Comment on WordPress Theme Development by SEO Dave.
Currently working on performance issues (the sort you get from Google PageSpeed Insights), have added a new Performance options page to Stallion with advice and tools. For example added the ability to cache widgets individually which can improve performance because each widget requires accessing the database to grab the relevant data. By caching a widget (as a HTML snippet: like a template file) there’s less strain on a server. Works in conjunction with other caching plugins like WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache, they cache entire pages, if a page hasn’t already been cached at least the widgets have.
Added Gravatar caching (just finished it), when you run a WordPress site through various performance measuring tools they show Gravatar images as an issue because the expire headers are set to just 5 mins (might as well not be cached) and they have variables in the URL. I guess it’s because your average Gravatar user when adding a new image for their email address would think it’s broken if the cache was say 7 days and would contact Gravatar for support, so they set the cache to 5 mins. Just finished the feature, so not tested rigorously yet, but looks perfect. By caching locally your server takes control of caching and compression, as long as the server is setup correctly it will improve performance.
Ran all Stallion built in images through an image optimizer, so they won’t be flagged by performance tools as not fully compressed in future. Timthumb though after it resizes images (for the thumbnails) didn’t appear to be caching them to the same amount, so trying to fix that (not sure if it’s possible). Timthumb images also have queries in the URL, so for your average users (I’ve found a solution for me, see below) I might have to find an alternative to Timthumb (found a few possibilities).
Tried out the Google PageSpeed Apache module (yes, Google has an Apache server module for speed) on one of my servers, you can see the results at seo-consultant-services.co.uk. The module isn’t part of Stallion (basically advanced server stuff) when you view source you can see some strange code like images are turned into data: (images starting: src=”data:image/jpeg……), the PageSpeed module fixes a lot of things like removing queries from URLs. When I run seo-consultant-services.co.uk (which is on a server with the PageSpeed module installed and W3 Total Cache Plugin and latest development version of Stallion) through the FireFox PageSpeed Insights Addon a rating of 95/100 with all but one issue being off site issues (AdSense, Analytics, Stumbleupon…), only onsite issue is minify HTMl and it’s only a 352byte improvement. Through the Chrome version of the plugin it scores 88/100 with all but two issues not offsite, onsite improvements are one Timthumb image could be better compressed and there’s a few small bits of inline CSS. In the browser versions scores Mobile 88 and Desktop 93 with two issues onsite (CSS file is render blocking and the thumbnail images are listed as not fully compressed). These are very good results, but I want better.
Basically got that site and server running about as good as it gets, to get better numbers will take finding an alternative to Timthumb and improving off site resources which we have no direct control of (though figured out Gravatars by caching locally, so you never know :-)).
This site seo-gold.com is running the same Stallion code and main caching plugin (W3 Total Cache: great plugin for caching) server settings other than the Google PageSpeed Apache module. Running the same tests give similar results: Mobile 88 and Desktop 93 and with the plugins Firefox 97/100 and Chrome 94/100.
The numbers vary depending on what the AdSense ads are loading, so you can loose 10 points sometimes with some ads because the analysis includes the ad output.
Not thought to test with AdSense off :-)