Can Fiverr freelancers fix your site speed?

WordPress Mobile Speed

Updated


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Is page speed a cheap Fiverr commodity?

Fiverr, an Israeli company started in 2015, claims they’re world’s largest marketplace for digital services. But it’s the same claim other competing services make. Can they prove that? Of course not.

Does being the largest mean you are the best? Hmm? Let’s see: Godaddy hosting claims to be the largest and most popular host. Does that mean they’re the best hosting service? Wait a second. Think about it. Bigness is goodness? “Oh, yeah? My Dad’s bigger than your Dad!”

OFFSITE LINK: https://www.blogvwant.com/fiverr-competitors-sites-like-fiverr/

Fiverr’s services start at US$5 and hence its name. Similar to a tenner, a fiver is a slang word for currency. In England, a fiver is a five pound note. However, Fiverr services can go up to hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Each service offered for sale is called a gig. A gig is live-music entertainment slang. Fiverr seems big on slang in their marketing voice. Does that reassure us they aren’t sharks? Er? Overselling creates suspicion.

The Fiverr platform allows freelancers to advertise and sell their services, collect payment in advance. Fiverr can act as mediators in conflicts with clients. Of course, Fiverr doesn’t do this for free. They take a 20% commission on each sale. Ouch!

What speed freelancers offer on Fiverr.

A freelancer can sell their services as packages. Usually, freelancers offer three packages labeled basic, standard, and premium. The services and prices increase from basic to premium packages. The packages may also have other labels such as bronze, silver, and gold.

Fiverr classifies a freelancer as a ‘new seller’, ‘Level 1’, ‘Level 2′, and’ Top rated’.

A ‘new seller’ is, as you may expect, a freelancer who has just started selling services on Fiverr. As we will see later, the new sellers usually offer cheaper services because they need to compete with existing sellers to get that important first gig.

1 A ‘Level 1’ freelancer has been active on the Fiverr platform for at least 60 days, made more sales, and has achieved various criteria defined by Fiverr.

2 A ‘Level 2’ freelancer has been active on Fiverr for at least 120 days, made more sales than a Level 1 freelancer, and has achieved various criteria.

3 A ‘Top-rated’ freelancer has been active on Fiverr for at least 180 days, earned more than $20,000, and achieved other Fiverr criteria.

These classifications are not merely window dressing. Freelancers who achieve these levels are allowed to create additional services that differentiate them in the marketplace and will enable them to earn more money.

Fiverr also has a category of freelancers they call ‘Pro Verified.’ These ‘Pro Verified’ freelancers are vetted by Fiverr staff and are chosen based on their experience. You will find small to medium-sized agencies, as well as individuals, in this category. Any of the levels previously discussed may also classify a ‘Pro Verified’ freelancer.

What site speed optimization services are offered on Fiverr?

It is easy to search Fiverr for the services you want, but the results can be overwhelming.

We searched Fiverr with the keyword ‘WordPress speed optimization’ and got 29,775 results, see the screenshot below. However, some results were not specifically speed optimization of existing websites — but services offering complete website design.

You can filter search results by criteria such as:

  • service options
  • seller details
  • budget
  • delivery time.
Fiverr search for speed services.

The search engine on Fiverr makes keyword suggestions as you type into the search field, such as ‘increase WordPress speed optimization’ and ‘WordPress speed optimize.’ You will receive different search results with different keywords.

We used the keyword ‘WordPress speed optimization’ to investigate the range of services offered by Fiverr freelancers.

Fiverr predefined the following five tasks for site speed optimization services:

  • Software Version Upgrade
    The software is unspecified in the ‘software version upgrade’ service. It may mean WordPress version, plugin version, PHP version…who knows?
  • Browser Caching
    Browser caching is usually automatically performed by the browser.
  • Resize Photos
    Why ‘Resize Photos’? Why not image compression, which has a more significant effect on site speed? This is another fuzzy term.
  • Minification
    Minification of what? CSS? Java script? HTML? Minification as an optimization trick has minimal effect on site speed. It improves test scores but not speed or user experience.
  • Database Optimization
    We have never seen database cleaning improve speed or scores. We do it’s because it’s good housekeeping — but any of claimed speed benefit is a myth.

Seriously. This ill-defined list isn’t very useful. Yet, freelancers can only choose these predefined services for their three packages. These aren’t significant speed enhancements. They’re Mickey Mouse.

However, a freelancer can differentiate themselves through their profile description, a short header for each package, profile banner, and price.

Why Fiverr uses those predefined tasks is unfathomable to us. Hopefully, the freelancer clarifies what these services mean in their description.

Analysis of Fiverr WordPress speed optimization services.

Given that there are over 29,000 search results for the keyword ‘WordPress Speed Optimization,’ we chose 25 freelancers. We selected five freelancers from each seller classification as well as five ‘Pro verified’ freelancers.

Yes, this is a small sample of the 29,775 (0.003%) services and not enough for statistical verification. However, you’ve got to start somewhere! Besides, this is a qualitative investigation — rather than a statistical analysis.

The table below shows the range of WordPress site speed optimization services offered by freelancers on Fiverr. We gleaned this list from the descriptions in the freelancers’ profiles or their package headers. This list is in addition to the five predefined services dictated by Fiverr.

Speed Measure & Reporting

Pingdom Report
Google Page Insights Report
GTMetrix Report

Speed Criteria

90+ PageSpeed Insights Score
90+ GT Metrix Score
80+ GT Metrix Score
70+ GT Metrix Score
80+ Yslow Score
Load time <2s
Load time <3s
Load time <4s
Load time <6s

Minification & Concatenation

HTML
Javascript
CSS

Compression & Caching

WP Rocket configuration
Enabling Website Page Caching
Enabling Browser Caching
Enabling Gzip Compression
Configuring ETags

Image Optimization

Scaling
Resizing
Compression
Enable lazy loading

Plugin Installation

Install plugins (not specified)
Install and configure WP Rocket

Coding

Defer Parsing of Possible JavaScript Files
Remove render blocking resources
Minimize the total number of requests
Minimize redirects and request size
Remove query strings from static resources
Optimizing .htaccess or nginx.conf file
Removal of Query Strings

Other Services

Set up CDN
Backup site
On page SEO
Disable Google Fonts
Enable ‘Keep-Alive’
Fix bad requests
Fix Bugs
Disable unnecessary features
Core WordPress Optimization

We’ll briefly discuss some of these services. Here are useful general observations about these services:

  • Freelancers may list many services or tasks in their profile description – but do not list each service in their packages. Consequently, you aren’t sure what you’re getting for your money.
  • Freelancers don’t often state if their service applies to only one page, multiple pages, or the whole site. This is a question that some clients also forget to ask.
  • Some freelancers offer speed optimization of eCommerce or woo commerce sites, but this is usually only offered in premium packages.

Speed Measurement and Reporting

Most freelancers on Fiverr use one or more of Pingdom, Page Speed Insights, or GT Matrix online tests to measure and report the website’s speed.

Hopefully, the freelancer’s client report discloses the speed tool’s location and connection.

In any case, we wouldn’t use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/want-a-100-score-on-google-pagespeed-insights/

Speed Criteria

Many freelancers use site speed scores as their criteria for website improvement. This is a good indication not to employ these freelancers. We’ve mentioned many times in our posts that speed scores are arbitrary, useless, decorative, and bear little relation to actual site speeds.

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/online-speed-test-scores-are-especially-useless-for-mobile-speed-improvement/

Some freelancers may pander to client test preferences. For example, if a client wants to rank with a ‘100 speed score’ and ‘all green’ scores in a GT Matrix report for both desktop and mobile. Is that even possible? Probably not. But you will be told it is.

In particular, Google’s PageSpeed Insight tool uses strict rules on mobile traffic. You won’t get ‘high scores’ on mobile for any WordPress site. Many Google owned websites don’t even rank well on PageSpeed Insights test for mobile.

Page load time is the best criterion to measure site speed. As you can see from the list above, some freelancers state or guarantee load times. Freelancers offer faster loading times in standard or premium packages.

Unfortunately, the freelancers were not always clear on the definition of ‘load time.’ Is it:

  • Time to First Byte (TTFB)
  • First Contentful Paint (FCP)
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
  • Completed document
  • Fully loaded page

Freelancers on Fiverr often can’t fully explain these details and educate their potential clients. Fiverr makes this worse by imposing character limits on profile descriptions and package descriptions.

One way around this is for freelancers to set up a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). There are character limits on these, but a freelancer can set up at least 10 FAQs.

The more experienced freelancers also use their FAQs to clarify the services they offer and to set conditions. For example, one FAQ question was ‘Can you optimize the score of my site?’ And the freelancers’ answer’ was:

“Please note that this is not a “score optimization” service. This service is only concerned about the “actual speed” of your site and not how much it scores on a specific speed testing tool.”

Clearly, this freelancer has experienced unrealistic client expectations and recognizes the artificiality of speed scores.

Minification and Concatenation

Minifying JavaScript (JS), CSS, or HTML is a valid but potentially insignificant way to decrease load time. However, about half of the freelancers we sampled did not specify what was minimized. Minification also has little effect on mobile speed.

Is minification service needed? Probably not.

A few freelancers mentioned concatenation of JS or CSS. But they didn’t mention the common problem of breaking the site.

Is this service needed? Probably not.

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/concatenation-is-the-site-killer-not-minification/

Compression and Caching

Gzip compresses text in HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and PHP files. Gzip speeds up file transfer from server to client and hence site speed.

Gzip is on by default with most web hosting. It’s rarely needs enabling. Consequently, this is ‘service’ isn’t required.

In the rare chance your host doesn’t have Gzip enabled (or its later version Brotli), then you can request your host enable it – or use a plugin.

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/update-on-gzip-compression/

If a freelancer offers a WP Rocket installation, please ignore them. Choose another freelancer who knows what they are doing. Anyone can add this plugin, there are many video tutorials on line of how to set it. And WP Rocket plugin is not free.

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/wp-rocket/

Enabling web page, or browser, caching

Enabling web page, or browser, caching is a weird service to offer. Browser caching is done automatically by your browser. No one needs to ‘enable it’ or provide it as a service.

You can enable site caching with a plugin, but if your images are compressed, and your server uses Gzip, then enabling caching won’t do much.

Is this service needed? Probably not.

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/free-plugins-duplicate-the-costly-hummingbird-features/

Configure Etags

Only one ‘Level 1’ freelancer offered this service. Etags or Entity tags are a cache mechanism. It helps the browser retrieve a page or resource from a local cache or a server. It helps improve loading times only if the page can be loaded from a local cache.

However, the freelancer will need access to your host’s server, which is unlikely. Consequently, we can’t see how this is a valid site speed service. We don’t offer this service and know it makes little to no difference in speed. It’s esoteric.

Image Optimization

Resizing, rescaling, and compressing images will save server space and speed up your website.

Do you need to pay a freelancer to do it? Depends. If you want to save yourself time and hassle resizing and rescaling images, it may be worthwhile, but it can cost you.

You can get some good plugins to compress your images and lazy load images and videos, so you shouldn’t need to have a freelancer do this for you.

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/lazyload/

Lazy load features were incorporated into WordPress core in August of 2020.

The freelancers we sampled didn’t specify a limit to the number of images they would resize or rescale. Consequently, you may end up with a larger bill than you expect.

We suspect some freelancers also don’t know the difference between resizing and rescaling an image and that when they offer to ‘resize an image,’ they mean image compression.

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/interview-with-steve-teare-about-faster-loading-images/

REFERENCE: https://wordpress.org/plugins/imsanity/

REFERENCE: https://blog.hubspot.com/website/imsanity-insanely-good-image-upload-resize-plugin

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/the-fastest-alternatives-to-heavy-jpeg-images-for-page-speed/

Plugin Installation

You need a freelancer to install a plugin? Really?

OK. We understand it’s part of their service. But if you don’t want a bloated or unnecessary plugins installed on your site, check out our blog for no-nonsense speed advice first.

Coding

Removing render-blocking resources and deferring parsing of possible JavaScript files are the same thing.

If you defer parsing of JavaScript, it will load only after the website’s main content has finished loading. This is supposed to means that your visitors won’t need to wait for the content of your site. But we have never seen any speed benefit from it. Only a better score on tests. Does it change you page ranking? No.

Deferring JavaScript can’t be done successfully by a plugin, it requires coding and the freelancer needs to adept.

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/render-blocking-js-is-the-most-annoying-and-unresolvable-error-message/

Most of these coding services are potentially troublesome (i.e., Break your site), and the gains in site speed are minor. If you do need a coding solution, you’ll need a freelancer who knows the ropes — and how to leave a document trail for the next developer.

Is this service needed? Probably not. We never repair it. It’s a waste.

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/speed-testing-scams/

Minimizing requests and redirects

What about minimizing the number of requests or minimizing redirects and request size? These are ‘catch-all’ marketing phrases that sound good.

You minimize the number of requests and redirects by reducing the number of files on your site, reducing file sizes (e.g., image size), getting rid of ads, changing themes, and removing any plugins that make unnecessary calls. That is pretty much a site rebuild and costs money.

Removing query strings from static resources

Can this significantly improve site speed? Probably not. It’s a vanity metric. You can also get a plugin with no settings to do the job for you. Just install it. Done.

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/how-to-remove-query-strings-from-static-resources-with-a-wordpress-plugin/

Optimize .htaccess or ngnix.conf files

Don’t touch these files. They cause serious problems and may slow your site. Kind of opposite to what you want, isn’t it?

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/ht-access-file/

Other Services

There is a hodgepodge of other services offered by Fiverr freelancers. Some services have nothing to do with improving site speed, such as on-site SEO.

Enabling Keep-Alive

Keep-Alive is a protocol that allows a browser to download all the content through a persistent TCP connection instead of making different requests for each file.

In most cases, ‘keep-alive’ is enabled by default on the host web server. If not, it needs to be enabled by coding the .htaccess file and the server itself.

Consequently, the freelancer needs access to the host server. Danger!

Is this service needed? No. It is a rubbish service mentioned so the freelancer appears expert. Leave it be.

Disabling Google Fonts

It is always a good idea to do without Google Fonts or Font Awesome.

We recommend using a no-setting free plugin to remove Google fonts. No freelancer needed!

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/google-fonts/

What about Font Awesome? Horrible effect on speed. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to remove. The best thing you can do is find a theme and plugins that don’t use this font icon.

If you want to change your theme, then a freelancer with web design experience would come in handy. However, the freelancers we surveyed didn’t mention anything about changing out a complete theme.

REFERENCE https://pagepipe.com/should-i-disable-font-awesome-and-google-fonts-for-improved-speed/

Fix Bugs and Bad Requests

We are not sure what these services are. The same with ‘Disable unnecessary features’ and ‘Core WordPress Optimization.’ Might as well label this category “Miscellaneous Stuff.”

Set up CDN

We don’t use CDNs for speed. We remove them if present. Especially free ones. They produce 501 and 503 errors. Server not found. Most freelancers don’t mention the CDN they’d use for your site. We suspect that it is either Cloudflare – or WP Rocket CDN. We aren’t fans of Cloudflare. Say no more!

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/cloudflare-doesnt-guarantee-consistent-load-times/

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/cloudflare-cdn/

Is buying this service useful? We don’t think so. If the freelancer can help you access a reliable paid CDN service, maybe?

Back up site

Backing up your site is always a good idea. But why are you having a freelancer do it? You should back up your site yourself. Your site host have backups, also.

Some freelancers made a big deal using a staging site or a clone to test site speed improvements. Is a staging site or clone necessary? If the freelancer is coding on your site, having them practice on a staging site or clone may be useful. However, speed tests are only meaningful in real-time on real sites.

It takes time and effort to set up a staging site or a clone, which means higher prices. Consequently, freelancers either have this in their premium package – or offer it as a paid add-on gig.

Refunds, revisions, and guarantees

Many freelancers offer refunds, revisions, money-back guarantees, and speed increase guarantees.

Some of the more experienced ‘Top-Rated’ and ‘Pro Verified’ sellers tend to be more unwilling to take risks. They only offer a guarantee after they make an initial assessment of your site.

They don’t want to guarantee increasing your site speed when it’s loaded with ads, has a Divi theme, and is filled to the gunnels with bloated plugins.

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/switch-from-divi-theme-to-astra-for-best-speed/

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/divi-theme-sucks-and-other-popular-paid-themes-are-slow-too/

The money-back guarantee may give you more confidence in a freelancer’s service (that is what it is designed to do). If anything goes wrong, you may get your money back. Try it. See what happens.

How long will it take to get your money back? Will you need to pay to fix any problems caused by the freelancer? The money-back guarantee doesn’t cover that condition.

How long does it take to deliver the Services?

The freelancers deliver their services from one day to a week (or more). It depends upon the services offered and the experience of the freelancer.

Experienced freelancers are more cautious about the delivery. They hedge. They know whats needed – and some factors are out of their control. The unknown gotcha.

It’s probably wise to stay away from a freelancer offering same day services for a gazillion services and guaranteeing a load time of less than 2 seconds.

What does it all cost?

Prices tend to increase across all packages from Basic, Standard, and Premium for all freelancers.

As you may expect, the services offered by the ‘Top Rated’ and ‘Pro Verified’ freelancers are the most expensive. Are they worth it?

FreelancerBasicStandardPremium
New Seller92754
Level 1143358
Level 2274773
Top Rated132245401
Pro Verified310468551

Surprisingly, the ‘Top Rated’ and ‘Pro Verified’ freelancers don’t offer significantly different services to justify their high price. The only exception: improving speed for eCommerce and WooCommerce sites.

The services offered by freelancers, you can implement yourself with free plugins.

If you want special coding, setting up a CDN, or optimizing hundreds of images, then a freelancer may be worth it.

Almost all freelancers offer similar services but are you willing to pay a ‘Top Rated’ freelancer 7x what you’d pay a ‘New Seller’ or Level 1? Are you ready to pay 5x what you would pay for a Level 2?

We are unsure about the price ‘Pro Verified’ sellers offer because they don’t seem different in any way. However, the descriptions and FAQs of some sellers indicate they’re experienced.

If you have a huge site, your cost increases because the services offered apply to one page (usually the homepage) or a few pages. We didn’t find anyone in our sample that offered a complete service for all pages on your site.

Quality

Client reviews for a freelancer are often used as indicators of quality, and many people rely on reviews to inform their decision-making. After all, 200 five-star reviews should say something about quality, right?

Unfortunately, reviews can be unreliable and misleading.

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/speed-testing-scams/

People seeking help think seeing a score increase or a small speed improvement merit a 5-star review!

We found that the ‘New seller’ freelancers had from 2 to 594 reviews. The Level 1 freelances had from 1 to 300 reviews. The Level 2 freelancers had 144 to 3178 reviews. The ‘Top Rated’ freelancers had 30 to 246 reviews, and the ‘Pro Verified’ freelancers had 3 to 10 reviews. All freelancers had 4.9 to 5-star reviews. That’s right ALL freelancers. Really? Impossible.

The lower number of reviews for ‘Top Rated’ and ‘Pro Verified’ freelancers reflect that they’re more expensive – and fewer people can afford their services.

You could assess quality from what the freelancers say about themselves and the services they offer. If they say they will install a plugin to help increase your web speed or say silly things like “I will increase your score using GT Metrix,” then you know it’s not good quality.

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/speed-testing-scams/

Will we judge quality by buying a service and assessing the results? Nah, sorry. This isn’t happening. We know what works and what doesn’t. And this article hopefully helps you know, too!

Scams

There are always rumors of scams and scammers on platforms like Fiverr. Are rumors justified? Sometimes they are.

Fiverr itself does not seem to have a good reputation, according to the Better Business Bureau. It has a rating of 1.02/5 from 45 reviews and has had 232 complaints over the last three years. The reviews mention various problems, such as getting refunds, Fiverr’s policies, scammers, and canceled accounts.

It is a fact of life that all companies receive more complaints than praise from upset customers. You can’t please all the people all the time! Are 232 complaints over the last three years bad?

Are there scammers on Fiverr? It’d be naive to say there aren’t. We couldn’t detect any scammers. But, a good scammer looks legit.

The reviews should indicate scams. However, reviews can be misleading.

REFERENCE: https://pagepipe.com/speed-testing-scams/

Can Fiverr freelancers fix your site speed?

Fiverr freelancers may improve your site speed. But think about it…

You can perform many speed services with free plugins – and common sense.

OFFSITE LINK: https://www.codeinwp.com/blog/fiverr-tips-for-buyers/

Godspeed-

Steve Teare
performance engineer
October 2021

 

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  • Images and media library.
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