Creating a WordPress blog with a beautiful theme, fancy opt-in form, lots of animation is easier but all these things wouldn’t be much useful unless you are able to drive traffic to it.
The common problem which bloggers face is how to drive traffic to their blog !
Although there are several ways of doing it such as social media, PPC, paid etc. but no traffic is as good as organic and in this post, I’ll discuss how moving to HostGator hosting plus tweaks with few plugins helped me drive great amount of organic traffic to one of my blog which had almost no traffic in spite of continuous work by my team mate.
Google keeps on changing methodology about how it priorities a website in SERP and we must stay updated with the latest recommendations. For example, in my last post I discussed how Google going to punish mobile websites using intrusive ads which can not be easily dismissed.
According to Google, it creates problem for the users to access content on the website and in order to offer better user experience, big G may start punishing the websites.
However, if the popup is easily removable and content is easy accessible, you are good to go.
Anyways, I’m not going to discuss all this stuff in this post. This post is all about how a good web hosting and tweaks to improve page load time resulted in increase of massive amount of search traffic at one of my tech blog.
Before I start off with explaining all these stuff, take a look at few screenshots from Google analytics.
Why I’ve considered such a big time gap for GA, its to show how this site was struggling to receive traffic for such a long before it actually started to get organic traffic.
If you see the graph, the blog been receiving almost no traffic for such a long (see the graph is not taking off the ground line until Jul 13, 2016).
I will discuss what it took me to take this site from 41 sessions as on Jul 13, 2016 to 1764 sessions in next two months.
Below screenshot is taken by shortening the time period and you can see how the traffic started to grow since I made the changes I’ll be talking about..
The blog was placed nowhere as of Jul 13 but today it reached at 1764 sessions per day and its trending.
I’m expecting the traffic continues to grow and in next few months, I’m hopping to see much better traffic stats.
The below screenshot reveals majority of traffic has started to come from Google. The blog which was nothing two months back in terms of traffic now gets more than 73% organic traffic is pretty cool.
Not only the traffic, people who are coming to the blog are spending decent amount of time on it.
The bounce rate of 65% still better than many good blogs such as Harsh Agarwal’s shoutmeloud blog which has almost 80% bounce rate.
Anyways, its just a rough calculations, there are lots of factors involved while calculating bounce rate.
What it took me to increase traffic
There are several things that I’d like to discuss that I had implemented to take this blog where it stands today.
It was dead for about 6 months now gets 1764 sessions per day and majority of the traffic coming from Google.
I made two major changes:
- Moving blog from local hosting company to HostGator hosting.
- Tweak with plugins to improve page load time further.
These two things helped me grow traffic and hence the adsense revenue. Let’s talk about them one by one.
# 1) Hosting –
I know for a beginner, its not justifiable to invest much money in a blog but keep in mind if you want to get something out of a business, you must have to spend money, atleast for the basic stuff.
Some times investing money becomes a source of motivation and you work with double the energy.
With a cheap web hosting services causing problem for people to access your website wouldn’t help you grow the business.
Understand this problem by putting yourself under visitors shoes (anyways you are visitor too for many websites) and imagine how would you feel if you are trying to access a website and it doesn’t open or opens too slow? How frustrating it can be for you?
Well for me, I immediately hit the red cross button on the left hand corner of my Macbook and open other website in new tab.
I’m sure many of us do that unless we don’t have any other alternative.
Google too doesn’t appreciate the websites which take too long to open or don’t open at all and throw them far behind in SERPs.
My blog was hosted on the server purchased from a local hosting company and I had almost forgotten it.
Few months back in July when I checked this blog, I noticed it opens really slow and probably this could be one of the reasons why it doesn’t perform well in SERPs.
After playing around with several things, I couldn’t make it load faster and then decided to move it to HostGator Web hosting.
My other well performing websites are hosted with HostGator and it took me only 30 mins to migrate this blog to HostGator.
Since I’ve HostGator hosting Baby plan, I can host unlimited websites.
There had been a great improvement with the page load time and it was one of the MOST Important step that helped blog to show in SERPs and hence gain organic traffic.
My posts started to rank and the traffic started to grow as well.
I know the HostGator hosting plan would cost a bit more than local Web hosting company but trust me, many will thank me later.
I’d advise to go for HostGator USA because of several things you can’t think of. You can contact me to understand why I recommend HostGator USA.
# 2) Tweak with page load time (other than hosting)
I’ll divide this into several parts and discuss each of them separately. While changing hosting made a really big differences, these factors which I’m going to discuss now have helped me to further increase the traffic as well.
2.a) – Choose fast loading Premium WordPress theme
The other important thing to consider is the selection of fast loading WordPress theme. Some of the themes are specially optimised to load faster and are good to go.
I’d recommend to avoid using free themes and go for premium one. I know it would add some extra cost but it is really necessary, we have no choice.
Purchase the theme from reputed sellers such as
MyTheme Shop – $19
Theme-Junkie – $49 for access to 46 themes (use coupon 25AUTUMN to get 25% off)
2.a) – Remove Unnecessary Plug-ins
I know when we are new, we try to make our blog look fancy and install this and that plugin. We believe our users will like, yes they like it but Google doesn’t !
Too much of plugins makes your blog render slower and if a blog loads slow, Google doesn’t like it.
Make a list of all necessary plugins and remove all other which are not required. Install as minimum plugins as possible based on the requirements.
I’ve shared post about essential plugins that a WordPress blog should have. You can skip “AddThis” plugin from this list if your WordPress theme has social sharing buttons by default.
2.b) – Optimise your database regularly
Your blog fetches data from database and if the database is not regularly optimised, it will lead to slowing down your blog.
Install WP-Optimise (i know it is not mentioned in above post, I’ll update it) and optimise the database. I’ve been using this plugin and haven’t had any problem so far.
Although I never had any problem yet I’d recommend to have backup of database before you hit Optimse button !
It can be a tedious job if its not a wordpress blog and you must require to hire a developer to do this job.
This plugin would clean the database and help blog fetch posts faster and hence improve page load speed.
It will remove all the revisions of the posts which get saved automatically and reduce database size to much extent.
2.c) – Enable Caching
Enabling cache can improve the page load speed drastically. It stores the version of your website in users browsers and renders this version each time users open your website.
The same version will always open for the user until the settings of the browser is changed. It makes blog load faster.
The research by YUIBlog reveals that if the cache is enabled to the fullest, it can improve page load speed from 2.4 to 0.9 seconds by minimising the number of HTTP requests.
The above chart shows how enabling full cache resulted in reducing load time from 2.4 seconds to 0.9 seconds for yahoo.com
For a WordPress blog there are several cache plugins available on the internet. I’d recommend to chose any one from these.
2.d) Re-size images
You must have to pay attention to the images you are uploading with articles. The un-optimised images can deadly slow down page load speed. Optimise all the images published at your blog so that they render faster.
WP Smush do the job for me pretty well.
2.e) Mobile friendly site
If you purchase the themes from above said sellers, all the themes are mobile friendly however since having a mobile version of a website is necessary, you can create one by using below plugin if you don’t have one already.
Bonus – Tricks to further optimise page load speed
You must consider all above tips in order to be loved by Google and other search engines.
However in this section, I’m going to discuss some extra tips that can further improve page load speed. Take a look !
Create AMP pages
AMP pages which stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages are meant to further improve user experience on the mobile devices.
Such pages load almost instantly and if you do little research, you’ll come to know all the major websites such as BBC, BuzzFeed, The Economist etc are creating AMP pages.
AMP pages are meant for static content to make it load faster than ever. Google priorities websites having AMP pages for mobile versions.
AMP Wordpress plugin makes creating such pages super duper easy.
Use Content Delivery Network
Content delivery network makes website load faster yet again. CDN distributes the website files on the network at different locations in the world and fetch the data from nearest location of the user which makes the website load super fast.
For example consider your website is hosted with a company having server in Singapore. If anyone opens it from any other part of the world, It will take some time to respond but if you are using CDN, your website files will be distributed to the network and if anyone accesses your website from any other country in the world, it will be served from the server located in that particular country and not from Singapore. Makes sense?
There are several CDN you can opt for. Some good CDN are:
Bottom Line –
Google is working hard to offer the best user experience and encouragement of AMP pages, punishment for mobile sites using intrusive pop ads are great examples how serious big G is.
A good hosting service and tweaks that can improve page load speed help you gain good ranking in SERP.
Web hosting from a good host is really important because such hosting are made for offering faster speed.
Unless you don’t fulfill basic requirement of a good hosting, there is no point playing around with above said plugins.
Buying a hosting plan from such companies may cost extra bucks but it worth spending this much of money.
Have a better host, install these plugins and optimse your website to load faster. That’s a key !
Over to you !
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