Some of Google’s latest updates have incorporated your website load speed into your page rank. This means that you need to take a very serious look at how quickly your page loads. First I’ll cover how to determine your page speed and then I’ve got a 5-minute speed up your WordPress website with W3 Total Cache.
Find Your Current Speed
Before we can speed up, we need to know how well we are currently doing. To do that, we’ll head over to Google’s PageSpeed Insights and find out how well our sample site does. All we need to do is enter our sample site’s URL (include www but not http://) into the PageSpeed Insights box and click analyze.
PageSpeed will take a moment to analyze our site and then present our baseline speed.
Baseline Score: 81
W3 Total Cache
Now we have our baseline and we would like to speed up our site with very little effort in about 5 minutes. To start off, go ahead and install the W3 Total Cache plugin. If you are in WordPress, just go to plugins and then add new. Enter W3 Total Cache into the search and install the plugin.
After installation make sure to activate the plugin. Once it is activated and before adjusting ANY settings, I’ll check the speed again.
Current Score: 86
That’s a definitely improvement, but we can do better.
Adding Browser Caching
In your WordPress dashboard go down to the Performance setting. Then select Browser Cache. Under the General settings you want to add check marks to “Set expires header” and “Set cache control header”. Then just click on save all settings.
Now that browser caching is added, I went back over to check our speed.
Final Score: 90
Side Note About Caching
What About WP Super Cache?
WP Super Cache is another popular plugin for WordPress, however it doesn’t have as many features as W3 Total Cache. Most notably it doesn’t support browser caching, which as you noticed made a big difference in our Google PageSpeed Score. I did try out the sample site with WP Super Cache just for comparison sake and the result was a speedup from 81/100 to 83/100.
In 5 minutes we’ve improved our score from 81 to 90. Which I think is a rather nice return on your five minutes invested. Other areas where you can get a lot of return are making sure you don’t have any duplicated resources (google will let you know if you do) and compressing images.