Why the Changes? Site Speed

A few IPR users have expressed concern about the changes so far, such as reducing the number of comments or loading the archives and categories as drop-down boxes instead of lists.

Please keep in mind that there is a goal behind these changes. That goal is to improve the site for most users. A key example is the site’s speed. Before the changes the site was very slow. After the changes pages load more than twice as fast. Here is the graph from Google Analytics:

The average from November 10-15 was 17 seconds for a page to load. For the the 16th to the 18th it was 6 seconds.

The changes that increased speed involve reducing the number of items that appear on the pages, such as the number of “recent comments” (reduced from 20 to 10, and increased back to 15 based on user objections) the number of blog posts on the home page (reduced from 20 to 8), and removing SiteMeter.

Faster page load times will improve search engine results, and more important, it improves user experience. So says my guru, Matt Cutts.

For those who remember recent server outages, these changes also reduce demand on the server. Having too much on the site was part of what caused those outages. The server was overloaded.

The next step I’m thinking about is the long list of links on the right side. I’d like to identify the most important of those to keep there, and then move the rest to a “More Links” page.

Regarding the category and archive links, I put them in drop-down boxes (on the left). In my experience drop-down boxes are very easy to use. They don’t speed up the site (nor slow it down), but they do make the page more user-friendly. Otherwise their length pushes other things further down the page.

It might make sense to move these higher up on the column. After this month the ad on the top of the left column will be gone. I might also eliminate the Google ad in that column. Perhaps some users would find having the category and archive at the top of the column a fair trade-off for the drop-down box?

I hope you all can appreciate the value in having the site load quicker, and making the site more user-friendly in general.

With that said, the existing group of users are the most important users because this site is ultimately a community website. So don’t be afraid to tell me what you think.

And most important, I am particularly attuned to Paulie, who writes more articles than anyone else, and Trent, who writes a ton – and both of them help manage the site. I hope everyone appreciates their contributions as much as I do.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized on by .

About wredlich

Warren Redlich is CEO of SpinJ Corporation, which became owner of IPR in November 2012. He was the 2010 Libertarian candidate for Governor of New York, and has run for office as a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, and Liberal.

14 thoughts on “Why the Changes? Site Speed

  1. Matt Cholko

    I think the list of Other Blogs should be eliminated for sure. I don’t understand why it is there at all.

    Also, I see no reason that the list of party websites needs to be there. People know how to use Google to find such things. How often are those links clicked?

    News sources…..eh…I dunno. I wouldn’t miss those links at all, would anyone else?

    Reader’s blogs…..same

    Contributor’s blogs….I don’t think I’ve ever followed any of those links. But, since all of the IPR contributors are essentially “working” here for free, it seems reasonable to promote their blogs.

    I too appreciate all that Paulie and Trent put into IPR. This site is absolutely excellent, in no small part, because of their contributions.

  2. George Phillies

    Speed seems good. The list of other blogs might usefully be polished. For example, under Mass Group there are actually Blue, Red, Green, Purple and Gold Mass Groups, and under Blue state Group there are around 50 of them.

    A link to a maintained page of “Libertarian Groups and FaceBook Pages, sorted by State” would be good, but a pile of work to set up.

  3. Trent Hill

    You’re too kind, ladies and gentleman. I want to extend an extra gratitude to Paulie–who does all of this work for free, simply out of a love for third parties and independent candidates.

    And a thanks to Warren Redlich, for coming along at the right time and purchasing IPR–both my boss and I were becoming impatient in our struggles with the website and its future.

  4. Zapper

    Yes, thank you Warren. I appreciate the faster site speed. The slow loading before was annoying. I have noticed a great improvement.

    Also, thanks to Paulie especially, and Trent and all the other writers.

    I think you should keep the “News Sources” and “Party Websites” and the “Contributors’ Blogs” on the right side.

    Moving “Readers’ Blogs” and “Other Blogs” to another page is also a good idea, the right side is too long, especially if it will help loading speed at all.

  5. Wes Benedict

    I almost never look at any of the links on the right side (Recent Entries, Contributor Blogs, Readers Blogs, News Sources, Other Blogs, Party Websites).

    I do like the faster speed.

    I do look at the “Recent Comments” on the left frequently. I’m OK with 15, but 20 would be better and would be the only place I’d prefer more stuff at the expense of speed.

  6. paulie

    Since the list of archive months has gotten long, I understand changing that to a drop down and I don’t miss the tag cloud (or tags at all for that matter – I quit using them a little while back).

    I’d prefer to have the calendar of days of the present month, it motivates me personally to post at least one story a day.

    I’d like to have the list of categories as a full list rather than a drop box – new users may find it useful. I also personally use it for navigation frequently. For that matter I also used the full list of months, but as mentioned – I do understand it was getting kind of long, so going to dropbox on that makes more sense to me.

    I’m glad the duplicate categories of links on the left and right columns got cleaned up. Wouldn’t mind moving to 2-column if we can do that without screwing up other things.

    I don’t miss tech links.

    I understand why the social networking buttons got pared down, but I’d keep a separate twitter button. Maybe instead of delicious?

    8 articles on the front page does not seem like enough to me. When I am on a good roll I post more articles than that in a day – sometimes close to 20, a few times more than 20 – just by myself. I’ve posted more than 8 an hour before. On the other hand, if we are going to be enforcing “original article” guidelines more stringently, that cuts out a lot of what I post.
    [Clarifications from Warren: 1) We are not enforcing that, at least yet and 2) He compromised at 12 articles on the front page for now].

    I use all or almost all of the remaining links to find news stories for IPR, so I appreciate keeping them for easy navigation for me to find stories to post here.

    I’ve suggested a separate category for Other Websites – sites that are not really blogs: Liberty Candidates, Politics 1, Libertarian Majority, US Election Atlas, etc.

    Also, a social networks category? IPR Twitter, IPR facebook group, IPR facebook page (not currently listed at all), maybe youtube and others in the future?

  7. Zapper

    Weird sruff happening here on IPR …

    When I enter the site, or click to the front page, the site seems to go back in time. Several of the stories disappear from the top of “Recent Entries” and the listed “Recent Comments also goes back in time … about 8 hours …

  8. Wiseburn

    @Zapper, Likely the database backup was a few hours old when it was imported to the new server and the DNS changes took effect.

    Hopefully that will be our only major glitch.

  9. paulie

    See archive.org for comment(s) later removed after the fact from this thread, and I still agree with my old comments on this article. In general, I haven’t liked most of the changes to site layout, theme, etc., nor have they grown on me with time.

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