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WordPress Releases a New Performance Plugin

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WordPress Releases a New Performance Plugin


WordPress announced the release of a plugin called the Performance Lab plugin. It was developed by the WordPress performance team that is designed to help WordPress sites speed up. The plugin gives publishers the opportunity to use new improvements now before they are included into the core of WordPress itself.

The WordPress performance team, consisting of WordPress core developers, developed the plugin in order to receive feedback on new features developed for inclusion into a future version of the WordPress core.

WordPress Performance Team

The WordPress Performance Team was created in November 2021 with the purpose of coordinating performance improvements within the WordPress core. The team is made up of WordPress developers, with some of the team members developers from Google and Yoast.

From their initial meetings they drew up a list of performance projects to work on and this plugin, called the Performance Lab Plugin, is one of the results from the performance team.

Performance Lab Plugin

The Performance Lab plugin provides access to improvements to WordPress that are designed to help publishers speed up their websites and also to diagnose issues that may be slowing their websites down.

The plugin itself is designed in a modular fashion so that publishers can pick and choose which improvements they want to use.

The new features in the plugin are intended to eventually make it into a future release of WordPress.

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WordPress hopes that by releasing these new features early through a plugin that they can receive feedback on any potential issues.

New features are normally released as separate plugins.

WordPress decided to group all the new performance features into one plugin which will allow publishers to pick and choose which new features to enable from one central location, within a single plugin.

Performance Lab Plugin Modules

The new Performance Lab plugin has four modules.

The four plugin modules are:

  • WebP Uploads
    Converts newly uploaded JPEG files to the faster WebP format. The functionality is dependent on server support for WebP.
  • WebP Support
    This is a site health module that checks to see if the server supports WebP and shows a warning if WebP is not supported.
  • Persistent Object Cache Health Check
    A site health check module that may suggest the use of object caching. Object caching is a way to speed up the amount of time it takes for the site to respond, helps reduce the database load and speeds up the website for site visitors.
  • Audit Enqueued Assets (experimental)
    Provides an audit of CSS and JavaScript files enqueued on the home page. This helps to identify unnecessary CSS and JavaScrip files that might slow down a website.

Enqueued Assets Module is Experimental?

The Audit Enqueued Assets module is labeled as experimental. The developers chose to label it as experimental because the module itself will be improved.

The developers discussed this, with one developer noting on a discussion in the official Github page:

“To clarify, it’s not that there is a problem with the module, it’s more about that it doesn’t feel as polished yet, hence marking as “experimental” for this first release – as it sees more refinement over time, we could then mark it as non-experimental.”

He later followed up with this reason why it’s labeled as experimental:

“Indeed this wouldn’t break anyone’s site, but IMO the main point for marking this as experimental is that it’s still in an earlier stage of development compared to the other modules.

…e.g. we haven’t fully defined what the thresholds should be, and the approach to gathering the assets is known to be not yet reliable for certain environments.”

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An example of the kind of improvement needed for this one module is to make it more useful by identifying which plugins or themes are bloating the website with unnecessary CSS and JavaScript files.

Should You Download the Plugin?

The plugin download page states that the plugin has been tested and should be okay to be used on a live production site.

While at least three of modules are not labeled experimental and all of them are considered stable and probably won’t break a site, the main purpose of the plugin is to provide publishers with the opportunity to provide feedback about the modules before they are integrated directly into the WordPress core.

In terms of stability, the official plugin page notes:

“…unless a module is explicitly marked as “experimental”, it has been tested and established to a degree where it should be okay to use in production.”

In terms of guarantees, it also says:

“Still, as with every plugin, you are doing so at your own risk.”

A best practice for WordPress websites is to add new plugins on a staging site first and test it there first before updating the main website.

Another best practice is to save a backup of the website before installing the plugin. The backup will make it easy to roll back the website to its original version should the plugin conflict unexpectedly with another plugin or theme.

The plugin delivers clear benefits that may help speed up your website. But it’s provided by the WordPress Performance Team as a way to receive feedback on brand new improvements that will eventually make it into the WordPress core.

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WordPress provides a Performance Lab plugin support forum and a GitHub repository where feedback can be given to WordPress.

Citations

Read the Official WordPress Announcement

The Performance Lab plugin has been released

Visit the Performance Lab Plugin Download Page

Performance Lab

Visit the Official Performance Lab GitHub page

Performance Lab 1.0.0-beta.1

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Tips To Improve Your Relationship

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Tips To Improve Your Relationship

Historically, the tension between chief financial officers (CFOs) and marketing heads has often resulted from misalignment around long-term vs. short-term goals.

While CFOs are required to submit quarterly financial reports to shareholders, marketers are more often fixed on long-term objectives, such as brand value – which can be abstract.

Thankfully, the role of the CFO has evolved over the past few years, as most CFOs are no longer business hall monitors concerned with cost-cutting and oversight.

Rather, many CFOs now actively participate in organizational growth strategies designed to counteract losses in any economic environment.

Ideally, this shared goal should naturally align with many marketers’ objectives and create synergy down the road.

However, many organizations struggle to create proper symmetry between C-suite executives and keep data in silos.

What’s more, I’ve dealt with many CFOs in the past who simply didn’t understand the merits of SEO and how it differed from traditional marketing.

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Unfortunately, for many agencies, this has caused their fair share of frustration when renewing clients and getting proper budget allocation for projects.

Therefore, educating CFOs and SEO pros about each other’s roles and processes is important to break the disconnect that prevents them from aligning around the same business goals and objectives.

The Importance Of CFO And SEO Alignment

According to a study by Deloitte, at least 73% of organizations that report C-suite alignment around marketing performance metrics received positive revenue growth in the past year.

The data shows that clear CFO and marketing alignment around goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), and language leads to greater business growth.

As CFOs begin to prioritize long-term growth over cost-cutting, this creates an opportunity for SEO pros to educate them about their goals and strategies and plead their cases for higher budget allocation.

With this in mind, we need to identify obstacles that inhibit this natural pairing and explore ways to overcome these pitfalls for better symmetry.

How To Improve The Relationship Between SEO And CFO

Create A Shared Language

As SEO pros, we understand that marketing offers better long-term stability to any organization over short-term, one-time sales.

However, qualitatively communicating brand value and loyalty to a CFO is like explaining how your favorite football team will win the Super Bowl next year.

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Without real numbers or a shared understanding of marketing performance metrics and terminology, CFOs cannot comprehend the SEO team’s objectives.

Further, it can be impossible for SEO pros to translate these strategies into results without tangible financial metrics to present to CFOs.

Ultimately, it’s up to the SEO team to educate CFOs about their strategies and how this benefits their business financially.

Otherwise, CFOs might be reluctant to pour money into campaigns that are abstract in their view.

SEO professionals need to find ways to translate broad metrics from customer acquisition and lead generation into value-based business impact.

For example, assigning values to leads and forecasting their revenue allows CFOs to plan budgets. SEO pros can also assign value to intangible assets like brand equity to better convey their value in terms CFOs understand.

Another way SEO pros need to educate CFOs is around budget processes.

For example, marketing budgets are often used throughout multiple campaigns, which amortize over time. However, this is not often reflected in profit and loss statements from CFOs.

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In this example, SEO pros must clearly outline these considerations to CFOs to avoid budget cuts because of unused or misallocated funds.

Nevertheless, if SEO pros and CFOs want to speak the same language, they must start tracking the same goals and KPIs.

Create Shared Goals

If you truly want to create alignment around shared goals and language, coordinate with your CFO by using the same metrics and KPIs to track performance data.

While marketers are free to get as granular as they wish, ultimately, it’s up to department heads to agree on a few key metrics.

For example, these key metrics can be translated directly into financial terms that create a shared language between SEOs and CFOs:

  • Return on investment (ROI): The overall profit generated from an SEO marketing campaign.
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV): The estimated net profit a customer will contribute throughout its relationship with a company. This roughly tells CFOs the values of a brand’s loyalty.
  • Conversion Rate: The number of people who visit a website and complete a sale. This number estimates the efficiency of a marketing campaign.

However, as CFOs look to extract more insights from data, adding quantitative value to KPIs will also greatly help both teams align on common goals – namely, long-term growth. These KPIs may include market penetration, lead acquisition, and brand exposure.

Connecting The Data

Unfortunately, one of the biggest stumbling blocks for CFOs and SEO pros is that financial officers often don’t view SEOs as the top money-makers in an organization.

Additionally, many CFOs simply don’t understand how SEO makes money or connects to their long-term goals.

Thankfully, analytics software has made it easier than ever to physically assign a quantitative value to campaigns that prove the marketing team’s value.

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For example, by assigning sales to individual marketing campaigns at the top of sales funnels, marketers can show how they physically add value to a business.

Further, to assist with communicating ROI to CFOs, marketers can incorporate dotted line reporting that shares the financial performance of the SEO team directly to the financial team.

Look At Campaigns As A Financial Portfolio

Finally, our focus tends to skew toward changing how CFOs think – not how we act or distribute information.

Since financial experts tend to think in investment terms, why not present marketing campaigns like an investment portfolio?

With this approach, SEO pros can tie individual campaigns to investments in a portfolio and report any profits and losses from each investment directly in a statement to CFOs.

SEO pros would also be wise to illustrate how these investments contribute to long-term financial goals and feed their business.

Again, most of these considerations hinge upon resolving differences in perspectives.

By assigning financial value to individual campaigns and metrics, SEO pros can better align around shared business goals and growth strategies that increase their business.

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And by proving the growth potential of the SEO team, they can acquire the necessary budget they need to perform their best and thus make the CFO look good.

More resources:


Featured Image: fizkes/Shutterstock

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