When we decided to rebuild our business website, we made the decision to challenge everything we knew about WordPress and see if we could push the boundaries of our understanding and one of these areas was website optimisation and load speeds.
Why was this so important to us?
As an agency, we are very passionate about WordPress and that is why some time ago, we made the decision to dedicate ourselves to only working with WordPress.
When building it, we wanted this website to be really fast for two very important reasons.
Studies have shown that 53% of website visitors are likely to leave pages (bounce rate) that take longer than 3 seconds to load.
When it comes to ranking, Google has always been clear about the importance of page speed. A slow website is bad for user experience and Google factors this in a website’s rank on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Integrity as a WordPress Agency
It really matters to us that as an agency, we lead by example.
We often talk with clients about the importance of having a fast page-speed and having an optimised WordPress website and so we offer optimisation as a service. Therefore we need to have the sort of website that takes less than 4 seconds to load.
Speed Challenges In WordPress
As WordPress web designers and developers, the reason we have devoted ourself to being one of the very best WordPress agencies is that we love working with the platform and believe it is the best “Content Management System (CMS)” in the world and in the right hands, is extremely powerful.
For anyone building websites using WordPress or looking to optimise, there are some things they need to know and understand.
Easy, Not So Easy
What makes WordPress so popular is also its weak point. WordPress was originally launched in 2003 and intended as an easy-to-use blogging platform that allows people to create, edit and post blog content and images without any coding knowledge. The platform continued to grow to become the amazing, fully-fledged website software it is today.
As with many things that are simple to use, the machinery underneath is often complicated and this is equally true of WordPress, so that this can make it a challenge to optimise the website fully without breaking it.
A WordPress For Everyone
In keeping with its easy-to-use objectives, WordPress has grown in a way that non-coders can create websites, using templates and plugins. However, many agencies rely heavily on plugins and page builders so this often leads to a massive increase in total page size and more importantly, requests to the server.
Plugins can be a really useful asset but need to be used sparingly as every additional one not only adds to the “bloat” (size) of the website but also increases the number of variables and opportunities for things to go wrong, especially if relying on a plugin to do your optimisation.
How We Achieved Our Speed Test Score
We are a confident bunch and really know our way around WordPress, but a very important rule for us is “never take what we know for granted”. When we started the new website, we decided to go through every single area of the website, especially its performance, with the question: “how can we make this better?”.
A New Optimisation Stack
Every piece of code, file and functionality went under the microscope and we spent a lot of time testing different configurations of all the areas of the websites, and then we tested some more!
The result was that we ended up implementing a number of new optimisation technologies, latest techniques and best practices which lead to the creation of a brand new “optimisation stack” that we then successfully tested on a number of demo websites (as proof of concept) and received very similar results.
We are very proud of our blisteringly fast new website which will now serve as the roadmap for all future websites we build and optimise for speed but it doesn’t just stop there! As a WordPress agency, we will continue to push the boundaries of WordPress and continue to challenge ourselves to grow and evolve.