When it comes to running a successful aggregator website, speed is crucial. Users expect fast-loading pages and a slow website can lead to high bounce rates and decreased user engagement. One popular WordPress theme that caters to the needs of aggregator websites is Bimber by ThemeForest. In this review, we’ll take a closer look at the speed performance of the Bimber theme and evaluate whether it meets the expectations of a fast-loading website.

The Challenge of Speed for Aggregator Websites

Aggregator websites are inherently image-intensive and can have hundreds of JavaScript HTTP requests. Due to syndications, ads, and other offsite assets, aggregator home pages can easily accumulate over 300 HTTP calls, resulting in above-average page weights in the multi-megabyte range. Additionally, aggregator websites often incorporate resource-intensive plugins like Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google Analytics, YouTube, and more. While there’s nothing wrong with using such plugins, it’s essential to balance their functionality with the speed and optimization of your website, especially for mobile users.

To achieve optimal speed for aggregator websites, value analysis is necessary. This analysis includes evaluating the combination, simplification, elimination, standardization, and substitution of components to align with site goals. It’s tempting to add numerous features to aggregator sites in the pursuit of increased revenue, but it’s crucial to evaluate metrics and focus on the 20 percent of assets that provide 80 percent of the profit-producing features.

Bimber WordPress Theme: Lightweight Aggregator Theme?

Bimber is marketed as a “lightweight” aggregator theme with a focus on creating viral and buzz-worthy content. While these claims may seem appealing, it’s essential to examine the objective test results to determine the theme’s actual speed performance.

Test results for the Bimber theme vary depending on factors such as the test date, location, and testing tool used. Load times ranged from the best-case scenario of 1 second to the worst-case scenario of 5 seconds. Similarly, page weights varied from 830kB to 1.7MB. These wide-ranging results make it challenging to establish a definitive benchmark for Bimber’s speed performance, especially considering the changing parameters of different tests.

It’s important to note that the average internet page weight today is around 2.3MB. None of the test reports for Bimber used a demo page of that size. Additionally, aggregator sites typically have above-average page weights, often exceeding 4MB. This suggests that achieving fast load times (under 2 seconds) for mobile users may be challenging with Bimber or any other aggregator theme.

Test Results from External Sources

Bimber has been frequently featured in articles dedicated to fast WordPress themes. However, it’s crucial to approach these claims with caution and examine the specific test results.

One article claims that Bimber achieved a GTMetrix Score of PageSpeed 89%, Yslow 80%, with a load time of 3.64 seconds and 47 requests. Another test conducted in 2016 reports a Bimber load time of 1.5 seconds with a Pingdom score of 84/100. These results seem promising, but it’s important to consider whether they accurately reflect real-world aggregator situations.

It’s worth noting that the Bimber demo page used for these tests may not represent a typical aggregator website. The demo page may be a best-case scenario or a simplified version that doesn’t account for the hundreds of usual HTTP requests and offsite assets present in a real-world aggregator site.

Google PageSpeed Insights and Time to First Byte (TTFB)

Bimber’s advertising page claims that the theme is optimized for Google PageSpeed. While this claim may sound impressive, it’s essential to understand that PageSpeed scores are not significant factors in Google’s ranking algorithm. Google primarily focuses on Time to First Byte (TTFB) as a measure of website performance. Bimber can achieve a good TTFB of 322 milliseconds under the right conditions, which primarily depend on the hosting service.

However, it’s important to note that TTFB accounts for less than 1 percent of Google’s algorithm. While speed is a major factor in user experience (UX), it’s not a significant SEO ranking factor.

Analysis of Bimber’s Performance

To better understand Bimber’s performance, we conducted our own tests using WebPagetest.org, an open-source tool sponsored by Google.

Our test results showed that Bimber’s demo page had a weight of 1.3MB. The first view (cleared cache) took 3 seconds to load, while the repeat view (primed cache) loaded in 2 seconds. The fully loaded time ranged from 1.7MB in 5 seconds (cleared cache) to 3 seconds (primed cache). These results indicate that the demo page employs “lazy-loading” techniques for approximately 400kB of assets.

Despite not using a dedicated lazy-load plugin, Bimber seems to incorporate lazy-loading functionality, potentially through the Google CDN feature or built-in theme capabilities. Most images on the demo page are stored in the media library, and the page also utilizes minification and content delivery network support through the W3 Total Cache plugin. However, it’s worth noting that alternative caching plugins like WP Rocket may offer better performance.

Other factors affecting Bimber’s performance include the presence of Facebook API JS libraries, which caused a 1.5 to 2-second delay on the demo page. Additionally, minification and concatenation of JS and CSS files, utilization of the Google CDN, and the presence of Open Graph Protocol and Twitter Cards contribute to the overall performance.

Conclusion: Bimber Theme Pros and Cons

Bimber offers an extensive set of features that can benefit aggregator websites. Its mobile user experience is commendable, and its affordable price tag of $49 makes it an attractive option for those seeking to create viral and buzz-worthy content. However, achieving load times below 5 seconds with Bimber will require careful evaluation of every HTTP request’s contribution to the site’s value. Optimization efforts should focus on reducing delays caused by external calls and optimizing image compression.

Ultimately, Bimber’s speed performance depends on the specific implementation and optimization efforts of the website owner. While Bimber may not be the fastest theme available, it provides a solid foundation for building an aggregator website with engaging content.

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