It seems every time webmasters turn around they are being inundated with research highlighting the benefits of faster sites (lower bounce rates, higher satisfaction, etc.). Google once again has taken the lead, launching its new Speed Suggestions report within Google Analytics this week.
Just when I got all our sites scoring high in GT Metrix, along comes another tool to make me feel inadequate. Right now wordpress is running on over 10 million websites, or just over 18% of the websites currently on the internet. Plugins are one of the best and worst things about wordpress, as I mentioned above they enhance and extend functionality, but they also impact performance, in some cases dramatically.
Out of the box wordpress will serve multiple CSS and Javascript files and each plugin you add will increase that number. Another way to make a performance boost is to move the scripts to the footer, normally this kind of thing requires some good programming skills and the ability to hack apart your theme. Caching is one of those things that really can make dramatic improvements with your websites performance, however enabling caching can be somewhat intimidating if you don’t understand the technical aspects. Many moons ago wordpress had a setting that let you turn on compression which served out smaller and faster version of your pages.


These next two changes are kinda technical and beyond the scope of this post to go into much detail on, but I tell you what they are doing. What does all of this get you, the end the result should be fairly dramatically optimized and performance tuned website with very few “warnings” from Google. However despite what many will tell you, “out of the box” wordpress is neither SEO friendly, or configured for performance.
So job #1 is identifying which plugins are doing more harm than good, the tricky part is if you are running more than handful of plugins this is challenging. It will check all of your front end and back end plugins, identify the worst offenders, so you can decide how mission critical they are, and whether to keep them or not.
But if you ran the P3 performance profiler chances are you already noticed Jetpack was a problem child, and remember “Friends don’t let friends use Jetpack”. Again you may run into some conflicts with the plugins you are running so be sure to test things. If it’s beyond your skill set get it properly configured and running, you might want to buy someone dinner and enlist a friend.
Depending on what you’re doing, and what plugins or programming you are using to accomplish your goals, you may have to make some trade offs or live with some issues, but those should be decisions you consciously made,  not things you didn’t know were going on.


Additionally many of the plugins that extend and improve the functionality of wordpress, negatively affect it’s performance. For example after running this analysis on multiple websites I have decided to remove “popular posts” plugins and “related post” plugins, they were doing more harm than good (click the image for a detailed view).
That doesn’t mean everyone needs to shell out big bucks for a dedicated server, but it doesn mean you have to do your research and find a good, dependable hosting company within your budget.
IMHO both of these plugins are far more complicated than they need to be, but definitely worth running. You may want to go back and “smash” you logo, advertisements, or any other images that are part of your key templates for maximum savings. When I started this process my score was in the high 40?s, while my mobile score is only 70 now, it’s really just the CSS and JS that I couldn’t reduce any farther, and I can live with that. In this post I’m going to offer some tips on how to speed up your wordpress website, hopefully without boring you with too much technical detail, if you find this post useful please bookmark it for later use or share it with your friends.



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