Last Updated on April 27, 2021 by Michael Brockbank
One of the best ways to keep an eye on performance in WordPress is by using a speed test app. This will help you monitor site performance and keep Google happy. Today, I’m going to show you some of the awesomeness that is GTmetrix in WordPress and how it can help you.
And since Google puts a lot of emphasis on-site performance for ranking, you need every bit of help you can get. Besides, GTmetrix is free.
What is GTmetrix?
GTmetrix is a web-based platform that tests any webpage for performance. Giving you several data points, you can see where your site might be having issues for the average visitor.
As one of the most popular speed tests online, GTmetrix has helped many WordPress users discover just where the site is having the most difficulty.
It’s just one of those free WordPress optimization tools you’ll want to add to keep your blog ranking well in search results.
That is as long as you write quality SEO content.
And this isn’t to mention how you can use it to spy on your competition. How does your website’s performance stack up to competitors?
How to Add GTmetrix to WordPress
You can use GTmetrix for free just by visiting the website and entering a URL you want to test. However, adding it to WordPress lets you run these tests without leaving the admin screen of your website.
Using an API key, you can test your pages from the backend, which could save you a few steps or a bit of time.
1. Sign Up with GTmetrix
The first thing you’ll need to do is sign up with GTmetrix. It’s a free account as long as you stay under 50 weekly, on-demand tests from WordPress.
Go to the GTmetrix website and click the “Sign Up” button.
If you’re only using it for your personal blog or website, you should receive more than enough free credits every day.
Personally, with five blogs, I’ve never gone over my limit on any given week.
2. Get Your API Key
Once you create your account, copy the API key under “Your Plan.” You can always find this by clicking the “Account” link on the top right.
3. Install the GTmetrix for WordPress Plugin
OK, I know the plugin hasn’t been updated for a while. But, I know it works with WordPress 5.7.1.
You’ll need to install the plugin. Go to the WordPress dashboard of your website.
Install and activate the GTmetrix for WordPress plugin.
4. Input Your Account Info and API Key
Once the plugin is activated, you’ll need to add your information to WordPress. Click the GTmetrix option on the left admin panel.
Add your GTmetrix account email and API key, and then click the “Save Changes” button.
Once the information is added, GTmetrix will open its WordPress settings.
5. Adjust Your Preferences
From the settings screen, make the necessary adjustments you want for your specific website.
This includes things like showing the testing widget on your WordPress Admin dashboard, the default location of the testing server, what scores you want to show, and the email address of where to send alerts.
Once you’re done, simply click the Save Changes button on the bottom.
6. Test Your Site from GTmetrix in WordPress
Now, it’s time to test your site. Click the “Tests” option on the left.
There are two ways you can use GTmetrix in WordPress. You have the option to test your front page or input a specific URL for pages or posts.
Choose a test you wish to run.
For this tutorial, I’m going to test the post I have about Buy Me a Coffee. I know I have a lot of work to do to get performing well for mobile users.
Once you click one of the test buttons, GTmetrix will begin analyzing your site.
The test results will be available in the “Reports” section.
As you can see, the page speed is pretty good, but the YSlow test is a bit on the blah side.
This means I need to work on the site more to improve it for mobile device users, which is what YSlow focused more on in the past.
7. Check Your Score from the Dashboard
Lastly, you can see your site’s performance from the Admin dashboard in WordPress. GTmetrix has widgets available you can move around to suit your needs.
8. (Optional) Enabling Scheduled Tests
If you like, you can also turn on scheduled tests to keep you up to date in regards to site performance.
Go to any of the tests you’ve performed and click the heartbeat icon. These can be found in the “Tests” screen of GTmetrix.
In this next screen, you have a few options for managing the schedule. You can enable it for hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly tests, enabling alerts, and setting the schedule to active or paused.
Select the options for the schedule and click, “Save.”
Keeping an Eye on Your Scores
The only real downside to using GTmetrix in WordPress is that it doesn’t give you the full report. This means you’ll need to actually go to the GTmetrix website to get a breakdown of how your pages perform.
Luckily, the tests you perform from WordPress are sent directly to your GTmetrix account. So, all you need to do is go to the website and click the test.
From here, you can get a breakdown of what parts of the test score poorly and tips on how to fix the issues.
As you can see, I have a bit of work to fix the YSlow component. And I’m currently running a few experiments on how to fix these issues for my specific website.
I’ll have the report available as soon as it’s done.
At any rate, a GTmetrix speed test can help you keep WordPress running smoothly by giving you actionable data. Though sometimes it takes a bit of detective work to figure out how to fix certain things, it’s worth the effort in the long run.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a website to improve.
Keep the Site Fast!
Monitoring your website is part of WordPress optimization. Sometimes, you need to dig into the nitty-gritty of your blog to make sure Google keeps showing it to people.
Using GTmetrix from WordPress just makes it a bit more convenient overall.
What is your favorite speed testing app?
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