Speeding up your website takes a lot of effort. Lucky for WordPress users because there are some great plugins to help us make our websites faster. Here is a list of four of my favorites.
WP Total Cache
Might as well start with the best. Not only is WP Total Cache a popular plugin for site speed optimization, it is one of the most popular Wordpress plugins, period. It does several amazing things, from integration with a CDN (content delivery network) to minifying scripts and stylesheets.
This is pretty much the bare minimum of what you need to do if you want to increase the site speed of your WordPress site.
Lazy Loading Images
Lazy loading images is one of the best tactics that you can use to speed up your website.
The idea is simple. Images below the fold do not need to be loaded right away. Lazy loading images ensures that images are not loaded until necessary. As the user scrolls down the page, then the images are loaded.
This is a tremendous boost to page speed because it allows the page to be interactive faster.
My favorite plugin for lazy loading images is BJ Lazy Load. It’s super easy to set up and will allow you to lazy load all of your images provided that they are not hardcoded in your template. To verify that it is working, go to your website and load the page, then quickly scroll down. If you are fast enough you will see your image fade in as you scroll down.
Images likely take up a large portion of the weight of your site. That’s why when I am evaluating site speed I look at how large the images are.
Image optimization can take quite a bit of time because you have to download every image, run them through an image optimizer, and then reupload them to the site. But what if there was an easier way? Well, there is!
EWWW Image Optimizer is a plugin that you can add to your site that will allow you to optimize every image, even the images that you already uploaded. It uses lossless optimization techniques, which means it doesn’t degrade the quality of your images.
It doesn’t take long for your WordPress database to get out of control. Did you realize that WordPress stores an entry in the database every time a draft/revision is made? If you’re like me, you write in WordPress and have a tendency to create a crazy amount of drafts.
When your database gets larger it takes longer for WordPress to query the database and return results.
That’s why I downloaded WP-Optimize. I ran this once to remove old drafts, revisions, and spam comments it and trimmed more than 20 MB of data from my database. And I don’t even have a large site, that was just 20 MB that accumulated over the years.
It almost goes without saying that any time you are going to alter your database you should back it up first.
If you enjoyed this post you will also enjoy my post about easy performance optimizations you could do in an afternoon.
What did I miss? Let me know in the comments what your favorite plugins are to speed up WordPress.