In 2015 WordPress reached a milestone of gaining 25% marketshare, which means that a quarter of all websites worldwide are now built on the CMS. This is a phenomenal rise for the platform that got its start in 2003 as a small web publishing application focused primarily on blogs.
Millions of people now use WordPress daily to build some of the top websites on the planet, ranging from blogs, magazines, news sites, and forums to ecommerce storefronts, business sites, and social networks.
Of course, having a website is not enough. It’s also critical to guarantee that your website is always performing optimally. Website performance is an all-important metric that most people don’t consider.
Fortunately, in keeping with its extensive support library of plugins, WordPress offers solutions for guaranteeing that your website performance is dramatically improved. This includes plugins for optimizing website speed, SEO, and overall performance. The top 5 that we recommend are outlined below.
1. Website Optimization & Performance Analyzer WordPress Plugin
The Website Optimization & Performance Analyzer WordPress Plugin from Code Canyon offers an easy and convenient way to check key performance indicators behind your website’s performance. All of this can be done within your WordPress Admin dashboard.
Such metrics as Page Load Time, Requests, Total page Size and other important measures can be provided in real time through a detailed PDF report.
2. W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is another popular web performance plugin that goes beyond just a simple caching plugin. It’s a complete framework that improves website SEO by increasing overall performance and reducing download times through the integration of content delivery networks. For example, W3 Total Cache offers advanced support for CDNs like CloudFlare and MaxCDN.
An outline of some of the main features of W3 Total Cache are:
For a complete list of the benefits and value of using W3 Total Cache, see this thorough review by Federick Townes.
3. Yoast SEO
When it comes to website performance, SEO is a very important variable. Google places a high premium on how easily people can find your website and has made SEO a strong metric for the health of your site.
The likelihood is that you’ve heard of Yoast SEO. This plugin is one of the most popular and comprehensive SEO plugins on WordPress.
A common theme when reading reviews about Yoast is that it provides an all-on-solution. Indeed, this plugin covers everything from a Page Analysis feature which checks that your keywords are in place to a snippet editor (which shows what the post looks like in search results) to breadcrumbs support, permalinks cleanup, RSS configuration, XML sitemaps, and a host of other optimizations. With Yoast, you get a truly “holistic” SEO toolkit.
4. BJ Lazy Load
BJ Lazy Load solves a big problem for websites: load times. It’s customary that when a visitor visits a web page the entire page will load. However, if that page has a ton of images then the load time is going to be slow and arduous.
The idea of lazy loading solves this problem by only loading the specific elements that are needed.
Below are some features of BJ Lazy Load that make it a great resource to consider for your website performance strategy (courtesy of this review):
- Replaces post images, Gravatar images and post thumbnails
- Replaces content iframes with a placeholder until content needs to load
- Plugin uses jQuery to operate
- Serves scaled down images with responsive designs
5. Google Analytics WD
Google Analytics is one of the most powerful tools on the web for monitoring website traffic. It provides all kinds of useful metrics about what users are doing on your site. But it’s still another dashboard that you need to sign in to and monitor. So, wouldn’t it be great if you could access Google Analytics within WordPress?
The folks at Web-Dorado have done exactly that, bringing the best of both worlds into the Google Analytics WD plugin.
With the free WordPress plugin, you’ll quickly be able to run reports on where your visitors are coming from as you work to build a target audience.
The Google Analytics WD displays on the WordPress dashboard like any other plugin, offering a detailed overview screen, reports, comparisons, tracking behaviors . . . and more. In the premium version, users even can access their Google AdSense and AdWords reports from within WordPress. How cool is that!?
In summary, it’s not clear if website performance is an art or a science. But one thing is for certain: website performance is critical for determining the number of visitors you receive, and how many of those turn into paying customers.
By using the 5 WordPress plugins outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to improving your overall performance metrics by ensuring faster website speed, improved SEO, and overall user experience.
Most importantly, improved website performance translates into peace of mind knowing that your site is optimized and working as it should.