Why Is My Website Slow - WordPress Edition

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Let’s kick this off by saying that WordPress is (as I am sure you agree) great! WordPress is a gift out of the box, your site is structured in a search engine friendly way, you have loads of nice template designs to get you up and moving fast, and there are endless ways of customizing your installation.

We have plenty of customers that run WordPress and almost immediately the first remark is “why is my site so slow?”. This usually reveals the #1 flaw of WordPress – the overwhelming presence of third-party add-ons and plug-ins.

WordPress Plug-ins Are Not A Bad Thing
The problem we see is just like hoarding apps on your smart phone, you just can’t help but install them. Plug-ins for WordPress are super simple to install and vary in performance. A common occurrence I will see personally is a simple website which has upwards of 15 plug-ins all active and not in use. A good rule of thumb, if you are not using a plugin remove it.

WordPress On Steroids
No such thing – as said before, WordPress is a great platform as is. There are many (some decent) “All-In-One” super website optimizers and performance enhancers out there. Truth be told, most users that use these all-in-one plugins do so because they sound awesome and they think that their site would be better with than without. I never recommend these plugins as they certainly play a role in performance which most of the time is not beneficial.

My rule of thumb when it comes to slower WordPress based website speed is to keep your installation clean, efficient, and specific to your exact needs.

 

We Are Proud Website Sponsors For Reach For Kids!

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This is a quick mention for the great people that run Reach For Kids. We recently have had the pleasure to team up and offer our website maintenance services for this organization.

Reach For Kids is a resource guide for parents with special needs kids in the Greater Houston area. Their goal is to help provide resources and information to parents that address a wide range of needs and disabilities.

On a more personal note, I have a daughter with special needs and know that the culture surrounding attending therapy, managing different medical specialist, and seeking positive direction is very challenging.

I encourage any parents with similar circumstances to check out the fantastic resources that Reach For Kids has listed on their website.

Customer Spotlight - Lois Gibson Forensic Artist

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We like to highlight the great folks who allow us to do what we do on a day to day basis. This customer spotlight is dedicated to Lois Gibson, an extraordinary Forensic Artist.

We have had the pleasure of implementing (website maintenance and web design/development services) with Lois over the years and her work and the stories that surround her craft is simply short of amazing.

Does the name ring a bell? Who Lois Gibson?
Lois Gibson is recorded in The Guinness Book of World Records as "The World's Most Successful Forensic Artist." Her sketches have helped law enforcement identify more than 751 criminals. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors and the FBI Academy Forensic Artist Course.

She teaches this profession at The Institute of Forensic Art in Houston, Texas. Her focus is to help as many artists as possible to become forensic art professionals before she retires. Her unique five-day class gives students everything they need to enter the forensic art profession.

We encourage you to explore her work.

Getting Started With Taboola Native Advertising - What It's Like

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So, coming from the world of organic SEO and PPC services such as Adwords and Bing Ads - one might be a bit reluctant to dive in to the world of Native Advertising. I mean, aren't these the little trashy ads below articles when reading a click-bait article? I thought so at least but I couldn't have been more wrong.

Why Taboola
Now, there are a few big hitters out there for Native Ads, but today I want to reflect on my experience with kicking off a "from scratch" campaign with Taboola. First off, when I say "from scratch" I mean it, I literally saw a clever sponsored Facebook video snippet from Taboola, remembered the strange name and typed it in the next morning. Why? Because I was burnt out on the high cost and competition of the new search engine standard being PPC.

Getting Started With Taboola
Again, being a long time user of PPC services I was used to speed, approval, and ready to burn some cash on what I thought was going to be a fast process. So, I entered into a simple and incredibly straightforward account, campaign, and creative setup then submitted my information. Easy enough right? Then, I was completely taken back that Taboola came back with a 1 to 2 day review/approval process. Now at first this bothered me, then once approved I realized how much I appreciated the fact that Taboola does in fact have quality standards. I was then granted access to a shrine of nifty targeting controls, tracking, and unique methods to tailor my Ad viewership. 

Going Live With Taboola
When my Ad went live, I saw near immediate tracking based on their easy to implement pixel code. I was also able to setup very simple conversion markers based on my domain name end-points. The traffic began to steadily come through at an easy to swallow 42 cents per click (give or take) and since my audience was for the US only I have not seen one stray "out of country" click. Now being new with the Taboola platform I do not expect immediate conversions or the same conversion ratio compared to PPC services for that matter. However, based on my experience thus far I expect I can use the Taboola platform to my advantage and can clearly see this as a great tool for targeted traffic.

So, what are your thoughts on Taboola or Native Advertising in general? I would live to know what has worked for you and what you found valuable when working with Native Ads.

Why You Are Getting Clicks From Other Countries – Adwords

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We just wanted to give a quick mention about target locations within Adwords. Adwords can be complicated and there is one specific setting that can make or break your campaign as well as cost you unwanted click spends during the duration of your ad.

So, you set your target location, you setup your ad, your budget and your campaign is cruising along. While you are monitoring your paid traffic you are noticing that almost ALL of your clicks are from a different country that was not specified (ie, Inda, Russia, etc.). Why is this?

Well, most likely you forgot one critical setting. Here is how to ensure you avoid this misstep.

Under campaign settings, expand the Location tab. Then expand Location Options. Here you want to ensure that you select. "People in your targeted locations" instead of "People in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations".

This will restrict those in other countries from searching, finding, and clicking your ads which can eat up your budget.

The Truth About Using A Sitebuilder Service such as Wix, Weebly or Squarespace

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You have come to terms with the fact that your new project, service or business needs a new site. You are pumped, you are eager to get started, you have visions of people using your site and all the success it will bring. Then you realize you have no clue how much you should spend on getting your site developed.

Site builder platforms like Wix, Squarepace, and Weebly look great at first glance. The pricing seems good, the showcase of designs look extraordinary and you figure this will be perfect for your new site.

I am not here to bash, but I am here to let you know that these services are not all what they are cracked out to be. I do not want to say they are a trend or fad, however can say with certainly that we more often than not are contacted to come to the rescue to rebuild websites away from these platforms. Here is why:

Price and Time Traps
Believe it or not, it still takes work to make these website look awesome and you better be ready to put the time to learn the ropes or shell out some additional cash to make this happen.

The After Affect
You make it past the design phase, and your new site is launched. Did you do it right? Are their pre-defined SEO tools enough to make you stand out from the crowd? The process was easy, do you really feel like it should be this easy to have a killer site that outshines your competitors?

Limitations and Growth
So you are ok with all of the above, all systems are a "go" and you are happy with your new website as well as how it performs. You have decided that you want to add some cool features or advanced functionality to your site, you might even be thinking about contracting out to have someone else handle the maintenance to your site. This is usually where we are forced to step in, sites built on these builder platforms are not only confined to their web hosting but are also confined to the functionality that is predefined within their site builder software.

In most situations the end result of the site builder saga (after 3 or 4 months) entails a rebuild of the website on a self-hosting / stand-alone or custom platform to achieve the freedom one would typically want with any website. Our advice, skip the builders, properly establish a budget, and engage in a proper site discovery process with a developer/designer who you can consult with to achieve your vision from the start.

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