For the first few months of it’s existence, this website was slow. I wasn’t sure what the problem was; I thought that maybe I needed more compute (the site is running on a t2.micro EC2 instance). Fortunately, before I switched instance sizes, I did some reading online.
The most helpful site -found here – lists 15 steps to improve performance. After making many of the recommended changes, I found that the largest impact was due to enabling a Content Delivery Network (CDN) and using caching.
I used W3 Total Cache for my cache changes. For my CDN, I used Amazon CloudFront. CloudFront was easy to set-up. Though W3 Total Cache has an option for enabling CDN, I used the WP Offload plugin (as it was already enabled to access my AWS account).
And, just like that, my response times went from 5-8 seconds to 1-3.