So after seeing 10-20 second load times on my home page (via http://tools.pingdom.com), I decided that I really needed to install a caching plugin. So I went with WP Super Cache, as that seems to be well-supported and stable. So far, it’s working fine, and page load times are down to 2-3 seconds, which is much better.
Somehow, the idea of using a plugin to generate and serve static pages seems like a step backwards to me, but I guess if it’s well-written and intelligent about regenerating the static pages when needed, then it’s fine. I know I can’t expect WordPress to run at top-speed in a shared hosting environment, but I was surprised to see how slowly stuff was running.
Oh, and I have seen a slowdown in the speed of the admin pages since I switched them to SSL. I’m pretty sure there’s nothing I can do about that, short of moving to a faster environment or turning off SSL.