How much does site speed matter in your experience?

Hey all,

I have been building my product for a while and I am read to open it up to the public. I have been using WordPress and custom post types to create my idea and everything works just fine but the site is slow. I have to focus on go-to-market now and would be willing to pay a good WordPress site optimization engineer to speed things up.

I have done all the basic stuff of caching, image optimization and other recommended changes but now I need to do advanced level work by looking at every page and optimizing the heck out of it.

Have you worked with someone that you would recommend? Have you quantified how much site speed matters in your business? and what is really good speed?

I know, I know ... some of you might say.. just launch it and get feedback.. optimization can happen as you go. I might do that too but still I would appreciate your feedback and recommendation of talent can optimize the site.

Thank you all.

  1. 3

    Site speed matters greatly if you care about UX, conversions and search ranking ūüėČ If your site takes up to 4 seconds to load, then according to Moz you're doing great. Anything longer than that:

    erodes trust literally by the second.


    1. 3

      I'd say 4 seconds is waaay too slow. I find their comment about 4 seconds weird, because even their own graph shows an obvious decline in conversions after 1 second.

      Of course, it all depends on the type of the site, but generally people these days have fast connections and they're expecting faster websites.

      1. 3

        I agree. I think they meant 0-4 seconds is ideal vs 5-9 seconds in the websites they studied. Their methodology article elaborates on those points better (https://www.portent.com/blog/analytics/research-site-speed-hurting-everyones-revenue.htm):

        Our study showed that 78% of website pages have a load time of 5 seconds or less, and 22% have a load time of 5 seconds or more.

        The first 5 seconds of page load time have the highest impact on conversion rates

        Website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time (between seconds 0-5)

        Website conversion rates drop by an average of 2.11% with each additional second of load time (between seconds 0-9)

        To Improve Transaction Conversions: Aim for a 0-2 Second Load Time

  2. 2

    It matters like 0.5-1% or something in my experience.
    Ever optimise your speed and your rankings increased?
    Compared to getting 1 good backlink?

  3. 2

    MVP: Doesn't matter.

    Mature product: Critical in many domains, including e-commerce, analytics, APIs, and more.

    WordPress is actually probably underutilized for SaaS. But if you're running an e-commerce site from WordPress you're going to want to optimize the hell out of it and maybe build a custom solution eventually.

    1. 1

      I will agree with Max, when building an MVP it matters the least. Initially, the MVP should be focused on idea validation, knowing if there is product-market fit, product-founder fit, getting some initial traction.

      Now, if the MVP part is done and validated, site speed will matter a lot because of 2 factors:

      • Users will bounce if it's loading slow
      • SEO will have a negative impact.

      ** The solution **

      1. move from WP to something custom.
      2. WP database isn't optimized, so open the DB and add indexing in few columns
      3. Use Autoptimize WP plugin, it's better than others
      4. Use Smush WP plugin for Image optimization & lazy loading
      5. Enable gzip compression.
      6. Use Cloudflare Automatic Platform Optimization for wordpress
  4. 2

    It's very, very important.

  5. 2

    Yes, it matters (even for ranking on search engines). Since you're using wordpress, the first thing you want to optimize is TTFB (Time to First Byte) - out of the box, wordpress is very slow since you're each time executing queries and re-rendering everything from the scratch.
    Solving that mostly comes down to smart approach to caching. If you're targeting the whole globe, smart usage of CDN's can also help.

    The next steps are mostly related to the client side (javascript, css) and they depend on the wordpress theme you're using.

  6. 1

    Load speed matters much more as a UX factor than a ranking factor. Getting your site to load like a rocket won't get your search ranking up like any number of other things will (page titles, H1 tags, using the right keywords, backlinks, great content, etc.) This isn't a front-burner issue unless the site loads like a real pig. If you are on wordpress and use something like smush for your images and any number of site accelerators (minifying css etc.) you should be solving half the load speed issues right there. Your hosting company will also be a factor. If you need lightning quick make sure you shop for hosts by speed.

  7. 1

    I've optimized the heck out of many websites when I was a frontend engineer.

    In my experience what matters most is the first paint time, way more than the overall load time.

    If a user sees the website respond quickly (by showing the title or the header nav for example), he won't mind waiting a few seconds more for the rest to load. Because he knows that the site is up and running.

    What makes people leave is say, they're on Facebook, see a link in the feed, click it and then it's blank for 5 seconds. That's bad.

    But if they click a link and see even just a tiny bit of content, then they won't mind waiting for the rest to load.

    Amazing research on this from a few years ago by filament group.

  8. 1

    Thanks everyone for providing your perspective. I am using caching plugins and I am also using CDN, and things are starting to get better.
    My product is a bit complex with more than 10 custom post types and lot of dynamic pages. I am currently on Siteground but it uses Memcache instead of Redis. I have heard great things about Redis and how it is a must have for fast speeds.

    One of my page is very heavy on queries and takes more than 10 seconds. That's unacceptable for the user and I am working on fixing it.

    I did a lot of research and I think there is no way I can ever build a competitive business without a fast site, especially in my area (education tech, upskilling).

    I am in the final stages of getting the product ready and would love to share with this community soon. The content here is amazing and you are all very generous.

    Thank you!

  9. 1

    I don't have answers for your questions (sorry!) but I do know some easy things that you can do...

    Are you using a CDN? Definitely use a CDN.

    Plug your URL into PageSpeed Insights to get a score and see 'why' it's slow, then you'll know what needs fixing.

    1. 2

      I am using CDN and it does help with static pages but my problem is dynamic content so working on finding a solution.

      1. 1

        Yeah, dynamic content is much harder to optimize - you want to avoid hitting the database whenever possible and find a smart ways to cache the content. Wordpress is not really designed with performance in mind and pretty much any solution will be an ugly hack.
        If you care about speed and/or flexibility, you'll probably want to switch to something custom in the future.

        1. 1

          Yeah. I am trying to use object caching solutions to speed up the site. Storing some database calls in cache so that they do not get called every time and speed up the site.
          This is my MVP so I am okay with some slow speed but can't go above 5 seconds in any case.

          1. 1

            I see. If it's just a MVP, I wouldn't bother with wp object cache. Due to the way PHP and wordpress works, in some cases, it can even be slower than hitting the DB.

            If your server is OK, generally you should be able to get <1s even without any caching.

            1. 1

              That's not been my experience. I am using Siteground $100 plan and I have a dashboard with a lot of shortcodes on it. TTFB alone is 14 secs :(

              I have some loops that show posts and within the loops I have shortcodes. The system is slowing down. So I basically need a professional's help to figure this out. Any recommendations on a site optimization engineer would be appreciated.

              1. 2

                Ouch, that's painfully slow.

                First you need to eliminate the host - just try to run a simplest "hello world" wp site (without any plugins) and see what TTFB you'll get.

  10. 1

    Incredibly important especially if you are talking about a landing page or a content website.

    I use wordpress as well but site speed became a huge issue so I just use wordpress as a CMS and then have the "live" site as static files on a separate server.

    I could have gone through all sorts of optimizations for wordpress or changed hosts but I decided just having static files would be cheaper and quicker.

    When it comes to seo, you want a static website.

  11. 1

    Site speed is super duper important. For SEO, your visitors, everything in general.

    However I'm not the developer that looks into speed right away.

    I build it first and then I see where I can optimize. That way I don't spend too much extra time thinking about speed while making the product.

  12. 1

    If I'm researching something, my threshold is really low the speed is really important.
    If I'm exploring some sort of product, tool or something else, I can tolerate the medium speed but if it's too slow it kinda starts to disturb me.

    But the difference is, I'm always more tolerant to the products, but not for the piece of content that I can find it on another website easily

    1. 1

      Interesting. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  13. 1

    A lot. You can google the studies done on page speed by google itself, amazon and a bunch of other companies.

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