make a difference not only in your life, but in your business. Your story might be like mine, a survivor, fighter, and entrepreneur that builds businesses while raising five kids, getting a law degree, and passing the bar at the same time. Maybe your story’s a little different, but you know what? Your business should tell your story so you can connect with your community on a more personal level.

As you guys have seen through my social media, with my podcast, headshot and brand photography can set you apart from your competition and make you a superstar. A thoughtfully crafted professional photography session can help you achieve this distinctive goal. My friend Scott Wyden Kivowitz is a headshot brand photographer out of New Jersey, and he’s ready to help you guys take your brand to the next level.

I highly encourage you guys to reach out to Scott and start a conversation with him. Scott is sponsoring this episode so that you can get this information into your hands. Reach out to him, mention this podcast, and save $100 off your first headshot or brand photography session. Guess what? No worries if you’re not in New Jersey. He can travel to you as well. You can visit him at scottwyden.com/brands. That’s S-C-O-T-T-W-Y-D-E-N.com/brands.

Hey, guys. Welcome to episode 113 of the Business Bites podcast. I am excited to talk to one of my favorite internet friends and experts on optimizing your website to work for you instead of against you. So, welcome, Scott.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Thanks for having me on the show. I’m excited to be here. It’s kind of weird because, in a way, I’m kind of glad to be away from the kids for a little.

Rachel Brenke:
So, we’re recording this, guys, in the middle of like the pandemic quarantine, so this is probably like the only “outside” interaction that either of us are going to have today.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Yeah. Pretty much, pretty much.

Rachel Brenke:
What’s funny is, Scott and I got to know each other, like many of the other guests that we have on the podcast, through us being experts and educators in our different fields, and Scott’s actually been somebody that whenever I have screwed up my own website stuff or I have questions, he’s the one that I went to. And so, when I was thinking of topics of what we can talk about during this pandemic time, but also that’s going to bridge to when hopefully life goes back to normal, and one of the key topics is having a website. I’ve talked about it in past episodes how important having a website is, whether you do it as just a blog, it’s a portfolio, depending on what kind of industry and services or products that you’re providing, but it is your digital business card. And it your little corner of the web that you can have.

So, for me, even if you had to take away social media, website would be my number one thing, and I know Scott is, as you guys have heard in the intro about him, he’s an expert. He totally gets all aspects. And just an FYI, he has a really awesome YouTube channel specifically for photographers, so I will link that at rachelbrenke.com/epi113, because episode 113.

But anyways, so let’s get to know a little bit about you. Then we’ll dig into the top tips for website optimization. I kind of know the answer to this, but can you give us a little bit more about your background and kind of your path to entrepreneurship?

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Sure. So, straight out of high school, I thought I was going to go into the music industry. My goal was to actually open a recording studio. So, I actually went to Berkeley College for Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and even as a recording major, I was forced to do music theory, which I absolutely hated. So, I moved back home and continued with that at a local college. And turned out, even there they were so focused on music theory, so I switched to photography. I’ve always had a camera with me, but focusing on that at a college, it really fine-tuned your skills and whatnot. Through that, I actually wound up having to make a website for part of my final project to graduate. And that website-

Rachel Brenke:
Do we want to talk about what year this was?

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Oh, boy. So-

Rachel Brenke:
No? That’s okay.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Well, this was around 2003 because I got my Associate’s in photography technology. So, it was around 2003, but at that point, I was already photographing bands anyway. I’ve been doing photography since the year 2000, basically, nonstop. But anyway, so the project basically shaped my future as I have right now because the project told me to make a website for my photography, and they wanted me to use Photoshop, which a lot of people don’t realize you can do websites in Photoshop. It is annoying. I do not recommend it. That is why when my professor said, “Make a website out of Photoshop”, I said, “No”, and I did it in WordPress. So, I taught myself WordPress, and I haven’t looked back.

So, basically, that shaped my path. I got a job. I’ve always worked for somebody, but I’ve always had my photography business on the side. Everything I’ve done for other companies has helped me with my own photography business, my own like freelance, part-time, professional photography business. So, I learned about social media. I learned about email marketing, more about website marketing. And through my path, which has led me here, which I’m now still I’m working for Imagely, which, again, is a WordPress photography company, and doing my own part-time professional photography business, photographing headshots and brand photos and families and cake smashes and things like that. Basically, college led me here. Long story short.

Rachel Brenke:
No, that’s awesome, and that’s great. The reason I ask about the time period of when you were given that task is because, now, if you tell that to somebody, like my oldest son is about to be 15 and he’s doing multimedia design and website stuff, and they say, “Go build a website,” he can log on and get a plethora of drag and drop builder options. But when you started doing this, that wasn’t available.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Right. WordPress was version 1.0. It was very basic, and your options were basically like a geocities type thing or-

Rachel Brenke:
Oh, geocities. Throwback

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Yep. Or Photoshop to make a pure HTML site or WordPress. There was no other option, really, at that point. It was pure HTML, geocities, which was kind of a drag and drop at the time. It was revolutionary at the time. Or WordPress.

Rachel Brenke:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, and what’s interesting to me… Well, actually, before I get into that side note, WordPress, if you guys have heard other episodes with Christine Tremoulet, Scott also knows Christine, she helped to name WordPress, so that’s like my little fun claim to fame for her, because so many of us use WordPress now. And we’re going to get into tips about optimizing website that may not necessarily be WordPress specific, but I know all my websites are also WordPress because, well, like you, because of the time period, I had to learn a lot about HTML and that sort of stuff. And so, I have that knowledge and skills, but there’s so many…

And I’m kind of jumping ahead here, but if you’re listening and you’re thinking, “Oh my gosh, this is overwhelming. I can’t build a website on my own.” Even things like WordPress now there’s so many available extensions and resources that I really believe anybody could build once. So, if you’re thinking, “Well, I can’t even optimize one because I don’t have one,” jot down WordPress. Scott has all sorts of great videos that you can get about it as well, and you can get yourself a good website. And we’re not necessarily here like just pitching WordPress. Like you mentioned, Scott, Imagely is a website builder for photographers. Do you want to explain a little bit more about that as an option?

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Yeah. So, Imagely has a a bunch of branches to it. The main thing is our plugin called NexGen Gallery, which it’s a gallery plugin for WordPress that basically allows you to host your photos on your site, have these galleries that you can display in beautiful different ways, and photographers can allow their clients to proof their photos. Photographers can sell their photos both digitally and print with lab integration as well, so it’ll automatically be fulfilled by a professional print lab. And that’s the core product. But then, there’s also themes, so we have themes which are to the design aspect of your website.

And there is also something that we have but we’re relaunching soon. I don’t have a date on it yet, but we have a hosting platform which is a turnkey photography website platform. Kind of like a Squarespace but it is on WordPress without the limitations of some other hosting companies. And it is literally turnkey, so you can go on and within seconds you can have a fully hashed website. And you’re picking your design ahead of time, and it’s hashing a website with dummy content for you to then go ahead and replace with own content and then edit it as needed. So, we’ve got about 100 customers on it from when we first launched, but we rebuild it from the ground up. And it’s in beta right now, and we’re going to be relaunching it again hopefully very soon.

Rachel Brenke:
Oh, I love it. And actually, we’re going to link that. We’ll keep this episode’s notes page updated. I’m also going to link an old episode of mine bootstrapping your website in it, essentially is the checklist. Much of what Scott just said, like picking, for me it was WordPress, then you pick a theme, which is the design, then you load the dummy content and you edit it. So, I don’t want to spend too much time in this episode necessarily about building a website because we want to get into the optimization, but if you’re sitting there thinking, “Well, I don’t have one,” it is relatively straight forward. So, I have that episode. And then, photographers that are listening, Imagely has that coming out, and so we’ll keep you guys updated and keep the episode page updated, as well, so that you can get that information when they’re ready to roll. And you can also hop over. We’ll link Imagely so you guys can be notified of that.

Well, so let’s shift kind of into optimization a bit. I guess we kind of need to define what optimization means because we’re not talking like necessarily search engine optimization being found on the internet, we’re talking about actual website functionality, speed, and all that. Right?

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Yeah. So, there’s a wide range of ways you can think about optimization. Of course, there is SEO, which I could talk about, but I feel like there’s so many people who could talk about it. So, really, I would say it all starts with, first, having your layout and the the user interface of your website optimized first. That means like making sure that it is, one, ready for mobile, because that’s important for a variety of reasons. One being SEO, of course. But others being that just purely the fact that your viewers are more likely to view on their phones now or their tablets than they are on a desktop computer, at least originally. So, having it work on mobile is absolutely essential. But you also want to make sure that your menu is clean, right? You want to optimize your menu to make sure that that is clean and navigatable by anybody at any level, and also get them to where you want them to go.

So, if you want somebody to eventually book you for a family session, right? Now, I’m just talking photography just because it’s so easy for me to speak to. But let’s say you want somebody to book you for a family photography session, you need to get them there. So, you could have 10 pages buried, but you need to funnel them. So, not only does your menu have to be good, but the page interaction on your site has to also funnel people to the appropriate places depending on their actual needs. That, to me, is a starting point. Just the user interface.

Rachel Brenke:
Well, let’s pause here for a second because I kind of do want to circle this back to when we were talking about like themes earlier, and I know when I go and look to change my website, the user experience, like you’re just talking about, the mobile responsiveness, as well as the ability to see what menus look like, are the top things that I look for. So, you can go out when you’re looking, for me it’s WordPress, for WordPress themes, and I can look at them on the computer because they’ll have a demo. I’ll look at a demo on my phone. And that is one of the best ways for me to be able to look at it and see what it’s going to look like in the end. Because when I load that theme onto my WordPress platform that’s…

I’m really bad at the terminology, but for me, that’s kind of you have the house, which is I guess the WordPress structure, but this is kind of the design. This is the paint color, the shutters, and the placement of curtains and all this sort of stuff. And for me, I can click through really quickly, just like you said, I’ll send a whole bunch of links to my phone or I’ll just go through whatever place that I’m purchasing a theme from and check all the demos to make sure these top three things you just mentioned are on par. It doesn’t matter how much I love the theme on desktop if none of those are good on mobile.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Yeah. And one thing that that isn’t obvious to look for in a WordPress theme, related to mobile viewing, is a mobile menu. So, for example, the current Imagely themes, as we have them, have one menu, and that menu is your menu. But the new theme that we’re working on, which is a brand new framework, and that has the option to specify a menu specifically for mobile. So, that means you can have, on your desktop, the menu however you want it, and then simplify it to the most important, let’s say, five pages or five menu items only on mobile.

Rachel Brenke:
And that’s an issue that I’ve run into because it wasn’t something I necessarily look for with the theme until I had already built it all out, and then I look at it on the phone and I’m like, “Oh gosh, I’ve got 12 items on my desktop menu, but they can’t all fit onto the mobile one.”, And right now if you guys check any of your Google analytics, you look at research that’s out there, and Scott’s already said it, the majority of consumers are looking on mobile. You guys are probably listening to this on mobile.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Yep.

Rachel Brenke:
All right. So, those were the first three major things that we need to look for is user experience, the menus… Oh, mobile responsiveness. So, I guess once you nail those down, what’s the next phase of making sure that your website is optimized?

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
So, speed is definitely important. So, before we get to talking about caching, which is very tricky topic, let’s talk about images, because no matter the business that you are, you’re going to have images on your site one way or another, and-

Rachel Brenke:
I feel like you’re speaking to me on this point because you know I’m so bad about this.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
So, images need to be, basically, one of three file types but, hopefully, more of one than the other two. So, the most popular and the most common and smallest and diverse file type is the JPEG. Everybody knows what a JPEG is, right? JPG. And that is the image file type that that should be used for majority of your images. However, some people might need a PNG. Let’s say your logo graphic, or let’s say it’s some other graphic you need to overlay on top of something else, you need it to be a PNG so the overlay is nice and clean. Those are large files. Typically, they can be optimized, but they’re quite large by default. And then, of course, there’s the GIF. The only time that you’re going to use a GIF on your site is if you want the animation of a GIF. Otherwise, do not use a GIF because they are huge and they cannot actually be optimized too much, so try to use those very sparingly, if at all.

Rachel Brenke:
Well, I remember a couple of years ago, that was the whole craze. It was, “You got to save everything as a GIF,” but it was like, “But I’m not using animated photos.”

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it’s too big. It’s way too big. It’ll slow down your site so much that nothing will speed it up because of how big GIFs are. But on top of that, the size of your image also is very important. It’s tricky. It’s a very tricky thing because you don’t want them too small and you don’t want them too big. I suggest, depending on… This is where it gets also tricky with the hosting because with WordPress you can host your site on different types of servers, which we could also get to down the road. But if you’re on a shared host, which is the most common hosting platform and also the least expensive posting platform, your images need to be smaller, because that host can only serve your site up so fast because it’s serving 100 or 1,000 other sites on the same server up at the same time.

So, smaller images mean your site will load faster on a shared host. If you’re on something better than a shared host, a cloud host, a VPN, a dedicated server, you can go larger with your file sizes. And I don’t just mean the kilobytes of your file size, I mean the physical pixel dimension of your images. So, I’m on the Google cloud from my own site, and I uploaded the max 2,000 pixel, at the largest length. And I actually use various software, WordPress plugins, to shrink those down depending on what they’re being used for. So, in NextGen Gallery, if I’m selling an image, I’m actually uploading the largest possible file at the 5,000 pixels or whatever my camera shoots at. And NextGen gallery is actually shrinking it down to 1,600 pixels at the largest to view on the front end, and then creating bigger for retina and then smaller for non-retina and things like that. But it’s keeping the original backed up and safe so that when I sell the image, I’m selling from the large file.

But if I’m just uploading to WordPress for a blog post or a page or something like that, and it’s going to the media library, there’s two plugins that would be useful. One is called Imagify, and one is called ShortPixel. And both of those can not only shrink your images when you upload them, so if you upload something larger than 2,000 pixels at the longest, you can specify shrink it down to 1,400 pixels at the longest. And then, it’ll also compress that on top of it, so it’ll shrink it in size and then compress it. And if you use the right settings, you won’t see any quality degradation in that compression. So, by doing this, you’re enabling your site to load faster by having your images shrunken a little and also shrunken in size, like a physical size and then also kilobyte size, file size.

Rachel Brenke:
So, how do you know what physical and kilobyte size they should be shrunk to? I mean, is there-

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Yeah, there’s no set number. The only thing I can say is… I do have a blog post about this, so I’ll share that with you. Maybe we can get that in the show notes. But basically, if you’re on a shared host, try to keep it small, like a 1,000 pixels at the longest. I know that’s quite small for some businesses, especially any image heavy business, but if you’re on a shared host, you’ve got to do what you got to do in order to make sure your site loads fast. But otherwise, if you’re on a VPN or a cloud host, and I would say go up to like 1,600. If you’re on a dedicated server, 2,000 is no problem. So, it all depends. I mean, if you’re paying for a dedicated server and you can afford to have your images larger so [inaudible 00:22:31].

Rachel Brenke:
And I think the majority of people listening are going to be on a shared one, unless you’ve been in business a while and you have other needs for a dedicated. If you just logged on to a general hosting server company and bought into them, you’re more than likely on a shared.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Yep. Yeah. And even some of the hosts have options for shared versus cloud versus VPN versus dedicated, so there’s a wide range. But on this topic of images, there’s one of the thing that you could do, and I mentioned two plugins, Imagify and ShortPixel, they have a feature, and a lot of other plugins have a feature, to serve your images up as WebP. This is a future image file. It’s not something you can view on your computer natively on either Mac or PC, but it is something that… I believe Google created it. I could be wrong, so don’t quote me on that.

But WebP is basically a JPEG or a PNG. It could be either, and the kilobyte size is actually super tiny compared to the native PNG or JPEG. And these two plugins actually create a WebP version and display that on browsers that support it. So, Chrome, Firefox currently support it, and your site will actually load faster on those browsers because they’re serving WebP versions instead of the JPEG or the PNG. And this is done automatically. You don’t have to think about it at all.

Rachel Brenke:
Interesting. That’s a bit beyond me, so maybe we just suggest to those listening, start with identifying are you on a shared host or dedicated host, server rather? And then, figure out what size you need to use and utilize one of these plugins. Then once they get their head around that, maybe look into this WebP stuff.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if they’re going to be using a compression plugin, then find one with it built in and just just turn it on. Either way. Because even if you’re on a shared host, it’s well worth it for that extra boost of speed.

Rachel Brenke:
So, let me ask you this. Does the size of photographs, I mean obviously we’re looking at load speeds, is there going to be a difference in load speed between mobile and desktop?

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Without a doubt. Yeah. Yeah. So, it depends on if you’re on wifi or if you’re on data, right? If you’re on [inaudible 00:25:00] or 4G or whatever. Now-

Rachel Brenke:
Do we know the stats on that of where people are primarily on data versus wifi?

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
I don’t think Google analytics tells us that, actually. [crosstalk 00:25:11].

Rachel Brenke:
No. I know that [crosstalk 00:25:13].

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
We could analyze it. We really wanted to dig in. I’m sorry?

Rachel Brenke:
We’ll have to make a note. I’d be interested to know that info. See, because I know Facebook ads allows you to not serve up ads to people who are not on wifi. Okay. We’re going to make a note on that, and I’ll update show notes in the future if we get that info.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Yeah. It’s probably easy enough to find out just by digging into Google analytics and looking at site speed, load speed, of certain pages only on mobile and seeing like is it similar to desktop? Because either way, mobile is going to be slower than desktop, unless, of course, a site has other things in play, which are far more advanced. But typically, a mobile will be slower than desktop even on wifi.

Rachel Brenke:
Got it. Well, the reason I was [crosstalk 00:26:05] you was that if our consumers are mostly on mobile, you need every ounce of speed you can get out of this. So, if you just optimize most for mobile, then you’re automatically also going to cover the desktop speed because mobile is typically slower.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Always focus on mobile first is not only is my opinion, but it’s also now Google’s opinion. Their ranking factor is now mobile… They call it Mobile First Indexing. So, they are looking on how your website performance on mobile and basing how they will rank you on that before desktop.

Rachel Brenke:
I didn’t know that. That’s really good to know. That’s one thing, side note, that I love about Google is that they tell us this, they tell us what’s important to them. They’re literally always giving us a roadmap on what we need to focus on. So, it’s not like it’s a question. Okay. So, let’s move into kind of one of the top last high level things you can do for optimizing website. My mind goes to what you always get onto me about is too many plugins, but what tip did you have?

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Well, I could go with the too many plugins things, but I think that’s a tricky topic because you can have 100 plugins and not have a slow site. It really comes down to choosing the right plugins to use. Because, for example, now I’m not going to say WooCommerce is fast because it is the furthest thing from from fast, but WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce system out there. More popular than Shopify. And it’s growing rapidly. I mean, WordPress is 35% of the internet, and WooCommerce is a big chunk of that. All the competition are small fries compared to it. So, WooCommerce is an extension approach model of WordPress plugins, meaning that out of the box, WooCommerce can do a bunch, but if you want to integrate it with MailChimp, you have to add a plugin. If you want to integrate it with your square CRM, you’ve got to add another plugin. If you want to add videos, add like a video tab to your product pages, you have to add a plugin for that. And the list can go on.

You want to integrate it with Facebook ads or Google products or Instagram products, each one’s a plugin. You got to add, you got to add, you got to add, you got to add. You can literally have a site that all it is is WooCommerce and all it is is WooCommerce plugins. That’s it, right? And you can have 100 extensions. They sell way more than 100 of them, and you can have 100 extensions and your site will load like any other WooCommerce site, because the extensions are not necessarily slow, WooCommerce itself is slow. There’s a bunch of other plugins that use the same model, and the problem is that sometimes all those plugins, all those little extensions, do add up depending on how well they’re coded.

The other issue is that sometimes you could have a plugin from WooCommerce and then install another plugin from somebody else, and they’re going to start butting heads. Maybe, for example, a really common one is MailChimp plugins require certain things to be compatible with each other. If you have Gravity Forms installed and you’re using Gravity Forms to generate leads to your MailChimp list, and then you have WooCommerce installed and anybody who buys goes to your WooCommerce list and gets the whole e-commerce thing going back and forth, they actually butt heads. They do. And there’s reasons for it, and all it takes is literally one line of code to fix it. And it’s just unfortunate that a lot of times there’s products, there’s plugins, that butt heads, and if you have 100 plugins and you’ve got one or two that butt heads, it can wreak havoc across your site in various ways. And figuring out who’s causing the slowness or who’s figuring out what’s causing an error takes a lot of time, and it’s not something that the average Joe can do.

Rachel Brenke:
So, what was your other optimization tip? Because I kind of threw you down the plugin path [inaudible 00:30:40] my issue.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
And I can go on and on about about this so much. I actually did a whole podcast episode on the WordPress photography podcast all about this topic of bloat and what defines bloat.

Rachel Brenke:
You should have used me as the bad case study.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Yeah. No.

Rachel Brenke:
Well, because I get excited. I see a plugin, I’m like, “I love that functionality.” I buy it and load it, and then it all goes to shit. And I’m like, “Scott, help me.”

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Yeah. You know what? So, I have test sites specifically for testing plugins and how they butt heads, which may be something that we need to do for you, is get you a test site that all you do is when you see something that is shiny and you want to try it, you install it there and [crosstalk 00:31:27].

Rachel Brenke:
That’s the best optimization tip. Don’t get distracted by shiny. You have to approach it methodically and research coding, make sure you know who the developer is and all that. All right, so enough of plugins, let’s leave them with one last optimization tip and we can send them on their way to optimizing their website.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
So, this is more of an advanced thing, but it’s something that anybody can do with the right plugin, and it’s caching. So, a lot of hosts will actually offer caching, but not all caching is equal. For example, if you are on a host that has something called Endurance Cache, ask them to remove it. This is something that one brand that is a parent company who owns a whole ton of child brands, they have this cache that they built on all of their platforms, and it’s really bad. So, please ask them to remove it. It’s called Endurance Cache. And they will remove it if you request it.

What I recommend is actually something called WP Rocket Cache, and it is very affordable. It’s affordable to buy the first year and, in fact, once you’re in one of your year’s almost up, you buy like three years out to renew, you get a huge discount. I’m talking like 70% off for something crazy that they do when you do more multiple years. So, it’s very affordable. It is the easiest caching plugin to use. It does not conflict with most themes and plugins or hosts. They actually work with the most popular WordPress hosts. So, for example, if you’re on WP Engine as your host, who has their own caching, if you install WP Rocket Cache, the features that WP Engine has in their caching, WP Rocket Cache will not do. It will disable those automatically, so they don’t butt heads. WP Rocket Cache works with a bunch of hosts to ensure it’s compatible with other caching mechanisms.

But what caching will do is it’ll make a dynamic but static version of your site and will basically make your site run faster because it’s, in theory, anything it can run statically like text, font, stuff like that, it will do. It has the option to lazy load images, which is actually coming to WordPress in core, but in WordPress itself, but only for Chrome at first. So, for example, WP Rocket Cache, once this is out, will switch their lazy load for any Chrome browsers to use the WordPress native lazy load instead. There’s also lazy load for videos as well, which is for audio, so like podcasts. So, that way, as you scroll, it’ll load instead of it loading immediately, which in turn makes your site load faster.

There’s a bunch of other things it can do. They even offer a CDN, which is a content delivery network, and what that allows you to do is have your image files or audio files or video files, if you’re hosting on your own site, upload it to a CDN, which is a cloud that is actually all over the world. Which means, that if you’re in the US and somebody in the UK goes to browse your site, the images that they’re getting are not coming from the US, they’re actually coming from the UK. If they’re coming from Australia, the images are coming from Australia, not the US. So, that’s what a CDN does. And WP Rocket Cache now has their own CDN that they offer, so if your host doesn’t offer one, you can actually get one through WP Rocket Cache as well, as an extra fee. But that will also help your site load a lot faster.

So, there’s a lot of things that this can do, and I’ve tested a lot of caching plugins. There’s a bunch of free ones, there’s a bunch of paid ones, but by far, WP Rocket Cache is the the best out there. And I get nothing by saying that.

Rachel Brenke:
Not a paid advertisement. Awesome. All right. So, let’s recap on this real quick. For optimization, we started with the user experience, mobile ready… I’m missing one. What was the other?

Scott Wyden Kivowitz:
Funneling and menus.

Rachel Brenke:
Oh, menus. Menus. We have this caching, and then we did talk a bit about plugins. And you guys, this is so much great information, and I understand you’re probably completely overwhelmed. So, what I want you guys to do is I just gave you a quick checklist, we’re also going to put these bullet point and transcript and everything on the show notes. Rachelbrenke.com/epi113. I’m going to put all of the blog posts, videos, all of the resources that Scott talked about on that page so that you can just click around. I do highly suggest that you dig in the Business Bites Facebook group. We’re going to have a thread to talk about this as well, because guess what? Many entrepreneurs that are listening to this and many that you know create and run their own websites, and that’s the beauty of the technical age that we’re in. And so, not having one is not just enough. Obviously, as Scott has shown you today, mobile’s so important, optimization is so important. Because if your consumers get frustrated, they’re not able to navigate your website, it doesn’t load, you can’t make sales, you can’t get your brand out there in front of them. So, this is really important.

Scott, thank you so much for coming on today. I greatly appreciate all your knowledge. I think we’re going to need to do a part two on optimization, kind of like a second level. Maybe we’ll do one that’s very specific plugin approach, because I know that’s one of the top questions that I get. Of course, I’m like, “Well, I’m like the wrong person to ask.” But thank you so much, and guys, good luck. Please get your websites done, especially if you’re listening to this during the pandemic. Now’s the time to optimize so you’re ready to rock and roll when consumers bounce back.

Speaker 2:
Thanks for joining Rachel on this episode of the Business Bites. For show notes, a list of recommended tools or referenced episodes. You can find them at businessbitespodcast.com. Until next time.

Today's episode was

sponsored by:

Sponsor Ad from Scott Wyden Kivowitz
Click on image to visit Scott

Featured Guest & Resources

Scott Wyden Kivowitz is a father, photographer, blogger, and educator in New Jersey, who considers himself a storyteller with a camera. Growing up he was always photographed by his parents and his grandparents. While playing in bands and touring, he started photographing the other bands that played at the same events. So that paved way for him to always have a camera with him. Scott decided years ago to document the lives of others, so they can be enjoyed and cherished forever. The inspiration behind that was because of his biological father’s passing before his second birthday. The only ways he can get to know his father is by photographs and the stories told from family. Scott offers family portraits, cake smash sessions, headshots and brand photography to his clients.

Scott is also the Chief Community Officer at Imagely, a WordPress development company that makes incredible tools for photography websites. He is a podcast host as well, the author of numerous books, and a regular YouTuber. He can be found teaching photographers about photography, WordPress and online marketing on his website, the Imagely website, and other venues like Photofocus.

Scott believes in sharing his knowledge in any way possible and educating without fluff, in a straight to the point easy to understand style.

You can find Scott here:
Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Pinterest
YouTube

 

Hi, I’m Rachel Brenke

Rachel Brenke

As a mom, team USA athlete and cancer-survivor, I want a real life while I have a real business.  This is why my resources don’t promote hustle-culture, rather tough-love and no-holds-barred tips to achieving both.  In addition to this website, I have a top-ranked business podcast, been featured in places like Forbes and work 1:1 with so many of you.

Enough about me though. I am proud of you for pursuing entrepreneurship. It is rewarding and amazing.  Keep at it!

Are you listen to the podcast?
RETIRING: CONTRACT TEMPLATES[Get now]
+ +