[Note: there’s a new theme and other performance-related changes since this was written. A lot here is still relevant but you might also have a look here.]
A while back I noticed this site had cratered from a once-perfect Page Speed Insights score to an embarrassing 59. It took a few hours of work but I got it up to a score of 91 — more importantly, because that’s just a number, I’ve improved the actual page speed as much as I can. The things bogging me down now, and they’re not bogging very much, are out of my control unless I want to stop using Google Analytics or Jetpack for WordPress, both of which are worth a few additional milliseconds of load speed.
The only other issue is server response time. This site is hosted on GoDaddy, so what can I say — it is what it is.
Here’s more-or-less what I did and the plugins that helped:
- implemented a cache (WP Super Cache);
- concatenated stylesheets and put a single style block inline (Async JS and CSS);
- optimized images (EWWW Image Optimizer)
WP Super Cache and EWWW Image Optimizer don’t require configuration and can just be installed and activated and your performance will improve. The other two can break a site — you should know what you’re doing and be prepared for some effort. Back up your site before trying them.