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Comparing WordPress Plugins That Speed Up WordPress Website Loading Speed.

The speed at which your WordPress website loads can affect your website’s ability to rank well in search engines and to convert your visitors into leads and sales.

Website load speed affects search engine ranking.

Google knows how fast your site loads and uses your speed (among other factors) to determine where to place you in the search results. Google wants to give search engine users a great search experience and showing slow sites is something it wants to avoid. It’s annoying to click on a slow site, no doubt you have experienced it yourself. Which brings me on to the next important point.

Website load speed affects conversion rates.

It doesn’t take a genius to make the link between a slow loading website and low conversion rates. It doesn’t matter what the conversion is, it can be as simple as a contact form being filled out, or it can be an online sale being completed. If your page is slow, people won’t hang around and take the action you want them to take.

Also, slow loading sites make you look unprofessional online and affect the trust you are trying to build up with your visitors.

Increasing website load speed can be simple or complicated

Speeding up your website load speed is something you should look at as one of the first jobs to tackle when building a website.  The act of speeding up a website load speed will be complicated or simple, depending on the structure of your website. If you have lots of functionality and plugins, it may be more complicated than if you only have a few essential functions on your site.

Looking at your website load speed is often quite an eyeopener to the website owner who has previously never thought about how speed affects their online presence.

How do you find your website load speed?

I use pingdom tools to find out the load speed of a website.

https://tools.pingdom.com

What website load speed should you aim for?

Think about how long you are willing to wait for a website to load? I am happy to wait a few seconds for the first page to load, but once we are nearly at 10 seconds I’m gone. Also, if each page is taking a few seconds to load my patience runs out pretty quick and I will leave if the second page is slow too.

So, I would say you want to aim at a page load speed below 3 seconds.

Ok, so now you understand how important it is to have a fast loading site and you have found your site load speed, I bet you are wondering…

How do you speed up a WordPress Website loading speed?

The quickest and simplest way to speed up your WordPress website load speed is to use a WordPress plugin. I have tested the top 5 for you, and since I am a geek at heart and optimisation is something I love, writing a quick and simple comparison report is right up my alley.

So let’s start!

WordPress speed up plugin comparisons

First, let me tell you that I am using the Avada theme version 5.4 with no plugins and no content. I am using the theme straight from the box and the page I am loading into Pingdom tools is the home page of a website that has the blog as the home page. There are no blogs on this website, it is just for test purposes.

This is important so you can see how the extra functionalities and the theme you use can add considerable load times depending on how they have been written and, of course, how many you are running.

Test 1: With no plugins running, only the Avada theme.

wordpress site speed up test 1 no plugins

I am super happy with the performance of this theme out of the box. I only need to ‘Remove query string from static resources’.

Test 2: Activate Fusion Core and Fusion Builder.

The theme requires these plugins to run so I activated them and tested the speed again.

wordpress site speed up test 2 theme plugins

This time, the page size increased slightly and the load time increased slightly. Now it’s time to run some plugins!

Test 3: Autoptomize version 2.2.2

Autoptimize

What I thought: It was simple to use, there are just a few settings, however, I think this plugin really oversimplifies the speed up process. While it may be good for very simple sites, there are no further options to optimise files which are likely to be needed to future-proof your use of this plugin. This plugin managed to give me 96% for the performance grade with a fast loading time and only 10 requests. However there were still a few files that had query strings that needed to be removed.

wordpress site speed up autoptomize

 

Test 4: Speed Booster Pack version 3.6.1

Speed Booster Pack

What I thought: I liked that you could see page load speed and number of requests from within the dashboard.

The option to remove query strings was there so I ticked it. This resulted in removing the query strings from my js and css files except for 2 which had a timestamp. This also increased my load time ever so slightly!

wordpress site speed up test 4

Test 5: WP Performance Score Booster version 1.9

WP Performance Score Booster

What I thought: Easy to use with only a few options.

The results were very similar to test 4, where there were still 2 files containing a ? that needed the time stamp removed.

Test 6: WP Super Minify

WP Super Minify

What I thought: This didn’t look much different to WP Performance Score Booster except it had less options.

The results were no different either.

Test 7: Combining Autoptimize and Speed Booster Pack

I decided to try and mix things up a bit. I combined both Autoptimize and Speed Booster Pack and I was so glad I did. I was able to get a fast load speed, 100% on the grade and only 10 requests!

wordpress site speed up test 3

 

Conclusion

I only needed to find a plugin to remove the query strings from my CSS and JS files, combining Autoptimize and Speed Booster Pack did that for me. I will be using them for now. As I continue to develop WordPress sites, I periodically stop and check the speed as I add more functionality.

Improving speed is always a trade off. It’s better to be aware of any speed issues before you send traffic to your site so you can get the maximum conversions.

Next steps

If you are struggling with slow WordPress site get in touch with me so I can debug and fix your problems.