100% score on Google PageSpeed Insights using WordPress

Site speed is important for SEO, but can be hard to achieve in WordPress. One of my favourite tools for site is the Google PageSpeed Insights tool – who better to tell you what your site needs to be SEOed? So let’s take a look at our client’s brand new WordPress site:

It’s not the worst page speed I’ve ever seen. But it’s not far off the worst.

The worst PageSpeed score possible
The worst PageSpeed score possible – zero %

but this site does need some work. Fix the biggest problems first. A common cause of problems is image size, and that’s what’s happening on this WordPress site:


The top four account for the lion’s share of the image size. Let’s take a look in the directory, because we’ve only looked at one page (the homepage), but the whole site needs to be optimised.

There are plenty of big images. This can happen when a graphic designer is uploading unoptimised images. They focus on image quality, and tend not to think about filesize and performance.

Let’s take a closer look at the biggest file:

That’s a bit big. Let’s get it down to something that won’t eat up all the bandwidth quota of a visitor’s data plan. It’s a big homepage image slider, so it still needs to be big enough to look good.

We scaled it down to 180kb. Let’s see the effect on the site speed tool.

Sorting out one image makes the site score a lot better. We’ve gone from a 12/100 to 39/100, a jump of 27 points. All we did was resize and compress that with one image with GIMP.

Let’s do the next biggest…


We got the size down from 540kb to 82kb! What does Google think?

We’ve jumped 7 points on the scale, and we’re approaching half way there! Let’s do all the rest that google flagged, and see what happens. First the jpegs…we could A) optimise each one individually to check for artifacts, or we could B)  batch compress.

Anyway, on with optimising.

The logo is problematic – it’s HUUUGE. Let’s fix this and see what Google thinks…

We’re nearly half way there, but even better – images aren’t our biggest problem anymore, which is great. Time to dive down into the code.

We move onto the server / code optimisation, and we bring the WordPress site to 100% optimised.

100% score for WordPress on Google Insights - Mobile
100% score for WordPress on Google Insights – Mobile
100% score for WordPress on Google Insights - Desktop
100% score for WordPress on Google Insights – Desktop


We’ll be posting more on optimisation, so stay tuned.

Do have a WordPress Website that needs a speed boost? Sort out your images first! If your site is transactional, and you need to optimise your revenue get in touch. or leave your questions in the comments.

Howth Yacht Club AIS reciever

We worked with HYC and  to bring HYC into the Marinetraffic.com AIS network – with coverage and availability on the station  giving some cause for celebration.

100% availability and 861 square km of coverage.

The manager at HYC, Paddy Judge is a former pilot and aircrash investigator – knows where to site an antenna and working with the IOT team in Vinyl Matt Media to get some fantastic coverage.

Position tracking for marine vessels.

The results were so good that the nice people at marinetraffic.com gave a us a ‘pro’ level account a few weeks early, and we look forward to forward to seeing the value that their suit of tools adds to HYC’s operation.

Editing images for use online with GIMP

How to get an image into the right ‘aspect ratio’ and image size in GIMP. The aspect ratio of an image describes the relationship between its width and its height.

We choose an example that starts out portrait, but that we get a landscape graphic.

We also show how to upsize the image.



A word on the options for resizing:

  • Linear: Can be used with very small text but cubic is a better choice in most cases.
  • Cubic: The default choice. Unless the image is very small or detailed, cubic and bicubic interpolation helps keep edges smooth.
  • Lanczos: Similar to cubic except that instead of blurring, uses a “ringing” pattern. Use for detailed graphics without blurring.

Saving for the web

Now we have to save the file for the web.

  • JPEG. Used most of the time. Works for nearly everything except logos
  • PNG Used for icons and where you need transparencies.

Now you’re able to do basic image resizing!

Testing out the Delegator WordPress plugin

Need the beta plugin get it here.


Here you see some tickets from a demo site of ours on delegator. Register with any stripe testing cards to try it out.

Delegator works by segmenting your market…this means there are many ticket variations. We make those easy to display in the right place in WordPress.

Use :


to display specific titles.

Say you have a bio page for a prestigious speaker. Big draw. Huuge. Here we show tickets that include access to a speaker using this shortcode:

delegator_tickets speaker_id=”4″


So we see all tickets that give access to another speaker

delegator_tickets speaker_id=”3″


The above are great for putting on your speaker pages. But we’ll have pages that give session information, we need to sell tickets that include access to that session.

Think of the use case where we’ve got a blacktie dinner for people that come to see both speakers. We want to talk about this on a page that really sells the great food we’re going to serve.

delegator_tickets session_id=”6″


And of course we can just display a ticket based on a ticket name by selecting its ‘slug’.

delegator_tickets ticket_name=”organiser”


We can now offer subsets of tickets in different contexts, making putting the right ticket choices in context and improving conversion.


Connecting to Nature, Connecting to Self

Join trained mindfulness teachers Barry Lee and Evan Dwan for this one day workshop created to help you connect to yourself and to the World around you.

May 12th 10am – 4pm at The Sanctuary D7

During this workshop we will cultivate a deeper sense of connection to our inner landscape and also the natural world around us. The workshop will consist of a series of guided practices (indoor and outdoor), directed tasks, sharing and free exploration. We will explore as a group how mindful connection with the natural world can be a source of well-being and nourishment that we can integrate into our lives. The guided practices are simple and will be suitable for experienced mindfulness practitioners as well as those who have no prior experience.


Don’t get tagged as spam – make an SPF record

BookServe, the online reservation software, does a great job of keeping you in touch with your customers.

But to do that you need to make sure your guests’ email systems know to expect mail from YOUR domain (info@PropertyDomainName.com) from the BookServe server.

Wanwaiting for responset to make sure your emails are getting through from BookServe to your guests?

First make sure you have control of your domain’s DNS settings. If this sounds difficult, don’t worry, your Web Developer can help.

Horse unseats rider.
DNS Changes. Need careful handling.

Then you need to edit the SPF record. The SPF is a type of DNS record. You can read about SPF here,

If it’s your first time at the DNS rodeo don’t try this without your Web Developer. An incorrect change can bring your site and email down, and it can take hours to fully recover.

An SPF record is a particular type of TXT record This is an example Register365 mail record for a BookServe customer.

The part ip4: refers to a BookServe server.

It tells the Internet ‘Hey, all these servers can send mail for @PropertyDomainName.com

v=spf1 mx a:smtp.reg365.net a:outgoing-smtp.reg365.net a:smtp.hosts.co.uk a:athena.hosts.co.uk a:hermes.hosts.co.uk a:outgoing-smtp.namesco.net ip4: ?all

Screenshot of Kitterman record Testing
SPF Records. Test them.

Once you’ve setup the SPF, it should be tested. The good people at  Kitterman Technical Services, Inc. have an <a href="http://www.kitterman.com/spf/validate more helpful hints.html” target=”_blank”>excellent tool for this. Don’t get caught out. Test.


gombeensguidelogoGot a question about SPF? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll do what we can to help.

8 Tips for selling your accommodation online.

Things are picking up and it’s back to business: selling hotel rooms to visitors. But margins are tight, and 20% booking fees are a luxury no one can afford. Competitors are all offering online booking and they’re undercutting you. And then there’s AirBnB to compete with. What to do?

Easy: Take control of your own web presence!

You can easily run your own online presence, and you’ll be surprised how quickly the bookings start coming in. Read on to find out how.

1. Get yourself a Local Website Designer

Gone are the days when you needed to go to Silicon Valley to get one of those website thingys made.

Two figures in front of local shop from BBC Archives
It’s best to use local content for local websites.

Get a local web developer to create a modern, responsive (that means mobile friendly) website. Big agencies can be expensive and lack the local content imagery and linkages that make for engaging content and Organic Search Success.

Go local. You can have a website for a few hundred euro with local support. Perfect.

2. Take Really Good Pictures

Generic Inn Photo
Exterior Photo of Property should feature on homepage of site.

Gombeens naturally assume that their customers are telepathic and because they know what their premises looks like, so will their customers.

So don’t get caught: make sure you have really good pictures of your property. You’re going to need them again and again.

Get good photography of all the room types you have. Show off the features. Good imagery sells.

3. Right image, right place.

A 14mm lens on a full frame camera will show off a small room to its best.
A 14mm lens on a full frame camera will show off a small room to its best. Don’t forget to use a tripod.

You want more bookings through your website, right? Your customers need to see what they are booking.

A Gombeen that expects to be able to use a picture of their bar, car park, or grandmother to sell a room. This is a sure recipe for disappointment.

Show wide-angle images of whole rooms in the online booking room descriptions. These ‘set the scene’ and help convert lookers to bookers.

Be accurate with the room contents when you take the pictures. Don’t sell features that aren’t there.

4. Offer online booking.

Waiting for a reply
Enquiry Forms – Unpopular and slow..

If you don’t sell online, you’re losing out to rivals that do. No-one waits for you to come back to an enquiry form.

Be wary of commission heavy services. The cost has to be passed on somewhere, usually in room pricing. This has a tendency  to divert bookings into traditional channels, taking up precious staff time.

We recommend our product, BookServe (ahem). You can sign up in minutes.

5. Check the rates in your area

Man with binoculars looking at a webpage
Published Rates are easy to Find

This used to be done by getting your cousin to ring up and ask for a quote. Half the time they knew it was her and quoted her a much higher price, just to mess with you. Now with D’Internet,  it’s more straightforward.

Check the rates around and be competitive. If you find you’re getting visits but no bookings, high prices are usually the problem.

6. Consider listing on Expedia

Billboard effect on Room Nights. The green line is the hotel’s own website.

It can be worthwhile to connect to Expedia. Share your excess rooms with Expedia and raise the traffic to your own website with the ‘Billboard Effect‘.

This effect works because visitors use Expedia to make a list of hotels and then look on the hotels’ own websites for direct booking.

It gives a lot of ‘reach’ for very little effort and expense.

7 look at more info. Be Sociable

Kiev, Ukraine - August 26, 2013 - A collection of well-known social media brands printed on paper and placed on plastic signs. Include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram and Tumblr logos.
Connect with your customers over social media channels..

Be social. Get onto FaceBook, register a business page.

Respond quickly. Be gracious. If you can’t ‘do’ social media, then hire people that can.

If an applicant says that they can run a campaign, hire them at once.

FaceBook page response time snippet
Social Media – Exposes weakness in social media. Be professional, friendly and prompt.

8. Go completely DIY, ya mad thing.

Meetup is people getting together to learn something, do something, share something.

If you’re technically inclined and want to make your own website, the best thing to do is join other like minded individuals.

Meetup is a great place to find those people. Click here for a list of WordPress related groups in Ireland.

gombeensguidelogoThe Gombeen’s Guide gives straightforward advice for running your own real-world business, online.

It’s written by a cat, because cats have historically been the most successful species at building an online profile.

Follow us for updates and if you have a question, or something you’d like us to cover email us.

Look back on 2011 – Irish Museum of Modern Art

2011 was an incredible year, with so much publication of work and software , that it seems like only now that there is a chance to take a pause and review the events of the year. 1st up IMMA.

Getting the White Balance

Irish Museum of Modern Art – Virtual Tours

We had been working here for some time, completing this virtual tour of the north wing and gardens in on behalf of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in 2007, but 2011 saw the project move to a completely new level.

The Gallery, following a safety review, had to limit wheelchair access to the lower floors of the buildings. It was decided to create a digital version of the exhibition and to make it available in a kiosk in the downstairs areas.

The timeframe for the completion of the project was short. We used our FastReach CMS to coordinate the collation and display of the exhibition digital assets, and worked closely with the curation team in IMMA to ensure fidelity to the exhibition in the timeframe available.

Dolly setup for a Les Levine exhibit

The first  IMMA exhibition tour, which coincides with the gallery’s 20th anniversary this year, was completed in just 34 working days, during which time 460 artworks were logged and loaded into the database, as well as 42 online HD videos and 31 virtual tours. The virtual tour of the final exhibition was released the same week.

The virtual tour provides 360 degree views of each room in the gallery. A detailed introductory synopsis of each room is provided and, as you explore the wings and landings of the IMMA, you follow the physical layout of the exhibition.

Additional social features, including artwork thumbnails and the option to pull discussions about artworks into online groups, help facilitate collaboration between groups of artists, commentators and students, and also make it easier to share links.

The IMMA virtual tour appeared on the 1st page of Google the day after its release for searches of artwork titles and, after just three days, one quarter of all its traffic was from google-generated artwork searches. Within the first month of its launch in excess of 3600 visitors viewed over 57,000 online gallery pages.

The team behind the project includes the co-founder of Rollthrus (Disabled Access Portal): Chris Healy, project manager Matthew McGee, software developer Bryan McEleney and, of course, the photographic team including Denis Mortell and others, who took the excellent, high resolution stills of the artworks, as well as the curatorial staff in IMMA.

Here are some links to the exhibitions:

<a href="http://imma.gallery-access.com/june2011/intl/en/index cymbalta price.php” target=”_blank”>Twenty: Celebrating 20 Years of the Irish Museum of Modern Art

Les Levine: Mindful Media

Old Master Prints from the Madden / Arnholz Collection

Philip Taaffe: Anima Mundi

The Moderns: The Arts in Ireland from the 1900s to the 1970s