My name is Gijo Varghese, founder of WP Speed Matters, and a blogger (30%), developer (60%), and entrepreneur (10%). A WordPress speed enthusiast, from India, Kerala.
I was also the Co-founder and CTO of CornerCart, a messenger automation software for Shopify.
The Journey Began
I got my first computer and internet in 2008. Being born in a middle-class family, I always struggled to get a good internet connection.
I still remember the days when it took almost 15 mins to upload two photos for writing a blog post.
Upgrading the internet was not an option, so I started researching how to speed up the internet.
I ended up hacking Firefox to max out some network limits and other tweaks. During my college days, I was always the first to get my exam results even when university servers were flooded with traffic! 😅
This is how I became a web speed addict and got to know how web and browsers work.
Now, things have changed. My internet speed is 1500 times faster than it was 12 years ago. But most websites are still slow.
The Need for Flying Pages
Flying Pages Logo
I was in a quest for speeding up WordPress and found an amazing plugin by Google called Quicklink. What it does is it preloads pages in the background so that when a user clicks on a link, the page is loaded instantly.
I recommended it to all my friends on our Facebook group and via my blog. However, users started reporting that it’s crashing their servers. It also had many other issues like prefetching logout links, add to cart links, etc.
So I built a plugin from scratch to fix this – Flying Pages.
Flying Pages preloads pages in the background, but it throttles the preloading using a ‘max requests per second’ so that it won’t flood the server with traffic. I also provided a few more options like preload pages only on mouse hover, stop preloading if the server is busy, etc.
That’s how Flying Pages was born!
I’ve also built a few more plugins:
- Flying Images – Lazy load images natively or using JS, free CDN, and image optimization.
Most of the plugins I built are based on the feedback/requests I get from our group.
Currently, I’m working on a much bigger plugin for WordPress speed optimization, which will be an all in one solution.
Myself with my Brilliant Team
Currently, I’m a one-man army! I work from home, full time.
Gijo Varghese Workstation
Advice for Business Owners
I’ve built a lot of businesses and products in the past, some of them failed, others tasted success. After a lot of trial and error, here is my advice to anyone who is starting their business:
- Love what you do – One thing that I noticed in all my products/business is that whenever I built something that I was really passionate about, it went on to succeed.
If you’re starting up, I would suggest watching Pat Flynn’s 4 Types of Entrepreneurs. For me, everything started to change when I became a “passion-based entrepreneur”.
- Build a community – Before building any product, build a community of people who have similar interests or are passionate about it. This is something I regret that I didn’t do earlier for my products. A community can help you in a lot of ways, like product validation, feedback, early customers, marketing, and a lot more.
- Focus on a niche, combine skills – I’m a hardcore developer. I had a few blogs on development and yes, there was traffic but they weren’t successful. When I chose the niche ”WordPress speed up”, it immediately made the difference. I combined my skills in development and WordPress. Combining skills make you stand out.
WordPress & Beyond
We can already see that some people have started migrating away from WordPress due to speed and its scalability.
My goal is that anyone (even non-techies) should be able to create and run super-fast WordPress sites seamlessly.
I’m currently working on a bigger plugin for speed optimization, an all in one solution which will take care of everything, starting from caching to image optimization.
My aim is to achieve <40ms TTFB (time to the first byte) for all WordPress sites, anywhere in the world.
My Love for the WordPress Community
I frequently attend local meetups and WordCamps and currently, I’m preparing for a talk in a local WordPress meetup.
I also have plans to attend WordPress Asia next year. I would love to meet up with friends who I only see online!
How I Keep Myself Updated
I love reading articles and watching videos related to web performance.
Few resources that I follow:
- Addy Osmani
- Google Chrome Developers
- Chromium Blog
- Cloudflare blog
- Kinsta blog
- Dan Abramov
- WP Speed Matters FB group
I Have a Life Other Than the Work
I spend 1 or 2 hours in the gym daily. In the evening, I either hang out with friends or take a dip into the swimming pool.
Gijo Varghese with his Friend
I love swimming!