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Where is “above-the-fold” on a phone or desktop? Repairing render-blocking is wasteful ivory-tower foolishness. Not a real-world problem. But the anxiety sells lots of speed services like CDN and paid plugins.
Removing render-blocking elements like Font Awesome frequently breaks the hamburger menu and search magnifying glass and social icons, etc.
Are we saying that trying to eliminate render-blocking resources as identified by GTMetrix (and similar speed metric software) isn’t productive, useful, or a ‘real-world problem’?
That is correct. It is a waste of time and energy.
Anything that reduces resources should be considered for removal – but how good is good enough? Load times under 2 seconds are good enough.
PagePipe doesn’t chase render-blocking. It is sold by speed scammers often.
Render-blocking resources are only considered because there is a theoretical concept called: above the fold. Where is that exactly on a mobile phone? Abstraction!
Render-blocking is usually not important.
Who are these people creating wasteful test criteria? Steve Souders coined the term “web performance optimization” in 2004. He started the criteria for web speed for Yahoo Performance group and later Google PageSpeed insights. He no longer works for either company. He now works at SpeedCurve.com.
Who else are these speed experts making the test requirements?
No one ever knows. “Invisible people” get to dictate what is good and bad. Does it solve or cause real-world problems? We have seen no documentation that proves fixing render-blocking is a worthwhile real-world practice for small- to- medium-size businesses. It doesn’t change UX, SEO, or profitability. It’s like bragging, “My music system reproduces music flawlessly beyond the range of human hearing.” If you can’t hear a change – so what? Who cares?
Perfect is not practical.
PagePipe practices the Pareto principle and industrial value analysis. 80 percent of the speed effort only yields 20 percent improvement. We look for the 20 percent that will give 80 percent improvement. Render-blocking removal falls in the esoteric.
Font Awesome render-blocking should be avoided during website construction – but if it gets inadvertently built-in. Do not remove it. Doing so causes problems for most sites. We try to avoid themes that use Font Awesome – always.
A freelancer on Upwork offers speed optimization. He has excellent reviews. He also has multiple recommendations from Facebook groups. He has an impressive profile and offers a guarantee of 95+ on the Google PageSpeed insight test.
He claims the following techniques increase the speed of websites:
- Time to First Byte
- Image optimization and webP implementation
- Render-blocking script and above the fold optimization
- CDN and Cloudflare implementation
- Cache implementation
How can he guarantee 95+ speed optimization only US$30/hour?
Simple. He’s a scammer. We don’t recommend any of those methods.
The scammer uses a redirect plugin so all the page speed tools examine a WordPress theme with no content. Consequently, it loads lightning fast.
Despite complaints to Upwork the freelancer still peddles his services.
PageSpeed Insight is a lame artificial test.
The first clue of a scam: TTFB is hardwired into the server’s physical properties. It can’t be easily fixed. But few know that.
All these wonderful scam specs make no difference in SEO, UX, or profit.
Measuring with GT Metrix or Google PageSpeed Insight test scores are not an indicator of a speed professional. Those are tools used most by pretenders and wannabees. Sorry.
How is PagePipe different from WP Faster WordPress optimization services?
Glad you asked. WP Faster optimization services sound great. While the market stats they quote are true for big companies – they’re irrelevant for our audience. We work with small-to-medium size International web businesses.
People visiting PagePipe need a speed doctor. They know it already. We don’t have to do any convincing of speed benefits. WP Faster wants speed converts. Our audience already is made of speed evangelists. We suspect WP Faster produces similar performance results in the end … but you pay double to triple the cost. The sky’s the limit with their pricing.
So the price is a big difference. But our speed philosophy is different, too. We use the Pareto principle – 80/20 rule – as our guide. This is value analysis. Or cost-benefit analysis. We discover unrealized speed improvement opportunities.
Not everything is important or makes a significant difference in speed.
Anything you want that isn’t The WP-Faster way voids their refund policy. They, also, specifically say they “don’t teach how to do what they do.” We teach. Our goal is technical obsolescence. We want you to understand how to fix speed yourself and avoid future problems. WP Faster won’t even talk to you on the phone unless you pay a $6,000 deposit.
What WP Faster says confuses. They have abnormalities and contradictions in their FAQ section. For example:
WP Faster requires a mandatory installation of the $200 per month Cloudflare plan. They say not using Cloudflare voids their warranty. What warranty? And what host do they recommend? The speed-despised, $35-per-month SiteGround hosting!
PagePipe makes your site fast on your existing shared hosting without CDN. We don’t add costs using extra affiliate services for kickbacks. We reduce your annual overhead.
The flimsy WPFaster.com pseudo-guarantee:
“The sale is final, even if we were, through no fault of our own, unable to install, in full or in part, the performance architecture we have devised for your site.” – WP Faster
They repeat over and over: no refunds. With legal ferocity and verbosity.
Do better UX and speed improve profits?
It’s documented proof for BIG companies. But will it help you? That depends. Are you selling something perceived as good? If the answer is, “No, I sell
rubbish useless unwanted stuff.” Then don’t waste your time tweaking speed.
But, if your offer and content are good, speed helps. Faster load times make visitors happy. No waiting.
Speed Band-Aids and Quick Fixes
Many WordPress speed optimization services charge too much for applying band-aid fixes to slow sites. They promise improved test scores. But not guarantees of improved load time gains in milliseconds. Test scores are esoteric tweaks that make no significant difference. The test results recommend score improvement with technical services such as:
- Leverage browser caching.*
- Use a CDN (content distribution network).
- Plugin prioritization and load order.
- Remove above-the-fold render-blocking.
- Lazy loading images.*
- Improve server response time (TTFB).*
This list above is one of minor improvements. We do some of them* but only if it doesn’t break your site – or cost you an arm-and-a-leg in custom coding.
Now don’t get us wrong, some scores help site speed. We use these techniques from time to time. But there are glaring wasteful issues when using quick fixes:
- Because scores are superficial, real speed gains are often unrealized.
- Speed gains don’t last because site owners aren’t taught the root causes of slow site speed.
- Band-aid plugin fixes are easy to do yourself (and often free). Don’t waste money.
Substitute popular WordPress plugins with low-cost, faster alternatives. Get super performance, free price tags, and no annual renewal charges (plugin rent).
Using the Pareto Principle (or 80/20 rule), helps us make your site leaner and faster. We discover unrealized opportunities.
Want a 100 score on Google PageSpeed Insights? WordPress themes won’t pass those silly speed tests.
We’ll propose a speed strategy and then, with your approval, we’ll do it.
Beware: Many internet con artists sell speed.
Installing WP Rocket caching plugin – and charging suckers $100 for that is not a service. WP Rocket is a plugin you can buy for $49 annually. But speed tricksters don’t pay that price.
They buy all-you-can-eat “unlimited installations” of WP Rocket plugin. That has a special $199 price tag. Meaning: it costs them almost nothing per-site installation. The client-gotcha is this: a scammer doesn’t pay for future annual renewals. This leaves the client holding the bag the next year.
These frauds list each automated feature of WP Rocket plugin as a separate ala carte service item. This deception is snake oil.
These overpriced practices don’t produce minimal load time improvement. They give real speed professionals a bad reputation. If you think marking up a mere plugin installation is a good business strategy, have mercy! Don’t do this to site owners. It’s a ripoff.
Competitor WordPress Speed Optimization Services
Eight common observations of speed-service competitors:
1Prices start low. Typically around $100. The high end is around $1,000. But many insist on bidding services and won’t give a fixed price. For some fees, the sky is the limit. Or they insist on expensive add-ons increasing the annual site break even. They usually get an affiliate reward for pushing clients toward these extra services. These are things like:
paid services like CDN
2All 35 homepages have a title saying, “WordPress speed optimization services.”
But one said, “Turn your slow WordPress site into a supercharged powerhouse.” Better promise but still not quantifiable. Unprovable claim. “Optimization” sounds like a jargon buzzword. They don’t have a motivating benefits-oriented headline.
Tons of rocket logos.
And the *second-place* cliche logo is a timer or gauge.
With flames, of course.
4The slow irony. The page-design quality of these speed optimization service’s websites is fluffy and low credibility. Lots of popups and chats. Most sites advertising speed services – actually load very slow. We list the initial load time of each one below using a browser timer. Not “walking the talk” is evidence of inferior services.
They don’t teach speed strategy. They just do site tune-ups. Hands – but not shared brains. You don’t get consultation or education.
6Competitor services focus on Google PageSpeed Insight test scores. Improving scores doesn’t necessarily improve speed. We’ve seen pages that get all-green 100 scores that load in 12 seconds. Crazy slow!
The only performance metric that counts is improving speed in milliseconds. Not a cached speed. We’re talking about unprimed cache. That’s a first-time visitor’s experience. That’s what counts – first impressions of site quality. Some speed competitors focus on reducing the number of requests a page calls. They consider that a good-enough metric indicating speed improvement. Again, request reduction doesn’t guarantee improved load time in milliseconds. Vanity scores and requests are secondary compared to actual load time in milliseconds. The goal (performance budget) is loading a real page in under 2000 milliseconds.
They attract potential customers by advertised low-priced items. But then encourage buying a higher-priced speed option. Nasty!
8Bogus SEO promises.
Speed service competitors in error claim speeding up a website improves SEO. There’s only a 0.5 percent benefit in page ranking algorithms from speed. Google speed mythology is not a valid reason to spend money on speed. The better reason is providing an excellent user experience. Speed is the primary and principal component of UX. Everyone hates a slow website. Speed is about the halo bias caused by a visitor’s first impressions.
There are at least 8 noteworthy WordPress speed service competitors:
Less Honorable Mentions
Instead of band-aid approaches, we drill down to the root cause of your slow site. This is origin optimization. Also known as site tuning. To do this, we analyze site components:
- Scripts and third-party services.
- Images and media library.
- We minimize globally loading plugin effects.
Find out more details about Site Tuning – Get Speed!