Everyone knows that speed is important when it comes to having a successful site. Humans and bots alike will favour your site if it loads faster than all the others.
Some of our clients rely on Google PageSpeed Insights as the main tool to measure speed, but this isn't the best choice.
The Google PageSpeed Insights tool does not measure speed. Out of all their sub-tests, only one actually uses time-to-load as a unit: "server response time" -- and it's very vague.
All other sub-tests should be considered very broad good-practice recommendations. In other words, you could achieve a grade of a 100 and still have a relatively slow site.
Some recommendations could even be considered outdated. Take concatenation of scripts, for example. These are good techniques if you are on HTTP/1.1. But if your site has been upgraded to HTTP/2 (through HTTPS), then it's actually a better course of action to leave files separated.
Other recommendations are plain impossible for some sites. If your site has external elements (Instagram widgets, Youtube embeds, sharing buttons -- you know, the usual) chances are your site will never hit higher than 80% on the PageSpeed test. This is because you can't optimize those external applications (see more on this here). Even if everything else on your site is up to their standards, that part is out of your jurisdiction.
It's definitely worth it for sites that are custom built and you are willing to pay for the extra complexity. However, it's not worth it if you are using an off-the-shelf plugin.
If you are hosted by us, your site already follows these recommendations:
Even if the Google Test shows these recommendations, you can rest assured that your site has these enabled. Sometimes the recommendations could be triggered by external applications, but as we discussed, there is not much you can do about it.
And then, there are some recommendations that Google won't include, but we still provide:
These will impact your loading speed significantly more than minifying your scripts or inlining your above-the-fold CSS.
If your want to measure speed, we recommend tests like Dareboost (paid), Pingdom and GTmetrix (both free). They include similar information to Google PageSpeed Insights, but they actually are focused on speed -- even though they don't have "speed" in their names.
If you'd like to really understand where your site is at, book in for a WordPress Speed Report by Performance Foundry where we can apply our years of experience and other great tools to give you the leverage and knowledge needed to improve your site speed.