Online! EP7 with Sondra Barker, Optimizing your Websites for Speed 🚀

This Podcast is available at your favorite Podcast/Streaming network including Spotify, Google Podcasts and iTunes.

Online 🌎 With Amr The Internet Guy

EP 7 With Sondra Barker: Optimizing Your WordPress Websites for Speed

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Sondra podcast profile

Online! Episode 7:

With Sondra Barker: Optimizing Your WordPress Websites for Speed 🚀

The show focuses on entrepreneurs and business owners to help them become more successful in conducting their business on the web without being stuck with Technology, getting a headache, pulling their hairs out, or buying expensive software!

EP7: My guest today is Sondra Barker, She isn’t just a social media agency owner/marketer but also a Food 🥂 and Travel 🌎 Connoisseur!
Check her site Cuisine and Travel out!
The quality of photos and recipes are Amazing.

As you may expect, a large website with a lot of visual high-quality content comes with many challenges, and the chief challenge would be its speed!

Sondra had discovered that her WordPress & Divi based website was not optimized at all and the page loading speed was slow even though she had good hosting and a good Caching plugin, so she embarked on this “long & painful” process of improving the speed and the overall page loading time of her website.

During this interview, Sondra shares her DIY website optimization experience and the approach she has taken – as a non-techie business owner – to make it 4 times faster! Brining it from an F to an A rating.
We go over the good stuff as well as the mistakes to avoid when embarking on your website optimization journey.

This Podcast is available at your favourite network:

The Video of this episode:

Episode 7 Transcription:

Hi guys. Welcome to episode number seven from online with the internet guy. My guest today is Sondra Barker from Newport Beach, California. Sandra is a digital marketer, and she is a food and travel connoisseur. We’re going to be talking about website optimization. And a quick reminder Guys, if optimizing your website is something that you want to do and you think it’s too technical or too complicated, we can do it for you. We have a package that will make your WordPress website load amazingly fast. I’m going to be posting the link to that package down below in the notes. So without further ado, let’s hear from Sondra. Hi guys. I’ve got Sandra Barker with me here joining Thank you Sandra for being here today. And I’d like you to tell people who you are, where you live and what you do.

So I’m Sondra Barker, I’m in Newport Beach, California. And I have a marketing company called butterfly social media. And then I also have a media website called cuisine and travel, which was originally more of a hobby, but it actually became pretty popular and lucrative. So that’s cuisine and travel is kind of like my little baby that I’m always working on.

So does that mean you have to go to every restaurant in town? And,

but I enjoy it. That’s, that’s why I started it because all I wanted to do is eat and go to nice restaurants. So it worked out nicely.

This is nice. So okay, let’s talk pre COVID-19 because I’m sure things have changed now. Was it only your city town? Or did you have to travel to other places to get this to film us things like that.

I do mostly for cuisine and travel, it’s mostly articles. So we would I would go to a lot of different restaurants, there would be like a ton of media events, and you know, food and wine events. And then I would also you know, travel and kind of do like travel guides. So that definitely changed. And the media events have started up again. And I did a lot of like delivery stuff and tried to still support kind of the restaurant industry through their deliveries. But I also did a ton of recipes, which was great, because I’ve been wanting to start a recipe section on the website. So that was really fun. So I worked on a lot of recipes. And it went really well it actually doubled my traffic. That’s great.

I mean, I can’t think of anything more fun than actually traveling to places and then telling the world about it. I did it. I used to work for an airline. So I did travel a lot. Like I can’t count the number of countries, but there are so many. And at the time, we didn’t have technology, so there was no way for me to tell more people about it. Like unless you meet them in person and tell them

yeah, things have definitely changed with all the you know, social media and websites and bloggers and influencers and stuff. It’s It’s a whole new world now.

And is it safe to assume that Newport Beach is a place that has like lots of restaurants and hotels and places to go to?

Yes, Newport Beach is beautiful. It’s Southern California, it’s in between Los Angeles and San Diego. It’s a very, it’s a really popular area. But Amazing, amazing. Top, Top Notch restaurants. There’s a ton of things to do. I mean, I’m probably like 30 minutes from Disneyland, you know, there’s just every direction. There’s tons of do it’s driving distance from a lot of different wineries. So I do cover wine, different ways that

wine country I was gonna say yeah, is this place wine country?

So I’m not Newport Beach is more of like a beach

Beach City. So

we’re like right on the beach. And it’s beautiful. We’re right by Laguna Beach, if you remember like the hills and all that work, right? Yes. But in you know, in every direction. There’s you know, Temecula there’s Napa. There’s possible Blaze. So there’s tons of wine countries in California.

Interesting. Yeah, because you got the weather. Yeah, you have the best. It’s It’s too cold where I am like I don’t we have bc like we are the only province in Canada that’s a little bit less cold. So they call it

I love Vancouver, Vancouver. Beautiful. We actually did a we have a Vancouver Travel Guide. Oh, nice.

Oh, is that on your website? Yes, I’ll check it out. So it’s okay. What’s the name? What’s the website? Actually, let’s tell. So

my little, you know, hobby website, my media site is cuisine and

Yep. Oh, nice. Which means you probably got the domain name earlier. You know, you don’t have a dash or a number.

I didn’t it I got really lucky. My original website. My original website was pretty fit foodie. Okay. And I wanted to rebrand A few years ago, I wanted something that was more marketable that sounded more like a professional media site. And, you know, I just kind of brainstormed I’m really good at finding websites. So I just brainstormed and you know, it wasn’t taken, which is amazing.

So if people are thinking, if somebody has a business idea, and they’re not sure what domain name to get, they should talk to you. Yeah,

I’m so good at finding good domains. Nice.

Yeah, I’m having trouble actually naming my podcast episodes, because what happens? I meet a lot of interesting people like you, and we do the interviews. And because we talk about so much, I can’t fit like this in a 70 letter or less, because the title is, what 70 letters. It’s like, Okay, and then it has to have the podcast name and the episode number. So that makes me you know, let’s get a title in like 50 letters. I find that hard and yeah, it’s nice if, like, for some people, this is easy. Just comes like, you get the idea in your head right away. Yeah, I

actually I take notes on headlines.


I teach in my marketing, um, is how to research and come up with different headlines that grab people’s attention.

Oh, I’d love to use your help, especially for the podcast.

Yeah, I’ll teach you after

you’ve given me the title for this episode, then since it’s your episode. So I’m gonna look for you for the title. I for people who don’t know how we met, so we’re both part of a group called Divi web designers. And it’s full of web designers and graphic designers. And it’s funny because I was under the impression that your business is web design. No. So design is

my business’s marketing. Yeah, my cuisine and travel. That site is my baby. So I started that in like 2014. And that site is built on dibby. So that’s why and I you know, I’m not a web designer, but I’m self taught. So

I’ve been using Divi from 2014 that’s like kind of diversion one.

Yes. No, I’m like, original. Like, I’m like an OMG.

Wow, we should tell the guys when we divvy the guys that Elegant Themes, like you’re one of the first Yakkers

I’ve been on it forever. I mean, once you’re on Devi, you’re on it. Like you’re not it’s it would be very, very difficult to try and switch to a different thing. Yeah, I don’t. I have enough headaches to deal with. So once you’re on it, you’re on it. And every time they do like a major update, I cringe you

breathe with a break my sight. It just does happen. I’ve never actually seen a dv update breaking any site. But what happens is that you probably not you but like somebody would have a plugin that has a problem that the problem doesn’t show. And then once Divi update, or WordPress updates, the plugin stars to act funny and prevent you from doing things on the website.

Well, I had like a very unique situation where the when they switched to Divi 4.0, I was having a completely distorted my site. And someone from tech support had uninstalled it and something went wrong when they tried to reinstall it. And it like literally completely crashed my site. And then they had to put my website on my my site was on a child theme. And then they had to put it on the parent theme. And when they did that, I lost like a ton of CSS. Yes, yeah, I had to start a lot of things over so I cringe any time to update Devi, which is well, when we start talking about optimization,


It was kind of something that I recently just had to deal with because my site was not updated past like Devi, you know, 4.1 or something like that, because I was afraid to touch it. But I had to update it, which was like another week of work to deal with.

Wow. I’m interested to know first, why did you decide to do your own websites and not as, like a web designer for help?

I’m just I’ve always been a do it yourselfer. So if I kind of have my mind set on doing something, I just, you know, I research it, and I just figure it out. And I, I know, I knew a little bit about web design, but not like on WordPress, or like something as, you know, more complicated more on like your typical like Wix or something like that from back in the day. Um, but you know, I’m just I’ve always been a do it yourselfer. So it wasn’t even something that I had thought about. And this was like, years ago, and I was younger, you know, and more on a budget. So.

So because it’s, I have had this conversation with many business owners. And to my surprise, the majority of people who have decided to DIY it, it was because of a bad experience they had with somebody like either the person was not responding or, I don’t know, like, left them high and dry in the middle of a project or something like that. So it’s interesting to me, because in one of my podcast episodes, we speak about do what designers have reputation. So I’m glad you’re the first person who did it, who’s not saying, Oh, I did it, because people are horrible, or,

yeah, I mean, I can see that it’s probably a, you know, it’s a little difficult when you’re relying on someone that you maybe have never met in person, or maybe, you know, maybe they’re based somewhere not even near you. So there’s not even an opportunity. So there’s definitely when it comes to web development, there’s, you know, there’s definitely like a lot of trust that you have to have with the with the web designer. So I mean, I guess from that aspect, I can understand, you know, this is definitely, web design is a very like referral based business, because it

is definitely built on trust, it has to be someone you trust, or someone who is trusted by someone else, you know, like, you know, like in the network in your, and we’ve gone through this actually, in Episode Five, it was me and one of my coaches, well, web design or business web design coaches, Josh Hall, he’s in Ohio, and he teaches web designers how to be successful in the web design business. So it’s not teaching them some of these courses or CSS, of course, and, and, you know, different courses. But a lot of the stuff that he talks about in his courses is about running the business. So is building relationship on how to deal with a difficult customer, and how to actually make sure that you’re truthful to, you know, your customer, and if there’s an update, maybe you’re late in delivering something, always let them know, and things like that. And I love this, because it’s based, it’s a relationship, it’s like a friendship or, you know, a business relationship between two partners. And it should always be the both sides are clear in their communication. And you shouldn’t be scared, like, you know, things can take a little longer. And I’m sure whether you’re experienced doing your own websites, sometimes you’d say, you know what, I’ll do this this afternoon. And then a little bit onto the process, you realize that it’s not a one afternoon job?

Yes, well, web design is incredibly, incredibly tedious. So I will stick to marketing, because the only thing I have patience for my own website, but I would not want to deal with the issues that I deal with. On a daily basis and with other

people’s emotion. Yeah, doing it for others. Yeah.

It’s a handful. And I give, you know, any, you know, web designer, it, you know, I give them tons of credit, because it is, I mean, it takes me it took me like, a week to optimize my website, then I had to kind of almost start all over.

So let me first ask you, why did you think that your site needed optimization? Like, how did you get to know about that?

So I, for a very long time, thought that my site was optimized.

Okay, um,

and it was not not even close. So for a very long time, I thought, okay, my site’s totally optimized. So I had I have a media site. So I do a lot of photography. I’m like a culinary photographer. So all of my articles have tons of pictures. There’s tons of media. So I did, you know, some research and I learned about the Amazon s3 bucket, you know, where you can basically offload

idea there.

Yeah, you offload all your media on to an s3 bucket, it’s on the Amazon server, and then it gets served back to your site. And so I set that up, which Oh, was such a headache. It took me like, one to two weeks

to take every media file and put it there and get the link and put it back in. Yeah, I

put it. I did the CloudFront CDN so that all the images were served back to my site through a CDN. So I didn’t mess up my my SEO. And then I use the offload media plugin to offload all my images for me. So I’m thinking, Oh, well, my images aren’t even on my server. So they’re optimized from they’re not still have to optimize your images. So you still have to size down all your images, then, you know, offload them to the server. So I didn’t have any of that done. And when I started my website, which was all the way back in 2014, you know, I didn’t know anything about any of this. So I was just, you know, uploading my pictures. So I have tons of pictures. I’m talking. You know, especially when they create different thumbnails and sizes. Yeah, there’s over like, 8000 different image

photo will have like four different sizes.

Yes, exactly. And then I had CloudFront. And my website was being served through CloudFront. So I thought, Oh, it’s totally optimized my sites on a CDN now. So and then I, you know, my site was a little slow. So I switched my hosting. So I switched to siteground. And then they have their own optimized

again. Yep.

Uh, so I thought, Oh, I’m set on my everything’s

done here. I’m on a CDN. Yeah. And siteground has their own plugin, I’m done.

So I can’t, you know, I was running the test scores, and I would see it, but I guess it just kind of ignored it. Because I thought, No, my site is totally optimized. And then I was in a group. And I was bickering with another marketing person. We were disagreeing on something. And they totally called me out about how slow my site was, and like, posted my Oh, my shitty

site go to do you need?

Yeah, they totally tried to, like, undermine my intelligence by saying your website is wack. And it’s really slow. So what do you know? But I was like, oh, and all this is optimized. So then, you know, that put a little fire under my ass. And I was like, Okay. Clearly, my site is not optimized. So I need to figure out what’s going on. So I found out through siteground, that, because I was serving my website through the cloud front CDN, that none of their optimization features were actually working.

Yeah, they were not optimizing. The stuff comes from CDN. Yeah, from the CDN itself multiple.

And then I obviously realized that like, even though I’m, my images are not on my server, they still need to be optimized. So then I had to figure out an optimization plugin and an image optimization plugin that would be compatible with CloudFront. And with offload media with the s3 buckets, so that was like another challenge that I had to deal with. And then, so I ended up going with WP rocket, and you image II www

Oh, yeah, it will. Yeah. There are many W’s are there? Yeah,

you several W’s. So those

are three.

They’re compatible with offload media. So basically, they will optimize all the images, and then it will go to the server. So they optimize it first. And then WP rocket is also supposed to be Yeah, well with CloudFront. Um, so my that was like one of my first trial and error. I actually tried two different optimization plugins. I tried. humming,

I think it’s called humming bird. That’s the W PMU.

Yes. So I tried them first. And then I also tried like w three cache or something that doesn’t work. Yes. So WP rocket got me the best results. So I cancelled the other two and I stuck with w three rocket, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t working well with the cloud front CDN.

So what

is your loading time before you started?

Oh, gosh. Okay, before I optimize my site, it was so bad. My ratings were an F.

So f is not a big deal. I’ll tell you why in a sec. But

my ratings were enough. My I had 800 requests.

That’s a big deal. But I also think is because your media rich?

Yes. Tons going on. So I had 800 requests, and then I had a min my loading time was over 20 seconds.

That’s the thing that that’s where it hurts 20 seconds. It was all bad. It was 20 seconds, it means more than half of your website visitors would leave before seeing anything. Yeah, I

mean, on on in all honesty, I’m surprised that I’ve been getting the traffic that I have been getting because of how bad my site was. So my next experiment is to kind of see how all this optimization improves.

I’m interested now, when you say you are getting good traffic, right? Was it traffic that you have directed yourself? Like, for example, social media traffic, you blog, and then you share the post somewhere, and then people click and come to your site to read it. So it’s your work bringing the traffic rather than people finding the site on their own?

So it’s both, um, half of it is organic. And then I also get a lot of referral traffic from Pinterest.

great deal, I

get a lot of both, like my site is very, you know, is very good.

During that time, when it was 20 seconds in loading? Do you know what was your bounce rate? Because I’m assuming that was too high.

So I don’t remember off the top of my head, what my bounce rate, what his blur was. So I’m probably going to check that, again. Because I want to compare it in like a month

without Yeah, you need a little bit more data than a month, but a monster, at least show you that you’re moving to the right direction.

Yeah, I want to see an improvement. And I get my site currently, especially from when I added recipes, it gets somewhere it gets around 50,000 to 60,000 views a month. And that’s without greedy optimization. Oh, my goal is to get it to 100,000.

Okay, let me ask you, we’re gonna go back to the optimization part. Yeah. But you got my interest somewhere now. But let’s, let’s pause on the optimization. We’ve reached the point when you said, you’re using the rocket, WP rocket, and you started to see some results from the 20 seconds. But I’m interested to know, because 50,000 visits a month does great traffic. So what is your main call to action? I’m interested to know, what’s the conversion rate out of the 50,000 visits? How many clicks on a button? Or how many, you know, people joining the list of the what? How many people are doing your call to action from the 50,000?

So I have my email list is like around 2000 people currently,

so yeah, I I do on the spot, but I have some ads. So what do you see, roughly the conversion rate was at the time between the number of people who actually land on your homepage, and the number of people who would somehow contact you get on the list or click a button or download something, or?

Well, this is all very recent. Okay, so I haven’t had enough time I didn’t look at you kind of test it and see if my conversion rate goes up. You know, and my conversions are a little different than your conversions because a lot of what I do is also you know, I have some ads on my site. I do a lot of Amazon affiliate links, and I do a lot of sponsored work.

So Oh, okay. Um, you know, so Most of it is direct, like it’s, yeah, it’s a result of an activity that you’ve done.

Exactly. So it’s people, you know, a lot of it is also local, which is why the recipes helped so much, because it’s a broader base, it’s a broader audience. Whereas a lot of the restaurants, it’s very local. So that’s why it’s so search engine friendly. If someone’s looking up a local restaurant or a local event, you know, my articles will often show

perfect. I mean, I love that, you know, the fact that you’re doing all this work on your own. It’s not an easy thing to do now. And I’m assuming that a lot of people would be contacting you to do the same for them, especially on the SEO front. And, you know, just for our audience, to give you guys a background, about site optimization in general. It To me, it’s always been so important. But to the average small business owner, that was the most ignored part, until Google started to penalize people who sites were slow. And then everybody was forced to look into the loading time and changing the hosting because many people were with slow hosting almost plans. Yeah. And I don’t want to mention names because some people think I’m against a certain company, but there is one certain company that has a reputation in our industry, but I’m not going to mention that me. Well, I

mean, honestly, like, you know, a lot of even hosting also comes from word of mouth, like how Yes, how does this come? You know, has it improved your website, and I will say the hosting that I was on previously, uh, I was having a lot of issues because Divi is a very bloated and a heavy theme to be on. And you really have to have good, fast hosting. And the hosting that I was on was so bad that I was having trouble even being able to edit my site.

Yes. And this actually, it’s very important to get the WordPress back end to load fast. Otherwise, you’re wasting a lot of time waiting. Oh, yeah.

I mean, then you like you’re just sitting there for like, looking at your clock, man, like, Okay, well, when is the screen? Yeah, finish loading. So I can and there’s so many things going, there’s

no plugin for that. That’s just the hosting like this. You can have a plugin that will make the site load faster for your visitor. But there’s no plugin that makes WordPress back end load faster. It only gets matters things. Bang. Yeah,

good hosting is vital. Um, yeah. So optimizing my site is kind of like my next step into increasing my traffic, because the more traffic I have, the better, you know, sponsored, offers all receive. And then I’m also gearing up to do more, because we’re doing a big home remodel. So once that’s finished, I’m gearing up to do a lot more video content. And I’m just recently since I finished the optimization, I’m doing a lot of little updates to the website, I’m making it even more user friendly. And I changed up the design very slightly the colors. So I’m just, I’m kind of giving it a little bit of a refresh. And so it was probably a good thing that I went through all this because I’ve been avoiding updating dibby for so long. So what I didn’t mention is that once I got my website optimized, I was so excited. And I think that’s where we met because you saw my post, I made a brag

romanes two and a or a.

I was so excited. So I went Yeah, I went I was an F one to an A I got my time down to like, I think it was like 5.5 seconds. And then I got my requests way down my requests were like, you know, 30 something or 40. You know, they were way down like 40 something,

they got compressed. There’s still 800 but like the the plugin, like WP rocket would compress them together. So that one request would bring out a few images rather than every image coming alone.

It was very dramatic. Yeah, print from 800 to like 40.

I was like, Wow, it caught my attention. Because I always look at the loading time in seconds. I don’t care much about abcdef, whatever, because the criteria there. There’s some things that you simply cannot do. For example, if your site has a lot of JavaScript, and if this JavaScript is part of the user interaction like filling a form or whatever, sometimes when you Combine all these JavaScript into one file with your site exactly which the plugin would have you do, it will mess up the look and feel, or the animations like all these little things that happens when the page loads.

I will say that WP rocket, they actually did turn out to be very helpful. I’m the type of person that like, I’m constantly when I’m trying to figure all this stuff out. I’m constantly I probably spend all my time on support, support emails, support jazz, good.

Yeah, you tried. Because I I would recommend WP sorry, W WP rocket for people who are looking to buy a premium plugin to do their optimization. Yeah,

it’s very good. And they ended up being pretty helpful. So I wasn’t able to get like the deferred JavaScript or something like that. I wasn’t able to get that working. And I reached out to them. And so they went on my site for me. And I guess there were a few things that they needed to omit. So they actually did that, for me, which I would not have figured out on my own. So it’s, you know, they can be very helpful because they know their plugin better than anyone else. And so I was able to activate things that I normally would have not been able to activate because they helped me and helped omit certain things that would have caused a conflict. So that was helpful. And I actually, so I ended up having to completely re optimize my site. After I did it the first time because people

are getting it down from 20 to five, you still have to do some work on it.

No, I had to completely start from scratch. Because people so people in the group had notified me that like,

my mobile menu wasn’t Oh, yeah, the mobile.

Yeah. And I was like, shit. And here, I

thought I thought the mobile menu was messed. So

I ended up having to update dB, which caused so many problems.

Definitely a plugin.

But so what I ended up learning, so I’d never heard of a staging site before. So I learned that you can actually make a staging site of your website. And so I had Devi support helped me on the staging site.

Perfect. I think I’d recommended the same thing to you if you remember. Yeah.

So I learned so that See, I learned something.

You don’t put the staging site and break it. It doesn’t matter later on.

Yes. So they helped me on the staging site. Because when I went to up date Devi, it threw everything off. I mean, like some of my Oh, yes, coding was all weird. Yeah,

I think a lot. Yep,

yeah. So my site was looked very wonky. And I’m like, Oh, gosh. So I had to, after spending a week optimizing my site, then my site was a mess. It was a hot mess. So then Devi had to help me re correct. All the little things that were wrong. Then I had to push my site live, which also caused problems. So that was a that was a headache within itself. That took me like, a week. And then once I finally had Devi updated, my site was back then I had to re optimize it. So I had to redo pretty much everything. But at least I knew which plugins to use. After I updated Devi, and re optimize the site, it actually scored even better. So it ended up being a good thing now. So now my speed is like 3.2 seconds. And my ratings are an A, and they even brought down my request. So it ended up working out. But it was it took me two weeks. It was a lot, a lot of work. And so very frustrating. And two weeks kind of full time, right? Like, kind of every day. I mean, literally from when I woke up to when I went to bed. I was working on my website all day long, and a lot of it is spent on like support chats. Like why isn’t

that trying to figure out? What’s wrong? Yeah,

yeah. So it was it was a handful, but it’s

would you do it again? Would you do it for somebody?

No. I, I would do it for someone because I know that people know, most people’s websites are not as complicated as yours. Of course mine is very complicated. I have tons of CSS, it’s like, very, you know, I’ve customized it over the Yours. And so most people have a pretty simple website, especially if it’s like a business or something like that. My website is so many pages and

a live thing. Like it’s

Yeah, my website is just always like changing and growing. So I think now knowing what I know, I would be able to help someone else the s3 bucket though that was a pain in the butt. Yeah, I do not want to ever have to do that over.

Yeah, every like, there’s

actually, um, alternative solutions. Now a lot of these image plugins are now using their own CDN. So yes, people may not even need to bother with the whole s3 bucket thing people can probably

Yes, because I think there’s no, there’s no benefit of you being on an s3 bucket. If you’re using a CDN server, yeah, because the CDN will copy all these images over so that it can cache them and distribute them from a server location. So let me simplify this to our audience. So a CDN is a content distribution network guys. And basically what it does, so if you look at how websites generally work, when you go to www That’s called a request. So you’re requesting a resource from the server. So usually, with nothing else, like with no CDN, or s3, bucket or anything, all these resources come from the server. So the text that you have the look and feel, which has the colors and the CSS code, the animation or anything that moves there, this is a JavaScript code and your images, as well as your videos, everything comes from a single location, which is your server. Now, if all my clients are in one region, so let’s say I’m West Coast, United States and Canada, and almost everyone accessing My website is West Coast as well. So the best thing is, is to have my site hosted on a server that’s in the West Coast region. So this way, all of us are close to the server, and things are fast enough. But of course, that’s not the case, when you have a website, you have clients and visitors from all over the world. So since you can’t have multiple copies of your website, and every country in the world, you use a content distribution, distribution network. And basically what it does, it takes a copy of your website, distributes it to their own server, and their own servers everywhere. It’s like a mirror copy. And then if a somebody in Australia is accessing your website is doing a request, to access your website to see something or read a post or something they get it served from a server in Australia, so it’s closer to them. It makes everything faster. That process happens seamlessly. So like you just have to go create the CDN account, pay for it. Usually most of the CDN they have their own plugin, or like Sandra here, you ended up with a plugin called offload media floater. Well, so actually, WP rocket is doing something for you as well right

now, so I use CloudFront for my images. But what I discovered when I was trying to optimize my site, was that you can actually use both CloudFlare and cloud front at the same time. So Cloud front, is connected to my s3 bucket. And so CloudFront serves my images. But CloudFlare is where my is the CDN for my website, and for all of the you know, JavaScript and CSS and all that stuff. So I don’t know what would we call that?

Yeah, that’s CDM. Yeah, you’re using

the technical component? Yeah,

that little backlog front gets those images from your s3 bucket. And then it gives them to CloudFlare to serve?

Yes, but CloudFlare, which is different than CloudFront. So CloudFlare serves everything else. CloudFlare serves, you know, all the background coding and the JavaScript and all that stuff. So I didn’t know that it was compatible, that you could use both. Hmm. Because trying to just use CloudFront was not working. It was not compatible. It wasn’t helping. So I said, Okay, well, now that I know that I can have both let me just sign up for CloudFlare which is connected to siteground. They have their like part Yeah,

you can do it from inside,

and it’s completely free. And so then they have a little thing to help you set it up so it wasn’t too different. Call I had to change like a DNS record yes wasn’t too difficult, I could do it on my own. So I once I set up CloudFlare, that helped me really up it that helped me really optimize, I

dropped the time to the first byte and it dropped,

my light went out, so, so it dropped it drastically. So. And then I also, I saw that there were a few images that even after being optimized, they were still a little too big. And so I went into Photoshop, and I did the images and re uploaded them and deleted the

guys, this is the most important part Say that again, please. Because some people don’t understand the difference between resizing an image and optimizing it for speed, which has a little bit of a compression component. But before you compress the image, it has to be the right size that the browser will serve. So you have to resize it in your Photoshop or whatever graphic editor you have.

Yes, usually, with the Divi theme, they tell you they you know, you can Google it and look up what the different recommended sizes are. So I, for my articles I had made the longest. The width was 1200. Yeah, was 1200. But I realized that I could get away with doing 900, which considerably size down the image. And then in Photoshop, you go to export to web, yep. And it will compress the image for you without losing much of the quality. So I try now I try to get my images to be no bigger than 50 kilobytes. I try to keep them around there are under but obviously for years, sometimes you do this. So there’s tons of you know, luckily, an plugin like you image will help with with that. But it’s always great to just optimize it before you even put it on the website.

So all those plugins, what they do is they either compress it, sometimes they even change the image extension or the image formation itself to web p, which is the new web.

So we’re working on that currently. Yeah. So image is we’ll create a web p image and and serve it. But we’re I’m having an issue with that right now. So currently, this optimization that I have is without web p images. So I’m hoping that once we can get that working, that it’ll be even better. So I’m back with their support. And people have to understand when you’re when you have an issue, it does not get solved right away. It is a back and forth for days. And so I’ve been dealing with the web p issue for about maybe three or four days now. Wow. With their support, so they’re on my website now.

Like actually, tomorrow. I think that WP rocket can do the web part or can’t only do his part. Yeah, there

can’t create it. Yeah, it can only serve it. So I’m already using the you image.

And this was implemented by them, right? Because I think there there’s a relationship between the two plugin makers or something. Because you get like a discount if you buy one, you get a discount on the other. I had no idea.

I definitely just paid for I just wanted to get it over with. So you have to so WP rocket, they use m imagine fi or something like that. Yeah.

Oh, okay. They use something else. They’re

open. They’re not compatible with offload media. So that’s why I’m using a different image plugin.

Which is he I don’t know, how many of you image and why. I mean, like we I want to make it clear for our listeners and, you know, people watching us. Why is it important to have your website load that fast?

Well, for me, it’s especially important because I mean, I’m a pretty impatient person. So if I go on a website, and it’s taking too long, I’ll leave. Would you come back again later? No, because most people aren’t saving. Yeah, all these different websites that they’ve visited. You know, I when I’m doing marketing, I tell my clients that people are lazy and impatient. So if you just imagine That every single person, that’s a possible customer is lazy and impatient, you need to design your website with that in mind. So they’re impatient. So you need it to load fast, they’re lazy. So they don’t want to find all these different things. Get a contact form, on your website, make it easy for them, you know, and that’s why I’m doing other updates to my website to make it more user friendly, and add in more search features so that people can stay on the website longer and look up different things. But if they, you know, say they’re looking up chicken recipes, and they see a bunch of recipes, and you’re you don’t give them an avenue to look up other recipes, you know, then they’re going to stop right there. So you want Yeah, make your website so that people can look for other things. You know, that’s why you want to have search boxes and different tabs and ways that people can move around through your website and make it easy for them.

So I mean, I, I am vision I envision the website is like a mall, kind of like a small mall. And then, you know, like some of the moles you get in and you get lost like you want to go to a certain


Yeah. And that, oh, yeah, oh, there’s a big scandal here. Now they were taking facial recognition. They were using a facial recognition software without telling people that they’re doing that. And then they said, Oh, we were just testing to know, you know, the gender and the age bracket that our visitors come from. And it’s illegal. So now like, I think they got caught up on it, I can’t remember the name of the company, they’re on, like six, seven moles in the US and Canada. away there must have collected millions of faces during the trial period have done in a year in a bit. But that’s interesting, because this was people used to go to that directory, the electronic directory, and the cameras were inside. Hmm. But I digressed. I’m saying is that the website is a similar experience, only you don’t have that directory of help. You may have some controls navigation that takes you through a certain path. Let’s say for example, I get on your website, and I’m looking at recipes. And then from there, if I’m looking at a chicken recipe, and maybe I’m vegetarian, so I want to look at a vegetarian recipe. Somewhere there where I am with Tell me Hey, here is the exact alien stuff. And here is the beef stuff in here is

exactly so you have to make sure that they have the information, they have this, you know, the navigation that they need in order to find the next thing that they might be looking for. So our my site before, it only had that on certain pages. And so that’s something that I basically have spent the week kind of figuring out how the best way to organize it so but I discovered divvies theme builder, which was actually super helpful. So I was able to customize like all my archive pages. And I use tons of tags and put all the tags into categories. So I was able to design all of my like category pages and tag pages so that when someone does click on like chicken recipe, instead of just seeing all these articles, it now shows it in like a masonary grid, which is just much more pleasing. You can just see all the little one, all the different recipes, instead of having to scroll down like a bunch of articles, so it’s much more like pleasing to the eye. So we did that I added in more recipe tags. So people could just go from, you know, one to the next. And then I took that and I put it on the other pages. So I kind of created different ones. It’s really the theme builders. Really, really great. I’ve never used it before, but you can even separate the tags. So I have a page that’s just for recipe and then I have another page that’s for tags, like restaurants and travel and you know, so I was able to separate the two.

I love the fact that you have so much content that needs to be you know, organized because people forget this is the thing like you get most small business owners. They start somewhere we all start somewhere we build a website, and then some of us blog, some of us don’t blog, and so on but the fact that makes things more interesting For you, and for your prospect customers guys is being active is actually consistently adding content to your website, be it you blogging, or maybe you’re sharing interesting stuff, like you don’t have to write everything yourself, you could pretty much comment on something that you’ve seen that’s of interest to you, that could be of interest to your readers. And you can just link back to it. So you can create a new post. And, you know, for example, like, I don’t have any recipes, I can go, I can go to Sandra site, find the recipe that I actually like, try it, and then write the post about how it tasted after I tried it, and then link back to her. This is what I got the original recipe from. So a visitors to my site, find something interesting to read, be, I’m giving her some juice back. Because if they want to go and find out where it came from, and then while they’re there, they find something else that’s more interesting, while browsing her website, and this is how we kind of build reciprocal links without bothering each other and sending spam emails, hey, you know, can I link back to your site or whatever? It’s

because Google prioritizes backlinks a lot. So your page authority, a lot of that has to do with how many other people how many other websites are talking about your website, and so backlinking to other relevant websites, is very important for your search engine optimization. So I have, you know, anytime I write about a restaurant, you know, I make sure to send them my logo and the article. So maybe in case they want to link to that article on their website. Yeah. And then there’s also a lot of different recipe groups that do like different roundups of recipes, where they feature other people’s recipes and link to it. So there’s a lot of different different ways and in different communities that have ways to backlink and to kind of increase your page authority.

What I like about it is that this is the natural, organic way. And it’s not like some kind of software bot trying to go in with hundreds of links somewhere. They’re designed

to be organic.

Yeah, you don’t want to eat, it’s kind of, you know, when you get these spam emails offering you SEO from, you know, I don’t know, halfway across the world. And the majority of them, they use blackhat, SEO stuff, like they have a bot that creates thousands of links. But the thing is, these links are created in sites that have absolutely no connection to what you’re doing. Like, I don’t know, do I want to link to my site? somewhere that’s completely irrelevant? Like,

yeah, it should be relevant. And I have a feeling that Google can probably tell it will be relevant. I mean, it’s Google. So.

So what’s next? After you’ve done all that work on your own? Where do you want to take your site next.

So after I finished doing some of the little design tweaks that I’m currently doing, and especially once the remodel is finished, I’m going to be working a lot on doing more recipes and doing video content. So we’re going to be making videos of the different recipes. So that’s kind of the next thing that I’m going to be working on. And then then I’ll have to I’ll probably work with, like a site that actually hosts the videos, because like, Vimeo is awful for page speed. That’s another thing I discovered. So I’ll probably once I have a lot of video content, work with a company that actually serves the videos on their server.

Try your s3 bucket, see if that works. Well. If it doesn’t,

well, I also so I also do video ads. So I’ve found a website that does they they host videos and they serve ads on the videos so that you’re not going through Okay, yeah, so it’s like kind of made and designed for that. So I did a bunch of research and so that way once I have all the video content, I’m ready for it. Nice. So that’s kind of the next step, I would

usually recommend Vimeo because it’s very easy. And it’s not expensive. I think it’s $14 a month, the Vimeo Pro. There are a couple of other networks, video hosting networks, I can’t remember the names now, when I do, I’ll put it down as a link below our video on YouTube. And but Vimeo is like the, you know, the easiest idea that comes to mind. Mind you, I see a lot of new players now coming to the market. And some of them may have better speeds, you’re on a CDN. So it’s also a little bit more complicated. Yeah. Then

I found this site because I was looking at another food bloggers website who does recipes. And her site was pretty quick. But she had tons of video content. So I did a quick search on the

Find out where their host Yeah,

I did a little back developments. You know, what are they? Yeah, I did a little developer search to find out what this What was she using. And then that’s how I found this company that it serves the videos on their server, but it also has ads in it. And so you it’s a way to get more ad revenue without going kind of like through these other companies.

So it’s similar to YouTube, because they will inject their own ads, but they will not have like recommended videos at the end. So you’re not your users attention is not taken somewhere else. Yes, that’s

true as well. And yeah, and, um, they work with their own ad network. So you, you make a little more on the ads. And this is a site that you pay for. So you pay to have them hosted but it’s very quick. YouTube is not quick, YouTube is very slow. So this website is specifically made. If you have a lot of video content on your website, it serves it very quickly.

I like that idea. Yeah. offline, please send me the link. And I’ll also put it there, let people check them out. Is everything we spoke about here today, guys, I’m going to put the links below the video and I post it to YouTube and all the other channels where the podcast goes. I’ll also have Sandra’s websites, both of them. There’s a work website and the cuisine and travel website, which actually I’m going to go in and play around a little bit and find some recipes. And some restaurants. Yeah, I’ve never been to the beach port. I mean, it’s it’s once the Newport Beach new What did I say? Yeah. What What did I call it the new beach port? Your beach port? Yeah. Sorry. beautiful beach, guys.

But you have been Vancouver which is also Yeah, really, really a beautiful city.

We’ve done like many trips to California for different reasons. You know, when I was working for corporate it, I used to go to California because it has lots of the IT companies that I was working with. And so I’ve done like the usual la many times, San Francisco only once. I’d love to go back again.

But like port beach better.

Yeah, I’ve had a meeting somewhere. I forgot the name of the place. You probably know. Right next to Disneyland. What is this area called?

Next to Disneyland?

Yeah, like that. It’s south of LA. So like, if you land in LA, get your car and draw Anaheim. Yeah, thank you. Okay, so yeah, let’s do orange. All what I remember is it was close to Orange County.

Yes. So Anaheim is in Orange County.


Perfect. It’s more inland where I’m like, on the beach on the beach.

Yeah. Oh, so it’s like it’s a diagonal like if you go all the way left or West? until you see the water. That’s it. That’s where you are? Yes. And then yeah, down like I didn’t go all the way to San Diego. I just couldn’t drive all the way. And the furthest south of bend was La Jolla. And that’s it. I didn’t go further.

No. Okay, so La Jolla is below where I’m at. And loi is very close to San Diego. So and it’s beautiful. Newport Beach is a lot like La Jolla.

Nice. Yeah, I love the water. But I mean, we we share the same Pacific. But the water here is way colder. I think you guys can swim and we well, I wouldn’t say we don’t swim. Some people do but I don’t. It’s too cold. Yeah,

I think even the water here. I think it’s too cold. I stay out of the water stay out or

wherever I got a no Batman suit. So it’s interesting. I’m glad we have this conversation Sondra. Before we go I just something that I wanted to ask you about I completely forgot was your backups now that you’re on siteground? Are you backing up your site using siteground or using something else?

So siteground backs up your site automatically. I like every day.

That’s good because you know when you say I’m scared, every time Divi has an update, I’m still scared your backup full backup or delete.

I’ve had issues have

tried to implement the backup and I’m like, Oh, yeah, and then I’m back on tech support.

Oh, God, yeah, I personally, I use manage WP, I don’t use the hosting backup. I use managed WP for backups and you know, updates, upgrades and stuff like that, it makes my life easier. Because what it does, it will take a snapshot of the site before applying any update. And then if I apply the update, and something is not right, instead of me breaking my head, trying to figure out what went wrong, I would just restore from the backup. And that’s it. And then I’ll take this on a staging server. And this is what I go on, break my head. Try to you know, troubleshoot, but at least the live website is there is not affected until I find out how to fix it. And then I would switch them over like you know from life push it to production. And it’s not that hard, but you have to be careful. And I think your situation is a little bit more complex, because you have lots of places where things are coming from, like CloudFront with CloudFlare and the s3 bucket and and every time you make a change, you got to remember to delete the cache from WP rocket and let it

like, I have like three different caches that I’m constantly deleting. So especially now usually, I’m not updating my website constantly. So it’s kind of like a thing I’m just doing now.

Would it make your life easier if your back end is taken care of completely, and then you can just focus on the website content, instead of always having to go and be kind of scared every time there’s an update coming up.

So yes, absolutely. But I I always feel like my, I always feel like my situations are way more complicated than any


person. And I’m like, Okay, I’m like a developer. Like I don’t think they’re going to know what because I have like weird, crazy issues. Like when I tried to update my dibby. The first time I tried to update it, and they kind of crashed my site. They put it on a weird parent theme. So I had like two Divi parent themes. It was very weird, like one site was unlike DB dash four. And then the

other site staging site.

Yeah, then there was on a debie. And I couldn’t update the DB that my site was on. It was very, very weird. And then so when they were on my staging site, they put my website on regular debie that could be updated and they got rid of the Debbie dash four. Does that make sense?

Yeah, so when like a child Yeah,

so when I went to push the updates, that’s why it didn’t work. Because

it wasn’t like there’s a trick that I learned as well, which sometimes we forget to look at it. If you go to the settings of the Divi itself, it does have a minify CSS and a minified JavaScript button in those and then go there and click on the builder part but not the Divi Builder, the builder that’s in the settings part of the Divi there’s a clear button where you have to clear the Divi cache because also Divi maintains its own cache. And if you have five, six different caches working together, sometimes that will not play nicely and you wouldn’t see what you’re supposed to see. And I find that now, if you’re doing like the Full Monty, like you’ve got the rocket and the CloudFront and CloudFlare together, it’s a lot going on. Yeah, there’s no point of having Divi also caching itself. So you can switch that off in the settings just clear it and switch it off and then in the main Divi setup just Switch off minify CSS and JavaScript, because it’s going to be done for you anyway. Yeah, there’s gonna be other stuff that you’re using. And this sometimes is why you have Divi parent and Divi child and the same website,

I still don’t understand the difference. Yeah, I don’t understand anything about the child theme thing still confuses me.

The child theme is something we resort to only if you want to do some customization that Divi itself will not allow us to do from the menus, like you have to go to the functions file in the back end in your hosting and write some code in. So if you just have Divi or anything, and you open that functions file, and you write your code in next time, there’s an update, it will overwrite it. So whatever code you put in will get lost. So that’s why they tell you Okay, the workaround is do a child theme from your main theme, and then go to the functions of the child theme to put your code. And this way, every time that parent theme gets updated. Your code your custom code will not be overwritten because it’s in a child theme.

That’s maybe I need to put my site on the child theme them

so we can create a new child theme from your DVD right now. Yeah, give me support.

I’ll do it for you. And I’ll ask him about

like, I don’t have any more weeks in me.

No more weeks to do. Yeah.

days, it’s been a great experience. having this conversation with you. Sandra, thank you very much for being on the podcast.

You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.

Have a great day. You too. Bye bye.

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