Just recently I was fed up with my WordPress based blog. I was using a pre-canned theme and overall felt like the whole thing was sluggish and confusing in terms of usability and general visual appearance. As I was always jealous about dev.to’s lightning fast loading speed I thought hey – why not turn this into a statically generated page using Gatsby? I mean, static is the new hype so why not use it?
Gatsby was not the answer
After tinkering with Gatsby for quite a while I got something to work. The most difficult part was to export all WordPress posts into Markdown – which was difficult but doable. However, I wasn’t very happy with the themes available for Gatsby Blog. I wanted something extremely minimalistic but aesthetically pleasing at the same time. So, when I briefly checked one of my WordPress posts I noticed that the time to first byte actually wasn’t that bad and I thought: Mhh… what if I could just tweak my WordPress installation a bit and make it blazingly fast?
So, here are the actions I took:
- Found a WP theme which was visually close enough to what I wanted
- Overwrote with custom CSS to get it cleaner
- Removed all “Featured Images” from homepage
- Installed WP Fastest Cache and enabled all settings
- Registered my site at Cloudflare and have WP Fastest Cache push all static content to Cloudflare
- Installed plugin Disable/Remove Google Fonts
- Changed css
font-familyso it works without Google Fonts
- Used WP plugin Smush to compress all images
- Super clean new design
- Average time to first byte: 350ms
- Average full load in: 450ms
- 100/100 PageSpeed Insight Points for desktop computers
- 98/100 PageSpeed Insight Points for mobile devices
- Webpagetest.org results for speed:
Creating super-fast websites with WordPress/PHP is absolutely possible. The most important trick here is static caching and CDN usage. I’m a very happy webdev panda now 🐼. Got more tips on how to improve loading speed? Let me know in the comments below.
Question on SEO
If there are any SEO experts reading this – I removed all featured images from the homepage to improve performance and kept images only within posts. Would this negatively impact SEO?