If you’re looking to increase your conversion rates, website speed, and overall SEO, then this article is for you!
With WordPress (WP) being the most popular CMS for most bloggers and business owners out there, its no surprise that there is a plethora of plugins that are dedicated to optimization.
We’ll be exploring the top 5 plugins that will assist in improving overall speed and optimization of your WP site. On the other hand, if you don’t own a WP site, check out our other guide on how to increase site speed for other types of websites here.
So, let’s get right into it with our top 5 optimization plugin list:
Although compressing your images prior to uploading to your site is the best method for minimizing image size, you can also compress them once already uploaded.
If you have hundreds or thousands of images in WP that have not been compressed, this should be a top priority for you.
WP SMUSH is a comprehensive plugin that allows you to reduce image size, automatically compress when being uploaded, and specify the maximum dimensions of the size of an image. This can easily save hours. Imagine having to download every single image and manually compressing them!
As a result of compression, your website will see significant improvements in speed.
High-quality images that are large can easily be megabytes but once compressed, can be kilobytes. So, what doe this mean?
It means that when people load your site it could potentially reduce the loading time by seconds.
GTMetrix is a website that has garnered substantial popularity over the past few years for its ability to diagnose speed and performance issues.
If you go to their site and enter your URL, GTMetrix will automatically diagnose essential issues such as time TTFB, page speed, server speed, image compression, minified code, and code-heavy headers.
Of all the speed diagnostic tools out there, GTMetrix is the most comprehensive and tells you exactly what’s wrong with your site.
Of course, knowing is half the battle. After diagnosing the issues, you’ll have to fix them yourself. That being said, a lot of the plugins on this list will help resolve popular issues from GTMetrix.
Moreover, GTMetrix now has a plugin for WP so that you can continuously track your sites speed to ensure there aren’t any speed-related issues.
This plugin is well-known for fixing a very common speed issue amongst websites. That is, it helps to minify HTML, Java, and CSS, essentially optimizing your websites speed load times.
If you plugin your site to GTMetrix, a very common problem it will indicate is that your sites code is not minified (meaning that there is room to compress to code such that the page can load faster for users).
Usually, fixing this issue could require a lot of time, especially for those not acquainted with coding. However, this plugin fixes the problem in a matter of minutes.
It is now common knowledge that Google prefers mobile-friendly websites over non-friendly ones.
This has been further emphasized by the fact that Google rolled out its own standards which enforce websites to be mobile friendly, and it goes by the name of accelerated mobile pages (AMP).
So, if you don’t have AMP, get it now!
The best part is, you don’t have to do any coding to make your website AMP compliant; Plugins now offer an easy solution that will output AMP compliant code on the fly.
So, what used to take a ton of money or time now takes 5 minutes and a few easy steps.
Just install and activate AMPforWP, follow their setup guide, and voila – your website is now AMP compliant.
Far Future Expiration
Last but not least is Far Future Expiration.
This plugin allows you to specify certain times when the static code in your header (such as images or CSS) will expire. The point is to prevent your browser from having to continuously refetch the same data over and over, thus improving speed.
This can be done manually by editing your htaccess file but its much quicker (and sometimes safer) by using this plugin.
Another thing this plugin allows is GZip compression (a common issue among slow sites). Enabling this will compress the output of a page so that it gets sent to your visitor’s browser faster.
With WP being the most CMS platform for bloggers and businesses, it’s important to know essential plugins that can easily boost your websites overall performance (and therefore conversion and SEO).
Best of all, the above plugins are all free!
As noted in a previous article, even a second of extra load time can be the difference between someone purchasing your product/service or them bouncing to another site.
So, if you haven’t already seen some of the plugins noted above, I highly recommend you check them out.
Speed and website optimization are just a few of the many essential factors for a website to be successful.
Have other plugins that you use? Let us know in the comments below!