There are so many options for plugins that it can be hard to tell where to start and where to end. Just as the saying from iPhone users goes, “there is an app for that”, the same is true for WordPress users, “there is a plugin for that”.
Before going plugin-crazy, take a step back and think about what your website really needs. The priority of most websites is to give the user a good experience so that they stay on the webpage or take an action on the website.
So, before installing every plugin possible, start with one that provides a faster load speed so your visitors stay longer and look around your website more.
Increased Website Speed Means More Visitors See Your Website
If having visitors stay longer on your website isn’t incentive enough, Google announced that websites with faster load speeds – especially on mobile – will get higher placement in the search engine results pages (“SERP”). In January of this year, Google announced that, “page speed will become a ranking factor in mobile search” starting July 2018. So, before you spend a dime on marketing for your website, ensure that you have the fastest load speeds and bandwidth protection.
This monumental announcement by Google blew the minds of many SEO specialist. Prior to this announcement, Google did not give preferential treatment to websites with faster load times. Bandwidth was something of a neutral ground and it was assumed that it was outside the website owners control, and therefore should not be considered when ranking websites.
For this reason, SEO marketers would create massive databases of content on websites to try and cater to the Google bots as they crawled various pages. Sometimes creating pages that were so few words dense it was hard for an actual human to understand what was being said.
Now, with the new announcement from Google about load times, website managers need to take speed into consideration. No longer can you be a sitting juggernaut of content. Websites need to be nimble as well as useful to reach the coveted first page of Google. Giving faster websites an edge is like providing David with the proverbial rock that took down Goliath.
Optimizing WordPress performance
Cleaning up your WordPress database is another way to ensure optimal load speeds and performance. Try the WP-Optimize to remove unnecessary data from your website as well as runs a clean-up automatically on a weekly schedule to ensure your website is always running at peak performance. Even if your website is fairly small, consider this – each time you make a revision to a post, the older ‘revisions’ are archived in your websites data base.
These add a ton of unnecessary data to your database. Each one of the old revisions could have dozens of spam comments that take up even more space as well. By installing WP-Optimize, you can clear up all this bulky data with one click. Clearing the repetitive data will give your website an edge over the competition by showing Google your website is both fast and full of useful content.
Most of Google’s announcements are slightly vague and often leave SEO specialists to speculate about what the updates mean. This most recent update about load speed is as straight forward as it gets. There is no speculating about what they might be trying to say or how to interoperate what their algorithm may or may not do.
Top WordPress plugins to consider
Now that load times are not holding your website back it is time to explore some of the great plugins that WordPress has to offer. If you are not using an email sign-up service yet, I suggest giving MailChimp a try. Not only is it free, it also gives you the option to create custom landing pages. These landing pages are a huge plus as you can A/B test different marketing strategies while building your email list.
Another top pick is the Jetpack plugin. This WordPress plugin gives you valuable analytical insights and again, is free! On the topic of analytics, there are easy to install Google Analytics plugins that link your WordPress website to your dashboard where you can track the source of traffic coming to your website.
Until next time
We will continue to search the vast sea of WordPress plugins to find the best options to keep your website optimized to Google’s search standards. You can learn more about the plugin we mentioned above by clicking here: Viper Cache WordPress Plugin.