Your WordPress website may have an all-time appealing design, but if it does not appear correctly in a browser, visitors can end up being frustrated. As a result, this can damage your reputation, negatively affecting your brand image and hence your conversion rate.
The responsive web design techniques solve a series of performance problems, but today, it does not make much sense to focus on optimization for a few screens, because now the screens are available in multiple sizes.
You do not always need to buy servers that are more powerful and spend more money unnecessarily, as these strategies do not go well in the end. Instead, do something in order to avoid performance problems in the future.
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Why Website Performance Matters?
The most important thing for a visitor visiting a website is the perceived benefits. For a website visitor, nothing matters more than the time your website takes to load.
Instead of thinking about the vain metrics such as having 100/100 on Google PageSpeed Insights, it is better to think about and understand how a visitor experiences your website speed. While the former is only a number, the latter is an important metric for the user’s experience.
Ilya Grigorik, web performance engineer at Google, in High-Performance Browser Networking, outlines metrics for velocity perception in humans:
- 100 milliseconds as response time seem immediate for a user;
- 100-300 milliseconds represent a small, yet perceptible delay;
- 300 milliseconds – 1 second are perceived as ‘the machine works;’
- 1 second represents a considerable delay for a user. Hence, a single second of waiting time is enough to interrupt the flow of thought and the user probably starts to change the mindset.
If the user experience (UX) on your WordPress website is negative, you are losing customers and ultimately big bucks.
You cannot improve what you do not measure. If the loading speed of your website is not measured, its slowdown will probably not be detected, and errors will keep accumulating.
Best WordPress Performance Plugins
Here are the best WordPress performance plugins that can help you identify the factors affecting the performance of your website. Let us read on.
1. Query Monitor
With over 60,000 active installations and an average rating of 4.9/5, Query Monitor is a free WordPress performance plugin for developers and aims to provide support for the debugging phase. This is an extremely useful plugin, which detects almost every type of error that can occur during WordPress development.
Query Monitor adds a menu to the WordPress admin bar and highlights all the query information that passes through WordPress. In the context of debugging, you can find a lot of useful information such as details of HTTP requests, database queries, Ajax, redirects, and PHP errors.
- Queries Performed on the Database: The plugin shows every query executed on the current page, highlighting the slow queries, the duplicate queries, and the queries with errors. Moreover, it allows filtering the queries by type (SELECT, UPDATE, DELETE), by component (divided into cores, plugins, and themes), as well as by function.
- Hooks Used in Scripts: The plugin shows all the hooks executed on the current page, allowing them to be filtered in the same way as queries.
- Active Theme: The plugin provides information on the active theme such as the name of the current template file.
- PHP Errors: There is much more detailed information than that provided by WordPress by assigning the value true to the constant WP_DEBUG in the wp-config.php file.
- HTTP Requests: A true mine of information is provided on HTTP requests, especially with regard to var queries, rule queries, and permalink structure tags.
- Scripts and Styles: The plugin provides information on the scripts and styles on the page, with their dependencies and versions.
In addition, this plugin points to a series of summary sheets that provide all kinds of useful data during WordPress development.
2. Complete Analytics Optimization Suite (CAOS)
If you have used Google Analytics Tracking Code and tested your website through PageSpeed Insights to check what Google thinks of your website load, then you would have noticed that it recommends you to enable compression and specify the cache for your code.
Fortunately, there is a solution and you can earn those extra numbers in Google PageSpeed Insights test. You can do so using the Complete Analytics Optimization Suite (CAOS) plugin.
In addition (and here comes the touch of genius), this plugin uses the WordPress wp-cron to check regularly if Google has updated the code. Hence, you always have the latest version of Analytics. Now you don’t have any reason that you do not want to install this plugin. I bet!
With perfmatters, you can make small improvements to your WordPress performance by reducing HTTP requests and web page size. This plugin allows you to enable/disable scripts on a per page/post basis. For instance, the popular Contact Form 7 is suitable for loading on every single page of the site. With Perfmatters, the upload is done only on your contact page.
perfmatters differs from other WordPress cache plugins to increase the speed of WordPress because it takes a different approach to improve the loading time of the page than other plugins.
By default, WordPress has certain options enabled that are not necessary for most websites and slow down performance. perfmatters makes it possible to disable these options just by clicking on a few buttons.
Another thing that tends to slow down the loading of web pages is HTTP requests that are not necessary. perfmatters allows you to disable these scripts per page, which means you can prevent add-ins from loading code when it is not necessary.
Therefore, perfmatters is one of those WordPress performance plugins that not only improve website speed but also worth installing even if you already have a specific caching plugin. Summing up, the main features of Perfmatters are listed below.
- Works with existing cache plugin
- Disables default WordPress options
- Disables scripts on each page
- Supports DNS preload
4. P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)
With P3, you can perform a website scan, which analyzes the loading time of a few pages randomly (home, post, categories, and so on) in order to obtain uniform values. In the end, you receive a detailed report, accompanied by interesting and readable graphics, which tell you how much time was actually used to load the various plugins installed.
Note that P3 does not affect the performance of a website as it scans only the page dedicated to it in the WordPress and not in real time. It is not loaded during normal browsing through WordPress pages.
You can find its control panel in Tools → P3 Plugin Profiler. You can start a scan by clicking on ‘Start Scan’ and then on ‘Auto Scan’ in the window that appears.
Next to the ‘Start Scan’ button, you can find some primary data such as the number of active plugins, their loading time, their impact on page load time, and the number of MySQL queries executed. In the lower part, you can find a series of cards where there is detailed information, in most cases in the form of a graph.
Obviously, this data cannot be relied on. In this context, Tom Ewer conducted a detailed analysis for ManageWP and put a request for clarification in the support forum. It showed that P3, being a normal plugin, may suffer from some inaccuracies due to other plugins running or server load (especially if shared).
This is not about gross smudging, but rather a certain margin of error, which P3 is trying to calculate. However, the plugin is excellent in highlighting problems in performance related to the presence of extensions.
With the data obtained from P3, you can reduce the number of active plugins, replace, or eliminate the particularly heavy ones, thus obtaining a faster WordPress website.
In case you want to analyze the loading of a particular page or a group of pages, you can resort to manual scanning.
Disclaimer: P3 has not been tested with the latest three major releases of WordPress yet it may be useful for the developers.
5. LazyLoad by WP Rocket
Lazy load, you can literally translate into lazy loading, allows loading only the images that are visible on the screen. In this way, you save a number of requests, loading time, and bandwidth by loading only what is necessary at the desired time.
This plugin works on thumbnails, all images of content or text widgets, avatars, and smileys.
This WordPress performance plugin was created by the team of WP Rocket and is integrated into WP Rocket plugin precisely. No worries for SEO because the plugin inserts an image with the src attribute between <noscript> tags.
6. Disqus Conditional Load
Disqus Conditional Load (DCL ) is a freemium plugin that offers advanced functionality to the Disqus Commenting System. The performance of your WordPress website can get worse as more people write comments on your website with Disqus. This plugin provides powerful options to modify Disqus in areas such as lazy loading, comment widgets, script disabling etc.
DCL also provides shortcodes, supports custom posts, adjusts the width of the container, and enables/disables the counting script. This plugin can help you improve the loading speed of your WordPress website if you feel that web pages load slowly due to the Disqus Commenting System.
Directly and indirectly, the performance of a website has an undeniable impact on user experience and SEO. From an inbound marketing perspective, it also affects social engagement and conversion rates. Therefore, you must take your website performance seriously if you want to win the customer and convert them into cash.
Passionate about technology, entrepreneurship, and marketing, Mansoor Ahmed Khan is in computing since he knows how to type on a keyboard. His daily life is rocked by his family, projects, and his screen. Probably in this order, he likes to be convinced at least.
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