Over the years I have progressively built more and more of our sites on the wordpress platform. The reasons are endless, but the biggest upside to wordpress has to be its large community of designers and developers who constantly add new open-source plugins and themes that save development time and costs.
An increasingly important aspect of website management and search engine optimization is your site’s speed and indexability. So I thought I would share with you a quick top 5 list of the most common plugins I use to make the WordPress sites load faster and get indexed better by the search engine bots. This site is more related to site speed optimization, but there is a direct correlation and benefit to a Search Engine Optimization campaign.
1. All in One SEO Pack or Platinum SEO
Of the first two on the list don’t technically speed up wordpress. Still, if people can’t find your site pages, then who cares if they load fast. All in One SEO Pack and Platinum SEO are two similar plugins. All in One SEO Pack is the most widely used and the one I use the most. However, the newer version of Platinum SEO has a few features All in One does not. Most notably the ability to set the index, follow tag in the page/post editor.
The main thing you need to know about this plugin is that you need to use it to write relevant, keyword-rich titles and descriptions for every page and post on your site. Each page should have a unique Title and Description tag and it should tell the searcher (and Google) what that page is about.
2. Google XML Sitemaps
Again, if people can’t find the page, then what good is it. Google XML Sitemaps is an essential plugin that creates an XML sitemap and automatically submits it to the major search engines when you add new pages or posts to your site. This tells Google how often they should be crawling your site, which pages you feel are the most important and which sections of the blog should not be indexed (e.g. search pages, tag results, etc) in order to avoid duplicate content.
3. WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache can greatly improve your site speed if configured correctly. It stores a static copy of your site pages on the server so they do not have to be called from the database every time someone visits that page. It can greatly reduce the load time of your pages and the load on your sever if you get a high volume of traffic.
4. WP Minify
5. WP Smush.it
Finally a large drag on load time is large images. Many people load large images to their site without optimizing them for the web. WP Smush.it allows you to “smush” the images (Jersey Shore style) on your site so they do not take as long to load.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for speeding up your WordPress site. There are other more technical things that can be done to speed up the site, but these are a good start. We will be touching on other tips like CSS sprites, condensing your CSS and Script files, cleaning up your database, etc. in future posts.
For now if you have any tips or I missed anything, let me know in the comments.