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How To Speed Up A WordPress Site?

Introduction video for – How to speed up a WordPress site?

Speed is one of the ranking factors for Google. Fortunately for those of us using WordPress, there are many free tools to help the site speed up. You have probably heard about WP Total Cache and WP Super Cache, but once you activated the plugin the options presented to you might be a little overwhelming.

In this post, our aim is to provide non-technical ways to increase your WordPress site by utilizing some of these WordPress plugins.

Additionally, we will also discuss some of the following points so your site can speed up even more!

  • Use a good hosting company (ideally specialized in WordPress)
  • Use a Plugin that can help you Cache the site
  • Use Content Distribution Network (CDN)
  • Minimize images
  • Minimize files  – CSS, JavaScript etc

Is site speed important for ranking?

DRM video thumbnail with button

Yes it is. In fact, it affects a lot. The fact is, most websites that rank page 1 on Google have fast loading speed.

In the video, it shows how installing a WordPress Plugin on a site caused a large spike in loading time and drop in organic traffic.

Video Notes

Images below shows you how speed can affect your Google traffic (or organic traffic in general since Bing and Yahoo cares about site loading speed as well).

In the first image, Google analytics data is provided. As you can see almost right after the site experienced speed loading issue (the loading speed increased from 10 seconds to about 16-18 seconds) the site started losing organic traffic.

Base on the year over Year data, the drop in traffic is unlikely seasonal because the same effect was not observed last year (orange line).

As it turned out, the increase in site loading time was due to a new WordPress plugin being installed on the site.

 

Site speed effects

 

The image below shows time spent by Google  to download a page (data obtained from Google Webmaster Tools).

As you can see the time spent jumped substantially.

 

GWT site speed issue

Which one is better? W3 Total Cache vs. WP Super Cache

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This was one of the questions I had the first time I came across to them. After experimenting with both, if you want a “non-technical” solution, WP-super Cache is a better option. It actually gives you less options to start with and after setting it up, in most cases you can actually see improvements right away.

On the other hand, W3 Total Cache is more powerful (at least in my opinion) and gives you more controls and options when it comes to minify files. It is also easier to set up CDN in this plugin (again, in my opinion).

Video Notes

Are there other WordPress caching plugins that are good?

Wordfence security

The other Cache plugin I came across was Wordfence Security plugin.  It is designed primarily for defending your WordPress site from malicious intruders rather than speeding up your site. Even though it does comes with a caching function would could easier boost your site’s performance without playing around with any codings in the WordPress files.

How to compress images?

WP smush

Visual effects is a very important factor for every site. As a result many websites contain a large amount of images, which could slow down a site if images are not optimized.

A quick way to combat this issue is to use plugins to decrease the image size.

WP Smush is a free plugin (it also has a paid version) to help you decrease the size of images on your site.

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