Why a Slow WordPress Backend Can Kill Agency Productivity

Why a Slow WordPress Backend Can Kill Agency Productivity
  • 5 min read

How much time do you spend on a website? Two minutes? Five? Maybe you spend 30 minutes on YouTube, Amazon, or Github. Now, how much time do you spend working on a website? A lot longer, right?

We asked around; most people who work on websites are there for an hour or more each session. They probably spend their entire working day logging into websites, waiting for them to load, completing a task, waiting for the changes to load, then moving on to the next task. The waiting can be distracting at best – frustrating at worst. While one plugin is updating you may even be switched over to another site to work on something else.

And that’s the problem when we talk about website speed; when you look down the SERPs, the conversation is all about our customers. Web workers on the backend aren’t really the focus of poor website speed, which is kind of ironic.

Your WordPress Agency Needs Fast Websites Too

While everyone knows website speed is crucial for conversion rates and general good user experience, there’s an overlooked victim: your agency’s internal productivity. A sluggish backend is a silent productivity killer, draining your time and money, and probably frustrating the heck out of your team.

Imagine your developers battling lag during theme updates, editors waiting for pages to load, or support reps struggling to assist customers due to a slow CMS. It happens all the time. Frustration mounts, deadlines get shunted, your bottom line suffers, and before you know it you’re an Instagram meme.

“Core Web Vitals are about more than just fast-loading websites – they are about websites that deliver. It all comes down to UX — having your websites load quickly so people can do what they need to.”


It’s Time to Talk About Backend User Experience (BUX)

Let’s face it, backend users like website admins, editors, shop managers, and developers spend significantly more time on a website compared to frontend users. While a customer might skim an article for a few minutes, or pop a few items into their basket, your team is under the hood for hours. They wrestle with the complex, all-important backbone of your business, yet, website speed discussions rarely consider their pain points. A slow WordPress backend is a true productivity killer!

This article is a wake-up call. It’s time to prioritize BUX and optimize your WordPress environment for the people who keep your agency running smoothly.

Time on Page: Let’s compare Web Workers with Customers

Backend user’s time on site:

  • Editors: 15 minutes – 1 hour per session (Varies based on content workload and editing depth)
  • Shop Managers and SEOs: 30 minutes – 2 hours per session (Could be longer depending on website complexity and tasks)
  • Website Administrators: 2 hours+ per session (They might still be logged in as we speak)
  • Support Tech: 2-6 hours per session. (Looking up WooCommerce order numbers and tracking info.)

Frontend user’s time on site:

  • Customers/Readers: 2 – 5 minutes per session (For quick tasks or browsing the news)
  • Engaged users/Researchers: 5 – 30 minutes per session (For specific product comparisons or in-depth content)
  • Shoppers/Consumers 30 minutes + per session (Shopping, videos, or gaming)

While probably very close to reality, these are hypothetical averages and can vary significantly depending on website type, individual goals, and specific tasks. Highly engaging content or tasks requiring user input on the frontend or maintenance on the backend might push those averages higher.

“(Companies should) nurture a performance-centric culture where speed is considered a priority metric by leadership, strategists, developers, designers, content practitioners and project managers”

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The Cost of Slowness: It’s Not Just Lost Sales, It’s Lost Patience

We all know website speed is crucial for customer experience. A page that takes ages to load leads to increased bounce rates and lost conversions. But what about the impact on your team? Slow backend performance is a productivity killer, costing your agency valuable hours and profits. Lost patience means mistakes. Mistakes cost money. 

Imagine your WooCommerce store manager constantly struggling to search for orders due to sluggish pages. What’s an inconvenience for them becomes a time suck for your agency, translating to higher operational costs. And let’s not forget your support team – looking up orders, processing refunds, placing orders for VIP customers. 

Don’t have an online shop? Consider these scenarios:

  • Content editors lose their creative flow waiting for pages to load.
  • Marketing teams get bogged down by lag times while optimizing landing pages.
  • Developers waste precious hours battling slow plugin updates and core upgrades.

How many users can your website handle concurrently – not just customers, but the backend? Can your support team assist customers while the marketing team works on copy, or do they have to wait? Backend lag times aren’t just isolated incidents; they’re bottlenecks impacting your entire team’s efficiency. We hate to say it but we will: time is money. You’re going to pay extra time for your team or extra money for performant hosting.

“Employees have high expectations from the business software they work with—it should empower people, not frustrate them or, worse yet, cause them despair.”


Investing in Backend Speed: A Win-Win for Everyone

Speed matters. Solving a problem faster means you’ve got time for other things. Like helping customers, tinkering with new products and solutions, or moving on to solve other problems. No-one likes high latency. Time to stamp it out.

Here’s an idea: Upgrade your hosting.

Upgrading your hosting to a managed provider can significantly improve server response times and scalability. This in turn benefits both your team and your clients. But don’t rush out immediately to upgrade to a more powerful server just yet. 

A faster machine can help, but some of the time the slowness resides on the software side: heavy code, too many requests of an external API, a database that does not scale – and many more things.

In addition to faster hosting, here’s how to advocate for site speed improvement within your agency:

  • Run internal speed tests: Use the tools at your disposal to measure backend performance regularly and across devices and use cases, highlighting the impact on user experience.
  • Calculate the cost of slowness: Estimate the time lost due to lagging pages and translate it into lost revenue to emphasize the financial impact.
  • Don’t forget CDNs: Our Cloudflare Enterprise Edge CDN support your minified files as well as ensure your website loads quickly around the globe. That’s not only important for your customers — your support team may be working remotely.
  • Optimize your WordPress environment: Implement caching plugins, optimize images, and minimize unnecessary plugins and page builders to further boost backend performance.
  • Spread awareness: Educate your team about the importance of site speed, not just for customers, but for their own productivity and the agency’s bottom line.

Remember, a fast website isn’t just good for customer experience; it’s an investment in your agency’s efficiency and financial success. By prioritizing internal user experience and optimizing your WordPress environment, you can create a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Beat the Backend Blues With the Fastest WordPress Hosting!

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