WordPress Speed – Don’t overlook it!
The Speed of a website is one factor that can certainly cause us frustration, and now it is a major factor for search engines when they index a site and it’s pages. It is also now a major aspect to user experience when it comes to building a website. Not only will speed help ranking but will increase time spent on your site by potential clients and customers, it will effect your returning visitors, and overall traffic.
For those that build websites in WordPress. There are some really beneficial methods and plug-ins to use to increase page load times, website optimisation and overall WordPress speed. I have been testing a few of these out myself which I will share with you.
First off is a great website which tests your websites speed. GTmetrix.com, Just simply put in your web address and click ‘Go’, GT metrix will break down the different aspects of your website and it will give you an overall grading of your websites speed. You don’t have to have a WordPress site to use this tool by the way. What you also get with this speed tool is a Yslow grade, whats this? YSlow analyzes web pages and why they’re slow based on Yahoo!’s rules for high performance web sites. They also provide a Firefox plug-in which is very helpful to analyze your website, I recommend adding this plug-in.
So when you have completed this speed check you can look at all the aspects of your website which might need adjustment. If you have a wordpress blog or website GTmetrix provides specific instructions to improve your WordPress speed, this is located in the top right corner.
One thing they emphasize which I was going to focus on is the recommendation to install W3 Total Cache plug-in. This is a very popular plug-in when it comes to optimizing WordPress and I am sure you can do a search and check out some very positive reviews around it. Matt Cutt’s at Google apparently recommends it. If you are not an expert when it comes to using a plug-in such as this then I recommend the below u tube video. It takes you step by step through using W3 Total cache plug-in along side GT metrix. This way your testing as you go to fully optimize your site and increase your speed.
I think at this point it is important to emphasize testing different aspects of your website’s operation when installing this plug-in and making your adjustments and doing your tests. I have personally found that various themes and templates seem to conflict with the plug-in. This could be due to WordPress updates which come about quite often or because of the themes themselves that are used. If there are conflicts then there are other plug-ins to use which optimize your websites speed.
Some which I have benefited from are:
Leverage Browser Caching Ninja – Very simple plugin that allows you to quickly leverage browser caching on your website making you 100% compliant with Google’s PageSpeed Insight rules. This only works with Apache Web Servers (which most WordPress installs are on).
BJ Lazy Load – Lazy image loading makes your site load faster and saves bandwidth.
You will still need to check if it operates with the latest version of WordPress and your theme, but I have found some good results by doing things this way. You can then check your website speed again once you have installed each plug-in. Make sure you only tackle the elements which GT metrix highlight as really impacting your sites speed.
Hope these tips for improving your WordPress speed helps, please comment and let me know if you have found other methods which have benefited you.