Today, I interview the man behind popular WordPress performance plugins like CAOS, OMGF, and HELL.
- CAOS | Host Google Analytics Locally
- OMGF | Host Google Fonts Locally
- Host 3rd Party JS/CSS Locally & Clean/Optimize WP’s Header
This is officially my first interview at WPJohnny and hopefully continues the tradition of no-nonsense valuable info for my readers.
I want to showcase these hand-selected interviewees…explaining what services and solutions they offer, and leaving readers with helpful actionable info. And also I get to promote people I admire in the WordPress community.
I’ve been a big fan of Daan’s work ever since finding his incredible CAOS plugin. It does one task simply and elegantly…loading the Google Analytics JS script from my server so that my site doesn’t make an external call to Google servers. You’d think there’d be many other easy GA plugins but nope, most of the others are a mess.
CAOS works effortlessly, speeds up my site without adding any of its own load overhead or annoying my Dashboard with upsells and begging for reviews. Not long after, Daan came up with other genius simple plugins like OMGF (which loads Google fonts locally) and HELL (which loads external JS locally).
These are absolutely incredible plugins that truly speed up your sites by removing extra processes and proxies…unlike other plugins *cough cough* that try to speed up your load time by adding even more code! (ARGHH!)
Daan’s work is very elegant. Designed and coded clean, intuitive interface, easy for developers and non-coders to use. I love that his work is quality and with a true sense of community contribution. Had it been some other development firm, they’d be charging $8/month for these features or find some other way to monetize it.
Are we ready to meet Daan? (from here on out, it’s Daan speaking)
I’ve been fiddling with code since I was around 11.
With a book called Visual Basic for Dummies I created a game where you controlled a plate at the bottom of the screen and you had to catch bananas thrown down by – what was supposed to look like — a monkey.
On an IBM 386, 1MB RAM, no code editor, no syntax highlighting and – more importantly — NO EXPERIENCE. What I created back then in about a month, will probably take me a few hours today. 😊
At age 16 I started playing around with web design, using e.g. Frontpage and Dreamweaver, when it was still owned by Macromedia. I created a message board which allowed me and my friends to easily exchange messages, invites for birthdays, house parties, etc. I guess you could say I invented Facebook, back in 2001 😉
Fast forward to 2009 when I found WordPress, started blogging, and felt the immediate urge to maximize my blog’s performance. Back then it wasn’t much more than having a expensive VPS and implementing aggressive caching mechanisms, like APC, using W3 Total Cache.
Then, in 2013, Google Pagespeed Insights (PSI) was released and I was already used to having a perfect score in Pingdom. I confidently ran my website through PSI and, well. Let’s say PSI wasn’t impressed. I guess we could pinpoint that as the moment that Daan the WordPress Speed Optimizer was born.
My plugins: ‘A THIN LINE’
My plugins follow one principle: to implement services you need without sacrificing performance.
Although e.g. Google delivers us with great tools (Google Analytics, Google Fonts, etc.) Google tends to force their way upon us. While promoting performance (Google Pagespeed Insights) they don’t really keep in mind that some of their services actually lower performance. One example is Google Analytics with Enhanced Ecommerce enabled; have you ever noticed that after analytics.js is loaded, about 4-6 round trips are made to other servers? Although it’s all loaded asynchronously, that nagging loading icon in the browser’s tab, will definitely annoy some users: What’s this page still doing, everything seems ready?
With my plugins I try to walk that thin line: maximize performance, without breaking its feature set, while providing an easy/easier implementation of that service.
Optimize My Google Fonts (OMGF) does this for Google Fonts. Complete Analytics Optimization Suite (CAOS, pronounced ‘chaos’ 😉) does this for Google Analytics.
Recently I’ve been expanding my definition of maximizing performance, cause it’s not just about loading speed anymore is it? It’s about usability and privacy, too. In other words, that line I always walk has gotten thinner ever since GDPR was introduced. Because what good are CAOS and Google Analytics if everyone is just blocking it?
Enter CAOS’ Stealth Mode Technology (no ™, although I wish it was.) A feature I first implemented into CAOS in October of last year and another example of ‘a thin line’: a way to bypass Ad Blockers and protect your Google Analytics data, but still maintain your visitors privacy and rights, while increasing performance and not breaking its feature set – that line has gotten so thin, you can barely see it.
And I’m working on much more: I launched WoOSH! last February, offering professional WordPress Speed Optimizations and premium add-ons for CAOS (e.g. Super Stealth.) There I’m planning to bring WPML support to CAOS and currently researching a Stealth Mode equivalent for Facebook’s Pixel. On a more personal note, we’re expecting a daughter in July and if all goes well, we’ll be the proud owners of a new, bigger house by the end of this year!
Speed optimization tip for bloggers
I think the most crucial tip I can give at this moment is: if your website’s current source of income is ads, try to think of other ways to generate an income.
Ad Blockers are on the rise. It’s expected by the end of 2020 that ~50% of internet users will be using an Ad Blocker. In other words, it’s time to get creative. And if you really have no other option, take the time to (re-)decide on your ads placement and pick an Ad Publishing Platform that keeps performance in mind.
With my Speed Optimization clients, I’ve seen platforms that made ~500 requests, only to display 3 advertisements. And well, rule no. 1 in Internet Marketing is: a slow website kills conversion.
No, I will not be releasing a Stealth Mode for Adsense, as it’s impossible, irresponsible and nowhere near that precious thin line. 😉
That’s all I got!
Daan van den Bergh
Follow Daan’s work:
- Pro WordPress Speed Optimization services (starting at € 99,-): https://woosh.dev
- Free WordPress Optimization Tips & Tricks: https://daan.dev
- Follow me on Twitter: @Dan0sz