The speed of your new blog is important not only in the eyes of the visitors of your blog, but in the eyes of Google as well. Google
likes loves sites that load fast. If you look through the first page of search results for any popular phrase, you will see that the sites listed on the first page all load extremely fast.
You simply cannot compete with the competition if your new blog is slow. In order to crawl up the ladder of the search results, you need to make sure you new blog is lightning fast.
Here in this post I’ll go through the top 6 plugins to improve the loading time of your wordpress blog.
But before we begin, let me first quickly go through what the most important factors are that affect page speed.
The most important factor that determines how fast (or slow) your new blog is is the speed of your web hosting provider. Each hosting companies has different speeds, and their different hosting plans offer different speeds as well.
If you choose a cheap webhost and go for their lowest cost plan, your website will suffer. Sure, it might seem like it’s loading fast, but it will not be fast enough.
To test the speed of your blog, use the Pingdom website speed test site. If you don’t get an A then you need a new host or a new hosting plan.
You don’t necessarily need to change hosts however. Sometimes, all that’s needed is a plan upgrade from shared web hosting to managed web hosting. The difference in price will take you from $10 a month to $30 a month. But the difference is speed will be noticeably in your eyes and Google’s eyes as well.
A page full of text is going to load fast, but a page full of media is going to take longer. Images on a webpage are not bad, but they do need to be optimized. You can’t expect to add 1MB pictures and hope your site loads fast.
Is your theme probably optimized for speed? If you don’t know, you probably have the wrong theme. Most free wordpress themes are not properly optimized for SEO nor for page speed.
If you want a fast loading wordpress theme, you need to find a well-coded lightweight theme that is optimized for speed. Typically, these cost money, but a $49 investment on something this important is imperative.
If you fill your blog up with all sorts of cool plugins, you are bound to slow down your site. Some plugins are not properly coded or updated and can slow down your site.
Before you install a plugin, make sure your blog actually needs it. I keep my plugin count down to less than 10 on all of my blogs.
Now that we now what the major factors are that affect page speed, it’s time to see what else you can do to improve the speed of your blog.
Here are 6 free WordPress plugins that will make your website load faster.
Zipping up files decreases the size of them, since they are compressed. Zipping pages on a web server works the same way. With this plugin, your files will be zipped before sending them to a visitor, saving bandwidth and increasing page speed.
Compressing your files saves anywhere from 50 to 80% bandwidth. Files that will be compressed include .html, .php, .css and .js files.
The visitors’ browser will then unzip the pages automatically. This only takes a fraction of a second and the website visitor won’t notice.
The faster your images load, the faster your website will load. The answer isn’t having small bad quality images, but rather having images that are well optimized.
Using this plugin your images will be reduced in size anywhere by 40-80% from the original.
The number of HTTP requests that are made to the server takes some time. The more requests are made, the slower your site will be. Imagine there was a way to minimize the number of requests made? Well there is with this plugin.
Finally, there’s no need to clear the cache every time you update a file, as the plugin uses the last modified date to automatically re-process the minified and merged files.
The WP Super Cache plugin has been installed in over a million wordpress blogs. It’s popular because it works.
Here’s how the plugin works: it generates static html files from your dynamic wordpress blog. This lightweight html is then served to your visitors. A static html is faster to load than the typical wordpress page with php scripts.
Think about it, how often do you update an older post? Why do you need to serve a php file to every single visitor every single time? There’s no need to. Not to worry though, when a page is updated, a static html file is automatically generated for this updated page.
This plugin claims that when fully optimized, your blog will achieve an A grade on Webpagetest.
This plugin will minify, compress and cache your files to serve them at lightning speed. If you use (and implement fully) the features of this plugin, you may not need many of the others on this list since this app does a lot of the same things.
6. WP Optimize
We’ve talked a lot about optimizing your images and files in order to speed up your WordPress blog. But what about the database? Your WordPress blog calls on the database to display your posts, comments and your theme’s settings, to name a few. Is your database fully optimized?
With this plugin your database will be automatically cleaned so that it runs at maximum efficiency. Cleaning consists of removing unnecessary data such as trashed and spam comments, pingbacks and trackbacks. It also cleans up post revisions. Sometimes when you edit a post, a dozen or more revisions are created as you continue writing your post.
While you don’t need to install all six of these plugins, if you want your WordPress blog to be fast, at the very least install a caching plugin and upgrade your web host.