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Ajeet Raina Ajeet Singh Raina is a former Docker Captain, Community Leader and Arm Ambassador. He is a founder of Collabnix blogging site and has authored more than 570+ blogs on Docker, Kubernetes and Cloud-Native Technology. He runs a community Slack of 8900+ members and discord server close to 2200+ members. You can follow him on Twitter(@ajeetsraina).

Top 5 WordPress Plugins to Boost Website Speed in 2024

6 min read

Website speed is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. In today’s fast-paced online world, visitors expect websites to load instantly. A slow website can lead to frustrated users, higher bounce rates, and ultimately, lost business.

But fear not, WordPress users! There are a number of powerful plugins available to help you optimize your website’s performance and ensure a lightning-fast browsing experience. In this blog post, we’ll explore five essential plugins that will help you take your website’s speed to the next level in 2024.

Google Site Kit

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Google Site Kit is a plugin specifically designed for WordPress websites. It essentially acts as a central hub to manage and view insights from various other Google tools that are relevant to your website’s health and performance.

Here’s a breakdown of what Site Kit offers:

  • Consolidated Dashboard: Site Kit brings together data from multiple Google products like Analytics, Search Console, AdSense, and PageSpeed Insights, and displays them all in a single, easy-to-understand dashboard within your WordPress interface. This eliminates the need to switch between different platforms to track your website’s performance.
  • Simplified Setup: Setting up these essential Google tools for your WordPress site can involve some technical steps. Site Kit streamlines this process by allowing you to configure them directly through the plugin, often without needing to edit any website code.
  • Actionable Insights: Site Kit doesn’t just present data; it provides actionable insights based on the information it gathers. This can include recommendations for improving your website’s search ranking (through Search Console data), optimizing page load speed (based on PageSpeed Insights), and understanding your audience demographics and website traffic (via Analytics).
  • Granular Permissions: Site Kit allows you to manage access controls for the data displayed in the dashboard. This is useful if you have multiple people working on your website and want to restrict who can see sensitive information.

Overall, Google Site Kit is a valuable tool for WordPress users who want a centralized and user-friendly way to monitor their website’s performance using various Google products.

Performance Lab

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The Performance Lab plugin is a collection of modules focused on enhancing performance of your site, most of which should eventually be merged into WordPress core. The plugin allows to individually enable and test the modules to get their benefits before they become available in WordPress core, and to provide feedback to further improve the solutions.

Currently the plugin includes the following performance modules:

  • Dominant Color Images: Adds support to store the dominant color of newly uploaded images and create a placeholder background of that color.
  • WebP Support Health Check: Adds a WebP support check in Site Health status.
  • WebP Uploads: Creates WebP versions for new JPEG image uploads if supported by the server.
  • Enqueued Assets Health Check: Adds a CSS and JS resource check in Site Health status.
  • Autoloaded Options Health Check: Adds a check for autoloaded options in Site Health status.

Speculative Loading

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Have you ever clicked on a link and experienced a frustrating delay while the page loads? Speculative loading can be the solution! This innovative technique helps websites anticipate user behavior and pre-load content, leading to a smoother and faster browsing experience.

What is Speculative Loading?

Imagine you’re browsing an online store. As you hover your mouse over a product category, the website, using speculative loading, might predict you’ll click on it and start pre-fetching the product listing page in the background. This way, when you actually click, the page loads almost instantly, enhancing your browsing experience.

Benefits of Speculative Loading:

  • Improved perceived performance: Users experience faster page loads, leading to a more enjoyable browsing experience and potentially higher engagement.
  • Reduced bounce rates: By eliminating delays, speculative loading can keep users on your site longer, lowering bounce rates.
  • Enhanced user experience: Smoother navigation and quicker page transitions create a more positive user experience.

How Does Speculative Loading Work?

  • Speculative loading relies on the browser’s ability to predict user behavior based on their actions. This prediction triggers the pre-loading of resources (like HTML, CSS, or JavaScript) for potential future pages a user might visit. There are two main approaches:
  • Prefetching: The browser fetches resources but doesn’t render the full page. This is ideal for content likely to be clicked on soon.
  • Prerendering: The browser fetches and renders the entire page in the background. This is suitable for highly predictable user journeys, like a product listing page after a category selection.

Using Speculative Loading Wisely:

While speculative loading offers significant advantages, it’s crucial to use it strategically. Pre-loading too much content can overload a user’s device and slow down the initial page load. Here are some tips:

  • Target the right content: Focus on pre-loading content users are highly likely to access next, based on website structure and user behavior.
  • Balance benefits and drawbacks: Weigh the potential performance improvement against the risk of increased resource usage.
  • Consider browser compatibility: Speculative loading features might not work in all browsers.

Speculative loading can be a powerful tool for website optimization. By strategically pre-loading content, you can create a faster and more seamless user experience. However, remember to use it judiciously to avoid overloading devices and ensure overall website performance remains optimal.

Scaled Embed Optimizer

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Do you ever feel like your WordPress site takes ages to load, especially on pages heavy with videos or social media embeds? You’re not alone. Embeds can be resource-guzzlers, slowing down your website and frustrating your visitors.

But fear not, there’s a solution: lazy loading! This blog post will introduce you to a powerful WordPress plugin called Scaled Embed Optimizer that utilizes lazy loading to optimize your embeds, leading to a faster, smoother browsing experience for your visitors.

What is Lazy Loading and Why Does it Matter for Embeds?

Imagine you’re visiting a website filled with embedded YouTube videos and Tweets. By default, all these embeds load as soon as the page opens, even if they’re hidden below the fold (the part of the page you can’t see without scrolling). This can significantly slow down your website’s initial load time.

Lazy loading tackles this issue by postponing the loading of embeds until they come into view as the user scrolls down the page. This way, your website loads faster initially, leading to a more responsive experience for your visitors.

Benefits of Scaled Embed Optimizer:

  • Improved website performance: Faster loading times lead to happier visitors and better SEO rankings.
  • Enhanced user experience: No more waiting for the entire page to load before seeing content.
  • Reduced server load: By delaying embed loading, you lessen the strain on your server.

The Future of Scaled Embed Optimizer

While lazy loading is a powerful tool, Scaled Embed Optimizer is constantly evolving, with plans for further optimizations in the pipeline. These might include:

  • Selective lazy loading: Choose which specific embeds to lazy load for granular control.
  • Placeholder customization: Customize the placeholders displayed before embeds load to maintain a visually appealing layout.
  • Advanced analytics: Track the impact of lazy loading on your website’s performance and user behavior.

By utilizing Scaled Embed Optimizer, you can significantly improve the performance of your WordPress website, especially those heavy on embeds. With faster loading times and a smoother user experience, you’ll keep your visitors engaged and coming back for more. So, ditch the scroll stall and embrace the power of lazy loading for your WordPress embeds!

Smush

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Smush is the leading image optimization plugin – optimize, resize, and compress images, as well as convert images to WebP format for faster loading web pages.

Brought to you by the WPMU DEV team – founded in 2007 and trusted by web professionals from freelancer to agency worldwide ever since.

Whether you spell it ‘optimise’ or ‘optimize’ – with Smush’s image optimizer you can compress images and serve images in next-gen formats (convert to WebP), all without introducing a visible drop in quality.

Smush has been benchmarked and tested number one for speed and quality. Beyond that, it’s also the award-winning, back-to-back proven crowd-favorite WordPress image optimizer trusted by over 1M+ worldwide to:

  • Optimize images
  • Compress images
  • Lazy load images
  • Resize images
  • Convert to WebP And more…

Why Use Smush To Optimize Images (The Smush Difference)

Smush was built from the ground up to make it easy for WordPress users to optimize images, activate lazy loading, compress media files, and more – whether they’re just getting started, or a seasoned pro who’s developed thousands of websites.

Improve website performance (along with Google PageSpeed Insights scores) with compressed and optimized images and lazy loading – all while actually delivering a better user experience because the rollout of Core Web Vitals has proven one thing: performance is about far more than just scoring well on performance testing tools. Visitor experience matters.

Discover the features that set Smush apart from other image optimization plugins:

  • Lossless compression (Basic Smush) – Strip unused data and compress images without affecting image quality.
  • Lossy compression (Super Smush) – Optimize images up to 2x more than lossless compression with our cutting-edge, multi-pass lossy image compression.
  • Ultra Smush (Pro Only) – Take performance to the next level with 5x image compressing power! Your images will be as light and fast as possible, while still preserving remarkable image quality.
  • Built-In Lazy Loading – Lazy load images to defer loading of offscreen images with the flip of a switch.
  • Convert to WebP (Pro Only) – Use the Local WebP feature to convert and automatically serve images in the next-gen WebP format.
  • Bulk Smush – Bulk optimize and compress images with one click.
  • Background Optimization (Pro Only) – Smush’s powerful image optimization features will continue to run in the background even when the plugin is closed.
  • Resize Images – Set a max width and height, and large images will scale down as they are being optimized. 123-point global CDN (Pro Only) – Ensure blazing-fast image delivery anywhere in the world. Includes automatic WebP conversion and image resizing, plus, GIF / Rest API support.
  • Incorrect Image Size Detection – Quickly locate images that are slowing down your site.
  • Directory Smush – Optimize images even if they aren’t in the default WordPress media library.
  • Automated Optimization – Asynchronously auto-smush your attachments for super fast compression on upload.
  • No Monthly Limits – Optimize all of your images (up to 5 MB in size) free forever (no daily, monthly, or annual limits). Gutenberg Block Integration – View image compression information directly in image blocks.
  • Multisite Compatible – Flexible global and subsite settings for multisite installations.
  • Optimize All Image Files – Smush supports optimization for all of your PNG and JPEG files.
  • No Performance Impact On Your Server – Image optimization is not run on your website’s server to prevent wasting server resources (that you pay for) and is instead run using the fast, reliable WPMU DEV Smush API.
  • Configs – Set your preferred Smush settings, save them as a config, and instantly upload to any other site. And many, many, more!

What WordPress plugin do you use to speed up your website? Share it with us.

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Ajeet Raina Ajeet Singh Raina is a former Docker Captain, Community Leader and Arm Ambassador. He is a founder of Collabnix blogging site and has authored more than 570+ blogs on Docker, Kubernetes and Cloud-Native Technology. He runs a community Slack of 8900+ members and discord server close to 2200+ members. You can follow him on Twitter(@ajeetsraina).
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