Stick and Poke - Project Title

Results Summary

Improved page load times by 85%
Decreased page size by 41%
Reduced page requests by 81%

Client & Project

Stick and Poke Tattoo Kits® has a mission to make do-it-yourself stick and poke tattooing (aka hand-poke tattooing) safer by supplying their customers with high-quality, sterile, and professional-grade tattoo equipment. They have a variety of different kits a home poker can use and have over happy 10,000 customers since they started in 2013.

Page Load Times

Perfect Pixel Marketing LLC was hired by Stick and Poke to assist with improving their page load times, website design, and search engine optimization. The priority for their website was to fix the page load times as their original page load times were around seven seconds (sometimes 10 seconds), which is incredibly slow according to Google. In an update report by Google in February 2018, the average mobile landing page takes 15 seconds to fully load but 53% of mobile site visits leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. Not only was Stick and Poke at risk of losing half of the traffic visiting their store, their site was 133% slower than Google’s benchmark.
There are several factors that can slow down a website; the top five reasons are the following:

  1. Page Size – The amount of content that needs to be loaded on a webpage. This can include images, videos, and interactive modules. The recommended page size for a website is no more than 3.0 MB.
  2. Page Requests – The number of HTTP requests a website makes to a server for the website to fully load. This can include HTML, CSS, Javascript, and other website components.
  3. Browser Caching – Browser caching is storing static files of the website on visitor computers, which improves repeat visit load times. 
  4. Compression/Minification – Compression and Minification is the task of taking existing website code and optimizing, which can save a significant amount of data and speeds up downloading, parsing, and execution time. You can read more about caching, compression, and minification at
  5. Website Hosting – A hosting provider is an important factor in page load times because it needs to execute code, run database queries, and serve the files. Web servers are just like a home computer; the more RAM memory and computing power they have the faster they can perform tasks. Simple websites like informational company sites and blogs do not require robust hosting packages because they are not made up of a lot of components. However, larger websites, such as eCommerce websites, require high-performance servers to load quickly. 

We leveraged SEO and performance reporting products, Hubspot’s Website Grader and, to learn what might be causing slow load times and discovered that despite having a light homepage of 1.0 MB, it took 7 to 10 seconds for the website to load and the website made 143 http requests; according to HubSpot, a website shouldn’t have more than 30 HTTP requests. To be honest, this is a difficult task for any eCommerce website because they have so many different components that need to be loaded for them to work correctly. To reduce the number of HTTP requests, we removed any unnecessary plugins or modules from the website. We then installed caching, compression, and minification software that reduced the size and quantity of different HTML, CSS, and Javascript files that needed to be loaded for the website to load quickly. Lastly, we took a deep dive into the media folder and found a lot of image files that were unnecessarily large for website viewing; we manually removed any unnecessary files and optimized large files to reduce their file sizes while retaining their image quality.

Web hosting improvements

Although we saw an immediate improvement in HTTP requests, the website was still taking over seven seconds to load. As mentioned before, eCommerce websites require a lot of components to run effectively, which can take up a lot of server resources. It was my hypothesis that because Stick and Poke has a robust website and a lot of traffic, it was time to upgrade their site from a beginner’s shared server to a high-quality hosting package that could fit their needs. As a test, we cloned the website to a Perfect Pixel Marketing staging server to learn if migrating the website to a hosting package with greater resources would improve page speeds, which we saw a Google PageSpeed improvement from a score of 57% to 94%! After considering several popular hosting providers, we picked a well-known hosting provider that specializes in eCommerce websites like Stick and Poke’s, fits their budget, and gives then room for growth. The hosting package also included an increase in local storage, monthly bandwidth, upgrade to PHP 7.0, and a global Content Delivery Network.

The immediate speed improvement was astounding. As you can see below, the page load time improved by 85%! When we made the transfer, we essentially cloned the website from one server to the other without making any additional improvements other than what had been completed prior. 

Before and After - Page Speed Improvements
Disclaimer: All information shared on this page was acquired through public resources and are not from password protected sources (i.e. confidential or private information). We take privacy and confidentiality seriously and have purposely left out performance data and other information that would not be available to the general public. Any requests for that information will be denied by Perfect Pixel Marketing LLC as it is the property of the client and we no longer have access to that data or have past reports.

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