I gave a talk on blogging, and specifically WordPress, for photographers this week at the London Calling Photographers meet. One of the things that came up was performance. Now, on my return from Taipei I’d been in fairly deep discussion about a job with a company who had claimed a direct link between site performance and revenue. The company I’m at at the moment also have issues with site performance that they need to address.
I was firmly told to go take a look at Google Webmaster Tools, which, amongst other nice site hygiene tools has a performance section. I was more than a little shocked to see my site was only in the top 85% of sites. That is: the bottom 15%. Which, for a poky little blog was not good.
The first thing it recommends is to install the page speed browser plugin for Firefox which is an extension to Firebug. The two things it came up with were that external sites, Twitter and Facebook were both taking time and HTTP round trips to load and that I was serving up too many CSS and JS files. Oh, and general sluggishness serving the over all page.
Three immediate fixes:
That took out all the red flags except “serve images from a cookieless domain. That usually means serving image from an “assets.mydomain” or “images.mydomain” or somesuch. The yellow flags were pretty innocuous like making sure there were image dimensions and minifying HTML (by 20%! woohoo!) so no biggy. Some of the green flags like setting cache time-out hints properly were good.
Just remember the programming maxim: premature optimisation is the root of all evil. I wouldn’t do any of this until your site is bedded in somewhat.
Those changes certainly make the site seem snappier to me. Whaddaya reckon?