This post goes out to all of us who are lucky enough to own a website and trying to use it to make money online.
As you might have seen the last 2 weeks have been taken up with fixing a few mistakes that I made by pressing a few wrong buttons and doing things the hard way. With this mind here’s a few things that should help you with your own websites.
At the start of January I posted a link to a new post in a live chat, but rather than get instant comments and praise all I got was “Dude, your site is broken” as it was taking > 30 seconds to load. On the internet that is like forever, and probably helps to explain the high bounce rate I was getting in my google analytic accounts.
I would highly recommend that you check out these 2 sites and see how long your site is taking to load.
If your site is taking greater than 10 seconds, look at the results and try to figure out what’s causing the slow load.
The weirdest thing I found was that http://www.domain.com is different to www.domain.com and I had banners and images hosted on both, so that was a major factor in the load time.
Also a few plugins like social media boxes were causing some delays.
Hopefully I’m now running at about 5 seconds 🙂
During the struggle to sort out load time I was just deleting all sorts of things, and eventually I decided to hit the upgrade button for thesis, and then the existing content went all over the place…
I suddenly found that if I rolled back to my last back-up I would be back up at 30 second load times and have to go through all the pain of doing the removal of code and probably miss the most important things.
When you make a step change in the right direction create a specific back-up point that will work for you.
Don’t Just Jump In
Normally I’m good at reading instructions.
With flatpack furniture, cake baking, and my chemisty I take time to do my research, but my familiarity with thesis v1.8.5 was such that I assumed that thesis v2 would just work the same…
If I’d taken 5 minutes to do some research on google or read the support forums I would have realised that it’s gone way geekier than before and that support manuals were not complete – lots of people similar to me have sunk with their attempts to make it work.
After lots of swearing I went back to the very basics and build this site from a total blank template.
Massive thanks must go to Amelia from Melbourne who has created the best set of videos I have seen in a long time.
If I’d done my research properly I would have found this plugin
It’s from Matt Gross (not part of the 80’s pop sensation Bros) who’s one of the top wordpress developers.
Basically if you install this plugin it will freeze the theme for all visitors, but allow you to work inside the admin area on the new look and design of your site. Much better than working on a live site and making you look like an amateur to your visitors.
Please use the benefit of my hindsight if you do decide to change the look of your wordpress site.
Learn Some CSS
I will end with some positive notes.
Having spend at least 36 hours playing and learning thesis v2 I have to admit it’s starting to grow on me, and I can actually see how the changes will benefit my site. I would recommend using firefox and installing the firebug plugin, it will help you pinpoint exact areas of your website and change how it looks instantly.
When you have a free theme and don’t like a font or colour it’s almost impossible to change, but not with the custom CSS tips I have picked up from Amelia – it’s just html for designers.
I know that I still have a few areas around the site which need to have a bit more space around it, so if you do spot something that looks really weird please let me know – my social details are up on the top right.