Website Optimization – The Perfect Struggle
Website Optimization to me has been a struggle since I switched from the traditional website to WordPress. I have been striving so hard for perfection, and get almost there, but end up ripping my hair out and doing more harm than good to my site.
I notice that with each theme update, I have new issues to fix. That’s not the fault of the theme at all, I am a big fan of the Hueman theme by Alexander Agnarson. I love it so much, it’s also on one of my other websites. Things out of my control in WordPress make me so frustrated as I struggle constantly for website optimization perfection.
The last few days, I have noticed mails sent to me through my website that my website optimization could be better and they could help me for a fee. It’s almost as if they can sense my frustration and the struggle to be perfect. After reading the mail that I got, I hit the usual sites that I use to check my site, GTmetrix and Pingdom
Here are my results.
Same problem I usually see from Pingdom. Specify a cache validator for http://stats.wp.com. I do not know how to fix that, but over all, I am happy with this result. 97 perf grade out of 100, and a load time of 1.28s.
Again, same problem I usually see from GTMetrix, need a CDN. I do not see me getting a CDN anytime soon. I don’t need one. I don’t have the reader base, and to be honest, this site is an outlet for me, more of a hobby and a learning process. You never know, in the future, if I decide to monetize this blog, or do more with it than a creative outlet, I might consider a CDN. The expiry headers issues you see there are all linked to wordpress.com and Gravatars. I don’t know how to fix that either, but considering that I don’t own those websites, I don’t think I can.
Now here comes the frustration for website optimization for me. You may have noticed that Pingdom scored Leverage browser caching at 100, where as GTMetrix gave me an E. That’s like EPIC FAIL in my mind. The question is, why the difference? Why is one test saying I am PERFECT on this issue, while the other one mocks me and calls me a loser? Specify a Cache Validator, same as the Pingdom issue. Again, considering that I do not run wordpress.com, nothing I can do about it, maybe?
So what have I been doing in my quest for website optimization, you ask?
- Minimal plugin use. I ditched a bunch that were taking up too much time. This also means DELETE THE ONES YOU ARE NOT GOING TO USE… I say that loudly because it is important and I am often guilty of forgetting to delete anything I am not using. Net horder I guess? I use P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) for that. I have heard some people say it doesn’t work, but it has helped show me the “error of my plugin ways”.
- W3 Total Cache – Invaluable. It has actually increased issues that I had previously on my blog, things like, minify for instance.
- WP Smush – Just in case I didn’t optimize images enough before uploading.
- Flushing the cache internally in my web host Control Panel. Granted, W3 Total Cache does an amazing job, but when I find my site getting B ratings, I go in and master flush the whole thing.
- A LOT OF RESEARCH! So many great articles around the web that can help you optimize WordPress. Google is your friend!
- Testing with different browsers and devices. This is the only time I will open IExploder for the net. I also test my sites in Chrome, Comodo, Dolphin, Firefox, Opera, Konqueror (on my Slackware box). Devices I use to test are my Nook Color, Galaxy S5, Galaxy S3 Tablet, and a Wildfire. Same things we used to do back in the good old days with traditional websites.
UPDATE April 9, 2018: While opimization is an ongoing struggle for so many of us, you can stop ripping your hair out trying to figure it out. I would like to direct your attention to a very helpful article 22 Tips To Speed Up WordPress Site Performance, written by Tung Tran over at Cloudliving.com.
What are your struggles with website optimization? What steps are you taking to fix the issues? Do you know how to fix my issues above, or have any other words of wisdom to share? Let us know all that and more in the comments section below.