Simple tips to make your website load faster (not too techy)

Here I am, I who I consider myself tech-savvy and I know how to make nice websites etc etc… being sloppy and making rookie mistakes that affect the speed of a website I have been building.

If you have a slideshow or use many images on your website (first page or more pages) it’s is imperative to optimize these images for the web. Even if you make a mock-up, make sure that the images are well optimized.

A general rule is to not have images more than 500kb in size, but I believe if you range between 600-800kb, then you are fine.

So here are a couple of things you need to do:

  1. If you download stock images, make sure you reduce their dimensions (pixels) to fit your website properly.
  2. If you are using WordPress the following one is a must-do thing, IMO. This is kind of technical but just copy-paste what I show you here. You need to have access to your files via FTP or some sort of file manager. Then locate the .htacess file and copy-paste the following:
    #Customize expires cache start - adjust the period according to your needs
    <IfModule mod_expires.c>
      FileETag MTime Size
      AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain text/html text/xml text/css application/xml application/xhtml+xml application/rss+xml application/javascript application/x-javascript
      ExpiresActive On
      ExpiresByType text/html "access 600 seconds"
      ExpiresByType application/xhtml+xml "access 600 seconds"
      ExpiresByType text/css "access 1 month"
      ExpiresByType text/javascript "access 1 month"
      ExpiresByType text/x-javascript "access 1 month"
      ExpiresByType application/javascript "access 1 month"
      ExpiresByType application/x-javascript "access 1 month"
      ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access 1 month"
      ExpiresByType application/pdf "access 1 month"
      ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access 1 year"
      ExpiresByType image/jpg "access 1 year"  
      ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access 1 year"
      ExpiresByType image/png "access 1 year"
      ExpiresByType image/gif "access 1 year"
      ExpiresDefault "access 1 month"
    </IfModule>
    #Expires cache end

    What it does is that it sets some expiration dates for the resources of your website. You can read more here:ย  and this article also explains how to do the above by using a plugin, so you won’t have to worry about FTP or accessing files ๐Ÿ™‚

There are way more things that you can do that can help your website to load faster, but the above steps are a good start.

I also use the following “website speed check services”:

https://gtmetrix.com/

and

https://tools.pingdom.com/

 

which are great free tools that can help you check if your site is fast enough or help you identify any problematic areas.

I hope my mini-guide will help you and if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.

If I know I’ll be happy to help ๐Ÿ˜€

 

Free vs Paid WordPress themes: Do I need to buy one?

I might appear controversial on this one but my honest opinion is that if you are starting now as a blogger I highly recommend you get a free theme from the official WordPress theme selection.

If you are a business one can argue that you should invest in a premium theme, for aesthetic reasons, and that could be true. However, there are plenty of good looking free themes that would suit perfectly a small business website.

Pros of free WordPress themes

Well, for one, they are free. And in the beginning, if you are starting as a blogger, you probably have a tight budget so there is no reason in buying a premium theme just yet. Right now, you need to focus on the actual blogging in order to learn what it takes to blog effectively, to get familiar with the process, to find your niche, to find topics for your blog and these are things that you can do with most of the free themes. Once you get more experienced you can invest in something premium.

Also, I need to point out that when I say free WordPress themes I mean the ones that can be found in the official WordPress gallery.

free wordpress themes

I wouldn’t recommend getting themes from 3rd party developers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are fantastic free themes but it’s not always easy (or guaranteed) that you will get support if you have a problem or a bug. Additionally, free themes might be slow to load due to not well-structured files. I mean there might be many different style files (CSS) or big chunks of code from add-ons that can compromise the speed. If you are a beginner there is no need to search elsewhere. Go to the WordPress theme bank and I’m sure you will find a good looking theme to suit your style ๐Ÿ™‚ that’s what I did when I started ๐Ÿ™‚

Where do you find free WordPress themes?

You can find them through your Dashboard. Log in and go to Dashboard/Appearance/ Themes and Add new.

The advantage of using themes from here is that you can be certain that you will be receiving the latest updates so that your site will be safe and up-to-date.

Of course, there are some disadvantages so let’s talk about them as well.

What are the cons of Free WordPress themes

I guess the number one disadvantage is that you have the risk of sharing the same layout as millions of other WordPress users. But of course, you can upload your own custom graphics and images and transform it so that you give it its own personality ๐Ÿ™‚

Another thing is that there is a limit to available features and customization that a free theme has to offer. If you know how to code then you might be able to do many things but if you don’t, and honestly you don’t have to in order to be a blogger, you can only use what you get from the theme. But there are millions of free add-ons that can help to further customize your theme.

To buy or not to buy a WordPress theme? The conclusion:

Well, I stand by my original statement that you don’t need to purchase a premium theme if you want to enter the magical world of blogging.

However, if you want to start an online business (which if you do make sure you read my online business guide :)) then I would highly recommend buying a premium theme. You will most definitely need something advanced and you for sure need the technical support.

If you are just starting to blog now and you have questions about choosing a theme, let me know in the comments ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you for reading my article and I hope you found it useful. Feel free to share it with your friends.

How to step up your blogging game with attractive images on your posts

This is something I try to improve constantly on my articles and by no means am I perfect but and I will share with you my thoughts on how to step up your blogging game.

We, humans, are visual creatures. Well, audio also but in the blogging world, it’s visual that counts.

Reading is great, and attracting viewers by having nice titles and content is the n.1 thing you should do, but we don’t live in the 90s anymore where every word on the internet was important and we read every single one of them. Admittedly we tend to scan many of the articles nowadays and granted we don’t have the luxury of reading long articles always.

That’s why we need images. Images tell their own story and get the attention of the viewer. I try to use nice eye-catching images on this blog and I will tell you a few tips of how I do it.

Make use of the right image can make a difference and I’m always trying to improve my photo-shooting skills or Photoshopping skills.

I’m not affiliated with any of the following links but I really really like them so I will share them with you. If you are a new blogger – like me – and are lost I highly recommend taking advantage of them. The best part? They are free!

They have a huge selection of templates, designs images and pictures that a free to use, but they also have premium ones that are usually as cheap as 1$.

CANVA Print screen

  • Then we have Pexels.com a website with a great gallery of free images for you to download and use on your blog.

like this one:

girl working on her laptop in bed

  • My next tool of choice is my all time favourite Pixlr. This is an online image editor that can help you do wonders. Its editor is similar to Photoshop so if you are familiar with it it will be a piece of cake for you to use it. They have a great app as well that help you enhance your images in a very fast and easy way.

pixlr edito screen

All of the above tools are free (with premium features as well) but so far I’m covered with their free version.

I do believe that visual elements work positive in our brain and help digest the content in a more fan way so I hope my recommendations will help you with your blogging adventures and if you have questions or comments I will be happy to read them below.

See you next time ๐Ÿ™‚

 

How do you write the perfect blog post?

blogging image

Well, to be honest with you, I don’t know as I don’t write perfect blog posts but I write pretty nice ones and so I would like to share and explain with you how I do, so hopefully, I can help and inspire you to do the same.

First, you need to brainstorm. Ask yourself:

  • What am I going to write?
  • Why? What’s the purpose? (educational? entertainment? informative?)
  • To whom am I addressing my blog post?

These are the initial questions you need to ask yourself before you start writing. Maybe you have already a nice idea but ask these questions to help you built the story in a nice way.

Then work on the title. Or not yet. This is actually something that if you don’t have the inspiration at the beginning, wait until you’re done with your post and then work on the title.

A nice trick is to use Google to help you with inspiration and to show you which keywords work best.

For instance, if you want to write a mashed sweet potato recipe here are a few ideas:

So if you are stuck, use Google.

1. What about the main content then?

My suggestion is to try and have a beginning a middle and an end.

Break it down in small paragraphs. Some people do that, others don’t. I personally like small paragraphs as they are easier in the eye.

Additionally, having small paragraphs gives you the advantage and the possibility of using a heading before them (not on every single one) which can help with SEO. Headings can include good keywords that Google can pick up when people are searching for something similar, so why not do that as well?

Use your own personal style while writing. I believe you should try and resemble your voice. Don’t make it too professional if this isn’t you. I try to keep a friendly and casual tone on this blog. I don’t always succeed so I’m going to put a smiley here so you can see that I’m super friendly and super casual ๐Ÿ˜€

2. Let’s talk about blog posts images

Use images and use nice ones. Do you have a smartphone? Perfect. You can take great pictures with it. Experiment with light, with different angles so that you can create interesting images.

This is a picture I took:

If you are not good with photography there are many tutorials online that can help you become better. Youtube is a great search engine for photography tutorials so give it a go.

Here are some results that might help you:ย https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=how+to+take+photos+for+your+blog+with+your+smartphoneย 

Additionally, if you don’t want to try that then you can read my post where I explain how to find attractive images for your site. I explain how to create your own fancy images using Canva but in short, it’s mostly about finding nice quality images from the following website:

https://www.pexels.com/ย ย 

There I can find pictures like this:

Or this:

blogging image

I’m not affiliated with this website, I just discovered it recently and I love it so I’m sharing it with you ๐Ÿ™‚

3.I have written a great post and included killer images, now what?

Proofread it! Again, and again. Ask a friend if possible. I do it all the time. My poor sister has read most of my articles, whether she likes it or not ๐Ÿ˜› but she can easily spot mistakes that I have missed.

A new pair of eyes can spot mistakes easier than us because we have the text in our heads and somethings as we read it our eyes get tricked by our brain.

Pro tip: install Grammarly. I’m not affiliated but I love it. It has a premium version, but the free version is amazing for correcting the most common grammatical and spelling errors.

Remember the post categories

Also, make sure you have categories and tags that are related to your article. If it’s a recipe I suggest having a main category “Food” or “Recipes” and tags like “sweet potatoes” etc.

Once you are done with proofreading it hit that amazing PUBLISH button.

Use Social media to promote your blog post

Once you have published it share it to all the social media platforms you use. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (take a picture of that blog post or share the image and put the link on your bio) and definitely Pinterest.

I see a lot of activity in Pinterest so I suggest that if there was only one place you could share that has to be Pinterest.

Conclusion

In its basic form, this is pretty much the process of a blog post. There are more things that you can do such as in-depth keyword research to see what’s trending and what people are searching for but if you are just starting, then the above process is perfect to get you started and help you learn.

If you have more questions regarding writing the perfect post, or anything related that you want me to cover, let me know in the comments.

See you next time.

How to set up categories as menu items on WordPress.com – 2018

First, you need to access your dashboard on wordpress.comย 

To do that you need to login to wordpress.com, click on My sites:

my sites on wordpress.com

and on the left column menu, you need to scroll all the way down and find the WP Admin shortcut.

wp admin icon

Once you click it you will then be forwarded to your dashboard.

wp dashboard interface

From there go to your posts Menu and click on the Categories.

As you see I have already created a few but you can create a new by simply writing the name of the category on the field that I have marked an then click on Add category.

add new category on wordpress

 

Now that you have created a category I will show you to set up a page to show articles from that category only.

It’s very easy. You need to go to Appearance > Menus and click on Categories (marked with Green):

add category as menu on wordpress

Then you will be able to see all the existing categories. Check the one you want as a menu item and click on Add to menu. Then SAVE! Don’t forget it cause I often do and I wonder why it doesn’t work.

add to menu category

 

That’s it. Now there is a new menu item that shows articles from my category Eating.

website preview

How to find your dashboard in WordPress.com? Super easy and fast tutorial

You signed up to wordpress.com and you want to create your first post. You know that there is a dashboard somewhere but you scan’t find it. You end up in this reader/my sites page with basic posting capabilities. UUUggh, where is it?

It’s super easy and I will show you how to find it. I know it’s frustrating because I was frustrated myself. But worry not, Spacecookies come to the rescue.

I want you to login to your wordpress.com account as usual. You will probably end up on your Reader page and it will look something like this:

wordpress com dashboard

 

Next to the Reader that I have marked with read you see the word “My sites”. Click on it and you will be then taken to the following screen:

wordpress com my sites

 

Scroll down to that page and see on the left side menu at the button the word WP Admin. Click on the little square and arrow on the side:

wordpress com wp admin

Once you click it you will be then forwarded to your dashboard!

wordpress com admin panel

And that’s how you reach your WordPress.com dashboard. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and if you have any questions or comments don’t forget to leave them bellow.

xx

What is the difference of WordPress.org vs WordPress.com?

I know many are confused about this and I used to be like you. What is the difference between WordPress.Org and Wordpess.Com

I mean they are both named WordPress right?

The short answer is WordPress.ORG is self hosted and WordPress.COM is hosted on …well.. WordPress.COM

I know it’s confusing and I’ll try to explain as simple as I can so by the end of this very short post you will be able to tell the difference between these two platforms.

Let’s start with WordPress.org

WordPress.org is a website where you go and download a zip file, the wordpress application.

Then you need to buy a domain name and a hosting package. Your domain name is www.yourname.com and your hosting package is a space where you will be hosting your website and all its files.

The next step is to take the files you downloaded from WordPress.org, upload them to your server and go through a short installation which will lead to a brand new and clean WordPress website.

Some hosting services offer that inside their control panel which means you don’t need to download anything yourself. Just click on the WordPress logo in your control panel and it will install it itself.

And this is what a WordPress website is all about. Your only expenses are a domain name and a hosting package. The actual WordPress files are distributed for free.

What is WordPress.COM ?

In WordPress.com you don’t need to download anything or buy a hosting package or even a domain name (more on that in a while). All you need to do is open your browser, type in WordPress.com, create a new account, select a name for your site and that’s it.

You don’t need to worry about servers and downloading/uploading anything. Everything is already set up and all you need to think is adding content to your website.

The interfaces in both platforms are almost identical. One difference is that on wordpress.com, once you login you don’t see your dashboard but instead you see your reader feed, which is posts from other blogs that you follow as this is a feature of the .com version. It has a community and this is a way to share and read other people’s content. If you want to know how to reach your dashboard in wordpress.com see this extremely short tutorial.

So basically the main differences are:

.Org (self hosted)

Need: domain name, Hosting package, WordPress files

.Com (hosted on wordpress.com)

Need: a browser, domain name (optional).

I say optional because you can have everything for free but your website will have a domain name like this:
yourname.wordpress.com but you can purchase your own domain name, connect it and use on your wordpress.com. Additionally .com offers – if needed – extra features for a monthly fee.

Both platforms have their advantages and disadvantages. This website here is a self hosted wordpress.org site but I have worked with wordpress.com ones as well.

I love both.

It’s a matter of personal preferences and what you actual need.

If you have questions I’ll be more than happy to answer them so make sure you leave them in the comments ๐Ÿ™‚

And if you are using WordPress.com I would appreciate if you could answer these following questions- Thank you so much in advance!
Create your own user feedback survey

How to make your first WordPress post – Absolute beginner WordPress blog guide

Now that you have your WordPress website up and running, it’s time to write your fantastic content and fill it up with your blog posts.

This tutorial is aimed towards the absolute beginner that hasn’t used WordPress (.org the self-hosted one) before.

It is super easy and by the end of this post, you will know how to create posts and how to blog like a pro!

How to login to WordPress? It’s also super easy.

First, you need to login to your dashboard.

Go to your browser and type www.yourdomain.com/wp-login.php

Then a screen appears that asks for your username and password. Type them in and click on Login.

You will be then forwarded into your Dashboard. On the left side, there is a black vertical menu column. On the very top of the menu, you see the word Dashboard and right under it, you see the word Posts.

If you click on Posts you will enter the menu area where you are going to creating your very own posts.

Click on Add new.

You will then see an empty post screen. On top, there is the title field where you get to type your post’s title and under it, you see a large empty text area. This is where the magic happens. Here you can start typing your posts and creating your wonderful content.

This is how the one I’m writing right now looks like:

Once you are done you need to publish your blog. There a few more things you need to consider such as the type of post or format and the categories.

Type of posts or Format on WordPress

There are different post formats such as Standard (most common and recommended), gallery, quote, audio, etc.

Wordpress post format

We will stick to Standard for now as this is the default type so you don’t need to do anything else for the moment.

Post categories for WordPress

This is very important for sorting out your posts by theme. The default category on a brand new WordPress website is Uncategorized. We don’t want that.

You can create a few categories based on what you are planning to talk about. If you have a beauty website then maybe you want to have categories such as Cosmetics, Hair products, Body products or anything that is related to your genre.

The easiest way is to go to the categories field on the right of your post and click on Add new Category link, right at the bottom of the existing ones:

add new category

In my blog, I have a few different categories, however, I use mostly Technology as my main category and then, for example, Podcast for the ones I use audio clips.

Once you are done writing your post and you have chosen the right category then the only thing left is to publish it.

Hit the publish button and that’s it.

Your new post is now published and visible to your audience. Wasn’t that easy? Now it’s time to start writing your next post ๐Ÿ™‚

Stay tuned for more WordPress tutorials and happy blogging.

What do you need to make a wordpress (org) website – A basic guide for the absolute beginner

blogging image

Wordpress has become the most well known platform for creating websites. On this article I will explain in brief what are the necessary things you need to do to create your own WordPress site.

  1. Let’s start from the vary basics.

    You first need to have a name. Well it’s not necessary to begin with that step but it’s something that I usually do first.ย So you need to get a Domain name. In order to get oneย  you need to search for domain name providers. In many cases they provide a hosting package as well so it’s good if you can get a domain name and hosting from the same provider. It’s makes things a bit easier but if you can’t get both from the same provider, that’s no problem.

  2. Once you have found your desired domain name you can go ahead and buy it.

    The cost for that it’s very low and it can be something like 10 usd or 10โ‚ฌ. Maybe less, maybe more, it all depends on the name. After you have purchased it you need to set what is called Domain name servers or DNS. But let’s save that step for a second and jumb a bit forward to the hosting.

  3. In order to have a website up and running you also need a place to host it,

    so you need to find a web hosting provider and select a hosting package that suits your budget and your needs best. It can be something that can cost a few dollars or euros per month. Or if you budget allows it and if you think you are going to have lots of traffic then maybe you need to invest in something bigger, like 20โ‚ฌ a month. It’s up to you.

  4. After you have bought it you can then find your DNS and copy it to the Domain name control panel.

    Once you do that, in max 24 hours, you will have a domain name up and running. Now all you need is to give content to your name.

Many providers offer through their control panel automatic installation of WordPress with the press of one button. This is the easiest and most convenient way. You go to your control panel, you find the WordPress logo and you click on it. It’s usually very straightforward. You click one the logo which will then take you to a new screenย  where you get to select user name and password, a name for your site and that’s pretty much it.

Other providers don’t have that option but that’s no problem either. You just need to do a few extra steps. In most of the cases these steps are creating a database via your control panel – all of them have that function, I have yet to see one that doesn’t offer that- download WordPress, extract it, upload it through FPT or file manager to your server, install it (super easy) and that’s it. You can find a very simple guide here.

If you have read the entire article up to here, congratulations!

You now know how to make your own website, or at least what it takes to make one. It’s not hard and there are always people that are willing to help you . However if you are in the process of deciding to create your own website I suggest you give it a try yourself. The feeling of having built something yourself is very rewarding.

So please, if you followed the above guide , or any guide, I would be very interested to hear how it went for you.