You are probably familiar with the following story: you spend a lot of time reading about how to speed up your WordPress blog, and install tools and free plugins to do so. Then you (or your client) make a seemingly small change to one of your pages, and your page speed suddenly falls off a cliff.
If you are serious about improving your website speed, you should be checking your speed regularly, in which case you can spot this problem pretty quickly. However, it would still be nice if there was an automated way of checking your WordPress site speed every time you make a change. Thankfully, there is a solution.
That solution is to configure Google Lighthouse to perform speed audits on demand for your WordPress site. Setting this up can be a little long-winded, but is also not that complicated for the advanced user. In this article, we’ll explain why and how you should set up Lighthouse CI for your WordPress site.
An Intro to WordPress Speed Testing
First let’s take a closer look at why you need to speed test your WordPress site, and the standard ways that are available to do that.
There are essentially two reasons why your website – whether it is based on WordPress or not – needs to be fast. One is simply that the attention span of the average web user is already very short, with 47% of consumers expecting a web page to load in less than two seconds, and they will quickly abandon a page if it takes too long to load. For this reason, reducing load times is a crucial concern for e-commerce stores in particular.
The second reason is a little more technical, but no less important. Google has been utilizing site speed as a ranking signal since 2010. As a result, the speed of websites has become an ever more important factor in how far up the Google SearchRank your page appears.
For this reason, Google’s own PageSpeed insights is a key tool commonly used by SEO specialists and marketers, since it gives direct access to the system through which the Google search algorithms assess page speed.
These considerations apply to WordPress just as much as they do to sites running on other platforms. Because of this, and due to the market dominance of WordPress, there are now several tools available to test the speed of your site. These range from one-off browser-based checks to fully-featured desktop software suites that will give you a detailed rundown of how every page on your WordPress site is performing.
Google Lighthouse and WordPress
One of the most important and popular tools for assessing the speed – and the general quality – of websites is Google Lighthouse. Up until quite recently, Lighthouse was used almost exclusively by developers and other techie types. But Google has worked hard to make it accessible for the average user, and it is growing in popularity as a speed testing tool
This article was written by Kyla and originally published on WPExplorer.