Over the past several years, I have learned how important your website page loading time is.
My main residual income site is a membership site. It has 26,000 members on it, and there is a lot of dynamic content on it. Dynamic content is content that individualizes each members experience when they login. If member x is a gold member, he gets a different landing page when he logs in than member y a free member.
This is a lot of calculations on the fly your database has to make, and with this comes slower loading times. Especially with my site that has 12 different membership levels.
With slower load times, comes lower conversion which equals less money. 🙁
So with a membership, I have found that besides all the regular stuff you have to do like, create content, (or automate it… 🙂 ), answer questions (automate it faq’s page), make marketing funnels, optimize pages, split test, etc, etc , you need to make sure your site pages load fast. It CAN BE the single biggest factor to increasing your income without any other work needed. If your pages are loading in over 2-5 seconds, you have a serious problem and are effecting your conversion rates by astronomical numbers. Case in point. My site sales pages that are important to my business were completely loading in 5-7 seconds. When I reduced that to below 2 seconds, my conversions skyrocketed and off the same amount of traffic I was receiving, my income went up by 40% INSTANTLY!
Imagine you have an online business that you have worked really hard setting up. You build a website, tweaked it over and over again, found contractors to do work for you, wrote content, hired writers, and you were getting by making a living. Then one day, you found a simple hack in speeding up your website, and suddenly with no further effort on your part, you got a 40% increase in income overnight. How would that grab you? You just went from getting by, to creating lifestyle, all within 1 day!!
Well it grabbed me enough for me to realize that speed is the number 1 important factor for making money on your site. An ugly fast site that loads in under 1 second, will outperform a beautifully crafted masterpiece website that takes 7 seconds to load.
So how do we fix this?
A caching plugin is the answer. A caching plugin simply strips away all the dynamic elements of a website, and creates a static html page, and serves this instead of your php page. Now there are several problems with using a caching plugin on a membership site, so I will go into that in this article a little later. First here is a list of caching plugins for your wordpress website that you can install with a few clicks and start to configure to get your page loading times down to sub 2 seconds loading time.
Caching Plugin List.
- Comet Cache
- Cache Enabler
- Hyper Cache.
There are more, but these are the most common ones download from the wordpress suppository.
What do I use?
I have used just about all the ones above over the years, but what I have finally settled on is WP-FastestCache PREMIUM version. The premium version adds some features that give me more control and more rules to make sure things don’t go bad by caching pages that cause me problems.
And oh boy, did it take quite a bit of monkeying around and several attempts, and to be honest several months of me taking caching on and off of my site due to the problems it was causing. Caching members sites is a very tricky business, but if you can get it right, it is a must. It is the single biggest factor to your bottom line in getting your site page loading times under 2 seconds. I use this very plugin on this site to make it fast. You probably notice how fast the pages are right? Well on this site it was easy, because I have no membership site here. I just have pages that can remain static, and nothing can go really wrong.
However, on my income site, this was typically what would happen.
I would cache the site, and things would work great, for about 2-3 days. Then all hell broke loose. My registration pages would stop working. Or members would login and get logged out pages, so they could not get the content they paid for. This is just the tip of the iceberg in problems that caching a membership site does. It literally was driving me stark raving mad. What can I do to fix this? Why is this happening? The questions kept coming, but the answers didn’t. I could not find the answers with my normal “googling” which is pretty much how I learned everything that I do.
But last month, after battling with caching for the past 2 years taking it on and off my site, I finally broke through. I finally found the perfect configuration for my income site. I finally found something that doesn’t break after a few days, and doesn’t screw up my members when they are navigating through the membership side of the site.
WP-Fastest Cache premium, allows you to exclude specific urls from caching. Some pages, simply should not be cached. But it was more than that. There are dynamic elements on pages, where I want the pages cached, but not the specific element on the page, and WP-Fastest Cache Premium can do that too. It also has timeout rules that allow you to clear the cache on specific time intervals. Plus much more.
I also have work done on this site everyday. Which means cache needs to be cleared, and I hated having 70,000 pages cached and having it to start over, so I hired a custom wordpress plugin developer to make me an add on for WP-Fastest Cache that allows me to bulk select pages, or posts, and clear, or cache them with the standard bulk editor that comes in WordPress.
And BOOM! I have permanently solved my caching issues, and my site load times are under 2 seconds site wide.
Here is what happens when you have a very large site with over 100,000 pages, that loads fast…..
Google starts throwing more search engine traffic at you, because google likes fast loading websites. So as an added bonus, my site that got 600 visitors a day, went to 1200 visitors a day in less than 3 months. What happens when you double traffic, and conversion at the same time? Your income blows up.
So is speed important for your wordpress website?
Hell yes. It is the single biggest determining factor in your bottom line. Over website appearance, sales copy, and everything else that seems so important. These other things are important, but trust me when I say, that poor sales copy pages that load in under 1 second will outperform beautiful crafted sales pages that take 5-7 seconds to load. I have split tested the shit out of this, and the fast shitty page, always outperforms the beautiful slow loading pages. The goal should always be under 2 seconds complete loading of page, and even under 1 second if you can.
Here are some tools to check your website page.
I have said, that I would not help small business anymore, as I am retired because of my internet marketing efforts partly based on this post, but this is a real passion for me, so if you need help configuring your website, and I am going to consider trading times for dollars, this is something that I know will impact your bottom line dramatically, and it definitely takes some tweaking to get it just right, so here is what I propose.
Your traffic to your site is over 1000 unique visitors per month
Your site is relatively attractive, but slow loading
You are already getting sales, and have your conversion numbers
Then I might help you.
Here is the conditions. You email me here and tell me your total unique visitors monthly, you tell me what hosting you are using, (shared, vps, or dedicated) and are willing to pay me to trade my time for dollars ($150.00/hr) I will analyze your request, and if I can help you I will take the job. I will need a 3 hour retainer. Each website, needs to be setup, and tested until there are no bugs. Average job time for something like this, is usually 3-6 hours in total, but divided over a week, to make sure everything is running bug free. If your website is already making money, this is a pittance to the increase in conversions you will see with a faster website loading time.
Other than that, if you just want to do it yourself, I would recommend the WP-Fastest-Cache premium plugin. It is the best one I used besides Rocket Cache, but I never did get Rocket cache to work well with my membership site. If your site is not a membership site, this is a relatively easy job, and the retainer of $450.00 will most likely cover the job. If you need to use a CDN to serve files from different servers, it will take longer. I don’t use CDN on my website, and I get 500,000 page views on my income site every month. Also, I receive 36,000 unique visitors and most people think a CDN is needed for this much traffic, but I used a dedicated server with only the 1 site on the server.
I don’t mention the site name, because I have learned from the past, this invites trouble from hackers, and maliciously intent type of people. I will not EVER reveal this site to any client, so don’t bother asking. I don’t need the work. The site is good enough, but if I can help someone get past the hurdle I had, it would be my pleasure.