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  1. #1
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    Have you experimented with plugins to improve page speed?

    One of my WordPress sites had a pitiful PageSpeed Insights score of 32. I added the WP-Minify plugin and it brought the score up to 72. I then added a G-Zip plugin which brought it up to 75. I was amazed that 30 seconds of work improved my page speed that much.

    I posted this on Twitter and got lots of replies for suggestions of other plugins to use that may help. I'm thinking that I may do some experiments to see which of these plugins works best for my site.

    On another static (non WordPress) site that I have, I spent time resizing images and was able to bring the PageSpeed score up from 33 to 68 just by doing that. Again, I'm going to play around with doing other things to make the score even higher.

    If you do SEO for clients, spending an hour or so experimenting with ways to improve PageSpeed could be a quick win for both you and your client. PageSpeed is a ranking factor. Google says it is a very small ranking factor, but Alan Bleiweiss has seen sites make massive ranking improvements after improving their load times.

    One word of warning. A while back I tried an all in one page speed plugin and it borked one of my sites. So, if you do this, be sure to backup your site first.

    What do you think? Have you tried any of these plugins?

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  3. #2
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    Re: Have you experimented with plugins to improve page speed?

    There are many resources which go really in depth on what one could do to improve page speed. I'm going to suggest what I've tried from personal experience:

    1. Server: this makes the biggest difference in terms of what a visitor would perceive as fast or slow. Benchmark tools may show scores that are discouraging but as long as you have a good host that consistently serves your website in under 2 seconds, all is well.

    2. Minification: The less resources required to load a webpage, the faster it feels and scores. This is true for both http 1.1 and http 2.0. I'd recommend Autoptimize plugin to minify and concatenate .css and .js on Wordpress sites. EWWW Image Optimizer to optimize image files.

    3. Cache: static content always load faster. The few cache plugins to try are WP Super Cache, WP Super Cache, Wordfence Falcon Engine,...

    4. Priority: sometimes the high scores in benchmark tools are not the best for your particular situation. Social media share tools are often the number 1 offender on a slow loading and low scoring site. If the users make use of these tools, you can't take them away for the sake of higher page speed score.

    Last but not least, chasing speed and top score is a never ending pursuit. You have to set realistic goals and once you get there, be happy with your accomplishments. If you're like me and always want to push things further, be prepared for hours of frustration with a broken site/functionality. And always have backups.

  4. #3
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    Re: Have you experimented with plugins to improve page speed?

    Thanks so much Marie for starting the convo.

    It seems so many chase that illusive secret ranking tip that will shoot them to the top and often times they have not covered the basic things like this that can make a difference!

    @theitsage - Wise words and very sage advice!
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

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    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  5. #4
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    Re: Have you experimented with plugins to improve page speed?

    I admit I didn't even have time to read this and am not technical enough to understand.
    But seemed related and interesting.

    How I Sped Up My Site 68.35% With One Line of Code - iPullRank
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  6. #5
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    Re: Have you experimented with plugins to improve page speed?

    Interesting article Linda, I definitely don't keep up much with the technical side of things, so it's nice to have at least an inkling of what can be done these days.

    Here's the tl;dr for anyone interested:
    - This will only speed up pages loading from another page you also have control over. In other words, you can't use this to speed up the first page on your site someone visits from the SERPs... not 100% how page speed site-wide factors into Google, vs page speed on the first page the user sees, but I'd investigate that before implementing this if SEO benefits were my main goal.

    - you can only pre-load one page at a time, meaning you need to have a pretty good idea which page a user is going to visit next. You can use some Google Analytics magic (instructions in the article) to predict which page a user is going to visit next, or you can solely use this 'trick' on multi-page slideshows or articles or something where you pretty much know what the user is going to do next.

    - Using this technique can screw up your ad impressions if you're running Google adsense or some other kind of advertisements on site. Instructions for fixing that are in the article as well.

    Also for what it's worth, this won't work on Firefox at all, and presumably isn't all that well suited for mobile use either, though the author didn't address that at all.

  7. #6
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    Re: Have you experimented with plugins to improve page speed?

    Thanks for boiling it down! Guess not a good option.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  8. #7
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    Re: Have you experimented with plugins to improve page speed?

    Thanks Linda! And never hurts to have more tools in the tool box, even if it can't be used to make Google a little happier with your site, never hurts to make the user experience a little quicker.

    One other little note from the article that might be interesting... Google itself uses this trick to speed loading of sites from the SERPS in cases when they're fairly certain they know which page you're going to click on. For the example in the article, when the user searches for 'CNN' Google preloads the CNN home-page since they expect there's a really good chance that's where the user is going next.

    Either way, thanks for the share!

  9. #8
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    Re: Have you experimented with plugins to improve page speed?

    I use WP Rocket, and it works very well.

  10. #9
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    Re: Have you experimented with plugins to improve page speed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jared View Post
    I use WP Rocket, and it works very well.
    Why would you use that rather than the free plugin WordPress WP Super Cache?

  11. #10
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    Re: Have you experimented with plugins to improve page speed?

    In warfare and military training, there's a saying "fast is smooth and smooth is fast". It applies to a lot of things in life.

    The common downfall with relying on a one-click solution is that it's not one size fits all. One plugin may work great for some websites while other plugins are better for the rest. It's trial and error to figure out the right mix for a particular website.

    The best resource I use all the time is varvy.com which used to be called Feed the bot. The author, Patrick Sexton sold his website (getlisted.org) to Moz which built it into Moz Local. His articles go in depth to help you really understand what Google wants.

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