Issue #450

The Site Performance Issue

Site Performance. It’s What’s For Breakfast…

In this week’s issue of the newsletter, we’ll be talking about some issues of website performance.

I’ve recently been involved in some tweaks to client sites to increase site performance metrics. Plus… I flipped one site from Thrive Themes into Kadence and you should see the performance scores go up. More on that in a video below.

So, coffee in hand. And let’s get to it, shall we? I need to head off to the gym here soon. Can’t say I feel like it, but that’s exactly when I should go. 😉 

Coming up…

4 Big Site Performance Mistakes

4 Site Performance Tips

Stay tuned for Fluent Booking! (launch this week)

Other plugin updates and news

Featured This Week

This week, we’re going straight to the Youtube channel. First up…

I did a quick conversion of a site out of Thrive Themes and into Kadence. Changing nothing else. And you can see how the performance metrics and core web vitals changed (for the better) with just that one change.

Next up… how can you make sure only people on your email list are able to access your lead magnets? Here’s a simple (and free) way that doesn’t make use of any passwords or user profiles. It’s just…. easy.

I’m looking to put more into the Youtube channel. And frankly, there will be some stuff that is posted there that isn’t posted to the blog. So…

Consider subscribing to the Youtube channel. And while you’re at it, maybe hit that notification bell to be notified when I post something new?

4 Big Site Performance Mistakes I See All The Time

As you’ll see with my first video above, simply switching out the theme can make a big difference in site performance. Plus, I’ve been involved in some site performance enhancements for clients lately. So…

Let’s talk about some of the things I see. And some things you can remain aware of so you don’t make mistakes that hurt your performance.

First, why does site performance matter so much? It goes beyond just user experience. It goes beyond even just helping your site conversion rates because people aren’t annoyed by slow-loading pages.

See, your site performance can directly impact your SEO.. and ultimately your traffic. Google can and does penalize sites that have poor performance scores. They’ve also got a set of scores called the core web vitals. And if those numbers aren’t in the green, your SEO can suffer.

So, we don’t want to act as if site performance doesn’t matter here. It isn’t just something that’s “nice to have”. It goes to the heart of your traffic and business.

So, let’s get into those mistakes I see pretty often….

#1 – Forgetting that how your site loads for YOU isn’t necessarily how it loads for other people.

It is super easy to get tunnel vision on your own site. It looks good to you and loads fast enough, so you assume it’s what everybody else experiences, too.

But, other people have different browsers. Different screen sizes. Different internet connection speeds.

In the office here, I have high-speed fiber optic internet. Everything is fast as hell. But, not everybody has that. So, that’s why I pay attention to actual performance metrics, not just how it “feels” to me. I use Pagespeed Insights and GTMetrix all the time.

#2 – Focusing On Looks First, Performance Not Even A Consideration

I see too many people who will install anything and do anything to get something to look a certain way… not realizing the negative impact on site performance.

For instance, if you’re using Elementor, are you installing a ton of Elementor add-ons? Yeah, all those third-party add-ons bloat up Elementor. And Elementor is already a bit on the beefy side to begin with.

All those fancy slide-ins and embedded videos and fancy effects can LOOK cool. But, they hurt site performance. Just because your theme or page builder CAN do something… doesn’t make it a good idea.

#3 – Relying On Page Builders

OK, this one might rile some feathers. But, truth is… using a page builder like Thrive Architect, Thrive Theme Builder or even Elementor can and DOES hurt site performance.

There’s just no getting around that.

Page builders like those (and others) produce extra code, extra javascript, and extra CSS… and bloats up your site. Often even when you’re not using all of that stuff.

To be clear, this doesn’t necessarily make page builders bad. They’re tools. And like any tool, you can use them smartly or use them stupidly. Page builders have a definite role. But, if you’re building almost your entire site using a big page builder like Elementor or Thrive Themes, you are indeed bloating up your site.

Using block-based options like Kadence Blocks or Spectra will be faster. Using these things in conjunction with an efficient theme (like Kadence Theme or Astra) will produce a much faster site.

Every single time I have converted a site to Kadence, the site performance metrics all go up substantially.

#4 – Installing Too Many Plugins (Without Optimization)

The more plugins you’re running, the bigger the footprint your site has. A bigger footprint requires more server horsepower as well as more beefy server settings. Also… not all plugins are created equal.

If you just start randomly installing plugins from the public repository… you may end up installing some that are poorly coded and will introduce security issues or performance slowdowns.

I’ve seen sites that can run a lot of plugins without too much of an issue. But, to do that requires keeping your eyes wide open. You’ve gotta know what you’re doing. What plugins are they? Is your server optimized to be able to handle it? How much traffic is the site getting? Are you running other performance optimizations to make it be able to do that without drowning the site?

There’s no arbitrary number of plugins that is “too much”. There’s a lot of factors that go into it. But, it is still true that generally…. running too many and getting too “install happy” with plugins can adversely affect your site’s performance.

4 More Specific Site Performance Tips

OK, let’s dive into some more specific advice to optimize site performance. Again, based on things I see pretty often working on client sites.

#1 – Popup Optins Can Slow Your Site Down

When you use popup opt-in forms or two-step (where you click a button to trigger an optin popup), you can (and usually do) hurt site performance.

That’s because the code and images of that popup window are loading up in the background even if the person never sees it. The only way that popup can show up so quickly for people is because it was already loaded up in the background to begin with. The images and code are there.

For instance, if you are running something like ConvertBox to show popup or call-out opt-in forms, every single box you have active on any particular page is loading up in the background… simultaneously.

This can lead to a lot of images being loaded up and hurting your performance metrics…. whether people ever see them or not.

So, some advice here:

Don’t use popup or call-out opt-in boxes too often.

If you can put the optin right on the page directly, do it.

If you put images into your popups, size them to the exact dimensions they actually show up, as well as optimize them.

I recently found one client loading up several ConvertBoxes that he had inserted images that were physically WAY bigger than they actually showed up on-screen. Little did he know… his site was loading up multiple oversized images in the background all the time whether people ever saw those opt-ins or not.

And this issue isn’t just relevant to third-party systems like ConvertBox. Even if you build a popup with a WordPress plugin, the code for that is being loaded up in the background whether it shows up or not. In most cases.

#2 – Use A Plugin Manager To Selectively Load Plugins

Many times, people use fairly hefty plugins on their site just for something that shows up on one single page. Thing is… if that plugin isn’t very well coded, it can be loading up all the assets for that page in the background across the whole site.

A solution is to use a plugin manager that can disable plugins on pages where they aren’t necessary… and only enable them on the pages where they are needed.

Personally, I prefer PerfMatters and it has a built in Script Manager that does this. The Plugin Organizer plugins is another solid option.

#3 – Strip Out Unused CSS

If you use a lot of plugins, they can output a lot of CSS code into the site even when it isn’t being used. But, there are ways that you can strip out that unused CSS and only load up the stuff that’s actually needed.

PerfMatters can do this pretty effectively. Just make sure you test first so you don’t break something.

#4 – Load Up Embedded Videos After Click

When you embed Youtube or Vimeo videos on a page, there’s a fair amount of javascript that loads up and slows things down. One way to handle this is to make is so that the player only loads up when the person clicks on the preview image.

PerfMatters, once again, has an option for this built-in.

WordPress Quick Bits…

Fluent Booking is launching this week. That’s the word. And it will be launching with a lifetime deal. It’s a deal you’re not likely to ever see again because that’s how this company tends to work.

I’ve had the opportunity to preview the beta within the last few days. They’ve done a GREAT job with it. There are still a few things I’d like to see them do with it, but for a first launch version this thing looks great.

Replace Calendly or any other third-party calendar you may be embedding

Get the features that platforms like Calendly charge you for (like being able to charge for appointments)

Native integration with FluentCRM (love this one!)

Native integration with Fluent Forms so you can build a scheduler right into your more full-featured forms.

Looking forward to it. I will be picking up the lifetime license myself. Concierge clients will have the ability to use it.

BeeHiiv now supports webhooks, making it even easier to integrate with outside systems. For instance, you can now make sure anybody who subscribes to your newsletter is put onto your internal house email list, too. Read the announcement here.

Fathom Analytics is dropping the uptime monitoring. Which makes perfect sense, really. Uptime monitoring isn’t something you would naturally think goes with an analytics package. Learn why I use Fathom instead of Google Analytics.

AffiliateWP now supports QR codes. Suitable for some businesses, for sure.

WP Courseware has a new Achievements Feature so you can award points and bades to students for completing courses or individual units. They also now have a feature to let students take notes while going through your course. Check out their changelog for all that’s new.

The Admin and Site Enhancements (ASE) plugin now has a PRO version. This plugin does a number of things and could actually replace multiple popular plugins into one. Which is obviously more efficient. I’m definitely going to test this one.

Whenever you’re ready, here’s how I can help you:

Concierge: I’ll be your “web guy”, helping to maintain your site for you do you don’t have to think about it. Also includes access to my agency plugin licenses, site analytics, and a massive discount on any potential project work on your site.

I’ll Do It For You: Via my technical services, I can dive into your site and take care of the complex stuff for you. Whether it be just some tweaks… or building out a full membership site and marketing automation funnel, I can ensure your WordPress site is working for you and not the other way around.

Book A Call Anytime. Via a private one-on-one call, I’ll make your business… my business. Easy peasy.

ONEPass – All Access Pass To Every Course In The Library. For as little as 25 cents per day, you can unlock every course in the Blog Marketing Academy library.

Here’s How I Can Help…

  • ConciergeI’ll be your “web guy”, helping to maintain your site for you do you don’t have to think about it. Also includes access to my agency plugin licenses, site analytics, and a massive discount on any potential project work on your site.
  • WP Speed Fix. Get the performance scores and core web vitals for your website fixed. Let me deal with the nerdy stuff. And let’s make your site purr like a kitten.
  • I’ll Do It For You: Via my technical services, I can dive into your site and take care of the complex stuff for you. Whether it be just some tweaks… or building out a full membership site and marketing automation funnel, I can ensure your WordPress site is working for you and not the other way around.
  • Book A Call Anytime. Via a private one-on-one call, I’ll make your business… my business. Easy peasy.
  • ONEPass – All Access Pass To Every Course In The Library. For one small one-time purchase, you can unlock every course in the Blog Marketing Academy library. For life.