The importance of a fast loading website is undeniable for positive UX, as well as SEO performance. There are a number of ways to improve site speed, with one common method being the implementation of effective caching, which can be done via WordPress caching plugins.
What is Website Caching?
Caching refers to temporary storage of information. When a user loads a website a cache allows for a copy of the website to be saved on their device, where some aspects are already pre-loaded. When trying to access your website at a later date the load speed is significantly reduced as some of the information can be retrieved from the local device rather than the web server.
So how can you set up caching on your website? There are two main options: manually or via a plugin. The manual process is more technical and involves adding code into the backend of your website or setting up a SQL query. If you don’t feel comfortable with this method or don’t have the resources, WordPress has a multitude of user-friendly plugins that can be implemented to help cache the site.
WP Caching Plugin Options
When it comes to choosing the right WP caching plugin for your site there are a number of options available. Something to keep in mind is that you should generally only use one caching plugin, as multiple will likely cause your website to crash. Below are some of the best WordPress Cache Plugin options available. Choosing which one will depend on personal preference and budget, as there is a mix of both free and premium options available. Some of these include:
- W3 Total Cache – a web agnostic WPO (Web Performance Optimization) framework for WP used by millions. W3 Total Cache reduces load times by leveraging features like content delivery network (CDN) integration and the latest best practices around caching.
- WP Super Cache – generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog with the majority of your visitors being served static html files and ultimately reducing load time.
- WP Rocket – offers page caching and browser caching as well as a host of other advanced options to ensure fast website loading speeds. Caching practices include static HTML files and the utilisation of browser caching.
- Hummingbird – utilises a complete set of caching tools including full-page, browser, and Gravatar caching which allows site visitors to download Gravatar images and ensures they don’t need to be loaded next time the user views the page.
The benefits of Website Caching
Maximise Website Performance
One main benefit of caching is that when previous users access your website they are able to access a temporary cached version, with certain parts of the webpage preloaded. This means that there are a lower number of users trying to load a non-cached version directly from your network. This reduces congestion and helps to ensure fast loading times for all users.
Ensure Positive UX Experience
According to Pingdom, the probability of users bouncing increases by 32% when load time moves from 1 to 3 seconds. Businesses should aim for a website load time of around 2 seconds at the most, and utilise WP caching plugins to ensure this occurs, keeping more potential users on your website and maximising the likelihood of getting them to convert. It also provides a more pleasant overall user experience, which can have potential customers viewing your brand and products favourably.
Improved SEO Ranking
Increasing the load speed of your website can also provide benefits when it comes to your SEO ranking. The first is via increased web traffic. A positive and user friendly website is likely to result in a higher amount of traffic which is a strong indicator for positive SEO performance. Google also takes page speed into consideration when ranking websites as they want users to be able to access relevant information as quickly as possible. Caching of course helps with this factor and in turn helps to further improve potential SEO performance.
A caching plugin is a must have for any WordPress website to ensure your website is performing optimally. To find out more about choosing the right WP caching plugin for your site or if you’re unsure about how to manage your site speed, chat to the website experts at Redline Digital today.