The article Why Your Search Rankings Are Dropping (and 7 Ways to Fix It) reminded me how important website speed is. Thanks Tim for linking that! I won’t link to the article because it employs the greatest numbers of “neo-popups” that I have ever seen and I’m disgusted by it.
For website speed, I used W3 total cache for a long time, but it hasn’t worked well for me since I switched to multisite. For multi site I’ve been really happy with WP super cache which isn’t as powerful but is very easy to set up.
This was my site before I added any caching utility to it, tested with the excellent Pingdom speed test. I trust it much more than testing in my own browser, because I’ve got the entire site cached already. I can even test from a server in the state of Texas, where the bulk of my readers happen to be.
I think the correct interpretation of this test is that my main content loads quickly (score of 87/100) but my page size is way too big, loading ancillary content far too slowly (slower than 85% of tested websites.)
I had to manually add the settings to my htaccess because I locked that file down pretty securely after a recent server hack. I didn’t bother posting about it because I don’t want this site to turn into a battered fileserver’s support group.
The new page is almost a full megabyte smaller, loads in a fraction of the time, and is now in the top 20 percentile rather than the bottom. My performance grade has actually shrunk, so perhaps it’s a completely worthless metric.
Testing with this great tool is free! Go to http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/ to test your own site and see how your numbers stack up to mine.
Link to free caching plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-super-cache/