If you’ve visited the blog before you will probably notice a few key differences today.

It looks pretty similar to the old design, and while its still a work in progress I feel the whole site is quite a bit cleaner than before.  The main difference that you will probably pick up on though is the sheer speed compared to the old version!

I launched this site using the Nevada WordPress Theme from Themeforest, which was (in my opinion) insanely pretty, but it came with some equally pretty insane overheads, mainly JavaScript.

waterfall1

To put it bluntly, it was slow.  

Even when rigged up to an NginX CDN, Cloudflare & W3TC.

The issue was never overheads, it was the quite cool page builder functions which are great if you don’t ever want to get your hands dirty when designing pages – but the drawback is a huge number of processes required to render a page.

Enough was enough, and as of today I’ve moved onto the new Peadig Framework by Shane Jones & Alex Moss, well known Manchester based wordpress developers.

Peadig vs Nevada (9x Faster)

Here’s the headline:
8.6 seconds vs 0.98seconds.

Thats a pretty damn impressive speed increase to display the same content.

The image on the left is the embarrassing amount of resources that had to load on the old version of the site, dozens of JS scripts & CSS files that weren’t needed and certainly weren’t optimised.

It used so many files because of redundant capabilities, essentially stuff I would never use but as the theme I used tried to be all things to all site owners it needed to be heavy and bloated.

waterfall2

How its SO much faster:

As I’m now running a custom theme built just for my needs on a light framework, I don’t need to worry about all those extra features and I can just load whats required.

The image below is the current payload waterfall (powered by Peadig) which is much leaner and cleaner, resulting in a near 900% speed increase to the site!

 

The Takeaways:

If your site is powered by wordpress (and lets face it, most are these days) then pay close attention to your choice of themes as underlying speed problems should be addressed first before you splash out on CDN’s!

 

 

Categories: Case Studies

MartinMacdonald

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Founder of WebMarketingSchool.com and an SEO professional since 1998.

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6 Responses

  • Per Pettersson

    Nice work. I’ve been experimenting with speeding up two WordPress sites for a couple of weeks. The design part is a big part. Less for the eye and better behavior or more for the eye and get a better experience while visiting? Hard to know in advance. Might go and scale off the design bits and see if it makes any change for the sites I’m testing on…

    December 17, 2013 at 10:01 pm
  • MartinMacdonald

    Its certainly possible to have a great design, and a quick site.

    The key is making sure that your theme has the elements of design that you want, but doesnt have bloat thats inherrently necessary to allow a theme to be customisable to a thousand use cases.

    The underlying design between how this site looks now, and how it looked when I was using the nevada theme is negligible really. Its in no way meant to be a pixel perfect copy, but there were so many other parts that I had already built like the vBulletin theme that its mated to (the community section) that I didnt want to start from scratch design wise.

    Im pretty happy with the way its turned out – there is still quite a bit of work to do on it, but little by little!

    December 17, 2013 at 11:12 pm
  • Ed Yates

    Those are impressive stats – plain to see, though I do find that the WMS forum can still be slow for my browsing personally and occasionally crashes, it’s still early days though I guess and maybe it’s just my connection or browser on iPad?

    Slightly off topic – I saw you mention ‘try Peadig before splashing out on CDN’s’. Cheers for the advice. Content Delivery Networks are quite new concept to me and I was recommended MaxCDN a few weeks ago to help a speed up a WP site’s load times in mainland China to assist with Baidu SEO. Has anyone here had much experience using CDN’s? Which have you found to be reliable service providers? etc

    December 31, 2013 at 12:04 pm
  • MartinMacdonald

    @ed yates

    so there’s potentially a couple of issues there – Ive built the forum theme from scratch, but its not mobile optimised, and there’s some css issues with safari on the ipad (which I need to sort, as Im an ipad user as well).

    Re. the usage of CDN’s specifically for China – you’d want to go with a company with good server colocations on the ground in CN, but thats outside of my field of knowledge so you’d have to check each option and work out whats best for you. Also – Im not sure that baidu consider page speed, they may well do, I just cant confirm! :)

    January 3, 2014 at 4:24 pm
  • Marios of Infolific

    If you can create a few subdomains and point them back to wherever you’ve got static files (like .js and .css) housed you can knock down the somewhat long pause (first green bar in your graph) before any content starts to load. The subdomains (e.g. cdn.domain.com) will “trick” the browser into requesting resources in a parallel.

    February 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm
  • Rob Broley

    Thanks for the tutorial. Very good read, some very useful features.

    April 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm

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