Food blogging is very competitive, and with so much great content, pagespeed can make a difference in ranking.
This is because Google knows its users want content that isn't just relevant, but is also a pleasant experience to view.
We've audited hundreds of sites and every problem we've seen can be solved by:
- Theme: some themes have outdated functionality, we recommend the Feast Plugin with one of our themes to solve this (no surprise there) - follow the Feast Plugin Setup once installed
- Pagespeed plugin: pagespeed optimization is highly complex and requires highly specialized, expensive developers - the only plugin we recommend is WP Rocket combined with our recommended WP Rocket settings
- Ads: the only 2 ad networks who have invested in pagespeed optimized ads are Mediavine and AdThrive - if you're running anything else, you'll have problems that can't be solved by anything other than removing them. See: when should I start using ads
- Plugin audit: if you're still running into issues after installing and configuring WP Rocket, the issue is most likely outdated plugins that haven't been built with pagespeed in mind, perform a plugin audit and remove or replace any plugins with known issues
- Hosting: if you're not on a good quality host, nothing else you do can solve this. We recommend the managed WordPress plans (typically around $35/month)
While it's always ideal to have a fast, responsive site, your pagespeed won't hold you back in the first 12 months of starting a blog, and you can skimp on the hosting and WP Rocket if you really want.
After 12 months (roughly 100 high quality recipe posts), you have to invest in yourself and your blog which means spending money on proper hosting and well developed and supported plugins. There's no way around this.
There's been a lot of discussion around pagespeed recently and updating themes and theme frameworks, and if you're running our theme + the Feast Plugin:
Your theme is not the problem.
It's all the other garbage that has accumulated over the years. How do we know this? Because this is what your pagespeed looks like without all that other stuff:
What you really need is a plugin audit.
just wanted to say a huge thanks for your advice - followed everything you've said regards headings and formatting (will follow better recipe layout in future posts) and my lighthouse score has shot up to .... drum roll..... 96! this is something that was driving me mad to sort out before as i couldn't work out what i was doing wrongElla
Every theme and framework out there will require a plugin audit to perform well, period.
Chasing an arbitrary pagespeed score is unimportant - 80/100, 90/100, 100/100 - they're all the same. When it comes to pagespeed:
Either you're being penalized, or you're not.
There is no "fast score boost".
Anything over a 70/100 means you're not being penalized.
Should you be trying to make your pages load quicker for user experience? Yes, but you have to trade off against reconfiguring the whole site.
Core Web Vitals
Check out the Core Web Vitals post.
Hosting is priority #1, no amount of host-specific "optimization" plugins or bandaids offered by bad hosts will be a substitute for this. We only recommend two hosts here:
If you're just starting on a budget, get on the BigScoots Shared Hosting plan.
When it comes time to upgrade on these hosts because your server is struggling, don't hold back. It's a necessary expense.
These hosts perform fine and aren't likely a source of issues:
No affiliate links here.
Properly size images
The "properly size images" warning happens because you're not lazyloading images. To resolve this:
- Make sure you're running WP Rocket with lazyloading enabled
- Make sure your images are below the fold, not displaying any above the fold
- Make sure you're not loading images from a third party (eg. Gravatar, Jetpack)
Ultimately, this warning has no impact on pagespeed, see the FoodiePro.com PSI report for proof:
Image file size does not affect pagespeed.
WebP has zero impact on pagespeed score and we don't recommend or support using it.
The biggest issue we see is outdated setups or unnecessary plugins. The only plugin we recommend for pagespeed is WP Rocket because it has:
- critical path CSS
- CSS + JS optimization + delivery
- external resource prefetching
See the full SEO for food bloggers post for WP Rocket configurations.
Perform a complete plugin audit to eliminate other plugins that may be causing pagespeed issues.
We recommend simply removing any of the following:
- Smashballoon, WP Instagram Widget, or any instagram widget
- Elementor, Divi, or any pagebuilder that isn't the block editor (Gutenberg)
- Note: the block editor is a core part of WordPress, do not install the Gutenberg plugin
- W3 total cache, WP Super Cache, WP Fastest Cache, anything that isn't WP Rocket
- a3 Lazy Load, or anything that isn't WP Rocket
Note: if you're on a managed plan with NerdPress, ask them for help pruning plugins from your site.
Ads from any network will hurt pagespeed and cause CLS issues.
Currently, Mediavine and AdThrive at the forefront of ad delivery and pagespeed and offer an acceptable tradeoff when it comes when it comes to
Lab data that varies from test to test is the result of internet traffic, load on Google's servers, your server load, and cache status.
The best test you can perform is when you're not making changes and it's off-peak hours.
Making changes to your site often forces the regeneration of your cache. This can happen at the page level, site-level. It can also trigger down-stream effects, with CDNs being refreshed and fetching multiple pages.
Always wait an hour to test your site after an hour of being logged out or making any changes.
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