Keeping user experience top of mind should be the ultimate goal of any food blogger.
What is user experience? It is the experience and interaction your readers have with your site. You want your readers to have a positive experience on your site so they keep coming back. That’s the goal!
One way to do that is to have a fast loading website. Let’s face it, a reader may leave a website to another site if the site is (a) too slow and (b) if it’s not a complete resource.
For this article, we’re focusing on site speed as a way to improve user experience. Not only do readers appreciate fast loading sites but search engines consider website speed a ranking factor.
Without further ado, here are 5 tips you can implement to improve site speed which in turn will improve user experience overall.
1. Choose a good web host
A hosting service is basically a place for your blog to live on the Internet. A lot of bloggers choose BlueHost, GoDaddy, or SiteGround when they first start but they were epic fails for me.
My site crashed in Fall 2017 during the busiest week of the year (Thanksgiving!) and it was just an overall bad experience for me. Don’t let the same thing happen to you!
As soon as I switched to WPOPT, it has been nothing short of AMAZING! They prioritize site speed which is super important for SEO. They respond fairly quickly to support questions.
Not to mention, the price is beyond inexpensive no matter what your traffic numbers look like. Trust me on this, go with them from the beginning, it’s SO worth it.
2. Download the WP Rocket plugin
WP Rocket is a caching plugin used to keep your site running efficiently and loading fast. Once installed and activated, the plugin pretty much starts working immediately.
It will turn on caching with optimal settings for your website. It doesn’t hurt if you clear out your cache every so often to make sure your site is always the lightest it can be.
3. Download the Shortpixel plugin
As food bloggers, we share a lot of photos on our blogs. If your photos are too heavy on the server and not optimized, however, your site speed will suffer, your page tanking may tank and your user experience will not be a positive one.
I use Shortpixel to optimize all my images. Shortpixel is an image optimization plugin made to make websites load faster after compressing your images without affecting quality. Highly recommend!
4. Clean up your WordPress
I was always a little neurotic about keeping my website lean and clean. I didn’t redesign my blog until February 2018 so you don’t necessarily have to get a brand new custom site to increase your page views (although I’m sure it will help). Personally, I had a janky $30 theme when I was first starting out.
The only difference is that I was adamant about my site design being clean, light, and easy to navigate. I removed unnecessary plugins, popups, and/or widgets. They slow down websites, no matter how cute they look.
5. Don’t place ads on your site
Ok, hear me out, the last tip to improve user experience is to not place ads on your site until you have a large audience. This is an unpopular opinion but it’s important. Ads can be intrusive and slow down sites making it a negative experience for your readers.
Speaking from personal experience, I had ads on my site when my audience was very small. The number of complaints I received was not worth $50 I was receiving from ads every month.
I had them removed and all was well with the world again. So don’t worry about monetizing at the beginning, you’ll have that chance later and it will be well worth the wait. For now, focus on creating high-quality content and growing your page views.
That’s all folks! Hope that was helpful!