Like it or not, Google is the unlikely champion of website speed. By integrating CWV speed and usability metrics as ranking criteria in the SERPs, platform creators are finally starting to take the issue seriously. As a user and fan, WordPress often frustrates me with their lackadaisical approach to speed issues. For the longest time, WordPress casually injected jQuery scripts into the header. They even added their bloated emoji script, which a lot of us had to remove manually.
Changing it Ourselves Isn’t Easy
If you read the Google documentation on how to fix speed issues on your site, you’ll see suggestions that you simply can’t implement if you’re an ordinary WordPress user without the help of plugins. For example, inlining critical CSS is a great idea. But it’s not an option for WordPress themes out-of-the-box. If you didn’t want to add another plugin to your site, I posted a workaround for inlining CSS using a “code-only” approach.
But these techniques are way out of the reach of most users who just want a solution that “works”. The max they can do is install a plugin.
But Plugins Contribute to the Problem
A New WordPress Performance Team
Some WordPress contributors are now pushing for a separate performance team with participation from Yoast and Google. Why Yoast? Earlier this year, the Gutenberg engineer Riad posted a big data analysis of how plugins affect the Gutenberg editor speed. This doesn’t impact end-users as much as it does writers and contributors. But it’s still important, and Yoast wants to reduce its speed footprint.
First Step – Name the Offending Plugins and Themes
I think providing this transparency will go a long way towards fixing the problem. WordPress could also give plugins a “speed rating” where they change the color of the rating from green to red depending on how severely it’s misbehaving.
Performance Framework for New Plugins
The road ahead will take a lot of work, but it must be done. It’s way past time for WordPress to take speed seriously, and now with competing platforms improving their CWV metrics, this is a task that can’t be deferred (pun intended!) further.
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!