WordPress is slow by nature.

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WordPress is naturally slow. It requires thought and effort to produce pages faster than 2-second load times. Speed doesn’t occur as a natural WordPress byproduct.

WordPress allows a building-block system for site creation. Connecting modular components together cuts down development time. Yet, the majority of WordPress sites feel similar. Copying generic blandness and stripping away most expressive aesthetic are at fault. That’s what we call branding. Too much branding, we call “visual noise.” Too little, we call “boring.” Creative branding is what makes websites memorable. But it also makes them heavy and slow to load. It’s a balancing act.

How good is good enough?

WordPress allows adding functions and features in minutes. No coding needed. Web projects otherwise would be beyond the skill set of most website owners. WordPress accelerates the site-building learning curve and launch date. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. “WordPress is easy” is a lie. Easy for the gifted. Maybe? Learning WordPress requires effort, experimentation, and an investment of time. It’s a discipline.

I can compete using the WordPress cookiecutter approach. Even when I have little or no coding skills. If I know HTML and CSS, it helps – but isn’t required. Some people are “born to code.” It’s in their DNA. But for most people, it’s not fun and we need help. WordPress is the helpful crutch for the majority of code-crippled humans.

The coding-crippled include:

  • unemployed print graphic designers
  • work at home moms and dads
  • out-of-work babyboomers
  • the disabled

There are more in this special club but I can list those four above because they’re all me. So, yes, I’m a WordPress advocate. WordPress helps me recover my lost human dignity. Maybe someday, it’ll make me feel self-reliant again – or at least needed and useful to others. Wouldn’t a comeback story be nice? I have a voice via WordPress. That’s power. People are pouring into WordPress publishing with a real need to earn or share.

WordPress’ biggest pull is the freedom or power to publish your own ideas and creativity. You’re in control of the content, features, and functions of your site.

We’ve all heard: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Attributed to the comic book hero, Spider-Man. But, this enduring truth began with recorded history. It’s paraphrased by many famous people.

WordPress power requires responsibility, too. Unskilled site owners abuse WordPress. Pages become bloated and slow loading. It ruins first impression. Slow pages make us feel unwelcome or snubbed. It makes the Internet an unpleasant, frustrating experience. Slow pages say someone doesn’t care enough to deliver excellence.

Responsibility requires restraint and wisdom. That means finding a degree of maturity and experience. I learn wisdom from experimentation or from hearing others journey. PagePipe is a place to share my WordPress journey. That is my Gift of Speed to you.

Millions of websites use WordPress with compatible themes and plugins. WordPress affects 30 percent of the Internet’s performance and appearance. Most sites are not built for speed. Speed often wasn’t even a planning consideration. You can avoid bad performance with speed strategy. The false assumption is WordPress will take care of speed. Sorry. You’re on your own when it comes to speed.

I don’t blame WordPress for the speed abuse. That was never their intent. Prevention is up to you and me. We’re responsible.

The usual site-building process starts with a Google search of top theme providers. That leads to choosing a feature-rich, paid theme. From a theme company such as WooThemes, Elegant Themes, or StudioPress. Some of these themes have 100,000s of installations. Is this safe? It’s a false notion that paid themes are more secure. Or ruggedized by proper best practices. They are sometimes as difficult to learn as new computer operating system. They can be as flawed as free themes and plugins. How does one decide?

There are so many theme choices. Admired, popular themes influence selection. This saves decision-making time but it isn’t best for speed. The assumption: “I’m paying good money and receiving promises or advertising guarantees. Surely, it must be solid – and fast.” Sadly, this doesn’t match my real-world experience and tests.

Speed is rarely considered during planning and decision making. Our research shows the most popular plugins and themes are frequently the slowest. There are many reasons why this pattern emerges. It’s human weakness. Most of us want what others want. Fads. Follow the herd.

People erroneously desire the greatest number of features. They assume this provides the highest value and flexibility. Or they choose a plugin that was the first of it’s kind (primacy bias). These tried-and-true themes and plugins use the oldest, stale techniques and slow code. Buyers don’t realize plugins and themes with new technology may be better and faster.

The WordPress world changes fast. Additions, deletions, and other changes occur often. The official WordPress plugin directory grows at a rate of 25 percent per annum. At present, it contains 48,722 plugins. That’s a daunting number. No wonder people stick with “popular.” It’s overwhelming.

WordPress goes through many versions and scheduled new releases each year. Plus emergency updates for security vulnerabilities or bugs. Most core, theme, and plugin coders are volunteers. We need to help each other in this wild, rapid-obsolescence world.

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Steve Teare
web engineer


What others think of us:

"Hi Steve, Thank you so much for that insightful review! I appreciate the time you took to explain the issue of the website I'm working on. I'll be looking into some of the recommendations you have and advice that you have given." skiveworks.com, Singapore

by - Jaaze Lim