Slow WordPress sites

image: the_green_squirrel

After publishing an article a few weeks ago about how WordPress has become more complicated over time I’ve had a number of discussions with folks about their WordPress sites.  Most of them were concerned about the amount of time it was taking to maintain the sites or the amount of time it was taking their sites to load.

One discussion in particular stood out to me and I wanted to pass along some of what I found.  My friend was considering launching a newly designed WordPress site using a popular theme, but had some concerns about not only the complexity of the theme itself, but also the speed of the site.

Depending on what material you’re reading the page load times for a site can have a big impact on how the site ranks in results pages so it makes sense to have a look every now and then and see how your site is performing.

My go to tool for a quick site speed analysis is Google Page Speed.  Here’s what I found when having a look at his site:

google-page-speed

A score of 22 out of 100 is not great news by any measure.  It doesn’t mean that the theme is a wash, but you’re going to have to invest some (maybe significant) amount of effort to get the theme where it should be.

But what really stood out to me was the following:

page-load-time

A total of 37 unique files (CSS and JS) were being loaded as part of the theme and its mandatory plugins.  This is excessive and leads to a large number of requests to the web server, causing inefficiency and slower page load times.

Do some research before installing any theme.  Have a look at the theme dependencies (plugins, server modules, etc.) and make sure you have a good idea of how it’s going to affect your site’s load time.