By Jessy Troy
Your blog load speed is both a ranking and usability factor. The faster your readers can access your site, the more they will actually stay and become your subscribers.
While it’s possible for more advanced webmasters to go in and alter a number of areas for their WordPress blog, those who are less code savvy or who have more time restrictions may prefer to use a simple plugin instead.
There are three major WordPress plugins to increase site load-time: W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, and Minify.
How Caching Speeds Up Your Site
W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache center around the “caching” concept. The standard way that WordPress pulls up your entry is by sending a mysql query to the database. While this won’t normally take long, large numbers of visitors can overwhelm your database server. By eliminating this unnecessary step, cache plugins will speed up the load-time on any site and make a truly dramatic impact on popular blogs.
W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache
Both of these WordPress plugins, which are designed to increase site load-time, have a long history and are used by a number of major sites. One of the big differences between the two is that, unlike many other caching plugins, the W3 Total Cache makes a cached copy of every detail of your site.
This includes your theme, images from your entries, widgets, and anything else that you may add to your site. The company behind W3 Total Cache has research showing that site performance improves 10 fold or more when compared with an unmodified WordPress blog that lacks any form of caching plugin. While not quite as thorough, the WP Super Cache has similar positive effects.
This caching functionality includes a setup that allows for full browser caching from your visitors. In layman’s terms, your visitors will only have to load the page once, since their browser will effectively be able to capture a cached version of the site for future visits.
Cutting down on all the queries to the WordPress database can also save on bandwidth. Bandwidth has been reduced by up to 80 percent for users of these plugins. If you’re using WordPress hosting, that can mean avoiding a slow down due to traffic spikes. If you are using your own hosting, this can mean saving bank.
Better WordPress Minify
Even if you choose to go the extra mile by doing everything else possible to speed up your site, having plugins like these is important for minimizing your load times. As the start to or final touch on your load-time optimization, using one of these WordPress plugins to increase site load-time is vital.
Never Forget the Basics
No matter which plugins you use, nothing will help if your hosting provider is awful in terms of delivering your content to the web user.
I don’t have too much experience with WordPress-friendly hosting solutions (I am definitely not a techie) but I know this one is pretty good and reliable too.
If you are not sure what slows your pages down, do use this tool: You can compare any page of your blog with another one that seems a bit faster!
Is your WordPress blog fast enough? Please share your thoughts and tips!
Featured image via Flickr CC: William Warby