A2 Posting

The Official Blog For A2 Hosting

Delivering the top tips for achieving the highest-performance for your website and getting the most of your marketing efforts.

  • How To Make Your WordPress Site Slower

    WordPress is a pretty straightforward content management system (CMS) for blogging. It’s fairly quick out of the box, but WordPress has a community of developers that have made plugins to allow WordPress to do pretty much anything you want.  The downside of having so many options for plugins is that we, as webmasters, tend to want to install every plugin we can get our hands on.


    When we overload our site with plugins that do everything we think we need, each time a page loads, the site is doing everything. This causes slower and slower page load times each and every time we add a new plugin.  Each and every time a page loads on your site, each installed plugin executes the code and database calls necessary to perform its task. Unfortunately, most plugins are not coordinated to work with each other and many of the same database and function calls will be repeated over and over again by different plugins.  This definitely slows down your site.  Adding a few plugins to your site can increase your page load time by double, triple or even more.  Having one plugin that does everything is not always the solution either, since the plugin may do more than you need and can be slower.


    There are several plugins that can help speed things up though and some that can even help you identify what is slowing down your site.  At A2 Hosting, we recommend the W3 Total Cache plugin as a way to speed up delivery of pages on your site. By saving a copy of each page's HTML on the hard drive, W3 Total Cache allows your site to skip a few steps in processing a request from a user.  The site stores this cached version of the page until either new content has been added to the site or the page has reached a maximum age. At this point the next time the page is viewed, a new cached page is created. W3 Total Cache can also enable tools that reduce the file size of pages sent to your users making your site faster especially for users with slow internet connections.


    The Plugin Performance Profiler (P3) plugin is a great tool for identifying which plugins you have installed that may be slowing down your site.  This simple tool measures the time it takes for each page on your site to load and which portion of that time each of your installed plugins has used.  You can quickly identify any plugin that is a CPU hog.  GT Metrix is another performance monitoring plugin which allows you to see where your site is using the most resources.  Check our our Knowledge Base article on “How to optimize WordPress with W3 Total Cache and GTmetrix”.


    The next time you log into your WP admin, take a look at the list of plugins that you have installed and make sure that you need all of them.  If you no longer use a plugin, make sure you both deactivate and delete it. You may notice a nice little performance boost on your site.

  • Using Analytics To Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

    One of the most valuable, yet under used features of Google Analytics is the Funnel Visualization report. I'll admit that I've always been a bit confused on how to get this report up and running, but after spending a few moments testing it out, it's not as hard as it once seemed.


    I can't stress the importance of looking at a Funnel Visualization report to learn more about your site's shopping cart abandonment and determining where you're losing users along the way. You've done the hard work to get the visitor to come to your site. You've sold them on your service or product. Don't make the mistake of losing them in your cart! Funnel Visualization will help you determine what steps in the checkout process may be causing customer confusion or trouble and help you focus on which steps need to be tweaked.


    There are other solutions that will help you track movement through your conversion funnel aside from Analytics. However most estimates show that roughly half of all sites use Analytics, so I thought I'd share step-by-step instructions to show you how to set up Funnel Visualization. Best of all, it's a free solution and you can't beat that!


    First you will need to create a goal:

    1. Click Admin at the top of Analytics
    2. Select Goals under the View column
    3. Click +New Goal
    4. Name your Goal, select Destination from the Type options and click Next step
    5. Enter your shopping cart's confirmation page URL in the Destination box.
    6. Click to turn the Funnel button on
    7. Name and add the URL for each of the shopping cart pages leading up to the confirmation page. Click Create goal.


    Now that you've created your goal, it will take Analytics some time to record conversions. To view the Funnel Visualization report:

    1. Click Reporting at the top of Analytics
    2. Click Conversions, Goals and Funnel Visualization in the navigation menu
    3. Choose the goal that you just created if it isn't already selected in the Goal Option drop down. After a few quick steps, you'll be able to see the Shopping Cart Flow at the bottom of this page.
  • Developing Single Page Web Applications with AngularJS

    Anyone who has experience developing a Single Page Application (SPA) with naked jQuery or raw JavaScript knows that doing so involves a lot of work for basic UI functions like keeping your Model and View in sync. You end up with hundreds or even thousands of lines of JavaScript devoted to basic functionality, before you can even begin writing your application logic. This is why teams of developers have put tremendous effort into making a variety of JavaScript application frameworks. You can take your pick from BackboneJS, EmberJS, AngularJS and others. Each has its own advantages, but for this post I'll just be talking about what AngularJS brings to the table.

    There's a few key features that make AngularJS distinct from the alternatives. A big one is that Angular templates are written in HTML using directives (HTML5 data elements or custom attributes) for its template functionality. For example, if you have a list element that you'd like to repeat for each entry in an array, you use an ng-repeat directive on that list element like so:

    <li ng-repeat="cookie in cookies">{{ cookie.name }} : {{ cookie.description }}</li>

    Assuming you have an array called cookies with elements that contain both a name and description, you will get a list as you might imagine from the above in AngularJS

    Angular will do automatic data binding as well, if the cookies array gets updated in your model, the view will automatically update. That means adding, removing or changing any of the elements in your model is automatically reflected to the user.

    This is just a very basic introduction to some of the functionality AngularJS has on offer. For a more comprehensive overview I recommend checking out the official AngularJS site which contains detaield documentation as well as a number of videos.


  • Using Google Analytics & WordPress

    Below you'll find another batch of help articles to help you learn more about WordPress and optimize your WordPress Hosting account! If there are any topics you would like us to feature, just leave your ideas in the comments below.


    Learn more about your websites' visitors and how they found your site in the first place.


    Easily generate XML sitemaps for your WordPress sites to help search engines index your web site content faster.


    Learn how you can post to your WordPress site by simply sending an e-mail message.


    Did you know you can disable WordPress plugins both individually and all at once? Learn how to disable plugins for WordPress, both individually and all at once.


    Add the Disqus Comment System to make commenting easier and more interactive

  • Now Offering Free ManageWP Accounts!

    Thanks to our brand new partnership with ManageWP, your WordPress Hosting service from A2 Hosting now features a free ManageWP account! Use ManageWP to run all of your WordPress sites from a single dashboard! I just ran through the setup and it couldn't be easier. Just click the ManageWP icon in your cPanel account, enter your email address, click sign in and just like that ManageWP will auto-detect WordPress sites on your A2 Hosting account. Your free ManageWP account features include:

    • Manage and update your WordPress sites from a single dashboard
    • 1-click theme and plugin updates
    • Install and manage plugins and themes for each of your WordPress sites
    • Mass spam comment removal
    • Built in page view stats
    • Two-factor login authentication for enhanced security

    You also get a free 14-day Professional ManageWP trial when you setup your account. In addition to all of the free features listed above, your free Professional trial includes their Google Analytics widget, traffic change alerts, scheduled site backups and much more!


    Get started managing your sites with ManageWP now and let us know what you think of this slick new feature in the comments below!


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