The usual scenario is this: You do a speed test on your WordPress website using Google PageSpeed Insights. However, chances are that it will give you an average / low score.
Why Does this Happen?
You might ask yourself the exact same question: Why does this happen? Because the loading time is just under 2 seconds!
And here is the tricky part: Google doesn't even take into consideration the actual loading time, which is very important. For example, we have tested a number of high-traffic WordPress websites , that had impressive loading time, and Google still showed a pretty low score.
One of the major factors of the low score is simply the use of WordPress. Meaning that, with WordPress, you are using lots of plugins, custom code, tracking and so on. Whereas a simple website only uses CSS, JS, PHP and / or any other programming language.
The plugins that are developed for WordPress also have lots of options, because the developers need to make sure that the plugins run seamlessly, allowing the user to have access to as many options as possible without causing conflicts with other themes or plugins.
For example, in the case of Thrive Themes, the Thrive Architect plugin has its own CSS file and our themes also have their own CSS file. According to Google, there should only be one CSS file. However, we've made a compromise.
Because, the challenge is to deliver complex products that can also perform at the highest level. Otherwise, we would have very complex products, but they would be too slow. And this is the compromise. One extra CSS file doesn't actually slow down your website. Even more than that, you get to enjoy awesome features that allow you to build your website much faster!
How Can I Actually Improve My Website?
In order to improve your website you can test the actual loading time first: How fast is your website in seconds, not abstract performance grades. You can do that by using either Pingdom Speed Test or GTmetrix.
These softwares might recommend you to make a few changes to your website, in order to improve your performance. Here's how you can do that in a proper and effective way:
Reduce server response time
After taking the test, their recommendation might be to slow down your server response time:
The solution is to get a better host. As simple as that: If you're not using a decent host, you're going to fight speed issues forever.
It could also recommend you to optimize the image sizes from your website. In this way, try to upload images that are as small as possible, in terms of size. You can find out more about how you can improve your speed by optimizing your images, in this blog post.
Leverage browser caching
You might also receive the following message, regarding leveraging browser caching:
All you have to do in this case is install a caching plugin. Our recommendation is that you use W3 Total Cache.
All of our themes and plugins serve minified CSS and JS files, therefore you shouldn't worry about this feature. You can find out more details about this aspect in this article.
Enable Gzip compression
The same plugin mentioned above, can be used for this particular action as well, W3 Total Cache. You can find out more about how to enable Gzip compression for WordPress, here.
Remove Query Strings from static resources
Once again, the W3 Total Cache plugin can be used for this particular action, as well. You can find out more about how to remove query strings from static resources, here.
Eliminate render-blocking JS and CSS
- Important! - You SHOULDN'T focus on this action, unless the loading time is still bad AFTER optimizing your images and enabling caching. However, we do not recommend doing this - So, you will need to proceed at your own risk.
However, for this particular action you could use the Scripts to Footer plugin. You can find out more about how to properly use the plugin, here.