Site Speed Optimization is standard on all Webdirexion Business Care Plans

Site speed optimization is standard on all Webdirexion Business Care Plans

Speed. Page loading time. Site speed optimization.  When it comes to your website, it’s critical you have a fast loading site for visitors. If the page does not load in just a few seconds, don’t be surprised when visitors hop on to the next site instead of yours. Read on and we’ll show you how we optimized a client site who’s on one of our Business Care and Growth plans, to be faster than 82% of tested sites. First, consider the following stats:

At Webdirexion, we are constantly testing the latest tech tools and gadgets designed to increase page load time and enhance overall website speed. After years of testing different caching plugins, we have come to a solution that is awesome for the following reasons:

  1. The tools are both easy to use
  2. If you break something, you can easily fix it
  3. Results are impressive with huge improvements on site speed

Caching Programs We’ve Used in the Past and Abandoned

So which tools did we decide on? First, I will tell you more about which tools we tried and didn’t like, and the reasons why.

W3 Total Cache

Hands down, we can confidently say that W3 Total Cache is one of the most robust caching plugins available. Other benefits of this program are that it is completely free and there are more than 100,000 users that use and trust this plugin and updates are on point. Why didn’t we like it?

Same thing that makes it great also can be a drawback. Complexity. With so many options on the menu – a user can easily get lost and have no idea which settings they should or should not choose. In fact, if you browse the online reviews, you will see case after case of users whose sites totally crashed because of the plethora of functions that can be switched on and break a site. Furthermore, the plugin (notably the free version) has some compatibility issues with certain website themes and blogs.

Other programs still offer the same caching features, but they are grouped together more, rather than parsed out to every individual option. If something on the site breaks after setting up the caching, it is more difficult to identify which setting caused the problem, because there are so many.

WP Fastest Cache

Another highly popular caching plugin used by thousands is WP Fastest Cache. While the name is inviting and the icon of the cheetah brings thoughts of speed to your mind – we found this plugin lacking some of the advanced features we desired in the free version. For instance, minification for javascript was only available in the premium version, which is typically a basic, included the feature.

Furthermore, the times that we attempted to contact the support team for guidance on the use of the plugin – a response was not easy to come by and several inquiries were submitted to get minimal feedback.

Our Go-To Website Plugins for Site Speed Optimization

Below we’re going to tell you about a great combination of WordPress plugins — technology that gives a definite bump in site speed optimization.  We have other tactics too including CDN image delivery for global clients, and the optimization that is built into our preferred WordPress theme — Divi from Elegant Themes.  Here’s though we share a couple of our primary tactics.

WP Rocket

For us, the ultimate combination of plugins to handle all our caching needs for clients and deliver optimal site speed is the plugin WP Rocket for caching and the plugin Imagify for image compression. How do these two programs work in synergy with one another to improve website performance?

WP Rocket is a very robust caching plugin that covers the entire spectrum of caching needs, but with only minimal configuration settings. The pricing for this cutting-edge solution is comparable, and even more affordable than many of the other options in this same class of software.

Imagify

Built to speed up your site in a matter of moments, Imagify is a thorough plugin crawls every last image on your website and lightens them by compressing them to maximum capacity. We have seen remarkable and Pingble results from this particular program.

How to Install and Configure Settings in WP Rocket

Join Us as We Implement the Plugins on a Website and Walk You Through the Steps as We Go

Feel free to skip the steps and go straight to the video:

Tools we use to test the of our clients’ site both before and after the implementation of the plugins are ManageWP and Pingdom. ManageWP is the program we use to manage all the WordPress sites for all of our clients in one spot. From the dashboard, you can test each site’s performance and measure the page loading time. Pingdom is a free website that allows you also to test the page loading time from several locations around the world.

Step One: Initial Speed Tests

Test baseline site speeds and compare.

How to speed up WordPress website

Our initial performance tests are conducted using two separate tools to get a comprehensive picture of site issues. Regardless which page loading testing tool you prefer to use, it’s a good idea to always compare at least two tools, as the results often vary by a couple seconds or more. As you can see here, this website currently has no caching plugin activated and the load speed is very poor. It reads 5.6 seconds on the ManageWP performance check and 3.2 seconds on the Pingdom site speed analysis. Our goal is always to have the speed under 2 seconds, as studies show that sites that take longer than 2 seconds to load often have high bounce rates.

Step Two: Install WP Rocket

When you purchase the license for WP Rocket you can then download a zip file from their website, which you will upload onto the site you are working on as a plugin. If you have already downloaded the zip file, just go to upload plugins and select the folder. If you need the download, log in to the WP Rocket site and download the file.

How to Increase Website Speed

It’s easy to download the WP Rocket file from your account dashboard.

How to increase website speed

Installing the plugin in WordPress is easy.

Step Three: Activate Plugin and Configure Settings

Once the plugin has been uploaded, you simply need to click activate to put it into action. Then go to the settings configuration. On the first tab that is open, we typically select all the checkboxes. Be mindful of the image settings, such as LazyLoad, that could potentially cause a distortion of images on your site. For about 85 percent of all our clients, all checked options on the basic tab (standard caching tools) are fine to implement without any issues. Next, go to the second tab which deals with static content. Here is where you set your javascript, HTML, and CSS to minify and/or combine. We find that minifying JS causes our forms to not display. However, your site and forms software could perform quite differently. We recommend, (as we do) first trying to implement all the options on the second tab, and checking the site for errors. If a form is not displaying, it’s likely a JS issue. Adjust accordingly as you go. Honestly, the first two tabs are where we make 90 percent of the changes. The databases tab is another good place to be sure you are cleaning out whatever revisions, drafts, etc. that you or the client does not want. Go through each tab individually to see if there is anything that applies to your site. Watch my video for further information.

Setting up WP Rocket configuration

Working your way through the different settings in WP Rocket is simple and only takes a couple of moments.

Step Four: Carefully Navigate the Website

Once all the settings have been applied, and you have already ensured the forms’ images are displaying correctly – double check. Everything. Go through each page of the site and just be sure that the new settings you’ve applied have not affected the site in any way.

Step Five: Retest Site Speed

Return to the tools you used to test the speed of your website to test again. It is important that you run a test at this point in the process before you implement Imagify. This way you know exactly how much improvement happened from each tool.

Screenshot of Site Speed Test From Pingdom

WP Rocket improved our website speed from 3.2 seconds to 1.36 seconds.

how to increase your website speed

WP Rocket improved our website speed from 5.6 seconds to 4 seconds.

In conclusion, don’t settle for a site that loads to slow.  You’ll lose visitors and get a down bump in your SEO.  Instead, contact us today and we can help with the above process — and more for site speed optimization.

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