Saving the Internet, one plugin at a time

Well, a few posts ago I men­tioned that I’d taken steps to speed up this blog.

Here’s a Ping­dom response time graph show­ing how fast slow this blog was, before I pulled a few plu­gins.

And here’s what it looks like today.

So, accord­ing to these res­ults, the blog is faster.

And what I’d done wasn’t all that extreme either; just removed a few plu­gins that were request­ing data from extern­al sources — such as the 3rd party font I used to use to lay­out this blog.

Now, the increased speed hasn’t changed my page pos­i­tion in the search engines, nor caused hair to start filling in my bald spot.

But it is nice to know that by mak­ing this minor change, I’m improv­ing the user exper­i­ence for any­one vis­it­ing my blog, and maybe help­ing to save the Inter­net by cut­ting down on the band­width usage, just a bit.

Your thoughts? Did you notice the snappy speed at which this blog loads?

Are faster blogs more Google friendly?

Per­haps. And if you’re look­ing to be found by Google, you want to do everything you can to make sure you’re not doing things to make the pro­cess harder.

A month or so ago, Google announced that they’re rank­ing sys­tem would take page-load speed into con­sid­er­a­tion when determ­in­ing how to present search res­ults to vis­it­ors.

Even­tu­ally I’d read enough about this, and had installed a cool free per­form­ance mon­it­or­ing sys­tem (powered by Ping­dom) that allowed me to review my website’s dis­play speed. But of course, life gets in the way and I’d been a bit lax in review­ing it, so this past week­end I took a look. I found this:

This is a response-time graph, the short­er the green line, the bet­ter. Which meant that I now had to spend some time fig­ur­ing out what I’d done that caused my sys­tem to slow so sig­ni­fic­antly.

It appears that the cul­prit was a mis-con­figured cach­ing plu­gin. So, I spent a bit of time play­ing with the set­tings on the cache plu­gin, removed a couple of fancy ‘type’ related plu­gins that were call­ing extern­al javas­cript (extern­al con­tent calls can really slow things down, espe­cially large con­tent objects), and tweaked how the cache works.

And in ini­tial runs, I seem to have reduced the page-load speed by about  40%. Not as good as it was ini­tially, but bet­ter than it was quite recently.Yes, I’ll be mon­it­or­ing res­ults a bit more closely now, and tweak­ing things as I go. And of course, I’m always open to sug­ges­tions too — in the com­ments please 🙂

Hope­fully, Google will look more favour­ably on my blog, as this site isn’t quite the slug on the Inter­net any­more.

Time will tell.