Page Speed Optimizations

Jun 23
2016

Page Speed Optimizations Part 1

With the release of my new site I wanted to take some time testing page speed optimizations. What follows is a general breakdown of what I tried and the results that followed. While none of this is overly in-depth it may provide others some direction. If anything, consider it a point of curation of the many helpful resources I found online and put to work.

 

Page Speed Goals

  • Respectable site load time.
  • At the very least a passing score on Google’s Page Speed Insights.

 

Criteria

  • Begin fresh – no image optimizations, site caching of any sort, and no minification.
  • Test using a handful of performance optimization plugins – WP Fastest Cache, WP Super Cache, and W3 Total Cache.
  • Out of curiosity test Wordfence Falcon Engine (purports 30 to 50 times speed increase).
  • Test image compression plugin. For this I chose one – WWW Image Optimizer.
  • Give a general accounting of impact, results, outcomes, etc.

 

Tools

 

Testing Start: Baseline

I started with a baseline read, running the site on GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights. I ran the tests a couple of times with each and found some fluctuation in scores though my numbers were relatively in the same ballpark.

 

Initial Scores

GTmetrix: 2.3 second load time. Score: 72% / 70%. 1.89MB

PageSpeed: 47/100 mobile. 52/100 desktop.

When it came to GTmetrix I was expecting worse, but then again my wife claims I’m a pessimist. GTmetrix reports the average load time of websites tested with their tool is 6.8 seconds. Not shabby for a start, but plenty of room for improvement.

The PageSpeed Insights scores left me feeling like I was back in high school and hadn’t studied for the exam. Maybe it’s self-preservation but I also had a feeling that Google is just a highfalutin (that’s right, I wrote that) punk trying to make us all feel bad. Maybe that’s just another sign of my purported pessimism, and perhaps Google just wants us all to aspire to our best? In the end, I don’t know, but much like most: I’d feel better with a higher score.

 

The Wrap-up

With the latest release of this site I spent some time digging into and investigating what I might do to optimize for page speed. With goals, criteria, and tools in mind, I began with a baseline read using GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights. Join me next time for Part 2 as I begin testing image optimization and page optimization plugins.