For bloggers who want to go pro (or already are), site speed is HUGE. And it’s one of the things I’m asked to help with on blogs weekly. There are SO many factors that go into site speed, and I plan on blogging about a lot of them, but I wanted to start with my #1 recommendation because it can really make a big difference.
It’s a plugin called WP Rocket. And that’s a pretty fitting name.
What does WP Rocket do?
(To get technical on you…)
- It caches your content (pronounced like cash) Basically it creates temporary copies of your blog and everything on it so it can help your blog to load really fast when someone visits.
- File minification (I love that that’s a technical term) It takes all the files that are meant to be read by computers and not people, and takes away all the spaces, and extra bits that people need out of them so computers can read them way faster…which again equals a faster loading blog.
- File combining Like minifying, another option you have is to combine all like files into one big file, which can make a big difference depending on how many files your blog uses.
- Lazy loading (another fun technical term) An optional setting that’s great. Normally when you visit a blog, your it tries to load all the images at once, even the ones all the way at the bottom. But you’re not looking there yet! So what lazy loading does is wait to load the images you can’t see until you start scrolling down. No more waiting. Brilliant.
- It works with your CDN If you use a CDN like Cloudflare (which I highly recommend), WP Rocket will work with it seamlessly.
There are so many more great features like GZIP compression, Google Font optimization, Database optimization, deferred JS loading. It is well maintained too, so there are always more features being added. Two that I’m pretty excited about that will likely be coming soon are converting images from jpeg (big and bulky) to webp (teeeeny-tiny) while maintaining quality, and Gravatar caching.
Okay, but what does it do, in plain English?
Did you ever try to send a big file via email to someone, but it was just too big and either failed or took hours for them to open? But to send it super fast and easy, you could ZIP the folder?
This is like the ZIP for your blog.
It’s pretty easy to set up too. You don’t need to hire a developer like me to do it for you like some other plugins. But there are some advanced features it has that might be better off in the hands of a pro if you want to really fine-tune the speed.
This is a premium plugin (AKA not free). There are other plugins that do similar things out there, but they’re not quite as effective, and not nearly as easy to set up.
For a blogger, I recommend the single site license, which costs $49 (USD) for a year, you can read more about pricing here. (Affiliate link)
As with the few other companies I’m an affiliate for, this is something I use regularly, trust, and would highly recommend either way.