Can a poor performing WordPress site impact visitors and admins differently?


The short answer

Yes, a website can be slow for just your visitors, slow for only your logged-in administrators, or slow for everyone.

The long answer

Priority number one should be improving your frontend experience

The speed and overall performance of the frontend(what customers and visitors see) of your site can have a huge impact on your sales, conversions, and Google search engine ranking. If you have ever walked into your favourite clothing or electronics store and every sales rep seems to be on lunch break you understand the frustration of a subpar shopping experience. You don’t want to wait 10 minutes for someone to show up or walk across the whole store to find someone to answer your question; you want help now. After all, that’s why the store has sales reps, to help you make your purchase and improve your experience. If your e-commerce store is performing sluggishly you could be giving customers that same dreadful experience, driving them away.

Consumers looking for answers to a question doesn’t want to wait long to find out if you have the answers they seek. Even outdated research from Google, Akamai, and Aberdeen Group reinforces the obvious truth that visitors don’t want to wait for your site to load. The frontend performance can be easily improved by adding some caching tools and performing the improvements that a tool like Google’s PageSpeed may recommend. Things such as big images, videos, and social media widgets could also be affecting the experience for your visitors in a big way. Many of the frontend improvements can be done by adding a plugin or changing settings at your web host, and we will cover that more further along in this series.

But don’t forget about looking at your WordPress dashboard(admin) experience

Giving your customers a snappy experience can make or break your business, but making sure your WordPress dashboard isn’t slowing your administrators, editors, and store managers down can be the difference between having a very frustrated or extremely happy team. I have worked on websites where saving a post in the WordPress admin would take over 30 seconds, and the frustration level when you have to do that more than once grows exponentially. The administration experience sometimes is being bogged down by a huge database, bad plugins, or slow queries. Maybe your server is running out of memory when you are searching through all your old posts to find that one you need to edit. Fixing these issues in the dashboard usually takes a more hands-on approach to solve, like looking at error logs, the code of the site, and the database. External tools like PageSpeed or GTmetrix are not going to be able to access the logged-in areas of your site but most of their recommended fixes can be applied site-wide.

What to do next

Take note of how your site performs on the frontend ,and think about the negative impact that can have on your site’s revenues, traffic, and experience. Don’t forget to also keep an eye on your WordPress dashboard speed, and take note of pages that seem to be taking their time or longer than usual to load. If that problem persists it would be a good idea to investigate the issue further, to maintain your sanity, or make your administrative team happy.

The complete WordPress Performance series:
1. How do I start to improve the performance of WordPress?
2. Can a poor performing WordPress site impact visitors and admins differently?
3. HTTP Requests and your WordPress site
4. Images and WordPress performance
5. Caching and WordPress
6. Digging into WordPress performance issues with Query Monitor