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UPDATE: Day 8 of 12-day SEO challenge – improving eNitiate Website page speeds

eNitiate Website | Day 8 of 12-day challenge | Google Pagespeed Test for Mobile | 13 Apr 2020 | Banner

This post gives a progress report on day 8 of the 12-day SEO challenge that I set for myself on 5 April 2020.

The goal of the 12-day SEO challenge is to improve eNitiate Website’s Google mobile pagespeed from a score of 24 (out of 100); to 50 by the end of the duration of the challenge. 

You can read about what inspired this challenge here

Graph 1 below shows how far off the mobile load speed was when I started 8 days ago.

eNitiate Site – Google Pagespeed Score | Mobile | 5 April 2020

eNitiate Website | Google Pagespeed Test for Mobile | 5 Apr 2020
Graph 1

3 posts have already been published about this 12-day challenge so far.

I intended to publish the progress report every 2 days in the beginning, but this frequency became too short since the last published report.

As a result, I have decided to publish the report every 4 days for the remainder of the duration of the challenge.

Day 8 of 12-day SEO challenge: progress report

The key focus for the 4 days leading up to this update was identifying plugins that are the key culprits for slowing the eNitiate Website’s mobile load speeds. 

Here is the process that I followed, based on the directions from this post:

  1. A copy of the eNitiate Website – called a staging Website – was created using WP Staging Pro plugin. This is called a staging Website.
  2. All the active plugins – a total of 28 – were deactivated on the staging Website.
  3. Each plugin was then activated individually.
    I checked  the Google Pagespeed Insights score with each individual activation, to see if there is a change up or down.
  4. I identified 6 plugins that were suspect.
    Click to Tweet. On checking when last this plugin was updated by its developers (>1 year go), I was not surprised why it created upload speed issues.
    I promptly deleted it on the live site. The eNitiate Website uses Elementor Pro and it does offer the same functionality, so there was no need for a replacement.
    Simple Custom CSS. This plugin was also practically abandoned by its developers, judging by the last time it was updated.
    I replaced the plugin with Simple CSS.
    Health Check for WP. The load speed did not change drastically during the testing of this plugin.
    So, I decided to retain it. 
    Jetpack. This is one of WordPress’s most used plugins, with over 5 million downloads.
    It is also one of the most frequently updated, with the latest version only 5 days old at the time of publishing this post. 
    I must admit, I also use this plugin most frequently than all the others on the eNitiate Website, and this is due to the live Pageviews stats functionality it offers.
    While Jetpack is quoted often as being notorious for affecting load speeds adversely, I decided to retain it as well.
    Contact Form 7 and its DB integration add-on. These two plugins turned out to be the biggest contributors to slowing of eNitiate Website load speeds.
    I have since replaced the plugins with a free version of Ninja Forms.

Going through all the active plugins on the eNitiate Website did not only assist in performing a proper health check thereof. Clearly, the plugin work I thought I did at the day 2 stage of this 12-day SEO challenge was not as thorough as I had initially thought ☹️. 

I was also able to reduce the overall number of the plugins on the eNitiate Website by 2, to now 26 😎.

Any improvement in the eNitiate Website load speeds for mobile as at day 8 of the 12-day SEO challenge?

Check Graph 2 below.

eNitiate Site – Google Pagespeed Score | Mobile | 13 April 2020

eNitiate Website | Day 8 of 12-day challenge | Google Pagespeed Test for Mobile | 13 Apr 2020
Graph 2

W-H-A-T?

As you can imagine, I almost fell off my chair!

The Google Pagespeed Insights mobile score has doubled since 5 April. (see Graph 1 above), which gave me a big kick. 

I could not believe that plugins can have such a huge impact on a site’s load speed. 

A quick verification

I needed to verify that indeed the improvement in Google Pagespeed Insights mobile score in Graph 2 was not a fluke. 

To do this, I compared the load speed scores for the desktop device for the same periods as for the mobile device (as per Graphs 1 and 2).

See the desktop load speed results in Graphs 3 and 4 below.

eNitiate Site – Google Pagespeed Score | Desktop | 5 April 2020

facebook.com | Google Pagespeed Test for Mobile | 5 Apr 2020
Graph 3

eNitiate Site – Google Pagespeed Score | Desktop | 13 April 2020

eNitiate Website | Day 8 of 12-day challenge | Google Pagespeed Test for Desktop | 13 Apr 2020
Graph 4

Needless to say, I am happy with the improvement of load speeds for mobile and desktop devices at this stage of the 12-day SEO challenge.

Focus for the remaining 4 days

I intend to spend the remaining 4 days of the 12-day SEO challenge exploring if there is an opportunity to make improvements related to the Content Delivery Network (CDN).

CDN is defined by webopedia.com as ‘a system of distributed servers that deliver pages and other web content to a user, based on geographic locations of the user, the origin of the webpage and the content deliver server’.

You can read more about how CDN’s contribute to faster Website load speeds here.

If the latest Google Pagespeed Insights scores in this post are anything to go by, I am on course to end this challenge on a high 👌🏾.

Posts in the 12-day SEO challenge series

Click on each image to go to the related post.

eNitiate Website | Google Pagespeed Test for Mobile | 5 Apr 2020
Start of The 12-Day Challenge
eNitiate Website | Day 2 of 12-day challenge | Google Pagespeed Test for Mobile | 7 Apr 2020
Day 2 of The 12-Day Challenge
eNitiate Website | Day 2 of 12-day challenge | Google Pagespeed Test for Mobile | 9 Apr 2020
Day 4 of The 12-Day Challenge
eNitiate Website | Day 8 of 12-day challenge | Google Pagespeed Test for Mobile | 13 Apr 2020
Day 8 of The 12-Day Challenge

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