I am all about having the tools needed to do the things that need to get done. WP Rocket is one of those tools that aligned with one of the goals that I set for Kenya Rae this year. That goal was to increase my pagespeed.
Today I want to WP Rocket with you in hopes that you find it more useful to use, or help you to be able to make an informed decision if you are considering using it.
In the last year, I set out to increase my pagespeed. Readership has been gradually picking up and so I started thinking more and more about user experience. One of the things that is most important to me is how easy it is to actually get to the content on Kenya Rae for the people who are trying to get to it.
Some people choose to try to increase readership first. But to me, what good is it if a bunch of people come to your site and leave without getting what they came for or need?
So I started working on getting my speed up. And I have done it and lived to tell about it…
What is Pagespeed?
Simply put, pagespeed is how fast the content on your site loads and is visible to your readers.
Ever been to a site where you could literally sit the phone or computer down and come back and it is still trying to load?
How likely were you to sit and wait that long before you chose to find that same info somewhere else?
Slow pagespeed can have a negative impact on the following:
- SEO and ranking
- User experience
- Website and brand credibility
This is why pagespeed is important. If you truly desire to share info and be of help, you should not only provide the info but make it easily accessible as well.
You see where I am going here?
Good. Let me share what I did.
3 Things I Did To Increase My Pagespeed
The very first thing I did was change my theme to one that cared about the things that I cared about.
While I have changed my theme many times, this time it was more than just what I wanted my site to look like that led to my decision.
I chose to go with the Soledad theme from Penci Design because it has technology built in to help with pagespeed. Things like:
- Lazy loading images
- Places to insert your analytics and ad code built-in
- GDPR compliance features
- AMP Accelerated Mobile Pages
- SEO Optimized
- WooCommerce compatibility
- And so much more…
What does this mean?
While you can get all of these features and functionality on a site that does not have this theme, you would have to do it using plugins. Potentially one for each thing. The more plugins you have on your site, the greater the impact on your site speed.
Additionally, I love that I am able to change my site’s look using this theme without installing a new theme. Because it has endless layout possibilities and looks within one theme.
A few years ago I started making all of my images the same size in order to display the way I wanted them to in my content. I have one image width that I use on my site. I have set parameters for my featured images, and then all other images just have to be the width I use. For me, that width is 800 pixels.
In doing that, I also went through and started deleting old images that were previously attached to posts that are no longer on my site. Or images that I updated in old posts. This helped to reduce the amount of unnecessary space being used up by images in my database.
How I Optimized
A little over a year ago I had a site crash because of the image optimization plugin I was using. This plugin optimized by creating multiple copies and sizes of the images on my site. This bloated my database and when I tried to fix it I was faced with the white screen of death that no website owner wants to see.
Luckily, I use UpdraftPlus backup plugin because my host was no longer backing up my site due to the size of it. From the increase in size from the “optimization via duplication” thing. Using Updraft, I backup my own site in addition to any host backups, to a remote location. This way I have my own backups in my own hands so I was able to fix my site on my own. The DIYer is me is always up to something.
Once I got everything back up and running, I started using Imagify to optimize my images. With Imagify there is a free option. While it has limits, you can purchase a monthly plan to accommodate your needs, or one time plans to update extras outside of the free limits if you only occasionally go over.
Imagify updates my images as I upload them. And it doesn’t affect the way that they appear on my site.
Pagespeed Optimization with WP Rocket
The last, and probably the best thing that I did was install the WP Rocket Plugin on my site. WP Rocket is a Wordpress caching plugin that speeds up sites with just a few clicks in the settings of the plugin.
WP Rocket Settings include:
- Page caching
- Database optimization
- Lazy Loading
- Compatibility with CDN usage
- So much more…
For just $39 a year WP Rocket does the heavy lifting in making sure that your site is optimized for speed with the proper configurations.
I was recently speaking with an SEO expert and I asked what other suggestions they might have to help improve my SEO. Which is what I moved on to, after working on Pagespeed. The response I got, “I was gonna tell you to work on pagespeed as well. But I just checked and your pagespeed is phenomenal!”
This, my friends, was the confirmation that I had done what I needed to do in order to ensure that my site speed is up to par for my readers like you!
It is worth mentioning that I also recently changed hosts to a private host, WPOPT hosting. I also think this has had an impact on the overall performance of my site as well.
This is what I did to get there, and I hope it helps you if you are in the same boat that I was in only a short few months ago. If you are interested in WP Rocket, you can check them out here. They offer a 30-day money back guarantee if you aren't satisfied. So really you e for nothing to lose.