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    • For about seven years, I ran a consultancy in the Atlanta metro area. I specialized in matters pertaining to electronic publishing with an emphasis on marketing. I ended my consultancy in 2009.

      Before I address why I am posting this item on Cake, let me mention that this is not the first time that I've been proven right.

      Two years later, one of the subjects which had been a topic in which I seemed to be in the minority became an internet crisis when Google came up with Panda.

      For the seven years that I had run the consultancy, I had constantly argued that SEO companies were doing things wrong. Focusing on eyeballs is like thinking that if you open a specialty store in a mall that 90% of the people that pass your store will want to shop in your store. The loading of irrelevant search-intensive keywords into a website was not the correct strategy, The correct strategy was keeping fresh content that enabled your target audience. By enabled I meant that people don't care whether you can rock and roll, but they do care if you enable them to rock and roll.

      When Panda was introduced by Google, a lot of websites had to be revamped because they had been designed by bad SEO firms.

      But another topic which I was constantly focused on was Load Time.

      But just as many big industrial firms would rather not worry about how much waste they produce, so also many web designers and developers are not concerned about Load Time because they think that increased bandwidth is the solution. Bandwidth is a short term solution and it is dependent on customers being willing to spend excessive amounts of money.

      One of the most respected websites in the web development community is called "A List Apart." Today, A List Apart published an article which verifies the arguments I was making more than a decade ago.

    • In 2018, Google research found that 53% of mobile site visitors left a page that took longer than three seconds to load. A 2015 study by Radware found that “a site that loads in 3 seconds experiences 22% fewer page views, a 50% higher bounce rate, and a 22% fewer conversions than a site that loads in 1 second, while a site that loads in 5 seconds experiences 35% fewer page views, a 105% higher bounce rate, and 38% fewer conversions.”

      What a phenomenal article share! I know someone with a successful website that looks like it was designed in the 1990s, and probably was. Lightning fast load times maybe a contributing factor to the site’s continued success.

      Facebook, methinks, was the culprit for starting the whole bloat,

      Back in 2014, they convinced advertisers that video content did exponentially better—even though that later was proven to be false.

      As a result of that widely spread misnomer, Twitter invested heavily in video and images as did the major news sites. As did everyone else.

      Unfortunately, not every business has the financial resources to do it right.

      So what should a company do in that environment where, all things being equal, content with images or video gets more visibility?

      A simpler fast loading landing page? Is copywriting really going to win the day over eye candy, however much longer it takes to load?

      On saving the environment (from the shared article)

      “By cleaning up its JavaScript code, Wikipedia estimated that they saved 4.3 terabytes a day of data bandwidth for their visitors. By saving those terabytes, we saved having to plant almost 700 trees to deal with the yearly pollution that would have been caused.

      “If you want to help save the planet, reduce digital weight. Clean up your website. Before you add an image, make sure that it does something useful and it’s the most optimized image possible. Every time you add code, make sure it does something useful and it’s the leanest code possible. Always be on the lookout for waste images, waste code, waste content. Get into the habit of removing something every time you add something.”


      Tagging @Factotum to the discussion

    • I am not a master of this subject so forgive my naivety. I am engaging so I learn more.

      IMHO, load times became a concern when content creators started targeting “third world countries” like India and Brazil. Before that, even if you were technically right, the impact on their target audience was negligent. It was assumed that most of the first world had access to know a decent internet connection (I know that isn’t always the case in the US countryside, but I am not sure if that was their target audience either)

      When other markets became more relevant, where internet speeds were shockingly low, or cost exceedingly high, this became a thing. You can see Facebook offering a “lite” version for that very reason.

      I guess what I am saying is that you were right all along. But it didn’t matter at the time.

    • Oh, it definitely mattered. When I started in 2002, a large percentage of web users in the USA were still using dial up and broadband was not as fast as it now is. A lot of websites took many users minutes to load. I had clients that before they came to me had been loading image files that were much larger than the space allotted on the webpage and which had not been properly compressed. Also, at that time, it was still necessary to use color pallettes that were limited to the so-called web safe colors. Loading images directly from what was at that time "state of the art" digital cameras resulted in very slow websites and disgruntled users.

    • This is something I've been struggling with.

      I run my motorcycling site on WordPress which while powerful has its flaws, like loading every script for every plugin on every page, even if that plugin isn't being called.

    • It’s been eons since I had a Wordpress site, however, I remember integrated suites of plugins like Jetpack(?). I wonder if they do a better job of only firing each individual plugin when needed.

    • No they don't. There are plugins where you can configure what files when but they have to be set up page by page and retrofitting that to a site of over 200 pages is fiddly and not necessarily future proof. Plus they require modification to work with any custom post types you may have configured.

      I've got some code that allows me to restrict code firing by silo which is much more appropriate for my site, I just need to work through each silo and define what code shouldn't fire for each silo.

    • I've got Wordpress sites that load OK, but I agree - there sure is a lot of baggage.

      I decided to cut my own code for my latest enterprise. First time I've done a fully responsive layout with CSS but I'm happy with the speed and result.

      Hey Chris, I see your kitchen and raise you my live streaming hardware/setup now. :-)

    • That looks awesome, Dave! This is a new gig for you that just launched? Will you have guests who come to your studio? Is that your real kitchen? Looks like you have one of those fancy teleprompters surrounding the lens.

      I am learning things daily about my studio/kitchen. One is I ended up scattering carpeting over the hard tiles and throwing blankets over the hard surfaces like the fridge and oven to get deader sound. That didn't score me many points with my normally patient wife.

      The other is filming in front of a bay window like I do, the light changes by time of day so I have a time window of maybe 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to film. I seem to be the only one to notice, but when you cut from a scene in the morning to one in the afternoon, I can tell the background light is different.

    • Chris,

      First, it has been about eleven years since I was up-to-date.

      Secondly, the websites which I made for clients were not built on platforms such as Joomla, WP, SquareSpace, etc.

      Third, many of the tools which I used to use are either no longer exist (Yahoo Pipes, as an example) or are obsolete.

      I'm the wrong person to ask as to what is currently the leanest and fastest tech but the one thing that remains true is that the audience's ability to benefit from you explain or report should be prioritized over attempting to impress your audience.

      When I first began, it was not unusual for a prospect to have a pre-existing website which was getting no traffic from search engines. The reason was that the business owner, not knowing any better, had hired a Macromedia Flash designer who had embedded a flash presentation into a single HTML page that just had the basics like the heading and body tags. It might not even have had a valid Doc declaration. But because it had looked snazzy to the business owner, he/she had thought that they had gotten a great website until nobody showed up.

      If you've never read any of Jakob Nielsen's writings, I would recommend starting there.

      The problem of people trying to impress rather than trying to present facts and promote learning is also one of the biggest problems which exists in religion in the USA but that's a topic for another conversation.

    • I have done a few streams from here - but the issues are the same as yours - inconsistent daylight and ambient noise. And I'm the only one who notices, but ... imperfect. That set up is in my kitchen so I can show prospects some of what we gots. I'm lovin' the Black Magic switchers.

      The main idea of the service is that all the kit is fully portable and I'll go to the customer with it. Make it as easy as possible for them.

      And yep, the through the glass teleprompter is key for working with amateur presenters. It works with an excellent iPad app. It's by Glide Gear and wasn't too expensive.

      Steve was reading this:

      AND that's what you get for spending all that money on a microphone. I find the lavalier mics work well for cutting down room echo too.

      The teleprompter:

    • My studio site is a Wordpress template:

      It's really fat, but then it's a Graphic Design service - so there are bells and whistles.

      The Magazine's Site is Square Space:

      It's much skinnier.

      Word press is by far the most popular choice and there are thousands of templates for most applications. The learning curve is much steeper if you don't already know the interface - ?

      Square is simpler to learn and operate - but the design options are more limited.

    • Jetpack.... no, no, and NO.

      If there is one thing you definitely shouldn't do to cut down bloat and increase page speed on WordPress sites, then it is install jetpack!

    • In the performance war for a blog....

      If we are talking about load speed, etc. then the winner is almost definitely Ghost. It's also beautiful to write in, a very simple and clean interface, very Cake like :-)

      If it's something more complex than a blog then probably WP but it's a lot more effort to get it to perform so fast and well. Nothing PHP based is going to be able to compete with the event driven node.js architecture behind Ghost.

      We run a sustainable and ethical hosting company and offer semi-managed WordPress but so many people have been asking about Ghost hosting lately that I've taken a really good look at it. We are adding Ghost to our hosting offerings, and I'm also in the middle of rebuilding my personal blog site on Ghost.