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New book on Website Optimization Secrets
In this issue we've got three articles on speeding up your WordPress site, plus an article on Google's new mobile responsive ranking signal. WordPress is the most popular CMS on the Web, and having a fast site is essential for high conversion rates and search rankings.
First up, a series on optimizing a complex site for speed. Part I shows how to use mod_pagespeed, some manual tweaks, and an optimization plugin to boost your Pagespeed scores into the green. In Part II we show how adding a caching plugin can reduce time to first byte time by 83% and cut load times nearly in half. Caching plugins like W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, and WP Rocket Cache cache pages to avoid the overhead of Wordpress, making your site nearly as fast as a static site (once it is cached and unchanged).
Surprisingly in our testing, we found that boosting Pagespeed scores doesn't always mean faster load times. It appears that the overhead of some optimization plugins (that optimize content on the fly) outweighs the benefits of content optimization. So be sure to test one change at a time when you are optimizing your Wordpress site.
Next Google has added a ranking "signal" for mobile responsiveness. If your site isn't mobile responsive, it could be penalized in mobile rankings (and soon perhaps all rankings).
Finally we tested the effects of streamlined WordPress themes and improved hosting on speed. By switching to a fast WordPress theme and improving hosting we decreased page load time by 74% and start render time by 83.4%.
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Last modified: June 18, 2015