I recently ran a Google test on my site to check how friendly my site was. This test checks how fast your site loads and gives a percentage score so you know how good or bad your website ranks. When I checked www.shanemcdonald.ie I got a score of 32%. I knew I had to do something as Google could use page speed as a ranking factor. I did some research into WordPress caching plugins and found some interesting information.
Not all WordPress Caching plugins are the same. Some work better than others. These Wp-cache plugins varied in functionality and sucess. The one WordPress caching plugin which stood out WP Fastest Cache. I also found that it works best with Autoptimize and the image compression plugin Imagify.
I installed the first two WordPress caching plugins which help minify the .js and .css files on your site. They also .gz compress some other files to help your site load faster.
All of these plugins can be added using the WordPress Dashboard by clicking ‘Add New’ and running a search. If you are using the very latest WordPress version, then your plugin should auto-install. Once installed you can activate it from the plugins section. Note, you may need to adjust settings before any changes become visible. Most plugins have default values or no active values on activation.
The Google score was now 54% which was an improvement already.
Finally, I installed Imagify which compressed the images I already had on the server. Note, this was only done up to a certain limit. I get another limit of about 15Mb in 1 months time. A premium version of Imagify is available which gets rid of this limit.
After the WordPress caching plugins and the image compression plugin was installed and configured the Google score was at 75%. This was an increase of 43% points from 32%. This was 2.3 times better than the previous score. Hopefully, this will help reduce bounce rate and increase visits and visitor time to the site. Since I wrote this, I have added 2 new posts and the images I used are not fully optimised so there has been a drop in score but I now know the areas where I need to optimise on the website.
I am also running this optimisation on my photoblog at www.shanemcdonald.me and I will be posting the results and more details in the coming weeks. I am using the same WordPress caching plugins and the same image compression plugin. It should be interesting to see the effect on google analytics.
I have placed links to the WordPress caching plugins below.
WP Fastest Cache – https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-fastest-cache/
Autoptimize – https://wordpress.org/plugins/autoptimize/
Imagify – https://imagify.io/
If you have any comments or questions regarding these plugins for WordPress caching, minifying or optimisation plugins please leave them below…