The Internet is a very competitive place, and if you want to stand out in a crowd with your website, speed is imperative. You need to be sure your site is fast enough.
What does that mean exactly?
Site speed is the load time of any specific page on any website, and it’s vital for many reasons. Your site visitors expect it to be fast, and if it’s not, they will leave. A slow site makes a bad first impression, and it’s also considered very unreliable and untrustworthy.
In addition, slow websites can run into technical problems, especially if users’ bandwidth is in any way limited (i.e., mobile users or users with a slower internet connection). That can be heavily influenced by your hosting of choice, and there are quite a few options available to choose from but, all things considered, SiteGround performs better than Bluehost.
By having a fast loading site, you will keep more users engaged, thus creating user loyalty. Your users will feel much better recommending your website to someone else and engaging with your site. Engagement generates more conversions and gives your site a better rank.
Conversions, loyalty, and search rankings are essential in keeping your site efficient and growing your user base. Let’s dive a little deeper into these terms.
We will also help you choose some of the best WordPress plugins for speeding up your site, but more about that later.
Site conversions are, simply put, any desired actions a user makes on your page. Whether that is buying a product from your web store or logging in to their account. Filling out forms, following links, and sharing your content on social media are all a part of your site conversions.
The percentage of people doing so is your conversion rate. People want a fast site and won’t tolerate waiting ages for it to load.
Research from Google has shown that users’ probability of abandoning a page increases by 32% if they have to wait for more than 3 seconds. Simply put, slow sites will deter their users, and that’s not good for business.
A good conversion rate ultimately means a better search rating and more happy and loyal users. More happy users equal more site visits, views, shares, and purchases. When you think about it, time does equal money.
As simple as it sounds, user loyalty represents the user base that is loyal to your site. Being a loyal user means regularly visiting and engaging with a certain site—the more loyal the user base, the better.
Having a loyal user base is an integral part of building a reliable and desirable website. A website’s speed is a fundamental metric that users will notice. Building a fast site will make life easier for your users, and they will reward you with their loyalty.
The next topic we are going to explore is search rankings, more specifically, Google search rankings. Search rank tells you in what position your site will come up in a Google search query.
The speed of your site plays a significant role in that algorithm. The faster your site, the better search rank it will have, and more chances of finding your page.
More than a decade ago, Google announced that site speed would significantly impact their Google search rankings assessment. No matter if it’s a mobile or a desktop platform, Google uses your site speed as a metric when sorting their search rankings. Also, Google offers some tools to measure your site speed to know if you meet their standards.
Since many users are using their phones to access the web, it’s essential to optimize specifically for mobile devices. You must keep your users engaged since users’ probability of leaving a page on mobile is much higher. Be sure to focus on the mobile-first experience.
Here are some of the guidelines Google recommends for speed, web page size, and the number of content pieces per page:
Speed: the ideal load time is under 3 seconds, and even better if it’s less than that
Web page size: the best way to go is less than 500KB, and make sure to offer good visual quality
Page content: the number of individual pieces of content should be fewer than 50 since a lot of content pieces on your page can make it slower
Google search ranking can make or break your site, and it makes a world of difference. Optimize your site for speed to make use of all the wonderful things a good search rank can offer you.
Best WordPress plugins for speeding up a site
Now that you know why site speed is so important, here are 3 of the best WordPress plugins for speeding up your site. WordPress is the most popular CMS(Content Management System) in the world. It’s easy to use, secure and reliable. WordPress is also famous for millions of plugins that can help users with many options, including speed and optimization.
Most of the performance plugins will use caching to speed things up. Luckily you don’t need to know much about caching to use them since they will do their job in the background.
1. WP Rocket
One of the most popular plugins for improving your website’s speed is definitely WP Rocket. Used by more than 1 million sites, WP Rockets’ popularity speaks for itself.
This easy and simple plugin uses caching methods and web optimization techniques so you can enjoy a faster loading time immediately after activation. You don’t need to know to code and don’t have to spend a huge amount of time on configuration; WP Rocket will set it all for you automatically.
WP Rocket is compatible with all of the most popular WordPress themes and plugins, and it has 3 licenses for you to choose from.
The single license will cost you $49 and gets you one year of support and updates for one site. The plus license costs $99 and offers one year of support and updates for three sites. Finally, there is an infinite license for $249, with one year of support and updates for an unlimited number of websites.
2. W3 Total Cache
Another highly popular performance optimization plugin for WordPress is W3 Total Cache. One big advantage this plugin has over its competitors is that it’s completely free.
It’s also one of the oldest plugins for WordPress, and it has a great track record. It has been used by over a million sites worldwide.
Initial setup might be a little bit more complicated for new users, but it offers a large number of options and settings for all your caching dreams.
Considering all that makes W3 Total Cache a great solution for all your WordPress optimization needs.
3. WP Super Cache
If you feel a bit intimidated by W3 Total Cache, but you like all the options it offers, then WP Super Cache may be the best option for you.
WP Super Cache offers many options for caching, best web practices, and optimization. It comes with a more user-friendly UI and simplified initial setup making it perfect for beginners and inexperienced users.
WP Super Cache has a large user base, and it’s completely free of charge. You can expect somewhat limited support but a stable and tested toolset.
Most people hate waiting in line, and doing so on the Internet is no different. For a better conversion rate, loyal user base, and SEO optimization, speed is crucial.
We introduced you to some of the best and most popular tools to speed up your WordPress site. Put in the good work and watch your profit increase and your user base grow. Good luck and godspeed!