06 April 2014

The next website tweak: speeding up loading times!

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I can't believe I haven't updated this site since February! Shame on me! But teaching certainly does eat up a lot of time.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am continuing to revamp this website. I'm trimming things down, chucking superfluous gadgets and details on this site, and the next big project on the list is helping with this website's load times. 

I just ran a test via StopWatch and although it looked like my site loaded instantly, the clock was ticking...and ticking...and ticking...it reached 1 minute and 25 seconds before I clicked out of the test and realized I needed to fix this issue as soon as possible. 

Several things can bog down load times for a website. I know that I like to use third-party Javascript here to enable all of the lovely widgets I like to use. I also like utilizing images for posts whenever I can. I've fallen in love with royalty-free stock images, which make for some beautiful pictures, but I keep forgetting to compress these images for the web. Meaning, the image file can be a lot smaller (thus help with loading times!) but the quality of the picture won't be lost in the shuffle. 

I also need to review my photos from the web and check to see if I was lazy and hotlinked them. A while back I discovered what hotlinking actually was (leeching bandwidth from another website via borrowing images) and tried very hard to go back and properly upload images instead of linking to them, but I know there were a couple instances where I slipped and did it anyway. 

The reason why hotlinking is bad (besides being bandwidth theft), it also contributes to a longer load time. Think of it this way--while the image loads, it's going to the original domain hosting the image, then retrieving that data and plunking it onto your website. It's much fairer--and faster--to simply upload the desired image directly to your website. 

That's what I'm working on now. Going through old posts, compressing images, and re-uploading them may take some time, but it should make for a better viewing experience. Thank you for your patience with me!

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