Personally I’m not a huge fan of relying upon plugins to speed a website up but they do have their uses and of course they are generally more convenient to use.
So here’s a run down of a few of the plugins that I like to use when facing the optimisation of a WordPress site.
GZip Ninja speed compression
GZip Ninja speed compression is a great plugin which compliments W3 Total Cache nicely.
I have optimised hundreds of websites over the years and they all react differently to optimisation plugins. I normally begin with w3 Total Cache but on this occasion (during my tutorial) my client’s website did not respond very well to the built in browser compression element of the W3 plugin, enter the GZip.
Here are a couple of before and after screen grabs from Google Page Speed Insights:
Leverage Browser Caching Ninja
I put this plugin on because the total cache plugin in this instance did not improve our score on tools.pingdom.com
Here is a screenshot AFTER I installed the “Leverage Browser Caching Ninja” plugin:
You can see that the browser caching issue has gone away, however it has affected “Remove query strings from static resources” negatively.
I can also see that Google Page Insights is showing:
which is great! More importantly the website is still fully functional and has actually sped up.
An important point to bear in mind during this process is that the point of this exercise is to improve the User Experience (UX) and not just to check another box for Google.
Remove query strings from static resources
“Remove query strings from static resources” – in this example I am now left with this problem.
There are a number of plugins that you could choose from but my tool of choice after much testing isÂ Query Strings Remover
Here are the results after installing that plugin:
and once again the website is fully functional and the overall User Experience (UX) seems great.
There is still the matter of the low mobile speed to consider:
looking at the reasons for this gives us:
In this instance every script that I put into the minify plugin either did nothing to change the speed or it actually broke the website. For this reason I would now turn my attention to the image optimisation.
There are plenty of ways you can do this such asÂ http://www.imageoptimizer.net/Pages/Home.aspxÂ but for me my tool of choice is Faststone Image Resizer. I have used this tool for more than 10 years for a variety of purposes, it’s free and fantastic!
So our next step is:
- Connect to the our website using FTP
- Identify and download the images according to the Google insights tool
- Make a backup of the downloaded images
- Resize them without losing quality
- Using FTP re-upload them to their original location, refresh your website and check to make sure there has been no compromise on image quality or behaviour.
- Re-check Google insights to ensure that those images are now eliminated from the negative list.