There’s no denying the impact site speed has on your blog—both in customer experience and search engine rankings. Google has said repeatedly that site speed matters, and we know users are quick to abandon a site that loads slowly (or even “not at lightning speed”). But with the implementation of Lighthouse as the engine for PageSpeed Insights, it has gotten even trickier to figure out how to get that elusive “perfect 100” speed score.
Here’s the thing: site speed is important, and our team spends a lot of time learning about site speed, talking to others who are working in this area, and providing site speed help for clients. But—and this is a big but—we also encourage clients to keep their score in perspective. Yes, it’s important, and yes, you want your site to perform well. But most site speed experts agree you don’t want it to become so consuming you lose sight of the other ways you can build a successful blog and business (things like killer content, connecting with your readers on social media, creating a content distribution strategy, and so on).
So how can Agathon help you improve your site speed?
To start, our servers are built for speed. We have an accelerated caching layer using nginx, install only super fast SSD drives, and add other optimizations to your server to run WordPress. All of this means Agathon clients have a solid foundation to build their sites for speed.
Site speed help we offer clients
When a client first migrates to Agathon, we evaluate their site and offer suggestions for improving their site speed (as well as their security). Some of these optimizations are made at the server level, as discussed above, and some are made directly in the WordPress dashboard.
But our site speed help doesn’t end there. Whether you’re a new or existing client, if you’d like us to dig deeper into your site’s performance, we’re happy to do that. There are several things we know from experience can have a significant impact on your PageSpeed score:
1. Assess potential problem areas.
To get started, we’ll evaluate your site. We’ll run a Lighthouse report to identify potential issues and create a list of recommendations for you. (We’ll also help you understand what some of the more technical items on the report mean!) This is similar to what we do during in-person site health checks at conferences.
2. Install and configure WP Super Cache & Autoptomize.
We recommend a combination of WP Super Cache for caching and Autoptomize for code minifying and lazy loading images. We will configure the plugins for you (and then make adjustments on the server side to maximize the benefit of the plugin). If you’d prefer to use the premium WP Rocket plugin or you already have these plugins installed, we’re happy to check your configuration for any possible improvements.
3. Install and run an image optimization plugin.
Images have a huge effect on site performance and should be optimized in several ways. We recommend either ShortPixel or Imagify, depending on which will be more cost effective for your media library, because they both offer WebP images. We’ll help you decide between the two, get it configured on your site, and activate the bulk optimization job to get you started.
For most people, these three actions alone will help move your PageSpeed Insights score into the “green” range.
Additional paid services
While the optimizations above work for most people, sometimes a site doesn’t respond to these steps quite as well as we hoped. This could be because of a clunky theme or plugin or just a combination of custom configurations.
In these situations, we’re happy to dig deeper at our regular project rate. Some of the things we can do (depending on how much time you want us to invest) include:
1. Test and compare the results of WP Super Cache + Autoptomize against WP Rocket.
Although we recommend WP Super Cache + Autoptomize for most clients, occasionally a site will perform better with WP Rocket instead. If you suspect this may be the case for your site, we can install and configure these for you. Then we can compare the results to help you make a decision.
2. Test and compare image optimization results.
Similarly, ShortPixel and Imagify often offer similar results. We typically recommend the one that will be less expensive for your site. If you’d prefer to compare the two before making a decision, we can help you with that process.
3. Help you disable Jetpack while manually enabling its features.
Jetpack is quite popular because it can do so many things, but all that functionality can slow down sites. Most people only rely on a subset of Jetpack’s features, if at all. So a better option is to manually add just those features using smaller, lightweight plugins rather than Jetpack. We can help you figure out which features are useful and which plugins can achieve those goals while speeding up your site.
As much as we wish we could, one thing we can’t do is guarantee a certain PageSpeed score. There are factors we may not be able to control, and those factors change often. However, we’ll work with you to maximize your site’s performance. We can also point you to site speed experts who do provide such guarantees as part of their process.