More threads by Marie Haynes

Marie Haynes

LocalU Faculty
Aug 7, 2012
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One of my WordPress sites had a pitiful PageSpeed Insights score of 32. I added the WP-Minify plugin and it brought the score up to 72. I then added a G-Zip plugin which brought it up to 75. I was amazed that 30 seconds of work improved my page speed that much.

I posted this on Twitter and got lots of replies for suggestions of other plugins to use that may help. I'm thinking that I may do some experiments to see which of these plugins works best for my site.

On another static (non WordPress) site that I have, I spent time resizing images and was able to bring the PageSpeed score up from 33 to 68 just by doing that. Again, I'm going to play around with doing other things to make the score even higher.

If you do SEO for clients, spending an hour or so experimenting with ways to improve PageSpeed could be a quick win for both you and your client. PageSpeed is a ranking factor. Google says it is a very small ranking factor, but Alan Bleiweiss has seen sites make massive ranking improvements after improving their load times.

One word of warning. A while back I tried an all in one page speed plugin and it borked one of my sites. So, if you do this, be sure to backup your site first.

What do you think? Have you tried any of these plugins?
There are many resources which go really in depth on what one could do to improve page speed. I'm going to suggest what I've tried from personal experience:

1. Server: this makes the biggest difference in terms of what a visitor would perceive as fast or slow. Benchmark tools may show scores that are discouraging but as long as you have a good host that consistently serves your website in under 2 seconds, all is well.

2. Minification: The less resources required to load a webpage, the faster it feels and scores. This is true for both http 1.1 and http 2.0. I'd recommend Autoptimize plugin to minify and concatenate .css and .js on Wordpress sites. EWWW Image Optimizer to optimize image files.

3. Cache: static content always load faster. The few cache plugins to try are WP Super Cache, WP Super Cache, Wordfence Falcon Engine,...

4. Priority: sometimes the high scores in benchmark tools are not the best for your particular situation. Social media share tools are often the number 1 offender on a slow loading and low scoring site. If the users make use of these tools, you can't take them away for the sake of higher page speed score.

Last but not least, chasing speed and top score is a never ending pursuit. You have to set realistic goals and once you get there, be happy with your accomplishments. If you're like me and always want to push things further, be prepared for hours of frustration with a broken site/functionality. And always have backups. :D
Thanks so much Marie for starting the convo.

It seems so many chase that illusive secret ranking tip that will shoot them to the top and often times they have not covered the basic things like this that can make a difference!

@theitsage - Wise words and very sage advice! :)
I admit I didn't even have time to read this and am not technical enough to understand.
But seemed related and interesting.

<a href="">How I Sped Up My Site 68.35% With One Line of Code - iPullRank</a>
Interesting article Linda, I definitely don't keep up much with the technical side of things, so it's nice to have at least an inkling of what can be done these days.

Here's the tl;dr for anyone interested:
- This will only speed up pages loading from another page you also have control over. In other words, you can't use this to speed up the first page on your site someone visits from the SERPs... not 100% how page speed site-wide factors into Google, vs page speed on the first page the user sees, but I'd investigate that before implementing this if SEO benefits were my main goal.

- you can only pre-load one page at a time, meaning you need to have a pretty good idea which page a user is going to visit next. You can use some Google Analytics magic (instructions in the article) to predict which page a user is going to visit next, or you can solely use this 'trick' on multi-page slideshows or articles or something where you pretty much know what the user is going to do next.

- Using this technique can screw up your ad impressions if you're running Google adsense or some other kind of advertisements on site. Instructions for fixing that are in the article as well.

Also for what it's worth, this won't work on Firefox at all, and presumably isn't all that well suited for mobile use either, though the author didn't address that at all.
Thanks for boiling it down! Guess not a good option.
Thanks Linda! And never hurts to have more tools in the tool box, even if it can't be used to make Google a little happier with your site, never hurts to make the user experience a little quicker.

One other little note from the article that might be interesting... Google itself uses this trick to speed loading of sites from the SERPS in cases when they're fairly certain they know which page you're going to click on. For the example in the article, when the user searches for 'CNN' Google preloads the CNN home-page since they expect there's a really good chance that's where the user is going next.

Either way, thanks for the share!
In warfare and military training, there's a saying "fast is smooth and smooth is fast". It applies to a lot of things in life.

The common downfall with relying on a one-click solution is that it's not one size fits all. One plugin may work great for some websites while other plugins are better for the rest. It's trial and error to figure out the right mix for a particular website.

The best resource I use all the time is which used to be called Feed the bot. The author, Patrick Sexton sold his website ( to Moz which built it into Moz Local. His articles go in depth to help you really understand what Google wants. turns out that the WP-Minify plugin was periodically messing up the CSS on my site. About 10% of the time a page would render with no CSS which is a horrible user experience. So, I've removed the plugin for now. Will experiment with others soon.
You really need to test through a few options, because like Marie noted some will screw up JS and CSS for other plugins. I definitely recommend using caching and minify plugins (or code yourself if you know how), because that is important for site speed.

The other thing I will really stress when working in wordpress is turning off CSS/JS calls for certain plugins on pages where they're not even active. Every time you load a page you will by default force the browser to call information from all plugins. That's a waste, and will cost you valuable MS (or seconds in some cases). One example is CF7; if you're not using CF7 forms on every page, then make sure the functionality isn't loading on every page. Another suggestion to speed up load time :)
Eric, Is there an easy way to turn off plugins for certain pages? I know that I have some sites where there is a slider plugin or a contact form plugin that gets loaded for each page and it is definitely not necessary on every single page.
I've recently seen recommendations for W3 Total Cache as a great plugin for speed improvement. Has anyone had experience with it?
W3 Total Cache is the most flexible plugin to speed up a Wordpress website. It's not as user friendly as WP Super Cache or WP Rocket though.

Performance plug-ins for WP are similar to a car which can be had with either a manual or automatic transmission. In capable hands, the manual equipped car is the better choice to go quick with full control. W3 Total Cache is the manual transmission option while something like WP Super Cache is the automatic version.
No entirely accurate.

This method does work on FireFox, however you need a different line of code. So when implemented you have to have a pre cache line of code for Chrome and one for FireFox.

The only real advantage of using this is if you have funnels set up where you know that the only place your visitor is going to go is the next step in the funnel.

Landing page to sales page to cart for example. Then it would be worth implementing, otherwise I feel it would be an added effort with minimal return.

I do page speed optimizations for clients all the time.

We use EWWW Image Optimizer if they are geo-tagging images (Krakken works too but it's a paid option and EWWW tested better.

If they are not Geo Tagging their images we use WP Smush Pro (paid version, they have a free one, paid version is better).

Then we use W3 Total Cache. This plugin is simple and complex at the same time. Since there are so many buttons etc.

We use WP Rocket specifically on sites on Liquid Web, don't know why, but WP Rocket works much better on that host.

Then we recommend connecting your site to CloudFlare, for both the CDN and security features.

If you are really worried about security, combine Sucurri and CloudFlare up and your site will not only be fast, but protected.

Confused: what is the "method" you mention that works differently on Chrome and Firefox?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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