Interview With Shay Toder, WP Page Speed Optimization Expert at Shaytoder.com
Powering up over 39% of all websites across the globe, WordPress is a force to be reckoned with. Because of its convenience, it’s the #1 choice for individuals from all walks of life looking to build a stellar web presence.
While WordPress is easy to get started, there are certain factors you need to look at in order to maximize its potential. One of those factors is speed optimization. A crucial factor, users need to learn about optimizing their site for speed.
There are plenty of benefits of having a faster loading website. From Google preferring to rank such websites better, to increasing customer convenience by reducing their waiting time – there are plenty of benefits of optimizing your WordPress website.
To emphasize the importance of WordPress speed optimization, we sat down with Shay Toder, speed optimization specialist for a Q&A to discuss this matter in detail.
So, let’s begin!
Zubair: Hi there Shay, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
Shay: My name is Shay Toder and I’m a Page Speed Optimization Expert.
This is what I do for a living, I don’t build sites or do SEO for clients, I’m very focused in my niche.
I won 1st (2019) & 3rd (2020) places in worldwide WordPress performance contests.
I improve performance for clients and I also have an online course in which I teach others to optimize themselves.
Zubair: In your opinion, how relevant is load speed to a WordPress site?
Shay: Speed is very relevant to all websites. WordPress is no exception.
We all know about the studies showing that users will leave a site after a few seconds, or conversions will be reduced. But it’s not just in studies, we all want things right now, and waiting for a page to load 10 seconds, it’s not something we can accept.
Google also think alike, and want to deliver better results for viewers. They even announced that on May-2021 Core Web Vitals metrics will be part of their ranking.
Zubair: What are some ways that a WordPress site slows down?
Shay: There are a lot of issues that can affect page speed:
- Too many fonts families & font weights are loaded
- Too many un-used icons are loaded (usually from Font Awesome)
- Slow hosting
- Not compressed images or too big images loaded on mobile
- Tracking pixels
- Chat plugins
- Bloated themes and plugins
- And more…
Most of the issues mentioned above can be easily optimized.
Zubair: Alright Shay, can you tell us about some of the more essential ways you can speed up your WordPress website?
Shay: Sure. First a caching plugin is a must. WordPress is a dynamic, php based platform, and building the page on runtime is time and resource consuming. So, by using a cache plugin, will deliver the page in a much faster way.
Another important technic, is to delay scripts like pixels, chat plugins, GTM, Hotjar etc. By delaying those 3rd party scripts, we gain better initial page loading, without compromise on the functionality.
But page speed optimization is not just these two mentioned above, there are a lot of small things like reducing the number of requests and page size by not loading unnecessary scripts, CSS and fonts.
Zubair: Okay, it’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask: which is better? GTMetrix or Google PageSpeed Insights? Is there an alternative to the two?
Shay: Both speed tools you mentioned are important, both shows web core vitals which are essential.
Google PageSpeed Insights are usually what clients are checking, as it shows results from mobile and desktop.
GTmetrix is much more user friendly regarding the waterfall, we can sort and filter requests, we can see a video on how the page is rendered, we can check in multiple locations.
I am using both.
There is also WebPageTest as alternative which many loves.
Zubair: As a general rule, how important is image optimization on WordPress?
Shay: Image optimization is important, as images are usually the heaviest resources loaded on the page. It can influence the LCP (Largest Contentful Paint – one of the Core Web Vitals) if the largest object is an image. If that is the case, I suggest preloading that image, and make sure it is NOT loaded with lazy load.
There are more issues to considered regarding images, many times I see very large images loaded on mobile, causing enormous network payloads.
PNG images without transparency are also something that happen often, in such a scenario, I suggest convert them to JPEG.
Zubair: It’s a rather technical query, but can you tell us a bit about WordPress databases and how the nuances within the database can contribute to site speed?
Shay: WordPress, like other CMS (content management system) is a dynamic platform that use database queries to set and fetch content and settings.
In the past, WordPress was built with a database engine called MyISAM, and even today, many sites and hosting servers are still using it.
But there is a better option, using a database engine called InnoDB, which has some advantages like row-level locking vs table-level locking that MyISAM is using.
InnoDB support transactions, resulting with better data integrity and consistency in the database and it stores indexes and data in memory which is faster.
So one of the optimizations that can be done, is to switch to InnoDB engine.
Zubair: In your opinion Shay, how much does a web host contribute to WordPress speed?
Shay: A fast site needs a fast basis. People might think that if they use a CDN (content delivery network), then the quality of the hosting server is not relevant, well it’s does matter, as the page itself is coming from the server and not from the CDN.
There are more things to consider regarding web hosting. Cloud hosting is better than a shared one. There are technologies that can be enabled in the server like database-level caching (Redis for example), that can boost mainly your backend area.
Zubair: Last question Shay: there are plenty of WordPress development agencies around the world, what is one advice you would give to them with regards to your profession?
Shay: I suggest WordPress development agencies to get the knowledge in-house, so they can build not only beautiful sites, but faster ones at the same time. They can promote another skill that they can do, get more satisfied customers and referrals and raise their profits by not hiring an expert to do the job.
So, if you want to get the knowledge, keep an eye on my online course on WordPress Page Speed Optimization Course, in which I share the secrets & tricks I use every day to improve performance for clients.
From all that we’ve discussed in this post, it should be clear that speed optimization is an important aspect of WordPress. We hope that this article provided you with the importance of having a well optimized website.
If you haven’t optimized your WordPress site yet, then what are you waiting for? Start optimizing today!
Looking to get your WordPress site up and running with proper optimization? Contact Codup’s WordPress development services to get a highly optimized WordPress website.