Seven out of 10 websites are too slow, according to Google. They take at least seven seconds to load content above the fold, and that’s three times longer than what’s considered ‘best practice.’ Those delays are costly. An Akamai study found that half of all web users will abandon a site that takes longer than two seconds to load. If the content on your WordPress website takes a long time to load, you’re potentially losing visitors and missing out on revenue.
One of the easiest ways to fix a slow site is to install a caching solution. Caching significantly increases site speed by cutting out some of the behind-the-scenes steps that take place when someone visits your page. There are lots of WordPress plugins that will do this for you and immediately improve your site speed. To help you choose the best solution for your website, Design Bombs, a WordPress and web design magazine, reviewed a number of caching plugins. They tested the speed on a sample website, which originally took 1.9 seconds to load. According to their research, here are the top four WordPress caching plugins:
1. WP Rocket
WP Rocket is a premium tool, but the money is well spent. This plugin was the winner of Design Bomb’s caching plugin challenge, decreasing the load time as well as the page’s overall size from 719 to 716 kilobytes. Not only is this tool highly effective, but it’s also extremely easy to use. The out-of-the-box solution starts speeding up your site as soon as it’s installed – no confusing setup required.
W3 Total Caching is a free plugin that provides excellent results. It dropped the load time of the test site down to 1.8 seconds but didn’t change the page’s size. This tool came in second because it offers lots of features and is highly customizable for optimal performance. There are 16 pages of settings that can be tweaked if you feel comfortable rolling up your sleeves and doing the technical work, or you can leave it on the default settings to benefit from:
- Page caching
- Browser caching
- Database caching
This plugin is an easy and effective site speed solution. According to the test, it decreased the sample page’s load time to 1.2 seconds. That’s a huge change. It achieved these lightning fast results through one of three options:
- Mod_rewrite to serve ‘supercached’ static HTML pages
- Serving static pages through PHP
- Legacy caching
Additionally, the plugin supports content delivery networks (CDNs) that store your content on servers around the world, so they can quickly be accessed by any visitor who requests them. Overall, this plugin is a good solution for a company that wants results from a free solution without a lot of technical work.
This plugin delivered similarly impressive results, bringing the sample page’s load time down to 1.2 seconds. The total page size remained the same, but it increased the site speed using a lot of the same features as WP Super Cache for improving site speed: Mod_Rewrite, browser caching, minifying CSS, generating static HTML pages, etc. Although it doesn’t have as many installs as the previous option, this plugin has a five-star user rating and is supposed to be an extremely easy out-of-the-box solution.
These are some excellent tools to increase your site speed and improve your website’s performance. If you’re interested in learning more about the latest SEO strategies, contact us. We work with small and medium-sized businesses to build SEO strategies and design websites that drive real marketing results.