I see it every single day as a moderator of Facebook WordPress optimization group WP Speed Matters, complaints about paid website speed services that are totally ripping people off.
I feel bad for them, most people are simply trying to improve their GTmetrix or Core Web Vitals scores and willing to spend money to improve their page results. It almost always goes wrong.. Not only aren’t you getting what you pay for, these ‘speed specialists’ usually do it completely wrong and can cause more harm than actually helping your website performance.
3 Types Of Website Speed Services You Need To Know About
From my experience, I put speed optimization that you can pay for in 3 different camps and you need to be weary with all of them!
1. Fiverr Scam Artists
This one upsets me the most, you don’t have to look any further to notice that Rocket is spelled ROKET – Stay clear of Fiverr at all costs if you are looking to get your website optimized!
“I’ll speed up your website for $5”
That sounds pretty amazing and even more suspicious.. Optimizing a website can take hours to do it right, there are so many moving parts before it’s done.
There is a technique that I’ve seen recently from Fiverr and the most crooked out of all of them because it’s so sneaky!
The first time I saw this in the wild was when a member gushed over his 100/100 score in Core Web Vitals, getting a perfect score in PageSpeed Insights is very difficult to do.
Curious, I went to look at his website and it was full of things that are very difficult to optimize for, the site also took a good 3 or 4 seconds to load.
I ran the test again myself manually and noticed that the thumbnail images for desktop and mobile were empty.
After some investigation, this Fiverr guy simply bypassed the user agents required to test the page — essentially rendering it as a blank page, telling Google to ignore everything there and compile the speed score anyway. Zero optimization done.
The most common Fiverr gig will have someone use a free WordPress caching plugin, use all the right settings, and just link to your GTMetrix desktop score. That might have worked before, but that was long before Core Web Vitals became the official standard.
Yes, you might get a decent desktop GTmetrix score that they will be quick to point out, but you are almost certainly still failing your Core Web Vitals – especially on mobile.
Lastly, I’ll also point out that some Fiverr gigs promote using a premium caching plugin like WP-Rocket to optimize your website.
That sounds great because a single WP-Rocket license costs $49 per year, but the gig only costs $5
The developer will usually say they have an infinite license and how they can offer you this amazing deal, but the truth is that they are more likely to be using a nulled version that may either completely break your site at some point in the future, or make it vulnerable to hackers.
So under any and all circumstances, Fiverr is a complete scam and you need to stay far away from anyone offering you their optimization gigs there.
2. Independent Contractor Speed Specialists
Let me say that I know many excellent independent contractors that offer optimization services, worth every penny, and would LOVE to have them on my team! But I’m not talking about the real experts out there, they are few and far between.
I would say that most independent contractors have good intentions, but not good enough to really get the results you are ultimately looking for.
I interviewed one developer recently to actually work here with me, a really smart guy that had optimized many websites mostly for existing clients of his. We jumped on a call.
The first thing I always ask is to show me examples of their work, let’s run some tests and see what you know and the type of results we can offer WPCoreWebVitals customers.
I was shocked not because his results were amazing, but because they were in the 50-70% range and he was genuinely pleased with what he’s done for his clients. Remember website speed services aren’t about scores, Core Web Vitals measures page experience.. Things like LCP, CLS, and FCP passing scores correlate to a healthy CWV outcome and means a well optimized page.
He explained that he had significantly increased his client scores, but not nearly enough. There was much more to be done.
Most independent contractors will much like Fiverr guys boast irrelevant GTmetrix desktop scores and don’t pass Core Web Vitals.
To no surprise, the majority of contractors don’t have their own websites either, and you really don’t know anything about them other than they sit behind a computer somewhere in the world out there.
How Much Does A Good Independent Contractor Speed Specialist Cost?
Good question. Of everyone I know about the industry for small to mid-sized websites, optimization should run you around $1000 to start. That’s what I see most often quoted and depending on the complexity of the website will see the costx go up from there.
My suggestion when trying to find the right person to speed up your site is to ask for references and examples, definitely jump on a call with them, and put them to the test. Finally offer a 50% upfront payment and 50% upon completion payment arrangement to keep them honest and make sure they do what they promise. Be careful and do your homework, there are good ones out there and there are bad ones too.
3. Website Speed Performance Agency
Sorry for the lousy stock photo here, at least he’s looking all professional and donning a dress shirt.
This last category for me is actually the most surprising, you would expect speed performance agencies to be the best in terms of quality, but from my recent conversations with a few of them, those expectations didn’t materialize at all.
They didn’t really understand what Core Web Vitals mean.
Two of these agencies come to mind, each with their own set of circumstances as to why I was so surprised with what they told me.
The first company I talked to was because I’ve known the owner for a few years with established clients and basically manages websites from social content, development, and hosting. I talked to a mutual friend about WP CoreWebVitals and he indicated that the company was also offering optimization services.
I couldn’t resist, I jumped over to the website to take a look and saw that optimization was a big focus on what they offer. They had before and after test score screenshots with customer examples, so I started testing them myself.
Again, they were showing GTmetrix desktop scores, not Google PageSpeed Insights mobile scores. None of the sites including the main company site even got close to passing vitals.
I ended up jumping on a call with that’s turned into an ongoing conversation for the last couple of weeks, real website optimization is work and it’s not easy.
The second company I talked to was more surprising because they make some loud claims, they also have been around for a while and boast servicing thousands of websites. All they do is make websites faster.
I’m always concerned that I won’t have enough speed specialists on my own team in case things get busy here, so I asked them what type of agency relationships do they offer for companies that want to outsource work to them.
They totally muddled my question to them, saying that they don’t do speed — They do Core Web Vitals!
I reminded them what my domain was, what we do here and told them that I ONLY worry about vitals.
They were quite proud to offer ‘around 60 on mobile and 90 on desktop’ to their clients and were expensive to boot.
With that in mind and the fact they offered flat-rate pricing to customers, that was a very short email conversation.
So even the companies that have the illusion of looking to be more established and offering official website speed services, it doesn’t mean guaranteed results.
I’m not saying we’re perfect for that matter either.
This is a brand new service and I’m fully expecting to hit a few brick walls here in our first few months, but we’re approaching how we work with clients the right way by asking lots of questions upfront, offering personalized services with opportunities to hook up with us over ZOOM and ultimately interact directly with the people behind what we do here.