1. This website uses cookies to improve service and provide a tailored user experience. By using this site, you agree to this use. See our Cookie Policy.
    Dismiss Notice

[Journey] Building An Authority Blog In A Competitive Niche.

Discussion in 'My Journey Discussions' started by Shaunm, Jan 1, 2020.

  1. Shaunm

    Shaunm Elite Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,801
    Likes Received:
    1,838
    This is actually a reply I made to a question over on Quora a few days back but I wanted to share it here too as it might be helpful to some people. I have only copy and pasted my replay over from Quora and then readded the relevant images/videos. Also, I accidentally deleted the original images so I have had to use the ones from Quora and their compression is not the best so they are a bit distorted but they still serve their purpose. The people on Quora seem to be browsing about a potential hobby rather than actually taking part in it some this is not meant as an extensive guide but it may still help some people.

    8 Tips That May Help To Speed Up Your Blog

    [​IMG]

    The image above is the page load time for one of the pages on one of my affiliate blogs from the free GTMetrix site speed checker. As you can see, the page was fully loaded in less than 0.6 seconds so I hope that these insights will help anyone else looking to improve their page load times on their own blogs too. There are a number of steps that you can take and although you don't have to implement them all, the more that you implement with your own blogs the faster your own blog pages are likley to load for a visitor.

    Hosting

    One of the quickest and most effective things that you are able to do with your blogs to help improve your page load times is to get your domain hosted on a better hosting provider. So many people new to blogging go with services such as Bluehost and Hostgator that are all owned by EIG as so many other bloggers recommend them in their getting started guide for bloggers.

    Unfortunately, both companies are pretty bad and are usually only recommended by these bloggers due to them having high affiliate commissions. There are much better and faster-hosting companies out there that you are able to use that usually offer much lower commissions than the EIG hosting companies so not many people promote them.

    At the time of writing, my money site network is split pretty evenly with half being hosted on Cloudways and half being hosted on Site grounds. Although both have very similar page load times once your blog has been taken through the steps below, I feel that Sitegrounds is currently the better option as it is so user friendly and even if you are brand new to blogging, you should be able to easily set the package up and get it going with ease.

    One little side note that I would highly recommend that you do during your hosting set up is to try and ensure that your domain will be on a server cluster as close to your primary target audience as possible. For example, I target the English speaking markets and with the USA being the highest population English speaking market, I try to ensure that my domains are hosted on server clusters in the USA. When setting your hosting package up, it is usually easy to do this and it's usually just a drop-down option where you select USA as your server cluster.

    Taking this simple step can help improve your page load times as the server will be closer to the majority of your audience so when the request a page from the server, the data has less distance to travel. Although it may only save your 0.1 of a second, every little helps and it all adds up as you add the following steps below.

    Image Optimization

    Next up has to be image optimization and I go over my full process on how I optimize my images for the fasted possible load speeds in the video above. Depending on the quality of your image, you can sometimes take an image that is 4MB in size down to less than 100KB when optimized correctly. If you have multiple images on your blog posts then this can actually end up shaving a surprising amount of time of your page load speed.

    Although I do into a little more detail and show live examples in the video above, the basics of the process is as follows:-
    • If you are using Wordpress as your blog's content management system then resize the image before uploading it to your blog. The majority of modern versions of Wordpress will be able to natively load an image that is 1200px wide or less. If you are using an old version of Wordpress though, its native image loading may still be restricted to images that are 768px wide or less.​
    • Prior to uploading your image to your blog, upload it to a free image compression service such as tinypng.com as it can drastically reduce the file size of your images without sacrificing the image quality.​
    • Have the shortpixel plugin installed on your Wordpress blog prior to uploading your image. Although this is a freemium plugin, the free 100 credits a month should be enough for most people and it can further reduce the image size in addition to the improvements tinypng made.​
    This will ensure that all of the images on your page are as small as possible while still offering excellent image quality to anyone viewing them. As you can potentially be reducing the file size of every image on your blog post by over 97.5% by running them through this process, it can drastically improve the load times of your content while the process to optimize them can be done in less than 30 seconds with ease.

    Theme

    Using a theme that has been specifically designed for speed is another quick and easy step that you are able to implement to further reduce the page load speeds of your blog posts. I used the slow and clunky colormag and newspaper themes on my domains for years but I recently made the switch over to the free version of the Astra theme and I won't be going back.

    Although I haven't actually used the OceanWP theme myself, I hear that it is just as fast as the Astra theme so it might be worth checking out too. Both Astra and OceanWP have been optimized for speed and had all of the things that slow a Wordpress theme down removed from them to keep your blog posts loading as quickly and easily as possible.

    General Plugins

    The plugins that you use on your domain can also end up slowing your page load speed down. Due to there being so many plugins that all do different things, it's hard to make a list of what is likley to slow your blog down. The easiest way to see if you are having issues with this is to probably use the free GTMetrixs page load speed checker and use their Waterfall tab shown by the red arrows in the image below.
    [​IMG]
    This will allow you to see the name and load times of the various things loading on your blog page. If you see any that are names of the plugins that you use then it might be an idea to play around with finding an alternative plugin that has been optimized for speed.

    Caching Plugin

    A caching plugin can be hit or miss in my experience and there is no need to go off and pay for a premium, paid plugin such as WPRocket. I have tried WPRocket previously and it actually ended up causing my blog posts to load at a slower speed than some of the free alternatives.

    Although there are a number of blog posts that you are able to use to cache your blog, I personally use the Autoptimize plugin. I have tried the majority of the other caching plugins out there and nothing has been as easy to set up or as quick as Autoptimize to date.

    You will likley be able to set Autoptimize up in less than a minute and get >80% of the speed benefit that it can offer you. If you want to get that final 20% then you can spend time playing with the plugin but I just set and forget it with the following settings in the plugin.

    On the “JS, CSS, & HTML” tab I have the following options turned on:-​
    • Optimize JavaScript Code.​
    • Aggregate JS-files.​
    • Optimize CSS Code.​
    • Aggregate CSS-files.​
    • Also aggregate inline CSS.​
    • Optimize HTML Code.​
    • Save aggregated script/css as static files.​
    • Minify excluded CSS and JS files.​
    On the “images” tab I just turn on “Lazy-load images” as I prefer to manually do the ShortPixle stuff myself but you can tick that box if you wish.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    The two-speed tests above are from the exact same page on one of my domains, the first one is will the Autoptimize plugin turned off and the second one is with it turned on with the settings as I covered above. As you can see, it helps to shave off around 1.3 seconds of load time and takes less than a minute to set up.

    Display Ad Code

    As you may have noticed in the two-speed tests images in the section above, even when optimized, the page comes in with a 2.3 second load time. This is much slower than the 0.6 seconds in my first image in the answer and I have intentionally done this. The images are both from different domains, the 0.6-second image is based around affiliate marketing and the 2.3-second image is from a domain-based around display ads.

    Even when fully optimized in every way, a blog that has display ad code running on it will always be slower than a blog without. This is due to the page having to request the ads to serve from a third-party server, then render them, and display them before the page load is complete. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, there is no way to optimize this and reduce the time it takes for the third-party ad server to serve the ads.

    Keep in mind, different ad networks also have different ad code running with some ad networks having reported load times of well over 10 seconds per page! From what I can tell, Adsense, Mediavine, and Adthrive seem to be the more optimized display ad networks and will likley have the fasted page load for your blog if you do have to use display ads.

    Content Delivery Network

    In theory, a Content Delivery Network (CDN) should be able to speed up your blog page load times but the benefit of this will depend on the location of your hosting server cluster and the location of the page request. A CDN is basically a network of third-party servers that will store all of the media on their servers that are located all around the world. When your blog gets a page request, the CDN then sends the media on the blog page to the user from the closest server to them rather than from your blogs actual server.

    This can be hit and miss in my experience, especially if you are using a free package for a CDN. In my experience, the free packages often slow your domains down rather than speed them up and if you optimize your images as explained above and ensure you have a plugin with lazy loading turned on such as Autoptimize your blog will likely be fine without actually needing a CDN anyway.

    Limit API Calls

    If you are an affiliate marketer and using something like the Amazon Affiliate program then you are not able to use the images from the Amazon domain on your own blog posts unless they are pulled in real-time via their API. This goes for a number of other details about the products too so I would highly recommend that you look to limit the amount of API calls to the Amazon server is possible.

    Each call can add time to your blog page load speed and slow you down and most of the time, there are workaround available. For example, if you are using the API call to pull and image from Amazon to show in your blog post, find an alternative image on a royalty-free stock photo site such as Unsplash, optimize the image as I covered above and then upload it to your blog and use that instead.

    By taking this simple step I have shaved more than three seconds off the page load times for some of my affiliate posts. On some of my more recent affiliate posts, I don’t use any API calls at all as you are usually able to avoid using them without issue anyway.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  2. Repulsor

    Repulsor Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2013
    Messages:
    867
    Likes Received:
    308
    What do you suggest for starters for putting the product links and the image?

    We only get API access after pushing 3 products.

    And what plugin do you use for the same.

    Your thread inspired me and I started a site. so far so good. Learning to right SEO articles. Everything is new for me.
     
  3. Shaunm

    Shaunm Elite Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,801
    Likes Received:
    1,838
    If you are brand new then you will likley be in the sandbox for months to come anyway so it doesn't really matter year. I would just wait before applying until your are getting 100 organics a day or something and then apply to join. I'm not sure if One Link uses the API or not as its been years since I have used it, I know AAWP needs the API to work though. For your initial 3 sales you can just check your analytics for your 10 highest trafficked pages and then manually ad links to them and once you have API access switch over to AAWP or something like that.

    Glad my journey has helped to inspire you dude :).
     
  4. Repulsor

    Repulsor Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2013
    Messages:
    867
    Likes Received:
    308
    Thats a nice idea about including the links on the top few pages once I start getting enough traffic.

    Well, I started it just few days back, but my webmaster console shows impressions already? 60-99 positions for very high competition keywords.

    Is this normal?
     
  5. Shaunm

    Shaunm Elite Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,801
    Likes Received:
    1,838
    Nope, should be off to a good start :).
     
  6. unsungwarrior

    unsungwarrior Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Messages:
    1,065
    Likes Received:
    456
    Gender:
    Male
    Hey Shaun, awesome journey man! Some of your replies here were just outstanding.

    How many words you have in total on the blogs now?
     
  7. Shaunm

    Shaunm Elite Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,801
    Likes Received:
    1,838
    Cheers dude, I'm not sure in all honesty, about 1,500,000 across the full money site network build up since before this journey way started, for the ones since this journey probably 300,000-400,000 words or something like that.
     
  8. Satal

    Satal Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2010
    Messages:
    545
    Likes Received:
    237
    Location:
    UK
    Imagine how many more you've posted on this thread :p
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  9. unsungwarrior

    unsungwarrior Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Messages:
    1,065
    Likes Received:
    456
    Gender:
    Male
    Probably about 50K words. Right @Shaunm :D
     
  10. Shaunm

    Shaunm Elite Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,801
    Likes Received:
    1,838
    haha, this is where I talk about my hobby, most the people I know offline have no idea what I do for a living and they think I break the law and stuff lol. I would be curious to know the word count from my posts in the thread though.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  11. bhushan3339

    bhushan3339 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2019
    Messages:
    303
    Likes Received:
    79
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Business
    Location:
    Pasadena
    hey Shaun,

    watching all of your youtube videos lately.

    Saw your daily routine video as well. If possible can you give a little bit guide where we can find good writers?

    I got my own template ready as well. I am currently using ASANA to manage all the workflow but sometimes it's hard to train writers..so finding out good writers lately.
     
  12. mike67000

    mike67000 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2018
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Hello ! Nice journey of course. How much article you write / post per day ? :)
     
  13. Satal

    Satal Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2010
    Messages:
    545
    Likes Received:
    237
    Location:
    UK
    If only he shared the number of words he writes for each of the articles on this thread every day :p

    Perhaps like:
    https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/j...mpetitive-niche.1189346/page-41#post-13198802
    https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/j...mpetitive-niche.1189346/page-41#post-13202873
    https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/j...mpetitive-niche.1189346/page-42#post-13211187
    https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/j...mpetitive-niche.1189346/page-42#post-13214594
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 3
  14. Shaunm

    Shaunm Elite Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,801
    Likes Received:
    1,838
    Its kind of hard right now as so many people are writing online for money due to the lockdown, I have had 3 people tell me they wont be writing anymore as they go back to work tomorrow as stuff is starting to go back to normal. Once I workout a more stable hiring process for freelance writers I will make a video though :).
     
  15. Satal

    Satal Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2010
    Messages:
    545
    Likes Received:
    237
    Location:
    UK
    Looking forward to that. Subscribed to your YT :D
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  16. b2mcd

    b2mcd Regular Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2018
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    179
    Gender:
    Male
    You are a machine, Shaun! I've been watching your videos and of course reading your updates still. Wishing you the best, and happy to see your progress.
     
  17. Shaunm

    Shaunm Elite Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,801
    Likes Received:
    1,838
    Cheers dude :). Got big plans for it now that I am trying to actually grow it into an asset rather than just being a hobby.

    Cheers dude means a lot :).
     
  18. AmazonMan

    AmazonMan Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2013
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    7
    Shaunm enjoyed reading this thread over the last few weeks and subscribed to the Youtube channel I had success with Amazon many years ago hence the name but let the sites slowly die as all my time was dedicated to Match betting has been my full time living the last 7 years.

    Been plowing some money into some sites, back when I was getting success on Amazon, I don't believe there was a sandbox, and I got sales in the first week, but targeting the UK was an error on my part with the cap of £7 back then.

    If everything I have been reading about the sandbox is right and it is around 6 months then the first site I started should be out of the sandbox at the end of May 205,098 words over 90 Article and will have 10 more added by the end of the month.

    Have 2 more sites that I am working on to mix things up a little and have an idea for a faceless YouTube channel.

    Keep up the good work mate, enjoyed reading your journey.
     
  19. Jack C

    Jack C Newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2019
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
  20. Shaunm

    Shaunm Elite Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,801
    Likes Received:
    1,838
    Update
    [​IMG]
    Income is from my full money site network.​
    • Article 1 - 2155 Words.
    • Thinking of selling my bitcoin holdings to put the cash into this new project as the halvening has happened and I am in half minds of if it will correct or not now so looking to take the profit.
    • 3 writers from the USA are going back to work tomorrow for their regular jobs after lockdown restrictions are eased and have said they wont be writing anymore, I still have 4 writers working with me but I will see if they hang around as more and more people go back to their regular jobs.
    • My main site seems to be slipping down in SERPs slightly after showing some minor recovery from the May Google update over the last few days but it might just be regular Google dance.
    • Started testing out YouTube paid traffic for my YouTube channel.
    • Spent some time going over a potential plan for the 30 videos in 30 days thing that I might try next month but it's going to be a ton of work.

    Cheers dude :) good luck with your projects :).
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2