My website has been “chugging” for awhile. Over the last couple of years, I have added a lot of articles, with many graphics. In addition, I have customized my site with numerous WordPress plug-ins. The result, without getting too technical, is that my website slowed down….way down. Lack of speed in a website has very bad consequences. Here are some results from studies of users’ perceptions of sites with slow speeds:
- Lower perceived credibility (Fogg et al. 2001)
- Lower perceived quality (Bouch, Kuchinsky, and Bhatti 2000)
- Increased user frustration (Ceaparu et al. 2004)
- Increased blood pressure (Scheirer et al. 2002)
- Reduced flow rates (Novak, Hoffman, and Yung 200)
- Reduced conversion rates (Akamai 2007)
- Increased exit rates (Nielsen 2000)
- Are perceived as less interesting (Ramsay, Barbesi, and Preece 1998)
- Are perceived as less attractive (Skadberg and Kimmel 2004)
Caching* data on your website, is like adding a supercharger to your car’s engine. More power and SPEED. Caching is the reusing of data from earlier requests to speed up later requests, and in so doing, minimizes the amount of data flowing between machines on the internet. In short, things get a lot faster when you are using a cache on your website. I did a lot of studying of different caching programs, and decided to use the W3 Total Cache** plugin for my WordPress based site. I am in good company, here are some “other” users:
AT&T, stevesouders.com, mattcutts.com, mashable.com, smashingmagazine.com, makeuseof.com, yoast.com, kiss925.com, pearsonified.com, lockergnome.com, johnchow.com, ilovetypography.com, webdesignerdepot.com, css-tricks.com, ….
The only really tricky thing on the install regards the software I use to keep my site safe, Bullet Proof Security. Because W3 Total Cache needs to write to the .htaccess file, this file needs first to be unlocked, using the Bullet Proof Security’s built-in .htaccess editor (done simply by checking the box named “unlock .htaccess”), before installing W3 Total Cache. Once the install was completed, I set W3 Total Cache up using instructions from “wpbeginner.com***”. The whole process took between 10 and 15 minutes. How well does the cache work? “Out of the box” the site was immediately more responsive, and with some tweaking, even the first speed boost has improved. If your site is a little sluggish, you might consider adding a cache, and W3 Total Cache might be the solution you need.