How to Fix “Avoid an Excessive DOM Size” in WordPress: A Practical Guide

The PageSpeed recommendation to “avoid an excessive DOM size” is a tricky one for WordPress site owners. There isn’t a plugin that can magically fix this for you. You, the site owner, will need to make some changes to your content.

Most of the articles you’ll find on this topic are going to go into the technical things to do which aren’t possible for non-developers. However, this guide is a practical one for WordPress site owners.

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How to Install and Set Up WP Rocket

I’ve been working with WP Rocket’s support team for a number of years, so I’m not only intimately familiar with the plugin, but I’ve also seen a lot of mistakes that customers make when they attempt to use it.

Even though it’s one of the easiest WordPress caching plugins to use, speed optimization is inherently technical and complex. It’s common to get confused or overwhelmed when using optimization plugins.

But here you have the “ultimate” guide, from the horse’s mouth. Even if you don’t use WP Rocket specifically, many of the guidelines apply to caching plugins in general.

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Reduce unused JavaScript in WordPress

Most WordPress site owners will see the recommendation to “reduce unused Javascript” when they run a PageSpeed test.

The technically complete solution is out of reach for most site owners, but there is an effective shortcut solution for reducing unused JavaScript on your WordPress site that I share below.

What does “reduce unused JavaScript” mean?

JavaScript (JS) is a type of code used on website mostly for interactive elements like sliders, animations etc. Compared to CSS or images, it is much more resource intensive so it takes longer to process when your page is loading. It’s especially bad for mobile performance.

For best performance, you should aim to have as little JavaScript as possible on your site.

Loading JavaScript that isn’t even used on the page is a waste of resources and processing power, and that’s what this PageSpeed recommendation is getting at.

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Improve the mobile speed of your WordPress site

If you’ve ever run a PageSpeed or other speed test for the mobile version of your site, you’ve undoubtedly been horrified by the low speed and score compared to the desktop version  of your site.

In this post I’ll explain:

  • Why mobile performance is typically worse
  • The primary cause of slow mobile pages
  • How to create mobile-specific versions of your pages
  • How to remove unnecessary files from your mobile pages

Optimizing for mobile does take a bit of extra effort since site owners are usually “retrofitting” their sites for mobile performance.

If you are starting a new site, it will be easier if you consider mobile performance from the start, and make it a priority.

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How to avoid enormous network payloads in WordPress

If you are using Google PageSpeed Insights to test your WordPress site, you’ll see this “avoid enormous network payloads” warning if the total size of your page is more than 1.6MB.

It sounds technical, but this is actually one of the recommendations that you as the site owner have the most control over. Unlike some PageSpeed recommendations, you can fix this one!

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How Will Google’s Core Web Vitals Affect Your WordPress Site?

Core Web Vitals are the 3 key metrics that Google believes indicate healthy performance for your web site.

Whether you agree with their selection of metrics or not, soon you will not really have a choice.

Unlike their previous PageSpeed metrics, which did not impact ranking at all, Core Web Vitals will eventually be used as a ranking signal.

Today, we’re building on this work and providing an early look at an upcoming Search ranking change that incorporates these page experience metrics. We will introduce a new signal that combines Core Web Vitals with our existing signals for page experience to provide a holistic picture of the quality of a user’s experience on a web page.
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