Feb 25, 2012

7 Proven Unique Ways in Reducing your WordPress Blog Bounce Rate

7 Proven Unique Ways in Reducing your WordPress Blog Bounce Rate  阅读原文»

Bounce rate is always a big problem for bloggers particularly for these reasons:

1.) High bounce rate means that readers do not engage with their blog too often; a sign of poor blogging quality.

2.) Higher bounce rate can correlate with low blog income because visitors view more pages resulting in less page views. Higher page views are always important for increased blog income or conversion rate.

Well there a lot of classic techniques to reduce bounce rate which you should already be implementing:

1.) Improving faster website loading.
2.) Quality content.
3.) Good website design.

It is recommended to focus on the first three techniques above before proceeding with the rest of the tips discussed in this tutorial. There are lot of great tutorials that you can find on the web.

OK let's discuss some rare tips on how you can minimize blog bounce rate. These methods have been tested to work.

Tip#1: Increase your overall blog post font size by 1px or 2px

Benefit: Around 0.5% to 1% reduction in Bounce rate

Details: Sounds so simple isn't it? The concept is that smaller font size discourages your readers to engage/read in the blog too often, simply because it's very hard to read. Of course they can zoom it out with their browser, but this is not the way most of your users would behave.

To improve your font size:
1.) Install Firebug in your Firefox browser.
2.) Go to any of your blog posts and load them completely.
3.) In your Firefox, go to Web Developer � Firebug. Enable click an element to inspect and go to your existing blog post paragraph. On the right, it will return the CSS affected line used by blog post with the font size. Scroll down until you see like this:

Since its 12px try changing it to 14px. You will immediately notice that the content appears more readable than before. To permanently implement these changes, edit your CSS file and upload it back to your server.

Note: While increasing font sizes are good, too much of it can be detrimental. So use your eyes to decide whether the readability of your post would improve or worsen with increasing font sizes.

Also blend the increase of font size in your post with the font sizes used in your sidebar, ads, etc. to maintain a consistent look and feel in your blog.

Tip#2: Reduce the height of your header

Benefit: Around 1% to 3% reduction in Bounce rate

When your pages loads slow in some instances (slow connection in the part of your user) and your header section is very high. Chances are users do not immediately see the content and bounce back to where they came. You need to reduce this height to a minimum. It simply takes a simple CSS work. For example, this is the original header (enclosed in yellow):

The height of that is 90px. Now this is the reduced version (around half of the original height). It now looks cleaner and simple. The RSS feed which is not so useful has also been removed.

One reason why reducing header height can reduce bounce rate is that your most important content and links should now be more visible above the fold.

Tip#3: Show related & popular posts above the fold

Benefit: Around 3% to 5% reduction in Bounce rate

When user are reading your posts, sometimes they need to find out more information relating to that post. So show them all the related and popular posts in your blog for better user experience. It is important to show them above the fold so that users can get an immediate idea what are your other blog important contents. This would make them stick longer to your blog resulting in a lower the bounce rate.

To show them:

1.) Download YARRP and activate the plugin.

2.) Download WordPress popular post plugin and activate it also. Configure to return graphics for more eye catching popular post

2.) Make sure both related and popular post links are viewable above the fold. Use this above the fold tool to check.

Tip#4: Reduce Ads above the fold

Benefit: Around 3% to 10% reduction in Bounce rate

This is self-explanatory but if you have a lot of ads above the folds; it will tend to scare serious readers in your blog. It is because you are giving them an impression that your blog is made for advertisement and not for showcasing serious content.

Therefore, reduce the ads. It is recommended to have at least one solid ads above the fold (Google Adsense for example). The big rectangle ads besides your content. Configure it to return thelargest font size for biggest impact. If you using Google Adsense, adhere to the best practices of Google AdSense placement.

If you are using in-text advertising such as Infolinks, consider limiting the number of links to at most 3 per post.

Tip#5: Open all external links in new window

Benefit: Around 1% to 3% reduction in Bounce rate

This is self-explanatory. External links contribute to your bounce rate because once the user clicks on it, they are technically leaving the site.

However, by opening all external links in new window; your visitors is still on your site. To do this easily, you will be using the open external links in new window plugin. Simply upload and activate them in your WordPress admin. You do not need to set any settings.

Tip#6: Show "Next" post at the bottom or interactively

Benefit: Around 3% to 10% reduction in Bounce rate

One classic technique implemented by New York Times is that you will be presented with "Next post" which will animated at the bottom of the post. This looks like this:

This can be realized by downloading upPrev Previous Post Animated Notification plugin.

Upload the plug-in; activate then do the following:

1.) In your Worpress post single template. Add this somewhere at the end of your posts:

<div id="nextpostdisplay"></div>

2.) Then in the upPrev configuration in your WordPress admin settings, configure as shown in the screenshot:

Tip#7: Internal linking power

Benefit: Around 3% to 5% reduction in Bounce rate if your blog have a lot of posts and lot of internal links.

Finally; when you are writing or editing posts; do not forget to link to your other posts naturally. Internal linking is a long proven method of reducing bounce rate.

The following are the tips:

1.) Link using consistent anchor text throughout the blog. For example, if you link to post X using widget as the anchor text. Then make sure that in all of your other post; you are linking to post X using widget as the anchor text.

This consistent linking cannot only help reduce bounce rate but it helps the ranking of post X in search engines for the keyword X.

2.) Make sure that you know your strong ranking keywords in search engines and what are the ranking WordPress posts. Then implement strategy#1 to interlink your posts using those keywords and ranking blog posts.

As a summary if you have completely implemented the seven tips in this tutorial. You should be expecting a 5% to 10% overall reduction in bounce rate in most cases.

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Feb 21, 2012

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SOPA

*Image Credit:http://www.aleanjourney.com/2012/01/stop-sopa.html

 

ManyWordPress blogging communities are facing the intense amount of pressure with the current bill where SOPA was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives by Represenative Lamar Smith on October 26, 2011. Some hosting companies opt to support SOPA while many others hosting companies opt to oppose SOPA as they believe this act violates the freedom of speech by using the internet.

To clarify most internet users what is SOPA, we will have to begin with two simple summary of these two bills as reported by 1stwebdesigner and also Brian Koenig:

 

PIPA


PIPA, is the abbreviation for Protect IP Act.

So what is PIPA?

PIPA will give U.S. corporations and the government the right to seek affirmative legal action with any website that they see as enabling copyright infringement whether of U.S. origin or not. Here is a breakdown of all that they will have the power to do.

  • Force U.S. internet providers to block access to websites deemed as enablers of copyright infringement
  • Seek legal action by suing search engines, blog sites, directories, or any site in general to have the black listed sites removed from their website
  • Having the rights to force advertising services on infringing websites, and those supporting of them, to remove them from their advertising accounts
  • Companies will also have the power to sue any new websites that get started if they believe that they are not doing a good job of preventing infringement on your website

 

SOPA


SOPA, is the abbreviation for Stop Online Piracy Act.

So what is SOPA?

SOPA will work in closely with PIPA. SOPA is nothing more so than the U.S. government and private corporations black list.Here is a breakdown of the power given to the government and private corporations.

  • The U.S. Attorney General can now seek a court order that would force search engines, advertisers, DNS providers, servers, and payment processors from having any contact with allegedly infringing websites
  • It will allow private corporations to create their own personal hit lists composed of websites they feel are breaking their copyright policies, ironically this doesn't have any odd feelings of a legal mafia at all. These companies will be able to directly contact a website's payment processors a notice to cut all off payment involvement with the targeted website. This payment processors and website of question will then have five days to act before it is simply taken down.
  • Payment processors will have the power to cut off any website they work with, as long as they can provide a strong reason of why they believe this site is violating copyrights.

These are some of the hypothetical outcome on how SOPA/PIPA can affect you:

  • Blog sites could be blocked or shut down (without any legal oversight)
  • Crippling burden on intermediary sites like YouTube and Facebook
  • Copyright holdersalreadyhave the power to take down offending material.
  • Say goodbye to innovation
  • Legal action over a child singing a song
  • U.S. Government hopes they will spark global change (other countries will follow suit)

 

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Feb 19, 2012

Unique Ways to Improve WordPress Blog Loading Speed

Unique Ways to Improve WordPress Blog Loading Speed  阅读原文»

OK you might already know the most basic tips in improving WordPress blog speed which are:

a.) Using caching plug-ins
b.) Using gzip plug-ins
c.) Implementing Content delivery network (CDN)

There are a lot of tutorials on these topics found in the web. However this post would look into the less-talked approaches on how you can improve your WordPress blog loading speed. Let's get started.

Use Google Libraries for JS framework like jQuery

Most WordPress blogs and plug-ins use jQuery framework to add JavaScript effects on the site. jQuery can reduce JavaScript coding time and make can you efficient at coding JavaScript whether you will be using it in your theme or in a plug-in.

The following are some of the causes why a JS framework like jQuery can slow down a WordPress blog:

a.) If it's sent by the server to the user browser uncompressed. The file size is obviously bigger and takes a longer time to be loaded completely.

b.) If it's hosted in your own server then the latency or ping is higher for those users accessing your site that is located very far from your server.

Solution: The best solution is to use Google Libraries plug-in.

This plugin would automatically change all jQuery references (or even other JS libraries such as Mootools, Prototype, etc.) from your own server to use Google hosted libraries. So instead of having a jQuery reference to the default wp-includes/js/jquery, it will be changed FROM:

<script type='text/javascript' src='http://www.php-developer.org/wp-includes/js/jquery/jquery.php?ver=1.4.2'></script>

TO:

<script type='text/javascript' src='http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.7.1/jquery.min.js'></script>

If it some instances, it won't work even after clearing the cache. Refer to the troubleshooting points:

1.) Open your theme functions.php and remove this line:

wp_enqueue_script( 'jquery' );

2.) Since you are now using Google libraries, it would be automatically replaced with:

<script type='text/javascript' src='http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.7.1/jquery.min.js'></script>

This is initially found in the head section of your HTML source code.

3.) Some themes loaded their own jQuery in the head section. You can open the header.php of your template and try removing all those jQuery references (do not forget to back up your original header.php). Your objective is that there is only one jQuery line or loaded in your template.

Move JavaScript to the bottom and CSS on top

One essential technique is put all JavaScript at the bottom and leave the CSS at the top (header section). The primary reason is that JavaScript would block parallel loading of elements.

Ideally, you would put the JS files in the bottom so that it won't interfere with the loading process. Also you should put all CSS references in the head section for efficient loading of stylesheets.
To transfer JS elements on the footer (e.g. jQuery) follow the steps below:

1.) Go to your themes functions.php.
2.) Back up your functions.php script.
3.) Open your functions.php and paste the following code in the top most part of the script.

<?php

//First remove all JS loaded in the head section

remove_action('wp_head', 'wp_print_scripts');
remove_action('wp_head', 'wp_print_head_scripts', 9);
remove_action('wp_head', 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 1);

//Load JS at the footer of the template

add_action('wp_footer', 'wp_print_scripts', 1);
add_action('wp_footer', 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 1);
add_action('wp_footer', 'wp_print_head_scripts', 1);?>

?>

4.) Upload or save the changes to functions.php.
5.) Reload your page. If you are using a caching plugin, you need to delete the cache and delete your browser cache/history. Reload it again.
6.) JS files like jQuery should now be located in the footer section of your template such as:

<div id="footer">
<script type='text/javascript' src='http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.7.1/jquery.min.js'></script>
</div>

Reduce Webpage Loading size and Optimize database

Even if you have cached and gzip your blog, things can still be slow if your webpage is very large in size. What makes a very large web page?

1.) Things that are loaded by WordPress in your wp_head() which are unnecessary and clutters the head section of your template.
2.) Unused references to JavaScript and plug-ins.
3.) Very large image sizes.
4.) Lots of cluttered/useless information in the WordPress MySQL database.

To solved these issues.

A.) Removing a cluttered WP Head
1.) Edit your theme functions.php script.
2.) Copy and paste the code below:

<?php
remove_action('wp_head','wp_generator');
remove_action( 'wp_head', 'feed_links_extra', 3 );
remove_action( 'wp_head', 'feed_links', 2 );
remove_action( 'wp_head', 'rsd_link' );
remove_action( 'wp_head', 'wlwmanifest_link' );
remove_action( 'wp_head', 'index_rel_link' );
remove_action( 'wp_head', 'parent_post_rel_link', 10, 0 );
remove_action( 'wp_head', 'start_post_rel_link', 10, 0 );
remove_action( 'wp_head', 'adjacent_posts_rel_link', 10, 0 );
?>

Make sure the place the above code in the top-most part of your functions.php. See screenshot below:

3.) Save the changes and upload it back to your WordPress server.
4.) Reload any of your WordPress post and see the HTML source code. You should not see anymore those not so useful dynamically generated HTML tags such as the WP meta tag generator like this:

<meta name="generator" content="WordPress 3.3.1" />

Bear in mind that if you do not see these changes because you might be using a caching plugin and you need to clear it first.

B.) Removing unused JavaScript files, etc.
Your theme might be loading some JavaScript framework but it's not using it. To confirm by looking at the source code and examine the presence of the following JS framework. Example:

a.) Moo tools

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.yoursite.com/wp-content/themes/js/moo.js"></script>

b.) Protoype:

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.yoursite.com/wp-content/themes/js/prototype.js"></script>

Another tips is that you can remove unused plug-ins (delete them from your WordPress plug-in directory). You can also remove redundant plug-ins and use the WordPress built-in functionality if it is provided. A good example is the following plug-ins:

a.) Canonical URLs plugin � WordPress has a built in link rel canonical support, so it's good to disable this to save some overheads.

b.) Wp-spamfree- WordPress has Akismet so try installing Akismet only for anti-comment spam. Another plug-in can introduce some JS or CSS in the head of your template which can slow down website loading.

2.) Duplicate jQuery loaded.

These are caused by the plugins which does not properly call jQuery in their source code resulting in duplication. You can either contact the plugin author to rewrite it or remove the duplicate jQuery loaded if you know some coding.

You can as well replace the problematic plug-in with other compatible/cleanly coded plugins.

C.) Reduce Image sizes

The standard image dimension depends also on the width of your WordPress post. However you have two methods here. Using plug-in to reduce image sizes:

Method1.) Use WP-Smush it plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-smushit/. This will reduce the image file size without dramatically reducing the quality of your WordPress post images.

Method2.) Don't use a plugin. Instead download your entire WordPress post images to your desktop and manually convert the image file sizes to uniform/compressed sizes such as 20KB.

So in this example, if you have 80kB images, 75kb images, etc; it will all be converted to 20KB using an image processing software such as Irfanview (with RIOT plugin enabled).

The disadvantage of method 1 is that it adds additional plugin which can increase the overhead of your WordPress server (CPU and memory usage). On the other hand, the disadvantage of method 2 is that reducing all images to a uniform file sizes such as 20KB or 25KB can dramatically affect the image quality on some images.

D.) Optimize WordPress MySQL database

This is really simple. Over time your MySQL database can have cluttered/useless information left by spam commen

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