7 ways to make your website load faster
Written by: Morten Malde

The speed and page load time of your website is extremely important and will affect the traffic to your website. Google distinguishes between fast and slow websites when ranking them and in cases where two websites has the same content, Google will prefer the faster one. Your websites page load time will also have a large impact on your visitors and potential customers as the bounce rate is much higher for slow than for fast websites. At PRO ISP we care about the speed and page load time for our clients websites. We therefore wish to give you some simple and easy ways to speed up your website.

Before performing any change, we recommend you test your website to see the differences before and after. Below you will find some simple tools to measure how fast your website is today:
Pingdom Tools (choose Stockholm before preforming the test).
GTMetrix (you cannot choose location without being registered).

load faster

1. PHP version

New versions of PHP are released continuously. They have improvements that will reduce the use of resources required to run a website build in PHP.

There are several benefits when switching to a newer and higher PHP version:
– They require less resources and are more efficient.
– The website will have more capacity for more traffic and load faster.

– Active support for security. On PHP 5.6 support for security support expires 31th of December 2018. (We are running «HardenedPHP» on all our servers so older PHP versions are secure).

You can change versions as much as you please to see which one works the best for your website. It is important the code/script you are running on the website is not outdated as this can cause problems with newer PHP version.

As long as everything is updated (whether it be WordPress, Joomla or other scripts) it will be able to run on PHP 5.6, but if the websites works well in PHP 7.0 that is the best option. PHP version can easily be changed in cPanel (control panel).

load faster

2. Compressing content

Most content can be compressed before being sent from the server to visitor. By compressing the content, it will reduce the amount to be transferred to the visitors and therefore reduce the load time for the website. This is available on all our severs and can easily be set up in the .htaccess file or by activating it in cPanel as shown in this guide.

load faster

3. Cache

There are several types of caching. This tip is for caching the website on the server. By having caching activated on a website, data will be stored, so that new requests of the same website and content will be retrieved from the cache and not the webserver itself. This reduces load time and makes the website considerably faster.

A large number of our clients use WordPress for their websites, but this tip also applies for other scripts (such as Joomla!, Drupal og Magento).

When using WordPress you can download and install plugins. There are several different cache plugins and if your web hosting is located on a LiteSpeed server you can use the LiteSpeed cache plugin which is the fastest one when we tested.

Other plugins that work well:
WP Super Cache
W3 Total Cache
Comet Cache
Simple Cache

When you have installed and activated one of these you can adjust the settings, but for most websites no adjustments will be necessary. If you have a website with low traffic you should change TTL for caching from standard to higher (432000 for example, which is 12 hours).

load faster

4. Keep everything updated and remove what you dont use

Often people install scripts on their web hosting and plugins within the scripts to test stuff. These are often forgotten or not being when the testing is completed. Even you have plans to maybe use them later you should remove them and rather install them when you need to use them.

Installations such as plugins, theme, extensions and modules not being used is a safety risk. The also use resources and disc space. By keeping everything updated you are better protected against hackers and other attacks. Should an update fail you can always restore from our external backup.

load faster

5. Optimize images

Images is one of the larger elements on a website. It is therefore important that they are optimized as much as possible. Use Google PageSpeed to analyze what can be improved including having all your images optimized in a zip-file for downloading and replacing existing images.

For WordPress, there are plugins to remove excess information from images which will reduce their size and optimizes the images. By using one of the plugins mentioned below you can optimize several images already posted on your website:
WP Smush
ShortPixel Image Optimizer
Imagify Image Optimizer
TinyPNG

load faster

6. SSL and HTTP/2

HTTP/2 is the latest version of the HTTP protocol and will improve the load time for websites considerably compared to the 1.1 version. The most popular web browsers have chosen to only support HTTP/2 over SSL (HTTPS), which means you will need to use an SSL certificate on your website to be able to use HTTP/2.

All our web hosting solutions include a free SSL certificate which covers the minimum demands for encryption and HTTP/2. You can easily install this as shown in the guide for configuration of Basis SSL. Even though this is free to install, we recommend all professional websites to purchase an SSL certificate with additional functions to increase your customers trust in your website and this way also increase conversions.

For the moment, our web hosting’s on Apache webservers do not support HTTP/2 even if you install an SSL certificate. This is because cPanel do not support it. It is expected cPanel will do something regarding this, but there is not set date for any solution. In order to use HTTP/2 you will need to have your web hosting on a LiteSpeed webserver which you can for free if you have Pro Medium or larger web hosting solution with PRO ISP.  Check if your web hosting is located on a LiteSpeed server via the client portal. Here you can also request transfer to a LiteSpeed webserver by following this guide on how to change server.

load faster

7. Use LiteSpeed webserver

In addition to the previous section on why you should use LiteSpeed webserver, you should also know these advantages of using LiteSpeed instead of Apache:

  • Static content is delivered up to 5 times faster than Apache
  • Dynamic content is delivered up to 40 times faster than Apache
  • HTTPS 3 times faster than Apache
  • Uses less of the server’s resources which causes it requires more before CloudLinux limits are reached = it takes more before the resource usage of your website is limited
  • Supports LiteSpeed cache plugin for WordPress
  • LiteSpeed was the first commercial webserver on the market and our experience is that new functionality and improvements are constantly being developed.

Our Apache servers uses a module based on LiteSpeed (mod_lsapi). This means the differences mentioned are not as dramatical on our web hosting solutions, but they are still considerably large enough to recommend LiteSpeed instead of Apache.

load faster

How To Make Your Website Load Faster
Written by: Isabelle

Your visitors or customers may not always experience superb net connection and it may take time to load a certain page of your website. However, most of the time, the root cause of the problem is your super slow website. It is important to speed up your website if you don’t want to lose your customers or visitors.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

According to research, 40% of people don’t hesitate to ditch the sites that need more than 3 seconds to load. It is important to test the speed of your website using Pingdom, Google PageSpeed Insights, DareBoost, and/or other website speed test tools. You need to give more importance to the speed result than the website score that the speed test tool has given.

Using Pingdom

load faster

Pingdom is probably the most favorite website speed test tool around. It is simple to use. All you need to do is enter your website URL in the provided space and hit the “Test Now” button. It will give you a summary of your web page performance that includes:

• The performance grade of your website.
• The number of requests.
• The load time of your website.
• The page size.

Pingdom also offers additional information, which can be found below the summary, that you can use to speed up your site.

Using Google PageSpeed Insights

load faster
The Google PageSpeed Insights can measure the speed of the desktop and mobile versions of your website. The range of score is between 0 and 100. A score of 85 or more only implies that your web page is performing well. You may choose to do something and speed up your website even more or wait until the next scheduled speed test. Take note that your website will not always yield favorable results. It is important to keep a regular speed test schedule to properly monitor the performance of your website.

The Different Ways to Speed Up Your Website

You need to provide the best experience to your customers and visitors when they come to your site. They won’t experience something great if your web pages take so much time to load. When the speed test did not give favorable results, there are things that you can do to speed up your site. You can try to look for a better hosting plan, make your images internet-friendly, eliminate website baggage, and/or cut down on external scripts. You can also optimize the CSS and JavaScript files. It is important to reduce HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) requests and use a content delivery network (CDN). Also, Google includes the site speed as one of the factors in determining the rank of a website.

Reduce External Scripts

The external scripts, such as the JavaScript code to add the extra feature to your site, create HTTP requests each time fresh page loads. The external scripts that may prevent to speed up your site are Facebook “like” boxes, external commenting systems, pop-up boxes, and website analytics services. This doesn’t mean you need to avoid them because they can somehow help your site. You can consult Pingdom once more and see which files consume too much time to load. You can either remove it or see how you can fix it.

Reduce HTTP Requests

Having too many HTTP requests won’t help speed up your website. Most sites often become slow due to HTTP requests that are too large or too many. Your web browser uses the HTTP each time it gets a file, such as a picture and a page, from the server. Your computer sends a request to retrieve a certain file. To reduce the HTTP request, you need to check the number of HTTP requests that your site makes (you can consult Pingdom). You need to eliminate the unnecessary images. You can also reduce the remaining images’ file size. Evaluate other areas that may be responsible for making your website go slow.

Use a Cloud Content Delivery Network (CDN)

proisp-cloudflare-illustrasjon
A cloud CDN is basically the same as many optimized servers all over the world that supply web content to users per geographic location, but it is better than the optimized servers. The cloud CDN helps accelerate any website online and provide protection from attackers (see image below).

overview
Your visitors can quickly get the web content from your site and you can be certain that the cloud CDN, like CloudFlare, will be able to block the attackers from inflicting harm to your website. If you are based in the U.S. and the person accessing your site is in Korea, the individual accessing your site will be able to retrieve the web content quickly. The user won’t wait for a long time to get the content because of the cloud CDN. To enjoy the immense benefits of a cloud CDN, it is practical to buy a cloud server (VPS). It provides more control, stability, and freedom than a dedicated server.

Optimize the CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and JavaScript Files

In order to optimize your CSS and JavaScript files, you can try gzipping and/or minification. Gzipping locates all repetitive strings and substitutes them with pointers. Minification removes all the comments, eliminates white space, deletes non-required semicolons, and reduces the lengths of hex code. You can use both methods to achieve best results. Take note that gzipping is accomplished at the server level. In Minification, you can use minifying tools such as W3 Total Cache, BWP Minify, and WillPeavy.

Discard the Website Baggage

proisp-wp-optimize
You can make your website go faster if you will eliminate the so-called website baggage such as the excessive WordPress plugins (for WordPress users), massive media libraries, themes, and others. You need to remove the trackbacks that you no longer need as well as the spam comments. The WordPress users can use WP-Optimize to efficiently clean the database. The WordPress users should remove the older installations of WordPress to help speed up your website.

There are times when hiring a professional is the best option to speed up your website, especially if your business is booming. Your slow website may cause you to lose some of your clients – you certainly don’t want that to happen.

Digital Marketing – how to use it and why
Written by: Isabelle

Digital marketing is all around us in our everyday life. Take a look around you. People are either looking down on their mobile phones or tablets. Be it on the streets, restaurants, cafes or in their homes, everyone is connected to the internet. Information is literally at everyone’s fingertips and with it, the birth of digital marketing.

What is Digital Marketing?

Connecting with your customers in the right place and the right time is what marketing is all about. Simply put, digital marketing is a collective term for all online marketing done by a business. There are a lot of channels open for companies to connect with their target audience. These include social media, Google search, email and their own websites.

digital marketing

Tips and Tricks

There are many ways a company can enhance their branding online. These include the following methods that will help their brands reach their goals:

• Emails
• Blog articles
• Company websites
• Interactive tools
• Infographics
• Ebooks
• Lookbooks
• Whitepapers
• Online brochures
• Social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
• Branding using fonts and logos, among others
• Online coverage such as reviews, social media or PR

Most companies employ the following tactics to improve sales conversion:

• Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – the method of optimizing content so that the website will rank higher in search engines.

• Social Media Marketing – a kind of marketing that utilizes social media to promote brand awareness, increase traffic to the site and generate sales leads.

• Affiliate Marketing – advertising based on performance where site owners promote products of other sites to get a commission.

• Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – one common example of this is Google Adwords where companies pay a publisher every time their ads are clicked.

• Marketing Automation – these are software were the goal is to automate everyday marketing actions such as emails and other social media functions.

• Native Advertising – these are advertisements that are content-led and mostly featured side-by-side non-paid content.

• Online PR – much like traditional PR but in the digital scene; companies employ online coverage with blogs, other digital publications and content-based websites.

• Email Marketing – companies use email marketing campaigns to communicate with their customers to promote events, contents and discounts among others

Whatever your company desires to use, make sure it fits the needs of your customers. It will save time, money and effort in the long run.

Important differences between B2B and B2C

While digital marketing works well for any kind of company, there are different ways it can be used and implemented. Depending if your company is B2B (buisness to buisness) or B2C (buisness to customer) different strategies are needed.

B2B is marketing products (or services) to other companys or organizations. For B2B the digital marketing strategy will need to focus on creating “leads” online via the companys website and other channels such as LinkedIn. The “leads” will again create conversions (sales).

The focus for a B2C company is to attract visitors and turn them into customers. This often requires a strong “call to action”and marketing through several channels are often a well used strategy.

 

digital marketing

Benefits of Digital Marketing

There are a lot of benefits for marketers, among them:

• Seeing your results in real time regardless of whether you are a big or small company.
• Using website content to connect with online visitors 24/7.
• Track consumer reaction the moment they visit your site and thus, optimize the page on an ongoing basis.
• Realize higher ROI compared with traditional marketing strategies.
• Stay competitive in today’s high tech business climate.
• With real time data on hand, a company can adapt and take action.
• Able to connect with mobile customers when they use their smartphones or other mobile devices.
• It generates higher conversion rates.
• Big and small companies save money in terms of lead generation.
• Enables real-time response to customers.

Content Creation

Depending on the needs of your audience, your content must answer the needs at different stages in the buyer’s journey. Knowing and creating different buyer personas are necessary for content creation. It will aptly identify your customer’s goals and preferences in relation to your business.

To create awareness, your company may use short videos, blog posts and infographics. All are powerful means to connect with your customers. Using testimonials and case studies are also ways to help clinch a sale. Companies often use photos of their customers with hashtags to get their brands across.

Seeing Results

Depending on how effective your website content in driving customers to your site, results vary. So, it is important to understand and create your buyer persona to answer their needs. It is also crucial to have quality online content for sales conversion.
Paid advertising results may be seen quicker, but it is more important to build your organic reach. This can be done using SEO, content and social media for the long haul. Usually, results can be seen within the first half of the year.

Budget

You don’t need a huge budget especially when you already have your own website. When you use SEO, content creation or social media, you won’t need much at all. Yet, if you decide to hire other SEO specialist later on, it will come with a reasonable fee.
Online advertising, while giving you the needed visibility will cost more. Using Google AdWords to implement PPC can be expensive. Rather, it’s a good idea to improve your organic reach and focus on creating top-notch content.

Mobile Marketing

Do you know that almost 60% of your market uses mobile content? Those who uses desktop make up the remaining 40%. Therefore, it is important that web pages, images, digital ads and other digital assets are optimized for mobile devices.

A responsive website design that will make browsing seamless must be your goal. It is important for mobile users to have the same pleasing experience as they would on desktop. This means that images and texts must not be cut-off. Remember that some smartphone’s screen may be tiny.

What Now?

There’s no time to lose – digital marketing is the lifeblood of today’s businesses. It is not a fad or a trend. In today’s highly technological world, staying on top of the competition is not the same as decades before.
You need an effective strategy to build your brand and get your customer’s loyalty. Whether you are a novice or a pro, digital marketing is your ally to take your business to the next level.

WooCommerce: Build a webshop easy as 1-2-3!
Written by: Simon A. Skaar

When you want to build a webshop, there are many options to choose from, such as OpenCart, CSCart, Magento and WooCommerce. All of these are eCommerce platforms where you can administrate everything from orders, products, storage, shipping and taxes. In this article we will take a closer look at WooCommerce, which is one of the largest plugins for WordPress.

What is WooCommerce?

Today WooCommerce is used on millions of webshops and about 39% of all webshops worldwide. In Norway 38% of webshops uses this platform. There are many good reasons why you should use WooCommerce. It is basically free, based on open sourcecode, with the option of buying and adding extensions for all purposes. WooCommerce gives you full control over all your products, customer data, orders and so on. You can also sell any type of products, both physical, virtual, subscription services and other types.

In the video below, you will see an introduction on how WooCommerce works.

 

How to install WooCommerce?

Since WooCommerce uses WordPress as a “base” you will need to already have WordPress installed. If you are a customer at PRO ISP WordPress can easily be installed with a few clicks (follow this guide for installation). When using WooCommerce and WordPress we recommend using LiteSpeed that is included in our Pro Medium/Premium web hosting.

In WordPress admin panel you can easily install and active WooCommerce like this:

Plugins – Add new – Search for WooCommerce – Install – Active

woocommerce

 

 

When WooCommerce is activated you will receive a step-by-step guide for the different functions on the website. After the installation you can add different types of extensions.

How to use WooCommerce

For a thorough guide on how to use WooCommerce we recommend WooCommerce step-by-step-guides with both pictures and videos. You will learn how to set up your webshop and how to administrate it. The video below is one of the training videos and will show you how to get started with WooCommerce.

 

Payment options within WooCommerce

We recommend you give your customers the option of paying directly in adddition to via invoice. Direct payment with VISA/Mastercard (creditcard) can be done via PayPal. The customer can either use their account with PayPal (where all the cardinformation is stored) or without an account.

Another option is STRIPE. This option works the same way most online card terminal does. The customer adds their card details and the amount is withdrawn and transferred to your account within the next few days. The difference between STRIPE and PayPal is with PayPal you need to transfer the money manually.

If you want to use invoice within WooCommerce, we would recommend taking a look at the extension from Klarna. With this extension the customer can choose between invoice and down payment. In Norway Klarna is a well recognized brand so this can boost sales. To be able to use Klarna, you will need to register with them. Only registered companies can create accounts for sales with most vendors such as Klarna. The downside using invoice instead of direct payment is that invoice usually recuires more work in terms of follow-up via bank or other costly services.

Secure your webshop with SSL certificate

You often need an SSL certficate for encryption. We highly recommend having every site on the website secured (not just the webshop). Show your customers you can be trusted because security is taken seriously.

SSL certificate can also increase conversions for your webshop and give your website higher ranking in search engines. PRO ISP have different types of certificates you can read about.

SEO plugin

SEO is one of the most important measures you can take to increase traffic to your website. SEO is short for “search engine optimization” and we recommend you read: “SEO – what do I need it for?”. There are also plugins to help with SEO for your website, such as YOAST SEO (free). WooCommerce also have their own SEO plugin (not free).

Sources:
Statistics for the usage of WooCommerce

SEO – what do I need it for?
Written by: Isabelle

One of the most important measures you do to increase traffic to your website is SEO (search engine optimization). Just because your website is online does not mean search engines such as Google can fin it just as easily as your competitor’s websites.

Do Google see you?

Google is the most used search engine worldwide and it is therefore imporant to make it easy for Google to find your website. It is recommended to follow this guide (from Google).

er den mest brukte søkemotoren på verdensbasis og det er derfor viktig å gjøre det enkelt for Google å finne frem til nettsiden din. Det anbefales av Google å følge denne guiden.

– Create unique and exact page tittles
The tittle will tell visitors and search engines what the content of the page is.

– Improve the structure for URLs
Descriptive categories and filenames for documents on a website will make it more organized and help search engines search the document better. Using simple and more SEO friendly URLs will make it easier to connect people who are searching for the content with the content. Long and cryptic URLs containing few recognizable words might scare of visitors.

– Offer content and services of high quality 
Interesting and useful content is what is most important for SEO according to Google. Visitors appreciate good content and through blog posts, social media, email, forums and such the content is shared. This will give the website a good reputation with visitors and Google.

Have your website checked

In addition to several guides on SEO there are also websites that can check your website to see status of SEO currently. One example is SEO SiteCheckup 

seo

SEO plugin for WordPress

If you are using WordPress there are several plugins that can help you with SEO for your website. One of the plugins is Yoast SEO which analyzes each page and is available in different languages.