Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tune Blogger for High Speed Performance

Guess what...Blogger/Blogspot blogs can load really slow even if they are hosted by Google! This is not always Google's fault - actually the majority of the time it's your fault and third party widgets and javascript plugins :) I encountered a similar problem in the past days - check the screenshot below which I took from an online tool to check a website's loading time:


It results that my blog takes more than 15 seconds to load! I reran the test a couple of times, and sometimes it also spiked to 20 seconds to load the page! This will put off potential readers and subscribers, or as we say in SEO terms, spiking the bounce rate to more than 80%. By looking at the screenshot above it was evident that the problem was inherent just on my blog and not on the Blogger network, as the server was spending 15 seconds just to display something on the screen which is smaller than 35kB.

Now some people might think that I display more than 10 posts/days of content on my page, or have big images which may slow everything down - the reality is that no! I only display 5 posts, I don't have big images, and the only 3rd party javascript I use is Syntaxhighlighting. So what the heck is the problem?

After some investigation I did the following tuneups, and I achieved amazing results:
  • I put all the 3rd party javascript code (in my case just the SyntaxHighlighter) at the bottom of the blog (just above the </html> tag when you edit the blog's html)
  • I rearranged the widgets (you have to experiment) in such a way that I put the potentially slow widgets at the bottom of the sidebar.
And guess what? Now my page loads in just 1.70s and even less in most cases:


Also note that now the page size indicates that the whole page nearly loaded (651kB) - which indicates that the order of the widgets made a difference, possibly because one of the widgets is buggy!

I hope you try these simple tricks and if you do, post your results in the comment section below.
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