Past a certain point, continued success with your websites becomes a game of small tweaks.
Here are 3 of my small tweaks from so far in 2019 that anybody can implement, and that are very likely to have a positive impact on traffic and revenue.
#1 Improve Page Load Speeds With A3 Lazy Load
If you have a lot of image heavy posts, this plugin will make a significant impact on your page speeds, without you having to do anything but install it.
The concept is incremental loading. If you have some image at the bottom of a page, is it really necessary that this image be rendered before the reader is anywhere near it?
A3 Lazy Load makes it so that images don’t load until the reader has scrolled to them. It means the page render completes more quickly and the user has to wait (slightly) less at the top of the page, where they start.
The plugin’s not perfect. If you hit a table of contents item that has an image, or if you scroll quickly, you “see” the image appear, and it can come off a touch clunky. But for the gains you can make, and compared to custom coding something like this (which big sites do instead) it’s a solid “hands off” approach.
#2 Improve Search Clickthroughs With Schema
Schema – the other little bits and pieces of information you can get to appear near your site when it pops up in Google search results: Dates, star ratings, authors and more – is a big topic, but I made some changes recently to correct one annoying problem that was hurting my search engine CTRs.
It’s about dates.
When you publish a piece of content, WordPress keeps a record of (and often outputs to your site, depending on the theme) the publish date, and or, the “last updated” date (Called datemodified in the code)
Both of these have value for readers, and for your users. A recent, up to date piece of content has more value than something that’s out of date. But an older piece of content that has existed for a long time, and has been gradually added to is also of tremendous value.
You want Google to see both your published and updated dates, but next to your search result, in the structured data (Schema), you want people to see the most recent date, for obvious reasons.
Search for something of your own in Google now to see how it shows up. If your published date is showing, rather than your last update, it’s worth making this change.
Warning: You probably need a developer for this next part. I used someone from Fiverr who fixed it for $5.
The best practice here is to take the datepublished code out of your article and leave it only in the meta tags. Then your article body will have the datemodified (or your last update) code, and that’s the one Google should read.
But there’s another reason I made Schema a bullet in this article.
Sara and I just changed from using the plugin “All in one Schema” to configure rich snippets and other Schema bits… to the plugin just called Schema.
It’s a little easier to work with. It outputs more of the right Schema data automatically (rather than having to add the same details for lots of different posts) and it solved another little problem too.
We wanted to give a more specific description of our content in Schema language. A lot of blog style sites have the posts on the site marked as Article, but Article schema is a top level category from which some more specific options (like NewsArticle or General) can be chosen.
The description in Schema that best fit our kinds of articles is BlogPosting, and as it turns out, this Schema plugin gives an option to change all your site’s posts to this setting with one switch.
Summary: Fix up how your post dates are showing in Schema, and make sure (using Schema plugin) you’re giving the most specific definition of your content possible in Schema language.
#3 Increase Affiliate Clickthroughs With AAWP
Lots of people use the Amazon Affiliates for WordPress plugin (aff). The plugin itself isn’t cutting edge knowledge, but using it, and using it well, can make a number of small improvements to an affiliate site simultaneously.
Those improvements are:
Improving page speeds (by loading images through the API)
If you have the images of your products displaying with the code Amazon gives you, you may have noticed it has a negative effect on page speeds.
I am not the technical person to explain to you properly why this is so, but it’s a long piece of code, with some weird repeated bits, and when you test the load speed of a page with one of those Amazon images on it, vs a regular image of the same size, with all else being equal, you’ll see the first one takes longer to load.
With AAWP you can show images on your site that come via Amazon’s API, so you can get rid of that slow loading code while still showing an up to date, appropriately sized image of the product on your page.
Improving clickthrough rates (by – among other things – highlighting when an item is on sale)
A lot of people use AAWP for their comparison tables, and when you take the time to do them well and add value, it’s a convenient option.
But the CTR increase I wanted to talk about first is from the ability to show an item as “on sale”. Lots of items on Amazon are on sale at any given time, but you can never mention this in the text of your articles as it’s against Amazon’s TOS… except when the pricing data is coming from the API.
So when you add a product box and have the right setting ticked, you can get this detail showing near your products
which is a great added incentive for someone to click and buy immediately. You don’t need to be constantly updating your articles either. If the box is in, it will automatically display any price reductions as per the API, in real time.
Not all the products you promote on your site will be on sale, so an easy way to get started with this plugin is to run through and add a product box on each of your articles where you mention a product that is on sale (to find out which are on sale, you’d just go to Amazon, look at the item, and see if there’s a price reduction)
Improving compliance with Amazon’s TOS: By being able to show the details of item directly from Amazon.
There’s an added peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re only showing data that Amazon already has in its system. You’re not going to accidentally mention a price somewhere, or misquote a detail about a product, or show an incorrect image, or some other trivial thing that causes Amazon to bring down the hammer on you.
Obviously using this plugin doesn’t guarantee you’ll never have a problem, but it’s multiple steps in the right direction.
Those are the 3.
Let me know if you’re already using these, or if you start using them after reading this. I’d love to hear your results.