Website Revamped Again – Will This Be Final?

I’ve revamped WillTan.com … again.

The previous revamp was just only last month with the Pluto theme [see this post].

It was a beautiful blog-style site supporting various post formats – standard, video, image, link and quote … very versatile and visually stunning.

But there was a (huge) problem.

It fails for PageSpeed and GTMetrix :

I tried to ignore the miserable performance metrics. But somehow I know that having a decent page speed is important from a search engine optimization perspective.

I tried various cache, database and image optimization plugins but failed to enhance the site performance to even cross 50%.

I started to doubt if I’ve made the right move switching to Pluto theme from GeneratePress theme which had a more personalised branding feel ie. me as a web developer.

And then over last weekend, I couldn’t take it anymore.

I revamped my website once again … this time round, with the Kadence theme – now my #1 top favourite theme, overtaking Astra theme (now #3) and GeneratePress theme (now #2), since I started using it months ago.

The (Kadence) site looks nice right? (fingers crossed)

I know it’s not as sleek looking as compared to the previous design.

But this time round, I’ve managed to inject back the “personalized branding” feel on the frontpage which is missing from the blog-style Pluto theme,

Most importantly, I’ve managed to revive the PageSpeed to a cool 97%! (Web; Performance)

So, if you were to ask me what are the exact steps to speed up a WordPress site, I’ll summarise them to STOP – Server, Theme, Optimisation and Plugins.

Server – aka your hosting. It’s equivalent to a car, if you’d need the speed, go for the “ferrari”. Just that good hosting might not come cheap. Well, you get what you pay for right?

The hosting I highly recommend is SiteGround – which I’m using for WillTan.com.

Next is Theme – okay, this is the most important (and critical) element that allows my site to turbo through the 80% mark (the minimum performance I can accept) in PageSpeed – all thanks to the Kadence theme.

Then Optimisation – I’ve tried several optimisation and cache plugins ie. Autoptimize, WP-Optimize, WP Fastest Cache, W3 Total Cache, Smush, ShortPixel AI etc. After trying out quite many combos, the above 96% result is achieved by, surprisingly, just one plugin – the SiteGround Optimizer.

As a matter of fact, you don’t even need to be on SiteGround hosting to use this SiteGround Optimizer.

Lastly, Plugins. The mantra is simple – use only the plugins that you really need. The lesser the plugins, the less bloated will be your WordPress.

And thanks to the Kadence Bundle – there’s no longer need for me to use Elementor/Pro as it’s replaced by Kadence block editor and it natively included many features which eliminate the need for a handful of plugins ie. Table of Content, pop-up, grid, PDF embedder (okay, this is more a Guternberg editor) etc.

To be fair, I crossed the 90% mark to 96% for current PageSpeed is due to the deactivation of plugins “excessively” – there are plugins that I’d need ie. Ad Inserter etc. which when I activate them all, I might not retain the green circle (>90%). 

Anyway, it’s also not advisable to be overly obsessive over this PageSpeed thing. My personal benchmark is that I’ll be happy if it’s above 80%.

So to summarise, STOP slow websites by working on STOP – Server, Theme, Optimisation and Plugins.

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