For my fellow website creators and bloggers:
Our site runs a customized WordPress theme, and while I really liked the old theme (Afterlight), the images and Google fonts made it load slowly, which is really annoying when you’re mobile.
I tried to remove Google fonts, but Afterlight is pretty complex for a WP theme, so it was taking more effort than it was worth. I’ve now switched us over to the Simple Life theme (so appropriate!), and removed Google fonts by editing the theme’s code. (Here’s a short post on how you can remove Google fonts from the most popular WP themes and improve site performance.) It’s definitely a simpler theme, but site performance is more important than flashy design, if visitors can’t load that flashy design.
Everything you add to your site that talks to an external server (Google fonts, advertisements, social networking buttons, tracking cookies, etc) will make your site run slower. Readers using high-speed connections in a sticks-and-bricks house might never notice, but those of us who use mobile devices and mobile connections will usually notice when a site has too much going on in the background, and we’re all very grateful when you don’t take up more than your fair share of our limited data!
If you’re curious, GTmetrix is a handy free tool to get an idea of how your website performs and where you might be able to improve it.