Optimizing This Site

Here’s the great talk on the website obesity crisis by Maciej Ceglowski (and here’s the text version of the talk):

After this talk, I’ve decided to take a look at this site. I want to check for problems outlined by Maciej.

Before optimizations

Currently, for a simple blog post, it takes about 80 requests and 1.4 MB of data. Even for a post with a single sentence! While this amount of traffic is not a problem for most internet connections, this still may be a problem for slower mobile networks. That is the kind of problems Maciej is talking about.

In my case, most of a page load is taken by the Disqus comments widgetabout 70 requests and 1.3 MB of data. While the Disqus comments are great, they are not always needed.

If a user leaves without reading the whole post, there’s no need to load comments. If a user has scrolled the whole post to the bottom, we can load comments. This will optimize the load time and the amount of traffic taken per page.

The rest of requests are the blog post itself, my custom CSS and javascript files, site’s logo, and normalize.css styles. Additionally, there are requests for the Google Analytics service, and custom fonts from the Google Fonts library.

I can optimize these as well, while they do not influence the size of a page that much.

Optimizing Disqus widget loading

To optimize the load of comments, I’m going to apply a lazy loading technique. Thus the comments will be loaded only if a user scrolled down to the comments section.

I will use the Disqus lazy loading implemented by Osvaldas Valutis. I will replace the current implementation in the _includes/disqus.html include file with a div:

<div class="disqus"></div>

The script for loading the comments I’ll add to the js/main.js file.

Testing optimization

I’m using the Chrome developer tools to check the network traffic. After the optimization it takes 10 requests and 100 KB for a post. When I scroll down to the comments section, Disqus widget gets loaded. Nice.

Optimizing CSS, JavaScript, and images

At this stage I’m pretty satisfied with the result. I’ve decided to add some optimizations while I’m on the topic.

These optimizations include:

  • switched on the CSS compression in _config.yml with sass: style: compressed;
  • moved normalize.css from CDN to the unified CSS file;
  • optimized the logo image;
  • minified scripts from js/main.js and inlined them in the page layout.

These optimizations saved 2 more requests and 30 KB of traffic.

Ok. Good enough. I’ll stop at that.

Whether you implement simple sites or complex applications, it’s always a good thing to think about your users. Anything that makes their experience better should be appreciated.

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