Take a look to the right and you'll see 5 lots of Novembers in the Archive:
Which makes this blog 4 years old! A lot has happened in the past 4 years, including 2 jobs (with a slight career change); visiting Africa twice; becoming a Dad; getting married; becoming a Dad again.
Hopefully I'll be looking back in another 4 years stating that slickhouse.com is 8 years old. Over the coming months into 2010, I plan to make a few strategic changes to the site and increase its popularity. I've learnt a wealth of knowledge working as a Web Developer since May 2007, so I'd like to publish a few articles along those lines too. And my side-project SlickCMS has been rolled out to several sites, so I figure it's now time I bite the bullet and switch from WordPress. There's a bit more functionality still to add, such as RSS feeds and Archives - but once they're done Slickhouse will be powered by SlickCMS.
Don't get me wrong: WordPress is a fantastic piece of Web Publishing Software, it's just that after 4 years I feel it's time to put what I've learnt from using it to good use and develop my own. Besides, I'm an ASP.NET/SQL Developer and my PHP knowledge is dwindling in comparison.
Inspired by a few articles I came across recently, namely:
- http://css-tricks.com/images-on-a-subdomain/ (Chris' move to a separate domain)
- http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html#cookie_free (rules for improving performance)
- http://sstatic.net/ (Stackoverflow's static site)
- Increasing the number of simultaneous requests
- Reducing the size of the requests/responses to and from the server(s)
2) is achieved in the same way, by switching off cookies on slickhouse.co.uk - which in turn, can help reduce the request/response sizes and thus the page load times.
My initial testing has shown a noticeable improvement, though I don't have any metrics to share. I used Microsoft's Fiddler tool to profile the load times and was surprised how much external content the site uses, from 3rd parties. The twitter feed on the right is 2 requests alone and the Google Map that was tucked away in the site's footer added a further 20 or so. This gave a sluggish feel to the site as each page loaded.
So I updated the theme files and removed some of the excess requests, to bring it down to ~14 for the homepage. It's still high and could be improved further using CSS sprites. But I'll save that for the next version.
To summarise, splitting your static content from the dynamic pages helps increase page load times. It also allows for future expandability, as the static content could be hosted on a separate server, or even on a cloud/CDN solution.