Let’s get one thing out of the way right from the start – slow sites are huge deal-breakers. For everyone. Nobody, not your site visitors, not your potential costumers, and neither do you like to wait minutes for an image to load, for a new webpage to finally become responsive. Waiting patiently for websites to load is a thing of the past and it’s something that should stay there. In today’s digital arms race, having a fast, highly responsive, and optimally performing site is crucial for your online presence and it basically serves as the foundation of your digital marketing ecosystem.
Having a slow website can turn off potential visitors, customers, and may actually lead to a drop in sales, or it can wreak havoc on your brand recognition boosting efforts. It’s safe to say that website loading speed is one if not the most important part of getting noticed online, and having a slow site means that you are running with the back of the pack. Literally.
Is there a way to fix painstakingly slow websites? Is there a tool out there that can get your website’s codes, pages, and images optimized and intact so your website can load a lot faster and run better?
Of course, there is. And from the following article, you’ll get all the essentials for turbocharging your WordPress website.
Speed is a crucial ranking factor and everybody in the business knows that. That’s why WordPress came up with Autoptimize, a free plugin that makes site optimization smooth, easy, and simple to master.
In the simplest terms, the plugin optimizes your website by concentrating, minifying, and compressing all styles, and scripts. It also adds and caches expired headers. It moves styles to the page head, and it can also move scripts to the footer, but this is optional. An awesome feature that it minifies the HTML code too, creating a truly lightweight page.
That being said, makes sure to use a purposefully-created caching plugin for caching. They usually create static HTML pages of your site which is then saved on your server. And whenever somebody visits your site, the cache plugin will help display the lighter HTML version instead of the heavier WP PHP format.
What About HTTP(S)/2 sites?
You might wonder if you’d benefit from the plugin if you’re already using HTTP(S)/2. Well, while it’s surely a huge improvement, you can still achieve significant increases in speed by optimizing CSS and JSS and with other minor tweaks. All you need to do is run a few tests with different configurations and see what works best for you. If things don’t work out the first time, reconfigure and test again until you get the desired results.
Get the most out of the plugin
As said before, speed is a huge factor in the digital realm. Also, it’s a crucial ranking factor. By using Autoptimize, you can significantly improve loading speed for your website, however, you’ll need the proper skills to pull it off.
Don’t worry, all you need to understand are the basics.
How to optimize for these settings?
Here’s a basic setup which works for most websites:
- For starters, you should install and activate the plugin on the site. After the activation, click on the Settings.
- Do the same thing in the HTML Options for the best results by checking the “Optimize HTML Code?” box.
- Move on to the “Images” section, where you should use CDN and enable Lazy load for your website’s images. This move will reduce server load and shorten loading speed on your site. It’s a very handy feature that will make your images load as you scroll down instead of trying to load them all at once. The only problem with it, that it’s not good for Opera Mini on some phones – the images might fail to load completely.
- When you’re in the “Extra” tab, removing query strings, emojis and Google Fonts can also help you get a faster website.
Keep it in mind, this is just a basic layout that will work for the majority of websites but it might not work for your site’s specific needs. If you’re experiencing troubles with Autoptimize (crashing, broken site, etc.) contacting WP support might be your best option. On the other hand, if you’re a professional developer, the plugin’s advanced settings and API options can enable you to tailor everything to your website’s needs.
What are the users saying?
Every plugin looks great on paper, however, they are ultimately put to the test once they get out to bloggers, developers, and site owners. While Auoptimize is an older plugin, advances, other plugins and other changes have come, and keeping up-to-date with everything can be difficult, and for the most part, even impossible.
So, what do people have to say about the plugin and its features?
Generally, the verdict for the plugin is that it’s a handy and smart plugin that is fairly easy to use and basically runs itself. As they say, optimizing your website for speed is a walk in the park and that WP’s support makes it even easier to navigate with the plugin with ease.
Others warn that the “auto” in Autoptimize is quite deceiving. According to them, if you’re not familiar with basic programming terminology, you can end up with a broken site. Others warn that when running other plugins (like Divi) can mess up Autoptimize’s work and you end up with a website that is barely functional or broken.
However, all this can be resolved by either contacting support or by hunting down plugins that interfere with the optimization process.
All in all, it’s safe to say that Autoptimize is a reliable and handy little plugin that will help you speed up your website. By compressing all styles and scripts and minifying HTML codes, you’ll end up with a fairly lightweight website that will run faster and smoother.
The plugin does not require you to be a professional developer, however, knowing the basics won’t be a bad thing since a few unwanted clicks can wreak havoc and create broken pages. This may be a source of discomfort for those site owners who aren’t that tech-savvy, but getting up to speed with the basics of how websites work is a great move, especially today when loading speed is a crucial factor.
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