6 Free Plugins to Speed Up Your WordPress Site
If you take your site seriously, you might want clean up your database. By default, WordPress stores every post, page, and comment including post revisions, trash data, and information from various plugins. This may not sound like a huge speed booster, but you can easily make substantial speed improvements by optimizing your database.
I rely on WP Optimize plugin for the task. It is great for beginner and intermediate users, because it does not require you to go to PHPmyAdmin or do any technical stuff. You can do everything from your WordPress dashboard.
WP Optimize helps you de-clutter your database by removing stale post revisions, spam comments, trashed items, and removal of transient options. It can also tell you your current database size and gives you an idea on how much space you can save with WP Optimize.
Note: If you are using this plugin for the first time, make sure to back up your database. It is always the best practice to have a backup, just in case anything goes sideways. Though, if you are hosted on a managed WordPress hosting like SEJ, then you can rely on staging feature to restore the previous version.
It has proven that having social media buttons on your site increases the chances of getting your blog posts shared by 50%. Though, the opposite seems to work for e-commerce websites.
But most social media plugins load too many scripts and are amongst the slowest to load. Digg Digg plugin fixes this problem as it comes with lazy loading option, meaning your site visitors will be shown a fake button until a visitor hovers over the buttons for sharing. You can also add buttons at the top or bottom of your page.
W3 Total Cache
When it comes to improving the site speed, there are a lot of things that you can do. However, installing a cache plugin will have the biggest impact on your site.
The W3 Total Cache plugin is one of the most popular caching plugins available for WordPress. There is a good chance you will be able to increase your site performance by 10 times, as claimed by its plugin developers.
The plugin is not easy to configure, but if you have a basic knowledge of WordPress, it will only take five minutes to set up. Additionally, you can integrate it with a CDN service like MaxCDN, which works really well with W3TC plugin.
Today, blogging is not just about high quality content, but is also about visual graphics (infographics, images, and slides). Take a look at any of the SEJ post and you will see every blog post has at least two images.
High quality content with visual graphics is essential to set your site apart from the rest, but you need to ensure the images are properly compressed and uses appropriate format. There are dozens of plugin available (even a desktop based application like Shrink-O-Matric) to help you get the better images, but one plugin that stood above from the rest is WP Smush.it.
The plugin works by reducing image file sizes and improving performance using the Smush.it API within WordPress. It also strips the metadata from JPEGs, and removes unused colors from indexed images.
If you don’t want to use a plugin, you can use a premium service like Kraken.io.
There are hundreds of thousands of WordPress plugins, most of them are useful, and will help you with one thing or another. If you want to add a new functionality, you can usually find a plugin. But plugins can also be responsible for increasing your site speed. And you never know which plugin is causing the trouble. Fortunately, there is a plugin for that called P3 Profiler.
P3 Profiler scans the website to find out which plugins are causing a slow performance. It narrow downs the impact your plugins are having on your site’s load time.
Once you have figured out which plugins are causing are slowing down your website, you can replace them or remove them entirely.
BJ Lazy Load
Another great plugin to optimize the post images is BJ Lazy Load.
It allows you to lazy load post images, thumbnails, Gravatar images, and content iFrames, and replaces it with a placeholder. The images are only loaded as they are about to become visible in a user’s browser. You can also lazy load other images and iFrames in your theme by using a simple function.