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 đŸ™‚

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

Time will tell.