3 Simple Steps to Improve the Design of Your Site

The overall appearance of your site can make the difference between someone wanting to do business or leaving your site. If your site is too cluttered and uses colors that cause a migraine, you need to fix your design.

How to Fix It (in order of importance):


  1. Give Enough Whitespace.

    The biggest mistake businesses make with their design is filling their page with too much information, too close together. Give your content room to breath – it will make your site feel more user friendly and more modern. Want to read more about how whitespace affects your site? Read this.

  2. Use the Right Colors

    Use colors that don’t take away from your content. Website backgrounds and content areas should only use subtle, light colors. Don’t choose a bright pink as your background, instead make it a softer, pastel color that is less “in your face”. It is ok to use bold, bright colors for call-to-actions (buttons) and other small elements on your page. Have a subtle background color will make those buttons stand out even more. To find the right colors for your site, we always use this tool.

  3. Use the Right Fonts

    The fonts on your site (and their font size) can make a break a good design. We recommend keeping fonts at 15px or higher, any smaller makes things hard to read. Use clean fonts: Our favorite is Open Sans by Google Fonts. The “Golden Ratio” can also make your site easier to read and therefore increase visitor time on your site. The Golden Ratio is the ratio between font size, the width of the page and the line height. Use this tool to determine the right ratio for your site.

Fix your sites colors and fonts, then add whitespace: the perfect recipe for a beautiful, user-friendly site.

Website Speed: How To Fix Your Slow Loading Site

How long do you wait for a site to load before you leave? I bet not very long. Here is a great infographic on how site speed can impact your bottom line. You know it is important to have a fast loading website, but what are some actual steps you can take to improve your loading time on a WordPress site? Your site speed can easily be improved by making the following steps.

In order of importance:


  1. Caching

    cachingUse a plugin that reduces the amount of data your site loads each time (a caching plugin). The two best are WP Super Cache and WP Total Cache. I recommend using Super Cache as it is a bit easier to setup and does not seem to have as many issues with incompatibilities.  To setup WP Super Cache, go to the advanced settings and select all options that end with: (recommended)

  2. Images Too Large

    Occupy Wall Street-Inspired Protests In GermanyWhen you see a website that has a large image that crawls open, it is becuase they uploaded a file way too large for web (most likely straight from the camera). Any large images need to be saved in a web friendly file size. Either use Photoshop or Pixlr.com to save your images at a smaller size. Click “File” > “Save for Web (or just “Save” in Pixlr)” > Select “JPG” > Then reduce quality until you see visible degradation of the image, then back it off slightly. You do not want any image on your website that is over 1000px wide. More than that and you are asking for a long load time.

  3. No Raw Camera Files

    cameraNever upload images straight from your camera to your website, they are way too big! Go back to step 2 above and reduce your file size.

  4. Minify your CSS and Javascript

    minify Minify What!? All you need to know is that this reduces the file size of your crucial site files. Use the plugin: Better WP Minify. One word of caution: this plugin is not compatible with all themes, so make sure it does not break your site styles when activating!

Site is still too slow? You may have an issue with your host or other bad hosting, so make sure you are using a modern host for your website. Use the tool here to test your site speed and get other recommendations on what is slowing down your site.

The Business Owner’s Guide to Speeding Up Your WordPress Site

As a business owner, you know a fast site is essential to keep visitors happy.  You may not know that page speed also factors into your search engine ranking. Google says, “we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed“.  This was back in 2010 and it is even more important today.

What can you do as a business owner to improve your speed yourself?

The first step in improving your site speed is to get a grade of your site speed. My favorite tool is GTMetrix. Use this tool and then follow the steps below to see how much you improve your grade. You want a grade of at least

There are a few things that you can do right now, without much technical know-how. Listed in order of effectiveness:

  1. wp-super-cache-seo-pluginInstall a caching plugin: A caching plugin will reduce the loading time of your site by having the site files ready to load quickly instead of having to look in your site database each time (it reduces the time it takes a page to load). This is the most bang for your buck improvement (it is free after all).
    • Login to your site dashboard.
    • Click on “Plugins”, then “Add New”
    • Search for “wp super cache” and click “Install Now” under  the first result (http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-super-cache/).
    • After activating the plugin, go to “Settings”, then click “WP Super Cache”.
    • Click the “Advanced” tab to set things up. Check every box that has a “(Recommended)” next to it. Save your changes and you are done!
  2. 490px-Magnifying_glass_iconInstall a minify plugin: A minify plugin simply makes your core site files smaller so they can load faster. These are a bit easier to setup than the caching plugin above.
    • Login to your site dashboard.
    • Click on “Plugins”, then “Add New”
    • Search for “better wp minify” and click “Install Now” under  the first result (http://wordpress.org/plugins/bwp-minify/).
    • After activating the plugin, it will automatically be active, so there is nothing more you have to do.

The two changes above will significantly improve your WordPress site speed. There are also things you can do to proactively moving forward to improve your site speed:

  1. Never upload an image to your site that is bigger that 1000 pixels wide: You should be uploading photos at the size you want them shown on your site. Do not upload a 2000 pixel wide image to just show it at 500 pixels.
  2. If you only have a large image, use a tool like Pixlr to resize it to the correct dimensions: open your image in Pixlr, then go to the menu and click “Image” then “Image Size”. Reduce your image to a good web size (between 200 and 800 pixels) and then click “File” > “Save”.

There are many other ways to speed up your website, but these will give you the best bang for your buck. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments if you are trying this yourself!