Evaluate plugins & widgets for extra weight that can keep your content from loading quickly
Note: This doesn’t apply only to WordPress users -- we highly recommend giving it a read regardless of your platform and examining any add-ons or widgets on your site with the same careful scrutiny.
It seems there’s a plugin for just about everything these days, doesn’t it? There are just so many creative and useful widgets out there with fun features to add to your site, but when we dig in and analyze site speed, we’ve found that they all slow down your site to some extent.
Perform a plugin audit (with your developer’s input, if you’re not sure what any of them do!) to evaluate which plugins you’re using and why:
- Remove any plugins/widgets you're not using. A good rule of thumb is to keep your total number of plugins to under 20. The quality of the plugins you run on your site can be more important than the quantity, but generally work to limit plugin usage to help lighten your site’s load time!
- Remove plugins that you only use occasionally. Plugins like WP-Optimize, Broken Link Checker, and other plugins that you might use just once in awhile can be completely removed (deactivated and uninstalled) between uses and reinstalled when needed.
- Update plugins. Out-of-date plugins can introduce vulnerabilities to your site and become a prime target for hacking and malware injection! When evaluating new plugins, look for ones that have been updated within the last six months.
- Consolidate duplicate functionality. Plugins can often have overlapping functions -- like two plugins that both add a pin-it button to the images on a site. When choosing between two plugins, go with one from a trusted, high-quality developer who provides ongoing support and updates.
- Swap out or remove notorious slow pokes:
- Social media plugins that pull in Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram followers/feeds are famous for slowing down sites because they load so many images and so much information. They’re usually the first plugins we recommend removing and sites that do often see a nice boost in page speed! Plus, removing them keeps your readers ON your site longer, consuming your content. Why send them somewhere else?
- Font plugins can be particularly heavy. Any external fonts you’re using should be coded into your theme, so work with your developer to get that taken care of so you can remove any font plugins you’re running.
Remember: streamlining your site performance gives you HUGE, long-term benefits like a healthier site, happy, loyal, engaged readers, and future earning potential.