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4.1 The Benefits of a Faster Site

In this lesson, I'll explain why a well-performing site will be good for your conversion rates and SEO. We'll also look at some of the best WordPress plugins for site performance—again covering both free and paid options.

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4.1 The Benefits of a Faster Site

Hello, and welcome back to this Tuts+ course on essential WordPress plugins. In this part of the course, we're going to move on to looking at site performance. And I'll show you why site performance is important not just for the speed of your site, but also for visitor retention and for SEO. So why do you want your site to be fast? Well, the first thing is that your users, your visitors will expect your site to be fast. They will be visiting on a wide variety of devices, and whatever device and whatever link they've got, however fast that is, you want your site to load quickly. Because the performance of your website will affect how many people stay on that site, how many people browse your site, and how many people take whatever action is you want them to take. In other words, your conversion rates. And if your site is running slowly, it won't reflect well on you as an organization or an individual. And it also will make it difficult for people to do whatever it is you want them to do. So if you can get your site to run faster, it will improve the effectiveness of your site in terms of conversion rate, and also visitor retention. So people are more likely to stay on your site for longer and keep coming back for more. But site performance isn't just about people's behavior on the site, it also impacts on your SEO. So your Google rankings will be affected by how fast your page loads. Each individual page on your site will be measured not only for its content by Google's spiders, but also for how fast they load. And if your site is loading really slowly, that will adversely impact on your SEO. So, hopefully I've convinced you that it's a good idea to have a fast site. And there are a number of ways you can do this. One of them is to get good hosting. You on your hosting provider to make sure that you've got a fast connection that people can access your site wherever they are, that if there's any downtime, it'll be fixed as soon as possible. That you use something like cloud-based hosting so that it can move if need to be. And also, that your site is reliable and streamlined. Keeping your site up to date and using quality code in plugins and themes is also important for performance. Because the leaner your site is, and the more up to date it is, the faster it will run. You also need to make sure you're not installing plugins that you don't need, or plugins that clash with each other. So in this article here, you can see some quick tips to boost your WordPress website speed. And this is actually a series of posts from Tuts+ with tips that you can take to make sure your site runs faster. And the other thing you can do to make your site run faster is to install a performance plugin. And again, a bit like a security plugin that won't necessarily make your site run faster, but what it will do is diagnose any problems so that you can then go in and fix them and make your site run faster. So again, just as when are other essential plugins, there are plenty of options for you. And there are lots of free options in the plugins directory, as well as premium options that you can pay for. So I've done a search for performance, it's also worth doing a search for speed. And I've come up with a number of plugins that I could install to speed up my site. One of which is WP Optimize here, which is the one I'm going to be using in this course. Now it's not the most popular performance plugins. There are lots of other plugins that have got more users. But the reason I'm using it is because it's designed by the same team as UpdraftPlus, and it's designed to work in tandem with that backup plugin. And I always like to install plugins by the same developers if possible, because I know there's much less chance of those plugins clashing with each other or causing any problems in the future. Now WP Optimize also has a premium version. Again, I'm gonna be using the free version here, but with the premium version, you get some extra features. Now, you might decide if you're using a different backup plugin to use another plugin for performance, such as W3 Total Cache, which is very popular. Because one of the things that a performance plugin will do for you is it will cache your site. And what that means is that the individual pages in your site will be saved as complete pages, rather than built on the fly every time somebody visits them, so that means they'll load faster. Now, sometimes your hosting provider will do that for you. So my hosting provider already provides that. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't also install a performance plugin, because that will do some extra things for you. But what you might want to do if your hosting provider is already caching, is turn off that particular feature in your performance plugin. So in the next part of the course, we're going to move on to installing the free version of WP Optimize, and I'll show you how to configure that to get your site running as fast as possible. See you next time, and thanks for watching.

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