How many times have I heard from experts in speed optimization “Scores no matter, the real speed matters”.
Of course, real speed matters, but the scores measure the speed, don’t they?
Does “scores no matter” mean the speed tools are not able to measure the real speed of a website? Or is there something else?
Most of the time there is something else, and it has to do with the browser cache.
If your website implements the browser cache, on the first visit when the assets are still not served by the browser cache, the page will be slower. The speed meters measure the speed without browser cache, and they will give a low score if the page is slow without browser cache.
If we assume that the speed meters measure properly the speed, saying “scores no matter” implicitly means “the speed at the first visit doesn’t matter”.
It will depend on the nature of the website. If you have a website with a lot of returning visitors, the speed of the first visits will be less important. If on the contrary, for you the first experience of new visitors is important, the speed without browser cache is essential, hence the scores if we assume the speed tool is measuring well.
If the tools are measuring well, scores in this case matter a lot.
You should ask yourself if the tool is measuring well, and if you are doing your best to reach good performance according to the use of the website, not if scores matter or don’t matter.
A way to understand if it’s a matter of browser cache is to clear the browser cache before visiting the website. If you notice a slow page loading without cache, now you know why the speed tool is giving you a low score.
If without browser cache you still see a fast page loading, only then you can say the tool is not giving a score that reflects the real situation.
According to my experience, the speed tools give scores that reflect the real situation without browser cache. Many times you can improve the speed of the first visit by cleaning up all the plugins that you don’t need on a specific page.
If you keep all the trash added by the plugins, when it’s served by the browser cache you may still have a fast website, but you can forget good performance on the first visit.
Many speed optimizers forget to clean up, and they only move assets from the head to the footer when it’s possible, implement the browser and server cache, combine and minify trash, and do all kinds of optimization but never really get rid of unused resources.
Cleaning up requires more work, and if you do not care you may risk miss resources where you should have them, but it’s a very important step in speed optimization.
First, you should clean up, then you can continue with the rest of the optimization.
To clean up the trash you can use Freesoul Deactivate Plugins. It will help especially for websites that have heavy plugins. It will not only clean up the assets but also remove database queries of the unneeded plugins. This means that you will have a lower TTFB even without server cache, and better performance without browser cache.
Then, of course, implement all other methods for the optimization.
Cleanup is only one of the steps, but it’s very important. Browser and server cache are very important too, but you should not rely only on those if you want the best user experience.
You can download here Freesoul Deactivate Plugins to start to clean up your website.