When you think of WordPress performance, what do you think of? Chances are you’re thinking of the backend administration interface just as much as the performance of your WordPress theme.
Regardless, you probably don’t hear too much about specialized WordPress performance. In most cases, a plugin and a better theme will do.
In the nearly 10 years I’ve been working in WordPress, I’ve seen it go through a lot. It’s gone from an exclusive blogging platform to a flexible CMS that powers complex systems like eCommerce, membership, and even social networks. At this moment, it is growing into the next interactive page builder with the advent of Gutenberg (which it must do in order to compete with platforms like SquareSpace and Webflow).
It’s been through a lot, and for the most part we are lucky to enjoy its growth and the benefits that come with it.
But along with the evolution of WordPress comes a growing cost for users and owners alike. They pay in lower performance, more maintainability, and an increasingly complex ecosystem to navigate.
The WordPress Performance Cost of Flexibility
Close to 35% of the web (at the time of this writing) get the power and flexibility of WordPress. But they also get the burden of performance and security management.
More plugins create more problems, and most websites have more problems. I’ve seen websites with 65 active plugins more times than I like to admit. But, unfortunately, the question of how many plugins are too many is too nuanced to answer any other way than it depends.
Flexibility is a beautiful gift, but it costs WordPress sites’ in load-time and generally become configuration nightmares for their owners.
And let’s be clear: slow websites directly impact sales.
Existing Performance Solutions?
This isn’t to say that there are no solutions to the problem. A lot of plugins exist out there that will automate a lot of the surface-level performance issues on WordPress websites. But these plugins also run the risk of over-optimizing and breaking things. Or they’re so complex on the configuration page that you end up having to know how to code, anyway.
These plugins can get you pretty far before you have to take matters into your own hands. At that point, you’re often left with configuration and maintainability nightmares, and a tangled mess of tutorials.
The truth is that these plugins can never optimize your site in a way that specifically addresses the contextual problems beneath its slow performance.
For example, they will minify and bundle assets, enable page caching, and clean up unnecessary scripts. But what they won’t do is understand your website.
The Full-Stack Performance Solution for WordPress
In most cases, frontend assets are only a fraction of the problems affecting your website performance. A multitude of other factors affects how it performs, such as:
- Server configuration
- Server location
- Plugin configuration
- Theme configuration
- Database queries
- Design style
And last but likely the most important piece: how all of those things work together. Sound confusing? Overwhelming? Terrifying?
You’re not alone, and I’m here to help.
If you’re fine with “good enough” speeds then I’m probably not for you. If you’re fine with maintaining your website yourself, then I’m also not for you. If you can set up your own hosting, keep it up to date and secure, optimize its performance (because it will get slow), and run your business at the same time — then I’m not for you.
And that’s totally fine! WordPress wouldn’t be WordPress without giving you the ability to bootstrap all these things yourself (and maybe even be successful at it).
But if all these things give you a headache? If you want it taken care of for you? Then we’re going to be a great fit.
At this point, there are four options for you to choose from that tackle (and finally fix) your maintenance and performance problems:
- Figure it out yourself and be totally boss.
- Subscribe to the Digest and get educated, for free.
- Hire me to develop a custom WordPress system for you.
- Choose a maintenance subscription and let me take care of everything for you, removing the laborious overhead of managing your website.