July 2019

BioIQ.com Speed Optimization Report

by Matías A Cruz and Horacio Duek for Kaleida

WordPress speed optimization has a big influence on any website because it starts a huge chain reaction. What starts as simple WordPress performance tuning ultimately influences everything; from traffic to a better user experience. It also influences search engines like Google, speed and performance have huge impact in page ranking.

According to a study by Strangeloop, a single second delay in website speed causes 11% fewer page views and 7% fewer conversions.

As the site accumulate more and more data and functionalities, the performance gets slower. With a lot of WP plugins available, it’s easy to create a full-featured website with a lot of neat functionality. These plugins however, can insert additional CSS and JavaScript files into the header which can hurt the site’s performance.

After all the optimization work, the performance of the BioIQ website -according Google Speed Insights- has improved 75%, on average for the analyzed pages.


Performance Improvement

Performance Score Before and After Optimization

Developed Tasks

Without digging into technical details, this is a brief description of the main tasks that were executed and have a direct effect on the page loading times.

Images optimization and compression

The BioIQ website has a lot of images which increase the pages’ size and make them slower. A WP plugin to re-compress all the images without losing quality was implemented. The plugin also compress and optimize new images during the upload process, that means new images added won’t need to be optimized. As result, all the images in website were reduced on average 15%. But PNG files (larger images with transparency) were reduced up to 75%. 

CDN (Content Delivery Network)

A CDN is basically a network of servers connected and geographically distributed to deliver the content of a website (images, videos, pages, etc.) from the nearest point of the network to the user, making the navigation faster. The main purpose is to provide high availability and high performance. A CDN provided by Pagely (the hosting company) was configured and implemented.

Cache system

Whenever someone requests to see a web page, WordPress dynamically creates a HTML version of it. This is a process that takes some time and slows down the site. With that in mind, it would be useful to have the finished HTML pages at hand all time – and that can be achieved that by enabling caching. Cache consists in static copies of the frequently visited pages to deliver them faster to visitors without querying the database and processing the code of the website. The default cache system provided by Pagely was replaced with a better plugin that provides more options ultimately improving the the caching system of the BioIQ website.

Files structure optimization

To improve the speed of a website it is key to have as few server requests as possible. Combining files into fewer and larger files to reduce the number of files that need to be downloaded is a great way to do this. Some useful concatenation and minifying tools were used to optimize the way JavaScript, CSS and HTML code is delivered and how assets are requested by each page, optimizing the quantity of files, their size and the order in which they are loaded by the client’s browser.

Before/After Comparison

In order to have a clearer picture of the actual speed of the BioIQ website, we tested it by speed-testing tools such as Google Speed Insights, GTmetrix and Pingdom.

Eight pages were analyzed: Home Page, Why BioIQ, Solutions for Employers, Solutions for Health Plans, Solution for Governments, Humanized Analytics, Data-Driven Engagement and Point of Care Navigation.

It is important to understand about speed tests is that a perfect score may not be possible for some sites or pages, particularly more complex ones. The reality is that on the web, every bit of added functionality comes with a certain tradeoff in speed.

Performance Score – Google Speed Insights

Load Time – Google Speed Insights

Total Page Size – GTmetrix and Pingdom Tools

Disclaimer: The performance tests results were executed by the following tools: Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom Tools and GTMetrix. Each may weigh individual things differently, but ultimately, they all check the same basic factors for site speed. Results can vary depending on may factors, mainly server requests and usage, locations, number of website visitors (including both users and robots), hosting server speed variations, and many more.