Google thinks the web should be fast, and that’s kinda the final word. Here’s some (older but still useful) info on site speed as a ranking factor.
I recently found a useful website for testing your website’s speed – it checks the website by accessing it from multiple locations (in multiple countries) and thus gives a better test than just checking the speed in your own browser.
Check your website’s speed:
Here’s some google information on site speed and performance
I was thinking about all this because I was reading about this caching plugin for WordPress.
W3 Total Cache WordPress Plugin
The https://www.indeep76.com/ site gives a whole pile of data — attached is a screen capture made with PicPick (which is great for capturing a long scrolling window). When I get some results from making the changes suggested, I’ll post an update.
In the meantime, I’ll just post some comparisons of a newer WordPress install of mine that’s a little easier to mess with since it has less going on.
Before W3 Total Cache
Page Speed is the overall download speed of all elements of the page, including external loadable elements (scripts, images, counters). According to these data download speed of the main page was 2.393 sec, with the document size amounted to 321.48 Kb.
Enable GZIP Compression
This is a good practice to give the user content in compressed form. We’ve detected 134.01 Kb of content that could be compressed. By compressing content you can achieve the size of ~ 33.5 Kb (saving 100.51 Kb).
After W3 Total Cache
Page Speed is the overall download speed of all elements of the page, including external loadable elements (scripts, images, counters). According to these data download speed of the main page was 1.967 sec, with the document size amounted to 146.98 Kb.
That seems like a lot of results – going from a document size of 321.48Kb to 146.98 Kb just for installing a plugin and turning it on (without knowing any aspects of fine-tuning it or even how it works).
BUT (BIG BUT)… If you are generating random content (for example: rotating ads, putting up links to random previous posts, etc.) this plugin will mess with that. I need to look a lot further to see how to get the best of both worlds.
UPDATE: January 22, 2011
Just having this plugin activated (even though I did everything I could to disable it) makes it impossible to debug weird site errors. I was unable to make any sitewide changes and see them on a reliable basis when this plugin was activated even with all of its settings set to disable. So I was forced to deactivate it. Overall, it causes too much pain in too many weird ways — even though the idea seems sound.