Speed is everything for the internet users. According to a study by Tagman.com, just one-second delay in page loading can cause a loss of 7% in conversion. Another survey reveals that 47% of web users usually abandon a site that fails to load within 2- 3 seconds. They are also more likely to share their bad experience with friends and family members.
Not only visitors but Google also prefers a fast-loading website. In fact, the leading search engine uses page-loading speed as one of the determining factors for search engines rankings.
Simply put, having issues with a website can make you lose both – potential and existing customers.
Today, WordPress websites accumulate to almost 27 percent of the internet and people all over the world use the platform to build websites for businesses, social media, lifestyle, hobbies, and current events. However, having a site is not enough. It is critically important that your website performance never subsides and is always up and running optimally to satisfy the users.
Thankfully, WordPress has an extensive library of plugins that also includes solutions to enhance the performance of your website. This includes plugins to improve speed as well as SEO and the overall performance of your site. Here are the top five WordPress plugins to improve website performance:
W3 Total Cache
The W3 Total Cache plugin is the best solution to increase the speed of WordPress website. This is because W3 Total Cache goes beyond the basics and offers the users a complete framework to improve the overall performance and reduce download time. Moreover, the plugin is trusted by several renowned web pages including mashable.com, tipsandtricks-hq.com, and smashingmagazine.com.
The plugin works by enhancing the server performance, caching every aspect of your website and providing seamless content delivery network. W3 Total Cache is easy to use and works flawlessly with other plugins such as WP eStore, WP Affiliate Program, and WP eMember.
- CDN support for CloudFlare and MaxCDN
- Browser caching
- Object caching
- Database caching
- Price: Free
SEO is an important variable when it comes to improving website performance. Google also emphasizes on SEO and considers it an important aspect of assessing the overall health of your site.
If you have a WordPress site, chances are you have already heard of Yoast SEO. The plugin is one of the most downloaded SEO plugins. In fact, the official website of the plugin claims that the Yoast SEO has seen more than 40 million downloads while it has been given the rating of 4.9 stars out of five. And why shouldn’t it? The plugin covers everything from analysis of content to a preview of the snippet. It even edits your pages and fixes crawl errors to allow your site to rank higher on search engines.
- Content insights
- Readability checker
- Redirect manager
- Previews of page on both – Google and social media
- Price: Free for the basic support
- Premium plan costs approximately $69 for one site
Async Social Sharing
Visit any WordPress site, and you are likely to see 5+ sharing button scripts namely Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, and LinkedIn hovering on the screen. These buttons make it easy for visitors to share the content of your page with their acquaintance. Regardless of the platform, social media is one of the best places to spread the news about your website and make your content viral.
Today, more than 2.46 million individuals use social media and as a result, adding widgets for social media sharing is an absolute necessity. However, if one button is of around 10 kb, the website will have to request more than 50 kb from the server affecting the loading speed of your webpage. Luckily, plugins are available that loads social media buttons asynchronously. In non-technical words, plugins such as Async Social Sharing loads the social media buttons after the complete webpage is loaded.
- Easy setup of the widget
- Archives pages
- Allows re-arrangement of buttons
- Price: Free
BJ Lazy Load
Web content is not limited to text only. It combines images, videos, and graphics along with content to appeal the users. However, the various images take too long to load impacting the overall user experience. Additionally, whenever the visitor loads your page, the entire website will reload making the user wait for an extended period. The New York Times article also states that engineers at Google believe that even a 40-millisecond wait is too long for the visitor.
With plugins like BJ Lazy Load, you can speed up the loading time of your website. The plugin replaces all images, thumbnails, and iframes with placeholders while loading content as it gets closer to the visitor’s browser window.
- Works automatically to optimize content
- Integrates with several other plugins and themes
- Price: Free
We are all familiar with the Google Analytics that helps website owners monitor traffic. Well, now a plugin for the same is available that can be accessed through the WordPress website, making it convenient for web developers to foresee prospects and the buying habits of current customers.
The Google Analytics plugin is easy to use and works like any other plugin. The dashboard offers a detailed comparison of customers, tracks their behavior, and even sends out notifications through email or Slack when content takes off. Above all, just like any other WordPress plugin, the Google Analytics is completely free and responsive.
- Tracking of real visitors
- Shows history of content that performs well
- Shows traffic sources
- Compares visitors trends
- Price: Free for the basic version
Bonus: P3 Plugin Performance Profile
If you find that your website continues to be slow, consider checking if any of the previously installed plugins are causing trouble. The P3 Plugin Performance Profile offers detailed charts and reports making it easy for site owners to narrow down the troublesome plugins.
If you are struggling with the speed and overall performance of your website, try installing the plugins mentioned above and see if the problems are resolved. However, don’t install all of them together and only download the ones that you require. Remember, that too many plugins linked to your WordPress website can also lead to sluggish loading and of course, poor performance.
ABOUT Alycia Gordan
Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer who loves to read and write articles on healthcare technology, fitness and lifestyle. She is a tech junkie and divides her time between travel and writing. You can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia