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Best way to setup a cookieless domain for WordPress site (2019 update)

Previously we have published an article about the process of setting up an cookie free domain or cookieless domain, where we have mentioned about creating a static version of your website.

If you have read the article already you must known about what is cookies and how it is useful for storing user informations into the browsers.

However, in the other hand cookies can hinder your webpage performance by not delivering static content to the visitors web browsers.

One example of cookieless domain decreasing page performance: detected by gtmetrix

Fix cookieless domain warning

When a browser makes request for static files on your page such as an image, CSS file etc there is no need for it to add cookies with it, which results in sending additional traffic to the server. And additional traffic means more waiting time for the response by the server.

You can try these steps if you think your server response time is not good.

So the advantage of setup a cookieless domain is that you can separate the content that doesn’t require cookies from the content that requires it.

Using cookieless domain will deduct unnecessary network traffic and eventually increase the server response time + the page performance.

How to setup a cookieless domain for WordPress site

There are couple of ways to set up a cookieless domain. You can read all the procedures in this page. However, in this article, I will mention how to set it up manually for WordPress website.

Before starting the process one thing you need to remember that if you set cookies on the top level domain ( yourdomain.com) all the subdomains will also include the cookies in them. Because, as it sets on the primary domain its childs are going to have the DNA for sure.

So in this case, you are recommended to use a separate domain to deliver static content. It’s a better idea if you register a new domain and configure the web server to serve static resources from the new address. You will completely prevent any cookies to be set in the new domain.

Instead, you can also set two different domains. One which includes cookies and one which doesn’t set cookies. In such a case, will set cookies on a www subdomain (www.yourdomain.com) and separately host your static files from another subdomain like (static.yourdomain.com). This static domain will no longer send cookies with your static files of a page.

Read the following procedures to setup a cookieless domain in WordPress.

1. Create a subdomain

Go to your cpanel and create a subdomain like static.yourdomain.com. From this subdomain you will serve or host all the static files.

Go to subdomains > make sure you are on the page ” create subdomain” > place “static” on the subdomain box > let domain box stay in default name > click on create.

Setup-a-cookieless-domain
setup the subdomain

2. Point subdomain to wp-content

Now point the newly created subdomain to the “/wp-content” directory of WordPress installation folder.

To do it again go to your subdomains and edit the settings by clicking on the edit icon next to your new static domain.

It will take you to the document root settings where you need to update the root address from “public_html/static” to “public_html/wp-content”.

Update document root

3. Update your wp-config file

Go to the file manager using cpanel or ftp client and edit the wp-config file. Make sure the following code is available or added inside the file.

<?php
define(“WP_CONTENT_URL“,“https://static.yourwebsite.com“);
define(“COOKIE_DOMAIN“,“www.yourwebsite.com“);
?>
  • Remember to correct your domain names accordingly.

4. Direct url to new subdomain

Before taking this step make sure you backup your database in awar to any kind of misconfiguration. Better to practice with demo site before applying in live the version. I do not take any responsibility for further loss of data or website down.

Now you need to run sql query on database table. Go to phpmyadmin > select your wp database > go to SQL tab and paste the following code in the command box.

UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = REPLACE(post_content,’www.yourwebsite.com/wp-content/’,’static.yourwebsite.com/’)

This will make sure all the post urls are directed to the new subdomain.

  • Again make sure that you have corrected the domain details inside the code.

Once you setup everything your cookie domain and static domain are ready for action. And the static domain will start delivering static resources without sending unnecessary cookies traffic.

I hope this guide will help you to establish your static site without any additional problems. Make sure you comment down below in case you need any more information.

How To Setup Cookie-Free Domains Properly [Updated In 2019]

We all do a website speed test to know our website loading speed and performance score. There are popular tools available like GTmetrix, Pingdom, Page-insight, Bitcatcha, etc. These tools scan our website and point out which things are good and where changes are required.

Here is an example of a report provided by GTmetrix:

gtmetrix-speedtest-report-use-cookie-free-domains

As you can see, besides the image problem and loading time most of the test was passed by that specific page. To fix the image problem you can apply this trick.

Now if we go to the ‘Yslow‘ tab next to ‘page-speed‘, you may see a warning that says to use cookie-free domains. Check this image below.

use-cookie-free-domains-warning

 

If you are getting this problem for the first time then you should know what is a cookie-free domain? Why should you use cookie-free domains? In case you already know about a cookie-free domain then skip to know “How to setup or use cookie-free domains on your WordPress site! “

Additional reading: Best Pay Per Month Web Hosting In 2019 For WordPress Website

What are cookies?

An HTTP cookie is a small piece of data sent from a specific webpage or website. These tiny data are stored on the user’s computer by the user’s web browser when he is browsing.

 

What is a cookie-free domain?

A cookie-free domain is a very simple concept. It’s actually a domain which does not send a command to visitor’s browser to store cookies from the website. Our website has some static contents such as image, javascript and CSS files. These contents don’t change so often.

That’s why they don’t need to accompanied by cookies, as there is no user interaction with these resources. So by configuring a domain that doesn’t set cookies, we can decrease the size of the total request made by visitor’s browser to our server, while trying to download page resources.

The concept behind this strategy is to reduce server latency by reducing the number of requests which can impact a little on your website performance.

You can watch the video to understand it visually.

Additional Resources: How To Make Money Online Through Affiliate Marketing Program In 2019

How to setup or use cookie-free domains

As you have understood why you should use a cookieless domain, it’s time to know how do we set up one. Setting up a cookie-free domain seems like a hard task but believe me it’s not. All you have to understand the process and do it perfectly.

There are a couple of ways to configure a cookie-free domain. Such as using a separate domain name, set up a CDN and reconfiguring WordPress site. So we will discuss these methods one by and so on.

Here, I will mention the tested methods which worked well for my blog.

 

1. Configure a cookie-free domain separately

In this technique, you will create a completely separate domain name for your website. This separate domain is going to host all the static contents without any cookie command to the browsers. So, first of all, you have to register a domain name.

If you already have then skip to the next step but if you don’t have yet buy a new one. You can also create a sub-domain in case don’t want to buy a new one. If you prefer to use sub-domain, use a static prefix so people can understand by looking at the name. For example: “www.static.rankwp.in

*Remember: If you use your root domain without www version, like rankwordpress.in then using the subdomain as the cookieless domain will not work.

Again, if you are using Adsense advertisements then cookieless domain warning will always occur because your sub-domain is a part of your root domain and Adsense set cookies for every sub-domain under one verified domain name.

Read this tutorial: set up a cookie-free domain for both WordPress and non-WordPress website.

Steps:

After creating the cookieless domain, Use your .htaccess file to configure your web server to serve static contents without cookies. Here you have to put that .htacess file into the root folder of your domain. Here’s how to find and edit the .htaccess file Once you find the .htaccess file paste the following code there.

 # Use Mod_deflate to compress static files SetOutputFilter DEFLATE # Speed up caching FileETag MTime Size # Expires ExpiresActive On ExpiresDefault "access plus 366 days" # Future Expires Headers Header set Expires "Sat, 27 Dec 2018 23:59:59 GMT"

Once you’ve set up the cookieless domain now you need to upload all of your static content to the new static sub-domain (or domain). These contents include CSS, ICOs, Javascript, text and image files. This way you can create a cookieless domain from where static content of your original website will be served.

2. Use a CDN provider to ignore cookies

Using a CDN provider is another good way to solve the cookie-free domain problem. Most of the CDN has the ability to ignore cookies and strip cookies which helps to completely prevent the browsers from receiving the Cookie response header. Since it’s hard to guess which CDN to use.

Just because every CDN has different features and functions so not every CDN is suitable for you to solve the warning to use cookie-free domains. If you are currently using Cloudflare CDN then you need to disable it to disappear the warning to use cookie-free domains.

The reason is that you can’t disable cookies served through CloudFlare CDN. Moreover, they also include their security cookie in your website header. But if you use CloudFlare with a caching plugin, you can change it to another CDN provider to solve the problem.

KeyCDN is the nicest alternative I have ever used with my websites. You can deploy keyCDN to your WordPress site by using a plugin. Just follow the steps below.

  • Go to their website KeyCDN and create an account there. They charge about 0.04$/GB traffic data and you will get one month for a free trial for a new account. Test their service and if you feel better then go for a premium account. ( You don’t have to submit your credit details. )
  • Install the CDN enabler plugin from the WordPress repository.
  • Create a new Pull-Zone inside the keyCDN dashboard and save it.
create-pull-zone-for-cookie-free-domains
create-pull-zone-in-keycdn
  • Copy the CDN URL and paste inside your WordPress plugin.
copy-pull-zone-URL-cookie-free-domain
copy-pull-zone-URL
paste-url-inside-CDN-enabler
paste-URL-inside-CDN-enabler
  • Once your setup is done, clear your website cache and wait a little time to take the effect.

On completion of your set up, you should see the improvement in your website test results on gtmetrix.

3. Re-configure your WordPress site

In this method, you will set up your subdomain’s DNS record as a CNAME pointing to your root domain with the wp-config file. To do that point your subdomain (any) to your /wp-content directory simply by editing your wp-config.php file. Add the following codes into your wp-config file.

define("WP_CONTENT_URL", "https://static.domain.com"); define("COOKIE_DOMAIN", "domain.com");

* don’t forget to replace your domain URL and domain name inside the code. Example: https://static.google.com

4. Use Cookie-Free Domains – WordPress Plugin

One more alternate method is to use a WP plugin called WP2static. You can easily install the plugin from the WordPress repository.

wp2static-plugin

 

 

wp2static-plugin

After installing the plugin activate it. Now go to the WP dashboard and select wp2static from the left bar menu. Configure the settings inside the “Deploy static website” tab. See the image below.

use-cookie-free-domains-wp2static-configuration
wp2static-configuration

Once the export process is done, visit the URL that you have set during the configuration. (https://yourdomain.com/static). Now check that URL in GTmetix. The warning to use cookie-free domains won’t be displayed inside the report.

Final Word

Using these cool tricks you can get around of that annoying cookieless domain warning on gtmetrix or Pingdom. In the comment box please share is this article helpful for you or not. Also, do share with your friends if these tricks work well with you.

 

Your email signature sucks and how to fix it

People seem to obsess over them, making theirs unique, eco friendly, oversized, undersized, made of metal, made of plants, yoga mats etc 

via GIPHY

But… it doesn’t seem like the same focus has been placed on email signatures. For many of us who send a lot of email (50+/day) and hand out 1 business card rarely any focus on business cards vs your email signature is misplaced.  

Today I am going to share a little test we ran at adbank with our email signatures that had some interesting results and how you can efficiently benefit from upgrading your email signature as well. 

The Idea:

We wanted to have an email signature that communicated the unique value proposition of BLADE and made people pause so they took the 2 seconds needed to understand it. 

The value proposition of blade is install our ad blocker and replacer and receive free crypto while you browse like you normally would!

It takes 60 seconds to do and once done you are setup forever with the ability to use referral links and share with others. 

Checkout BLADE here

Execution:

Tyler the adbank UX/UI designer came up with the following design and instructions…

Step 1 – Concept – What simple single GIF animation communicates your unique value proposition for your business?

Step 2 – Creative

Working with an in house designer is handy but UpWork or Fiverr could also be options for getting what you needed done. 

Here was the creation Tyler came up with on round 1…

(enter normal email signature stuff underneath)

Step 3 – Implementation

Implementation is not as straightforward as you would think. Here are the step by instructions for getting everything setup…

EMAIL SIGNATURE INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1: Download your signature from the google drive folder

Step 2: Go to your own GSuite accounts google drive and create a new folder titled “email signature”. NOTE: this needs to be its own folder at the top level of your drive. 

Step 3: Upload your email signature to your new “email signature” folder.

Step 4: Turn on link sharing and then “sharing settings”

Step 5: in the sharings settings, click advanced in the bottom right corner.

Step 6: In the advanced sharing settings, under the “who has access” title, click the blue “change” button.

Step 7: Turn the settings radio button to “on – public on the web” and press “save”. 

Step 8: Now go to your email and click the settings icon and select settings from the menu.

Step 9: Scroll down to the email signature text box and click the image icon. NOTE: make sure the checkbox that says “insert this signature before quoted text” is checked.

Step 10: In the image selector, navigate to the google drive tab

Step 11: Navigate to your signature gif and select it by pressing “select”.

Step 12: Scroll to the bottom of the settings page and click “save”

Step 13: Your email signature should now automatically be embedded every time you compose an email!

Results:

We didn’t have all the tracking we could have had setup (should have used link tracking) but the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. In the first week several people shared with me…

  • “Saw your signature and finally signed up”
  • “That was the coolest email signature I have ever seen”
  • “I thought what you guys were doing was complicated but that email signature explained a lot of it” 

As a result we are going to be implementing a similar approach across other businesses and setup better tracking to see what works and what doesn’t work.

If you have ever had a clever strategy with your email signature I would be interested in hearing about it!

Do Internal Links Matter for SEO and How To Build Them Systematically – LinkWhisper Review

There are some things in life you KNOW you should do, and they aren’t hard to do, but they just don’t seem to get done. Internal link building is one of these!

You finish your post, get everything ready to publish, publish and then think: ****, I should really should have built some internal links!

This post will show you how to do this in 5 minutes using this tool for your site so that you never have to worry about internal linking again.

I am going to cover…

● First: Sharing some data analysis that the guys at AuthorityHacker did which shows that YES, internal links really do matter for ranking in Google.

● Second: Showing how this can be done systematically through LinkWhisper (plus my review of this tool).

(‘Data’ and ‘systematically’… 2 of my favourite words. This will be fun…)

One of the most popular books of the year is James Clear’s Atomic Habits, which explains how small, repetitive tasks which become habits and have compounding effects to transform our lives. How does that relate to internal link building? This post covers one of those small simple tasks that will have ongoing compounding benefits to your site. By making the process of internal link building easier, faster, and automatic, you can systematize a good habit!

First: Do internal links matter for SEO?

Short answer is yes!

Internal linking matters for more than just SEO purposes, but for the purposes of this article we are focusing on the SEO benefit.

Don’t let internal link building for SEO purposes distract from the more important issue of user experience and driving traffic to your $ pages.

The guys at AuthorityHacker–specifically Michal Ugor–have created a fantastic article digging into the data of 1 million links.

See their full article here: Internal Links. Great article that goes into this topic in more detail!

Credit – https://www.authorityhacker.com/internal-links/

The bottom line:

1. Pages that rank higher in Google averaged having more internal links pointing to that page than pages that didn’t rank as highly.

2. Anchor text matters for internal links and you can be more aggressive with exact match than typically you would be for off page links.

3. A decent rule of thumb is to have 5 internal links linking out for every post and, for the pages you want to rank, up to 100 internal links pointing to them. As with most rules of thumb this will have limited application.

a. NOTE: I was shocked when I saw my average was under 1 for outbound internal links on my posts!

Second: How to Systematically Structure & Sculpt Them? LinkWhisper Review

So we know links matter and would all love to spend the time analyzing and optimizing them for every post. The reality is most of us don’t have that time.

So what is the solution? How do we get the majority of the benefit as efficiently as possible?

That is where LinkWhisper comes in, a great new tool from Spencer Hawes of NichePursuits.

Here are the steps I use, leveraging SEMRush to identify the opportunities and LinkWhisper to systematically build internal links.

Note: Any time you systematically do something it is not as ideal as fully sculpting the page rank flow with a site architecture plan. But, for the busy online entrepreneur looking for a systematic solution, I hope this helps.

Procedure for Automatically Internal Link Building

1. Identify Opportunities using SEMRush (this is optional and can all be done with LinkWhisper)

a. Note this is similar to the significant success we have had identifying the content that needs a refresh and upgrade. We are excited to combine both upgrades and internal link structure improvements to the key pages we care about and see the results!

b. Go to SEMRush and sign in

c. Enter the Domain in question

d. Go to Organic Research

e. Keyword Identification – Select metrics of ‘Position 4-20’ and ‘traffic 100+’

  • The key here is to identify low hanging fruit on keywords where a small impact in link juice being passed to them will improve their ranking.

f. Export to tracking sheet–see free copy of sheet you can copy

g. Page Identification–What are the top 10-20 pages you care about? You can use Google Analytics for this or SEMRush

h. Create final plan using judgement around what pages are low hanging fruit for boosting traffic and what pages you most care about

2. Install LinkWhisper and use the sheet you made in step 1 to set it up

a. Purchase LinkWhisper here

b. Install LinkWhisper

c. Activate LinkWhisper

d. Wait for InternalLinksReport (2-5 minutes)

e. Refer to the plan you made in step 1 and systematically go through each page adding internal links for the ones you care about

3. If LinkWhisper doesn’t have any recommended internal links

a. Search Google to identify top pages for the keyword you are wanting to rank for sitel:yourdomain.com “keyword” the results should show #1 as the page you are wanting to rank for the keyword and then the next 5 pages are likely great places to put an internal link back to your target page.

b. Edit page(s) and add link back to the main page you are wanting to rank for that keyword

Conclusion

Internal link building matters and is often neglected.

LinkWisper and some manual work is a great way to efficiently get your internal link building game back in order!

Hope this actionable article was helpful!

Business Partnerships – Top 5 Mistakes Often Made and 3 Structures That Work

Over the years I have had a lot of partnerships, some have worked out extremely well building friendships and achieving success for everyone… others have ended in failure and disappointment. 

Many people say they like to avoid partnerships because they are always messy! This would be much less fulfilling for me since much of the satisfaction I get from the companies we run is winning together. 

It is true partnerships are often messy, but here are some of the lessons that I have learned and structures that have seemed to work for me and some of my business partnerships. Hopefully if you’re putting a partnership together or adjusting one you already have- this might help you avoid these mistakes. 

Most Importantly – There is no ONE system that is best for everyone. The key is to understand the motivations of people involved and find a solution that has everyone’s incentives aligned. 

I have had my share of painful discussions, but fortunately- I haven’t had any disagreements that I haven’t been able to solve with people. 

In the news in just the past 2 weeks and just in Canada there have been a couple examples of partnerships going off the rails publicly impacting in some cases thousands of people!

Here are 5 of the most common mistakes I have either made myself or seen others in the online world make…

  • Mistake – Not separating capital and management. This is one I see often! Two people come together and say to each other Person 1 “I have an idea” Person 2 “I have money”… boom a business is born. Person 1 is going to run the business and person 2 is going to provide the capital they each get approximately 50% of the business. The result is if the business is successful Person 1 without a management agreement and compensation structure in place will struggle to justify why he will continue working on the business he only has a partial ownership of vs deploying his efforts and now his money into another project. The solution is the person “managing” should be compensated primarily based on results.
  • Mistake – Misalignment on goals – Most commonly this shows up as a cashflow vs growth discussion. If one partner has cashflow from another venture while another is relying on that cashflow to pay the bills this can create a lot of stress. Similarly if the goals for the exit of the business are not aligned it can cause problems. 
  • Mistake – Simple Structure Everyone Understands – Over-relying on lawyers to layout the plan and then no-one except the lawyers fully understands is too common. Rarely does it come down to the words on the agreement as often things get sorted out from everyone’s understanding. The best way I have found is the partners layout the partnership structure (typically in a spreadsheet) and then get the lawyers to make it official. 
  • Mistake – Not updating the agreement as the years move on. Things change in people’s lives and there is always a need to check in on some frequency and make sure the incentives are correctly aligned. 
  • Mistake – Communication and Stewardship Execution Not Disciplined – This is one that is easy to slip! There needs to be a consistent execution discipline to managing partnerships involving communication and stewardship. 

Below are 3 of the structures that have worked most consistently for me.

Structures That have Worked:

  1. Base Salary with Revenue Share & No Equity
    1. This one is the simplest and the one I have often started with. If there is a business idea that a manager/partner needs to run with this structure is clean. Typically a below market base salary followed by a solid % of revenue. The benefit is it is simple, has one number to focus on and the emphasis is on fast growth early on. The downside is that the long term enterprise value is not the priority due to neither profit or equity being tied into the compensation. 
  2. Profit Share + Vesting Equity
    1. This has been a fit when I want incentives to be aligned with a longer (ie 5yr+) time horizon and the business is already validated. Profit sharing without any understanding on the expected profit can be tough as people may end up disappointed so this has been a better fit for either acquired businesses or growing internal ones. The benefit is this optimizes for value creation, the downside is it adds significant complexity. 
  3. Base Salary below market to Validate Idea with Equity Attached to KPIs
    1. When there is no initial revenue and it will be a number of months to build the business before potential revenue shows up how do you align incentives with a partner? The solution that has seemed to work in a couple cases has been a below market salary building up a “sweat debt” to bring salary in line with market and then an equity kicker attached to KPIs that will be triggered once the business hits break even. The up side is it has incentives nicely aligned if the business hits its goals… the downsides are it is both complex and the $ risk is squarely on the capital partners shoulders. The decision to reinvest/continue etc can be a challenge. 

Stewardship / Structure

No matter how good the partnership is setup there is a need for ongoing stewardship and management. The way this has worked well for me is the following…

  • Weekly meeting with the manager/partner to review business KPIs
  • Monthly – PnL done monthly and reviewed in detail Monthly and then discussed at the weekly
  • Quarterly – review laying out the major tasks for the next 3 months
  • Annual strategic review 

This is a work in process and I try to follow the guidance from the book Traction.

Standardized Business Stack

Having some standardization across the different businesses when it comes to the business systems has been helpful 

  • Quickbooks Online 
  • Same bookkeeper, lawyer, accountant, bank/banker
  • Google Suite (gmail, google docs etc) 
  • Not 100% Consistent but Software – Jira, GitHub, Trello, Slack, MailShake, Grashopper, ActiveCampaign, WordPress, ThriveThemes Suite of tools, Zaxaa or Chargify, Stripe/PayPal
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