WordPress Page Loading Speeds and Google Search

Building a blog site recently gave me this opportunity. After constructing a draft blog site using WordPress, I took the time to add it to my Google “Webmaster Toolbox” portfolio to see how Google perceived these pages from a loading speed perspective as opposed to my previously built custom websites and I was startled to see the results. First off, the Google search engine likes to see pages load in around 250 milliseconds or better. These custom sites built previously had no issues with this speed requirement. My primary one loaded on average at 175 milliseconds per page and the second at 186 milliseconds per page respectively.

Then I looked at the recently created WordPress blog site and it came in at a whopping 1,950 millisecond average load speed per page. This would be a totally unacceptable page load speed in Google’s eyes and this site would obviously be penalized in their search engine rankings as a result. Not to mention, people would often just give up waiting for the page to render and would go elsewhere instead, costing the site owner a potential sale. A real shame after doing the marketing work to bring them to your site in the first place.

This got me thinking about why this problem was occurring as I definitely want to improve on these averages with the WordPress site recently constructed so I went to an online tool that one can use to test your webpage load speeds and get some detailed analysis as to what is causing the slowness on the site’s pages. This tool by the way is provided by a company called Pingdom Tools who can be found on the Internet.

After researching my page load issues using the tool, I realized that my approximate 8-10 second load speeds were being caused by excessive imbedded JavaScript callouts to 3rd party plugins while my page was trying to load and thus, the loading of this external code into my page while the page itself was trying to load; was bringing my page load performance to its knees.

This led me to the Google Developers site to look for solutions to these problems and it actually did not surprise me to learn that the primary culprit causing the slowness of my page loading was that my pages were using a lot of “WordPress” plugins. In fact, just having fun with WordPress plugins, I had used them for everything and had as a result, activated about 26 of them on my site to provide all the features I wanted to have on my blog site pages – and several of these were activated to work with a WordPress “Theme” that I had purchased from a 3rd party vendor. The Google Developer site went on to say and I will directly quote a couple excerpts from their site here:

“Avoid Plugins: Plugins help the browser process special types of web content, such as Flash, Silverlight, and Java. Most mobile devices do not support plugins, and plugins are a leading cause of hangs, crashes, and security incidents in browsers that provide support. Due to these concerns, many desktop browsers restrict plugins.” They go on to say that “Most content that once required plugins can now be created using native web technologies, including content requiring first-class support for audio and video, advanced graphics, and presentation effects, network connections, local storage and file access.” Using these web platform features will help ensure that your rich content can be accessed on all devices.”