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WordPress Website Speed Plugins – A Case Study

By August 26th, 2021SEO

After giving us plenty of warning, Google has finally added a website’s “core vitals” as a ranking factor to its algorithm. In its search for a better user experience, Google has begun to measure site loading speed as a factor when it comes to ranking a site in search results. And because the majority of website traffic is now mobile, Google has chosen to measure your mobile site speed over desktop performance. This can be a blessing or a curse, depending on your site’s current core vitals, but either way, it can no longer be ignored. 

You may be asking how this could be a blessing, and the answer is simple. If you can achieve superior core vitals over your competition, you can get a leg up in search results. You can use it as a competitive advantage. And in this post, we’ll show you how to do just that.

On the other hand, if your site, like a lot of sites, is not yet optimized for site loading speed, you could find your rankings slipping to your competitors. And if that’s the case for you, then read on to turn this negative into a positive.

 

What Are the Core Vitals?

There are several specific measurements that Google is looking at when it comes to a mobile site’s loading speed but the core vitals focus on these three measurements:

LCP – Largest Contentful Paint

Measures the time from the initial request to the web host’s server to when the site’s actual content is ready to view. 

FID – First Input Delay

Measures the time from when a user first interacts with your site (e.g. click a link, tap a button, etc.) to the time when the browser is actually able to respond to that interaction.

CLS – Cumulative Layout Shift

Measures the unexpected shifting of webpage elements while the page is still downloading.

 

Testing Site Speed

Fortunately, Google’s Page Speed Insights tool is very easy to use and will give you a look at your current core vitals, while allowing you to measure improvements you make along the way.

page speed insights

When you enter your website’s URL, you will get results like these:

site speed test

And down below, you will see the core vital measurements:

core vitals lab data

 

Improving Site Load Speed

If your website is built on WordPress, there are several ‘plugin’ options available that will help your site speed to some degree. At Illuminous Marketing, we have tested just about all of them, both free and paid. But none of these plugins that we tested were an end-all solution. That is until we came across a plugin that handles the job differently. Introducing NitroPack. 

 

About NitroPack

Available at nitropack.io in both a free version for beginner sites (if you don’t mind a small “Powered by NitroPack” logo added to your footer) to a reasonably priced paid solution for bigger sites and those who prefer not to have a logo added to their site.

NitroPack is different from most solutions in that it leans on its own content delivery network (CDN) to power your website. Although that can sound a little scary, NitroPack makes it super easy. The NitroPack CDN set up is all handled for you without any assistance from you. It also handles the functions of other speed plugins such as image optimization, lazy loading, etc., making them unnecessary.

CDN’s are known to be very effective for improving site speed by moving critical components to a super-fast server environment, thus lightening the load for your host server. However, most CDN solutions are much more complicated and can be much more expensive.

 

A NitroPack Case Study

We recently took on an SEO job for a client and discovered during our testing that site speed was a major issue. Luckily, NitroPack has a tool right on their homepage that you can test whether or not this solution would be beneficial for your site.

 

NitroPack speed test

Here’s what we found when we ran our preliminary test.

Nitropack test

You can see that the client was clearly a candidate for the NitroPack solution, and after our installation and configuration of the plugin, we were able to deliver these results almost instantly:

site speed solutions

site speed lab data

Conclusion

If you are on a WordPress platform and site speed is an issue, you can try a variety of plugins that address different functions of site speed, or you can try the one-step solution, NitroPack. Between the pre-installation test that shows you the potential improvement and the 14 day money back guarantee, you can be confident in your decision before you even sign up. We don’t think you’ll find a better plugin either singularly or in a combo that will make this kind of speed improvement to your website.

Rather not attempt this yourself? With our NitroPack installation and monitoring services, we have seen first hand the improvements we can make for our clients’ websites. We’ll make sure there are no conflicts with other WordPress plugins, and that it is configured properly for the best results.

Of course, core vitals and site speed are just one of many factors in search engine optimization and not a solution to improve your rankings in and of itself. If you find yourself in a “ranking war” with your competitors, or just missing from page one altogether, you may need the services of a professional SEO team such as Illuminous Marketing. We will perform a complete SEO audit of your site and implement the NitroPack solution along with other recommendations that we uncover. Contact us today to find out more!

Brad Simonis

Author Brad Simonis

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