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BBP 016: Grayson Bell Explains Common WordPress Mistakes to Avoid

Tools and Resources Mentioned:

  • Gimp:
  • Canva:…
  • PicMonkey:
  • Shortpixel:…

About Grayson Bell:

Grayson is the founder and CEO of iMark Interactive, a full-service WordPress support and development agency. After learning WordPress since 2003, he started providing other bloggers and business owners with support to help them with technical challenges. When not working in WordPress, he enjoys traveling with his family.

Learn more at iMarkInteractive.


Hey Boss, welcome to the Blogger Breakthrough Podcast, I’m your host, Liz Stapleton from and founder of the Blogger Breakthrough Summit. 

Remember if you want to make sure you’re the first to hear about registration opening for the 2021 summit – be sure to join the Summit’s newsletter,

Today, I’m sharing another snippet from one of our 2020 summit sessions. It was one of the most popular sessions of the entire summit.

Today I’m sharing a bit of wordpress knowledge from  WordPress guru Grayson Bell, let’s dive in…

[00:00:31].440] – Liz
So besides, like, not backing up and stuff, what are some of the issues you see come up the most or the biggest mistakes people make that you have to fix or help them with?

[00:00:41].610] – Grayson
So I’ll go with the elephant in the room that everybody’s talking about right now, site speed.

[00:00:47].160] – Grayson
Everyone is wanting to kill some site speed or something. Like everyone’s like got to have a fast site, I got to have a fast site. And yes, that’s very important. But uh… So there are there are several things in site speed that you should not be doing.

[00:01:01].350] – Grayson
And a lot of these themes out there have them on there and it looks pretty and everyone’s so excited about it.

[00:01:07].710] – Grayson
But don’t put sliders on your site. Sliders are terrible for site speed. And to be honest, I think there was a study like several years ago that nobody interacts after the first slide.

[00:01:19].200] – Grayson
Like people just scroll like no one sits there and watching a slider and going, oh, this is nice. Like, people don’t really do that anymore.

[00:01:27].000] – Grayson
And the impact sliders have compared to the what people see, you know, like just take it off, just take the slider off, get rid of it.

[00:01:35].490] – Grayson
It’ll be better. You don’t need it. Another thing, are my favorite Instagram widgets. Everybody loves to put a good Instagram widget on their site. Here’s two reasons why I don’t like that, 1. All those images have to load when the page loads because you’re loading them off of Instagram’s CDN. You’re not you’re not loading them from your own site.

[00:02:00].560] – Liz Yeah.

[00:02:00].910] – Grayson
So you can’t control how Instagram runs their cash and all that kind of stuff. You have to pull those images.

[00:02:05].910] – Grayson
And sometimes it doesn’t show the thumbnails. It shows the full size image.

[00:02:09].750] – Grayson
So each image and usually people put like eight across or maybe like four or five, whatever, each image might be like eight hundred pixels wide.

[00:02:17].760] – Liz Yeah.

[00:02:18].810] – Grayson
You’re like trying to load all these images and you’re like, why is my site so slow?

[00:02:22].320] – Grayson
Instagram, which is here’s another thing. You don’t want to take people off your site like unless you specifically want to grow Instagram, don’t use it. Like you don’t want people moving away from your site unless there’s an…

[00:02:35].430] – Liz
You want to use Instagram to get people to your site.

[00:02:37].230] – Grayson
Yeah, people typically go the other direction. The only reason why you want people to leave your site is through affiliate links, email landing page newsletters, something like that.

[00:02:46].950] – Grayson
And typically, or maybe an external link that you put on for an advertiser or something like that. You don’t want people to leave your site, you want em to get the information and maybe hit up a couple affiliate links along the way, or maybe they’ll click on the ad.

[00:03:02].280] – Grayson
But people don’t do that anymore either.

[00:03:04].500] – Liz
Yeah, unless it’s an accident.

[00:03:06].800] – Grayson Yeah.

[00:03:07].500] – Grayson
The other the other things, really bad. The Pinterest board widgets. We see this a lot. So you can go on Pinterest and you can say like I think there’s a section in there you can create widget.

[00:03:18].380] – Liz Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah.

[00:03:19].710] – Grayson
So the big problem with those is that a lot of times we see the same one with the Twitter ones. So we see that when you’re you have to scroll through them, got to like a vertical scrollbar just on the widget.

[00:03:30].810] – Grayson
And there are like ninety images well, ninety of those images have to load during the page load.

[00:03:36].230] – Liz Yeah

[00:03:36].820] – Grayson That’s bad.

[00:03:38].130] – Liz

Like I like actually I’ve never made that mistake, I’ve made most of them but that one I haven’t done.

[00:03:44].650] – Grayson
Yeah well that’s a that’s a real bad one.

[00:03:47].820] – Grayson
So we typically tell people here’s a little trick that I’ll tell people.

[00:03:50].280] – Grayson
If you really want those widgets on your site, here’s what you do is you put them on your site and then you take a screenshot of the widget and make it an image. So it doesn’t really change, but people don’t know that, like people that are just in your site, they don’t know that so and so then you put it down is just an image and not an actual like the widget, and then you just link it to your profile. Link it to your Pinterest profile or your Facebook profile or your Instagram, so that’s a really instead of loading all these scripts and all this JavaScript and all this stuff for these widgets and all the images, you’re just loading one image from your own site.

[00:04:29].510] – Grayson
So if you really have to have these but most of the time, once I show people like the site speed differences from just taking those few items off, they’re like, oh, wow.

[00:04:40].250] – Liz Yep.

[00:04:40].780] – Grayson
Yeah. So that’s a big one. I’ll say the other. This isn’t really well it could be related to site speed, but images. Don’t take images from your phone and put it on your website. Like when we take a snapshot with an iPhone or an Android, you’re talking like four to 12 megabytes in file size. These are big images. These are these could be like thirty five hundred pixels wide by, you know, whatever the orientation is.

[00:05:07].770] – Grayson
And they’re generally a lot of people just like to load those right up into WordPress and just keep on going. That’s not a good idea. The reason is, is that your site now has to load these bad boys.

[00:05:22].650] – Grayson
And a lot, if you’ve ever gone to a site and you’re sitting there watching and you’re seeing, like, the image slowly load because it’s huge.

[00:05:32].430] – Grayson
It’s just massive. So what you want to do is you want to you want to put it in some programs. Some people use Photoshop. There’s a there’s a free one that’s like Photoshop called Gimp. I use Pic monkey. Some people use Canva. Doesn’t matter. Resize these boys down and get them to a size that that makes sense for you.

[00:05:53].250] – Grayson
Some people, if you want portrait, make a size that works for you. If you want landscape, make that size.

[00:05:59].850] – Grayson
And then I typically run mine through a ShortPixel to compress. So a lot of times you can get an image that even resize might be five hundred kilobytes in size and you want to try to aim for one hundred and fifty or less, 150 kilobytes or less and less if you can get it. Because here’s the caveat. Every page that you have on your site, you want to have it to be less than two megabytes in full size. That’s every element loading on the page.

[00:06:29].550] – Grayson

And if you want to know a tool to check that, you can go to

[00:06:39].030] – Grayson It’ll give you a load time.

[00:06:40].710] – Grayson
That load time is mostly BS, but it’ll give you the full page size. So this is really good to check some of your popular posts. It’s really good to check your home page and where people are kind of going. So run that you want to be two megabytes or less. The smaller it is the better. Because here’s the deal. Everyone’s going on mobile these days. We’re mobile friendly. We’re mobile first. There are only a couple of sites that I’ve ever been across that really had more desktop users and they had mobile.

[00:07:11].610] – Grayson
So you’re talking about someone on a mobile network trying to load a 10, 12, I’ve I’ve seen up to 60 megabyte pages. 60…I was blown away when I saw the 60 megabyte page, just like well no wonder why it’s slow…

[00:07:28].480] – Liz
I’m like, what are all mine?

[00:07:30].720] – Grayson
Like you like, you would know if it was 60 megabytes, you’d be sitting there like I can’t load anything on here.

[00:07:37].710] – Grayson
And so the smaller it is, the faster it’s going to load. So you want to try to get everything below two megabytes. A lot of people aim for one, and less that can get really hard, especially for recipe bloggers, I know there’s a lot of mothers, it can be really hard when you have high… High quality Pinterest images.

[00:07:57].120] – Liz Yeah, yeah,

[00:07:57].830] – Grayson
You know, so that could be a little bit difficult, but just never upload them from your phone or upload them from a stock photography site like Depositphotos.

[00:08:05].970] – Grayson
Don’t don’t just take it and just throw it up there. It’s going to be the worst experience you can ever have because you’ll have to go fix all of them later down the road.

[00:08:15].520] – Liz
So on that note, I hope you learned a lot about some things you should avoid doing on your website and how to fix them. Join me next time when I’m going to be sharing yet another sweet snippet from our one of our 2020 sessions.

[00:08:27].510] – Liz I’ll catch ya then…

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