Optimizing Your WordPress Site: 5 Steps to Speed Up Your WordPress Blogs
|December 7, 2013||Posted by D. Dixon under Plugins|
I was doing research for a client and found out about P3 Performance plugin profiler. It’s a way for bloggers to find out how the plugins are affecting load time and which ones are really slowing your blog site down. The first chance I got, I downloaded it and took a look at it. It’s a really neat plugin and because I didn’t really have a baseline, I had no idea what to expect when I ran it. Here’s how the journey of me finding ways to speed up my WordPress blog got started.
Now I had checked Google Pagespeed Insights to see how my site holds up on desktop and mobile. This site is for desktop but I’ve made some mobile tweaks lately because I realized that I was getting some mobile traffic and wanted to make it as painless for them as I could. So when I first ran P3, here’s what I saw:
I have 21 plugins, OK, but that 71.2% was what really blew me away. That’s how much my plugins were impacting my load time and the pie chart below showed me which one was the culprit. When I started this blog about a year ago, I was scrambling to find out what plugins to install. I’ve definitely learned a lot since then so it may be that some of the starters just aren’t necessary to me anymore.
That big chunk of the pie is the RSS Injection plugin, which is for copywriting, etc. I had questioned whether I needed it and so I decided to just let it go. The results were good AND bad.
While my plugin impact percentage was reduced, my plugin load time jumped by half a second. Obviously, that’s NOT good so I’ve obviously upset the balance (or revealed another plugin that had to go, depending on how you look at it). This time the plugin that had to go was Yoast SEO. The truth is, I love Yoast but had turned away from hardcore SEO a while ago and just stuck with more natural writing. The result was that I got PR and one of my pages ranks much higher than my site so turning away from hardcore SEO didn’t hurt a bit.
I also found out that my other sites with Yoast suffered the same affliction; it was slowing them down by a lot. So I decided to let it go. The result was better:
My plugin load time was actually lower than when I started and so was my impact. I’m making progress and was down to 19 plugins. Just to make it clear: Yoast SEO is a great plugin. I loved it and I’m so grateful I found it. It’s just that I didn’t need it as I once did.
I had read in an article that caching my pages was a great way to reduce my load time. So that’s what I did by using W3 Total Cache. I had to do some fancy footwork because the initial loading of this site was problematic so not all of these cache plugins can work, unless I do some additional tweaking. I did it and ran the performance test with great anticipation.
Looking at these numbers, you don’t really see much of a difference BUT what I did realize was that my site was actually much slower and my Pagespeed numbers were in the toilet. I was sinking on mobile and desktop. Now, this is not an indictment against the plugin; it’s just not working for my site. It may be conflicting with some of my other configurations so for anyone who uses it or any other cache plugin (W3 was the ONLY one I could use because of my site’s “issues”), you may see great results.
Obviously it ha to go and so I just deactivated it, but didn’t delete it. Now, when you look at my SQL queries stat, they seem to be a bit high compared to the original. I read of a way to help decrease that and possibly speed up my site in the process.
Optimizing the SQL database is a way to clean house, so to speak. When you’re adding, deleted, deactivating, activating, all of that happens in your database but there may be unnecessary rows that it has to scan before it gets to the information it needs. So, I tried the plugins but, again, couldn’t pull it off with them so I had to do it manually.
That means I had to login to myPHPAdmin, select the site database, select “Check All” to select all tables in the database and choose “Optimize Table” from the drop down menu. I am not squeamish about going into the DB as I am used to doing that stuff anyway from way back. But if you’re not into that, then you can find a database optimizer plugin to do it for you.
In any case, this manual process took me less than 30 seconds to accomplish and when I ran the P3 Plugin, I was pretty pleased:
My plugin load time dipped to .26 seconds and my SQL queries stat was in the 40′s. Not bad! As far as I’m concerned this is now a good baseline I can use to say that my plugins are good. There could be more that I could let go of but I’m not going to.
So here’s a recap:
- I installed the P3 Performance plugin profiler and checked out my site is working for mobile and desktop via Google Pagespeed Insights
- I ran the plugin and started following the pie chart to see if I could get my plugins to load a little quicker, which helps my site load quicker overall
- I activated and deactivated the “offending” plugins, making sure I didn’t tank my site’s pagespeed in the process.
- I optimized the tables in my SQL database manually. But you could probably find a plugin to do that for you.
- Once I was happy with the results, I stopped with it there.
One thing I do want to say: don’t think that my results are your results. Every site is different and I’m sure there are going to be those who think I should get rid of this or that. These results are mine and they don’t represent how everyone’s blog should run/look like/load. Find your own baseline and work with it.
So, what do you think? Is this P3 Plugin worth your time?