Taking page-load times from Slow to Go!
Installing the Plugin & Connecting it to a Site-Monitoring Service
Visitors to your website will appreciate faster load times. Even a couple of seconds can be the difference between engaging with a new customer, and losing them. In this 3 part series of How-To’s we will guide you through how to install and configure important plugins that will increase the performance of your site, and also allow you to monitor its performance, so that customers can spend their time appreciating your site’s content, instead of wondering if your web server is down.
In this Part 1 of Optimizing your WordPress we will add an optimization that not only speeds things up slightly, but more importantly, it gives us the ability to monitor our web-site’s performance via the WordPress Dashboard (the main Admin page). The monitoring service also gives us access to detailed information about our site’s performance and the ability to compare its speed to other web-sites. Hence, we can use the monitoring service to see the benefits as we add optimizations.
If you’re using an inexpensive web-hosting service, page load times won’t be as fast as premium hosting services, so we need to do what we can to speed things up.
1. Create an Account at GTMetrix.com
Even though we don’t need an account with www.GTMetrix.com to use the testing tool, we need to register so that we can compare previous tests of our site and connect our GTMetrix account to our WordPress. Once we connect our WordPress to GTMetrix, our WordPress Admin Dashboard will have a new block that contains a summary of our site’s performance. This allows us to see the effect of the optimization plugins that we are installing.
Without any optimizations, our WordPress site received an F rating for Page Speed 🙁
- Visit www.GTMetrix.com and create a free account
- Confirm your account from the confirmation email
Click the “Install” button on the top-right of the panel. Once the install has completed, click the “Activate” button that appears in the same place.
The plugin can be activated from either the Plugin Installation panel, or from the Plugins Summary screen. The main plugins summary screen is where you can access the settings and updates for all plugins.
Tip: It’s a good idea to delete any deactivated plugins so that your plugins summary page stays nice and clean (you will avoid getting notified of updates for plugins that aren’t active).
Go to www.GTMetrix.com, login, and click the “Generate API Key” button.
Now that we have installed the first optimization plugin, we have a convenient site-performance monitor to test page-load times. The plugin we just installed doesn’t do much to improve the site performance. For that we need to install a couple of other plugins.
In Part 2 of this series we will install the Optimole image optimizer plugin that will give us some big improvements to page load time.