Interview with Steve Teare,
mobile-performance engineer.

Who is PagePipe and what do you do?
Steve Teare
Steve Teare, performance engineer, produces fast-loading WordPress websites on slower, mobile devices.

We’re a mobile-speed technology company. We do WordPress speed evaluation and research. That’s value analysis of mobile page assets in millisecond load times. Value analysis is a concept we’ve borrowed from industrial manufacturing. It’s a method for building quality into products without depleting scarce resources.

We use value analysis principles from lean manufacturing and high-tech startups. Applying these unconventional perspectives to websites is our discipline. We sell our business expertise as speed analysts and problem solvers. That includes faster, simpler, non-coding solutions with WordPress-authorized themes and plugins. We help you discover unrealized opportunities for speed improvement.

Why should site owners and developers care about speed?

Many slow web assets don’t contribute to profit goals or site objectives. They’re fluffy – and often have a negative effect – slowing down page load time. Value analysis identifies the worst wasteful practices impacting a site. And then we recommend tested ways to improve.

You didn’t ask. But let us tell you why we care most about speed. You might think we’re curious about technology and love creativity. Those are true. But the biggest reason is fast-loading web pages are kind. You’re treating your audience as you’d like to be treated. They sense that Golden Rule in their subconscious. Your site feels like a good place, a pleasant home. That’s what speed can do. People sense you care.

Value analysis includes 5 components: combination, simplification, elimination, standardization, and substitution. These fundamentals require creativity and wise judgment.

Speed affects SEO less than 1 percent. Many web people assume speed is crucial. It’s thought critical for good search engine optimization (SEO). We’ve learned that’s not completely true. It may be a lie. It’s a hard thing when big *credible* sources don’t tell it straight or hide facts about speed. Speed myths are perpetuated and exaggerated by people selling services. They see a sweet opportunity to create anxiety. Anxiety sells painkillers.

Is market pain about mobile speed increasing?

Yes. 2018 is a game changer. We see important adjustments on the horizon. These include Google Mobile-first Indexing and also deregulation of Internet service providers (Net-Neutrality changes). Also, undisciplined excesses using popular page builders encourage abuse of WordPress. These include: Gutenberg, Elementor, and Beaver Builder. Page builders aren’t bad. Yet, infinite addition of heavy features by the untrained is a future speed problem.

We thought Google already monitored speed. Is that changing?

Google paid lip-service to speed. It’s been years since Google announced speed’s inclusion in page rankings. But that edict had no teeth. There was no impetus for speed improvement and pages got heavier and heavier – and slower. Google is changing how they rank pages. They’ll evaluate mobile friendliness with various parameters. Foremost ranking signals are responsive design and second is speed. Fast page speed then becomes a principle competitive advantage. It always been important for UX – but now more so for SEO.

And what do changes in Net Neutrality have to do with PagePipe?

The deregulation of service providers means big businesses must pay prime rates. That’s right. The “fast lane” will cost. Now you know why the biggest world corporations wanted unchanged regulatory controls. It meant avoiding paying prime data-transmission rates. Soon, if you’ve got money, you’ll get preferential speed treatment. Those with few resources, like us, must quit ignoring speed. And build a strategically fast site from the ground up. No more speed repairs after the fact. Bake-in speed. That’s what we teach and practice at PagePipe: speed potential within site-owner’s limited resources.

So what is PagePipe’s competitive speed strategy?

Our most important speed strategy includes avoiding paid themes and popular plugins that are sluggards. Especially extravagant paid or premium add-ons. We’ve found the more popular a theme or plugin is the slower it is. Why? It’s complicated. It’s influenced by code obsolescence, feature creep, and gold plating to increase perceived market value. Those are factors of unsound ruses and mismanagement. Pretense strikes again. The unknowing herd follows.

Avoid paid WordPress themes and popular plugins? Isn’t that too simple?

You have to make wise choices. We help guide you. It’s often what is not openly revealed or explained by plugin and theme authors that kill speed. Sins of omission. Things they are able to do and ought to do – but apathetically don’t. To find the truth always requires testing. We do that.

Another big secret of our strategy is selective activation of plugins. Most people don’t realize plugins cause global site drag. This is where plugins load on every page of your site whether they’re used or not. For example, Contact Form 7 and Yoast SEO plugins add weight to every page of your site – not just your contact page. Those two plugins are on millions and millions of sites. There are better alternatives.

Research by DoubleClick says if a page takes more than three seconds to load, the bounce rate rises to 53 percent.

Think With Google found if a page’s loading time goes from one second to five seconds, the bounce rate goes up by 90 percent.

PagePipe has a low opinion of online speed tests. Can you clarify why?

Online speed test scores are especially useless. These include lame tests like Google PageSpeed Insights. Many test-result recommendations don’t make any measurable difference in speed. They’re not real-world practicalities. They sound rational and appeal to logic. But they’re a waste of time and energy. You’ll drive yourself mad attempting to achieve perfect test scores. Google doesn’t even use test scores in page ranking.

So if speed test scores don’t matter, what does?

Forget scores. It’s load time in milliseconds and page weight in cumulative file size. Those make the biggest difference – especially for mobile audiences. Speed is critical for good user experience (UX). Readable, relevant content is most important for SEO. But impatient visitors won’t wait for slow pages. Then you waste your hard-earned relevant content and it’s never seen. Most sites are “not good enough” for mobile users.

how can you tell if speed is helping?

Important UX signals to watch include metrics about Dwell Time and Click Through Rate (CTR). Dwell Time – how long readers stay on pages – is an indicator of relevance. Click Through is also an indicator of relevance. Relevance moves you up in the search engine results pages (SERPs). These actions show audience motivation or intent.

How does speed affect mobile UX?

Speed is one of the best ways to achieve positive “feelings” of credibility for visitors. User experience is about how people feel when they use your website. Be hospitable. Be polite. Give them speed. Speed is the first indicator of quality. People hate slow pages. The reason to be fast is because you care about people. You can’t measure caring and empathy with metrics like Google Analytics.

What is the worst cause of slow mobile pages?

Apathy is the greatest cause of horrible speed.

Our speed test results. Yes! The very page you’re reading right now. Only 330-millisecond load time on cheap, shared GoDaddy magnetic hosting. No CDN. It can be done. And we have 55 active, open-source plugins! It’s plugin quality – not quantity – making a difference in speed. The average number of plugins on most WordPress websites is 25.

Feel that tingling in your fingertips?
That’s the magnetic urge to contact us.

You care about mobile WordPress speed. So, email us questions about your page speed problems. Be specific. What are you searching for? Do you have a goal? Email us

We plan, design, and oversee website quality. PagePipe solves web problems with creativity, excellence, and intense curiosity. We consult on strategy – in particular balancing mobile speed and aesthetics. That’s about how people feel when they use your website. We’re your speed partner. We submit bids for website re-construction or consultation on request. Email or call us 509-878-1538 Pacific.

Pacific time zone.
Unusual hours.

Palouse, Washington


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We bleed speed.

PagePipe is a mobile-speed technology company.