WordPress by default includes a HTML file located at
/readme.html. This is our site’s that readme file. If you test the URL of your site and other’s sites, you will get a pretty good idea about how much your server optimization can deliver you the result.
For us, that URL on PageSpeed Insights gets a 100% score and loads within 0.5 seconds when tested by GTMetrix and Webpagetest. The bottleneck for the most is the high Time to First Byte (TTFB).
How to Decrease the TTFB Google Page Speed Test is Pointing?
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures loading performance.
- First Input Delay (FID) measures interactivity.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures visual stability.
You need a geo-redundant DNS and the whole site is required to be reverse proxied and served from a CDN. That is what Fastly, CacheFly, CloudFlare etc services do.
We have the mirror of the whole site on CacheFly:
https://thecustomizewindows.cachefly.net. If you load some URL such as
https://thecustomizewindows.cachefly.net/2023/05/understanding-the-quality-of-generated-leads/ and test on GTMetrix, Webpagetest etc, then it will load within 2 seconds. It is complicated to demonstrate with Fastly. But Fastly delivers even faster.
When you are delivering your WordPress site (or just an HTML page) from a commodity grade server without using a geo-redundant DNS and whole site and a whole site caching service, you’ll get a higher Time to First Byte (TTFB) (that is Google’s measurement of TTFB). A re-design will not hugely change that parameter but a redesign will give deliver an overall better score and thereby a better rank on search engine result pages. Because work of Fastly, CacheFly, CloudFlare etc services is to optimize the websites of their corporate clients.
We pointed out the actual limits because of the limited budget of a webmaster. CloudFlare (with Argo) does the job at a fraction of the cost compared to the other providers but their service is not uniform. Although these services deliver instant gratification, they strip out your control. If they increase their service charges, you have to pay whatever they want.
Redesign to Speed Up WordPress Site
You have to develop a “light version” of your site.
You have to implement certain design changes and changes in how you use plugins, CSS, Js, and PHP snippets so that the page loading time of your site improves and Google web page testing complains lesser about your site.
- Reduce the number of plugins: This is most important step. Reduce the number of plugins as much as possible.
- Eliminate or reduce the usage of the sidebar: At least reduce the amount to live processed data served through widgets by using some conditional plugins.
- Use Large font: Because of the mobile-first strategy, the fonts are now required to be larger.
- Use a cache plugin: Obvious decision, does not need explanation
- Lazy load the images & use images in modern format
Apache mod_PageSpeed plus the free PageSpeed Module plugin at WordPress.org does lot of work but we have seen that it makes the server unstable. Some of the premium web hosts once had this enabled, but now they have eliminated it.
Normally we use StudioPress Genesis framework and child theme for our WordPress sites. There is no need to change it. Modifying themes such as Magazine Pro can deliver a lighter version of the site. You can use Typekit for a custom font. In minimalistic design, logos and typography are the major elements of branding.
Avoid making the CSS complicated. Avoid border, and shadow as much as possible. Most of the 10-15 years old websites are already optimized and the webmasters are aware of the basics.
- Cache the static resources
- Use HTTP/2, if possible then use HTTP/3
- Enable GZIP & Brotli compression
- Reduce HTTP redirects
- Optimize your images
- Use a good hosting provider
- Use the latest MariaDB, PHP, Apache and WordPress
The conclusion, again and again, is using a minimalistic yet artistic design will reduce the page loading by many milli seconds and pass the tests of Google.