24 June 2106 –
Since joining the personal finance/FIRE online community, I’ve subscribed to quite a few blogs from other members (around 40 so far). I read pretty well all of their new posts which can be quite time consuming especially when some of them post new material several times a week. Quite honestly, I don’t know where they find the time to write that often.
And so, I am becoming quite aware of the shortcomings of many of the sites I’m seeing, which leads me to this post.
So fellow bloggers, listen up. This one’s for you (and for anyone else considering building a blog site).
Now don’t get me wrong and get your backs up about what I’m saying. It’s not personal but someone has to say it.
First, let me clarify what I am about to tell you. This is not about your content. In fact, I am constantly amazed by the quality of the articles published by you all. And remember, I do take the time to read quite a few each week.
No, this is about how your sites perform downloading themselves to my humble computer and mobile phone.
I have found that many sites take a significantly long time to load. Now, I’m no expert but it appears to be because of a combination of the ads you run, and the additional pop-up windows that are also competing with the stuff I want to see.
I do understand the reasons for monetising your site with affiliate links, Google AdSense, news feeds and various others, but it’s causing your site to have some serious performance issues reaching your audience.
And it’s not just blog sites that suffer from this slowness. These days, there are so many informational sites that are being handicapped by the addition of so many ads and pop-ups.
According to Google, the acceptable average page load speed should be under two seconds. I have been going to sites where the load time is in excess of 15 seconds!!
Not only is that giving your audience a poor experience but slow speeds can have a negative effect on how search engines rank your site.
“We do say we have a small factor in there for pages that are really slow to load where we take that into account.” John Mueller, Google
The other issue, from a user point of view, is that many of these pop-ups block the very stuff that I came here to see.
I get ‘Subscribe here’ pop-ups, ‘Get your free download pop-ups, and my all-time favourite (not) is the side bar with all of your social media icons on it. This one I have to hunt around to find the ‘close’ button so that I can finally read the content it was hiding.
Which leads to me to my next moan, errrr, point.
I tend to do most of my Twittering on my smart phone. It just works out the most convenient way to check out a few new stories when I have a few spare minutes and the phone is far more convenient than starting up the computer.
What I’m seeing though is quite a few bloggers have sites that don’t work well on my small screen.
Again, there are numerous pop-ups asking me to subscribe which not only block the real content, i.e. my reason for visiting, but when I try to close them, the whole page closes grrrrrrr. In these cases, I give up and move on. Sorry guys.
And so, to bring this to a close, can I ask one thing? Please go and check how your site looks and performs on other computers and smart phones.
You may be on a blisteringly fast, hyper, fibre-to-the-home network but some of us are still using steam-powered aDSL and we suffer from slow load times when your site is over-burdened with additional information, especially the sort we may not really want.
If you do have numerous pop-ups, consider reducing them to a minimum or removing all together. If I like your site and I can see a ‘Subscribe’ link, I will use it.
And maybe, consider reducing the number of paid ads and affiliate links you run on your site. Maybe pick just the ones that make you money and ditch the rest cos’ it’s killing your site.
And if you are finding ongoing performance issues with a site you regularly visit, send the owner a quiet note explaining what the problem is. They may have no idea and you’ll hopefully be doing them a favour by bringing it to their attention.
However, be it not for me to cast scorn over other sites when mine may not be perfect either. If you have any suggestions for improvement, please do let me know.
And now I’m going to load a few more blogs to read then go and make myself a cup of tea while I wait for them to arrive.
Have a great weekend everyone.
UPDATE: Following my own advice, I did a few performance tests on the Get FIRE’d asap site, including checking historic performance metrics in my host’s cPanel.
Lo and behold, It appears I’m getting several instances a week where my site crashes due to overloading.
Not a good look so I have now increased my hosting service level up one notch and hopefully that won’t happen again.
I’ll be checking that a bit more regularly from now on to ensure my site’s performance and uptime is maintained.