Anyone who knows us knows we love WordPress as a content management system (CMS); it makes website design and development speedy, makes it as simple as it can get for website owners to edit and add new content, and is simply awesome for SEO.
And despite what you’ve heard, it can be fast. So with that said, it’s time to burst some bubbles…
WordPress can’t be fast
Bullshit. We make fast WordPress websites all the time. Take this one (the one you’re on) as an example, when we benchmark it via a speed testing website in nearby(ish) Australia it comes back at just over a second.
And because it’s hosted here in New Zealand, it’s even faster than that for our NZ users.
WordPress absolutely can be fast, you just need to know what you’re doing.
Under 4 seconds loading time is ideal
People do say this. I used to say it myself – a decade ago. 4 seconds? If your site isn’t loading in under two then you need to start thinking of ways to cut its loading time right down.
Here’s a good rule of thumb – your site shouldn’t take any longer to load than an app on a phone. Users aren’t more forgiving because “the web is just a bit slow” these days. They expect it to function just as well as any other digital process they use.
Google uses Page Speed to help rank your site
Google does use speed as a metric when deciding how to rank websites – absolutely. But it uses your actual loading time – the time it takes for your site to fully display – not your Page Speed score.
Page Speed gives a series of of possible optimisations you can make to improve your speed. But it’s not the same as your loading time.
And with a lot of WordPress themes that can be quite complicated it’s nearly impossible to get over 95% on those tests anyway. The average WordPress site scores just 66%.
There are all kinds of reasons for that, including that with many themes you’ll experience page display errors if you try to both minify and defer code – it can break the site.
Oh and my favourite piece of Page Speed trivia – if you have a Google Analytics tracking code on your site, you’ll lose 1-2% from your Google Page Speed score immediately.
I’ve known sites that loaded more slowly as they tried to max out their % scores. You want a fast site, not a site with a perfect score card.
Speed Optimisation is Easy
I’ve heard this before too. “Just shove a free plugin on and away you go”. Balderdash and idiocy – everything depends on the site, the theme and how it’s all put together.
There are all kinds of options in those plugins and you really need to find the combination of settings that is best for an individual site: for example you might find you get a slightly better result with minify instead of deferring or vice versa.
There are a tonne of options available to even just optimise images and some work better than others in different circumstances; do you have logos and text in your image or are they just photos – it all has an impact – so don’t assume anything is simple.
When you want things done right, they’re hard. And if you want them done really right – consider leaving them to the experts. (We bake speed optimisation into all our sites from the get-go.)