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Hurdle 24: Optimise Oprimise Optimise

Blogging about blogging has always been a very self indulgent pass time of mine. 23 'hurdles' articles later and i still cant resist the temptation to share these little gold nuggets of advice to you bloggers types. As always, this article is based on my own mistakes and i hope it will help you avoid making the same.

Do you enjoy my numerous cat photos?
I presume you do...
(Source)
A blog is very much like a shark, if it stops moving it dies. Blogs don't suddenly become popular...it takes a lot of trial and error, patience, self discipline and perseverance to achieve even the most moderately popular blog like DJ has become. Using DJ as an example; it has been constantly evolving since the first blog post i wrote way back in February 2011. It started as an un-named blog, then became 'No Such Word As Kan't', and then Diet Justice. The brand has evolved, the objectives and topics have evolved, and more importantly the content has evolved. The evolution of content is born out of experience, feedback, life experiences and the process of learning from your own mistakes. It is the very process of evolution that turns one persons ramblings into a popular blog.

Unfortunately evolution is very messy. However, messy isn't always a bad thing...in blogging the messiness of evolution becomes tradition, personality, character and makes each blogger very unique. But when it comes to design evolution, it can have a hugely negative effect on your readers enjoyment. For example; earlier on today i did a quick speed check on DJ and found that it took over a minute from request to completion. This is way above the average, most pages will complete loading in under 3 seconds.

The tool i used to assess the speed of DJ was Pingdom. It is easily the best tool out there as it can easily show you which elements on a particular page are taking the longest to load. The offending items on the main Dj page were mainly images...images that were hidden away at the bottom of the page, and added no value to the reader experience. I was able to completely get rid of them and reduce the load time to hardly anything at all.

You have to approch page optimisation from a balanced position. On the one hand you need to ensure the page is loading as quickly as possible, but on the other hand some of the best features of a web page can take a while to load. Having removed all the slow loading images i was left with the 'Top Posts' box which was still very slow to load. So what do you do if you have a code that is slow, but essential to your site?

To some extend you have to accept that the page will load a bit slower...however here are a couple of things to try;

  • Reinstall the feature again. Developers are constantly updating their coding, and sometimes the updates only take effect when the code is reinstalled.
  • Speak to the developer directly...there may be some aspects of the feature that can be turned off or optimised in order to speed it up.

So my point is; evolve or die...but optimise optimise optimise. Happy blogging!