Good Blogs are Heavy. Great Blogs are Light.

[tentblogger-vimeo 15537723]

[Like the quality of the screencast? I use the Screenflow app for it! This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series.]

Challenge Type: Design!
Time Required: 2-3 minutes (Don’t think too hard about it!)
Impact: Could be significant, both short-term and long. It may make your blog load a lot faster depending on what you take away and your users could engage better with your content.

One of the best things you can do for your blog is make it “lighter” and keep the temptation that we all feel to add to our blog when we don’t really need to.

Are you ready?

Your challenge, not just today but consistently, is to seriously consider taking away something from your blog, especially as it relates to the design and elements on your blog (widgets, plugins, etc.) that aren’t bringing any value to you or your readers.

Keep your blog light!

In addition, it could make your blog faster, especially if you take away a heavy-loading plugin or widget that no one really uses. You see, some of the best blogs out there load fast and provide little distraction to the actual good stuff: Your content.

So, how do you go about this in the best way? Think fast.

Don’t think too hard about it; I am almost certain you know of something on your blog that you don’t like too much (but you think is somewhat novel) that you’re willing to part with. Get rid of it.

Go an extra step and ask your audience about the change. Did they notice the change? Did they even care? It would be fascinating to find out, wouldn’t it?

Time to execute! I’d love to know what you took away and what you learned from it!

[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series.]

  • http://twitter.com/bnotess Brian Notess

    What I want to know is how you got those nice spaces in your dock. :-)

    • John Saddington

      that, my friend, is not the answer to the challenge. you fail!!!!!!!!!!!!

      … just kidding:

      http://zzamboni.org/brt/2007/11/21/real-separators-for-the-leopard-dock/

      • http://twitter.com/bnotess Brian Notess

        I promise every comment from this point forward will be directly related to the post content and/or challenges.

        • http://twitter.com/bnotess Brian Notess

          Well except that comment…

          • John Saddington

            or that one.

  • http://www.dewittrobinson.com Dewitt Robinson

    I installed the Wibiya toolbar several months ago as an added feature. I just deactivated it. It’s no longer visible. I’m not sure if this will make my blog faster because I da’d it versus deleting it. Unfortunately, I don’t have a screen recording tool (yet) to show a before and after.

    Thanks for the challenge to keep the main thing the main thing: CONTENT.

    • John Saddington

      sure thing dewitt! as you might have noticed, i don’t use any of those on any of my properties!

    • @ChristopherR2D2

      Same here — it’s packed with awesome fearures, but ultimately distracts the reader from the actual content on the blog.

      • John Saddington

        i think there’s a place for it on some blogs, but not most. it’s also heavy!

  • Nicole Cottrell

    Nice post.

    You recently gave me the great pleasure of looking over my new-soon-to-be-revealed blog design and offered some similar advice. Thank you greatly by the way!

    When you say it, I realize that yes, many of my favorite blogs are clean, straightforward and load fast. This is a good challenge for any blogger.

    • John Saddington

      glad to have you be a part of this growing community! you’ll fit right in, since all of us have a little bit of “reject” in us.

      :)

  • http://analteredreality.com Kevin

    I don’t have much to remove, but I’m planning on implementing HyperDB to speed up the database side of things!

    • John Saddington

      sweet! great system. but not as good as my customized setup!

      :)

      • http://analteredreality.com Kevin

        Glad to hear! I’m still working on stuff to show you soon…it’s hard to beat what you’ve got! …I still have tricks up my sleeve though ;)

        • John Saddington

          can’t wait.

  • Phillip Gibb

    man alive, I would have to kill off a lot of plugins in my http://synapticlight.com blog :O
    as well as some widgets – I don’t even see the FaceBook and Twitter scripts doing much other than weighing me down.

    When it comes to Java Script, do you try put it all in a single file when practical? And things likes CDN lookups – do you pay attention to that? I ask this because when I run speed tools like you would find in Firebug, I get told a whole bunch of things to do. Things that seems dangerous and very time consuming.

    • John Saddington

      time consuming? yes, perhaps.
      dangerous? eh. maybe not.
      worth it? yes!

      i’ll have a post about firebug and a number of those and how I deal with those. part of it is configuring the tests right!

      • http://synapticlight.com/ Phillip Gibb

        that will be great – I don’t even understand if a higher score is better than a lower one.

        another question on deactivating and maybe removing plugins – The Database: if all those options are left behind, will that impact lookups for other widgets? After 2/3 years that options table can get quite big (although not that big as I understand it in my experience of programming) would such a big table influence the speed of a page load in any way?

        • John Saddington
          • http://synapticlight.com/ Phillip Gibb

            awesome – I did it, use the first link.
            after killing a bunch of plugins and widgets.
            If this does not help then I have to consider moving to an different host – which will be a pity considering the generosity.

            Strange thing with the Clean-Options was that it picked up all my stwp options, which I deselected, yet it still cleared.

            • John Saddington

              sweet! glad it worked. clean. feel it. clean.

  • http://www.philz-corner.com Phil

    I also don’t have much to remove to be honnest, im not one for throwing a load of widgets / plugins on my blog. Im a big fan of simplism and fast loading sites.

    Most of the plugins I use are security and backup plugins.

    • John Saddington

      hmm. what do you have?

  • http://brianalexander.tumblr.com/ Brian Alexander

    I have a suggestion. Have you considered making the bar at the top of the page static, meaning any time that users scroll that stays at the top of the page? I think it would be nice to have.

    • John Saddington

      i actually suggested this as a feature for standardtheme with my team! you’re a genius!

      • http://brianalexander.tumblr.com/ Brian Alexander

        haha Thanks! I know you have the same type of bar at the bottom, but some ADD people might want to click a link on the top banner in the middle of reading a post so they would have to scroll up or down (whichever is closer) while they are reading it. Can’t wait to see this feature. I could see this working on tonysteward.me as well like where his banner would just keep scrolling but the nav bar would be static.

        • John Saddington

          definitely! seriously, we’re going to look into it.

          • http://lifexpresseddigitally.me/blog Brian Alexander

            Any update on this John?

            • http://john.do John Saddington

              :) not yet!

  • http://rendertimeblog.com Michael Jones

    Great Article…i will definitely consider ditching some modules…good thought

    • John Saddington

      love to know what you ditch!

  • http://tommcfarlin.com Tom

    I just relaunched my personal property as a way to track projects I have across the Internet. It’s not meant to be an engaging blog, really – just a developer’s journal.

    I knew exactly what I wanted in terms of simplicity and content, but I had a designer help me execute on it ;).

    But seriously, the goal was to keep only the relevant information for my projects. That was it.

    I filter everything through this: if it isn’t directly related to projects, notes, and articles, it doesn’t go.

    • http://tommcfarlin.com Tom

      Of course, that link was supposed to be to Jared’s site, but I was multitasking on … another site ;).

      • John Saddington

        shoo. go away. ;)

    • John Saddington

      haha!

  • Trevor Taylor

    Challenge taken. Instead of showing all nine of my 125×125 ads I have it rotating in six spots. I really do not think I will generate much revenue, but the ads I use are specific to my blog or something mentioned in a post. Most likely if someone clicks on one of the ads, they will be a regular and have ample opportunity to see all the ads.

    I am considering cutting the Twitter widget, even though I did narrow it down to only show my last two post.

    • Trevor Taylor

      Also, what program did you use to shoot that video with the computer screen?

      • John Saddington

        screenflow!

    • John Saddington

      neat! love the thoughts. keeping it streamlined!

  • http://analteredreality.com Kevin

    I built a test site to try stuff on! I own the server (it sits in my basement) which is awesome! You can check it out (if anyone wants) here: http://bit.ly/9BfkXH :D

    • John Saddington

      taking a bit to load……

      ;)

      • http://analteredreality.com Kevin

        I’m still working on it…I noticed the bit.ly redirection slowed it down a good bit. http://65.13.21.129 seemed to work ok from where I’m sitting.

        • John Saddington

          strange that bit.ly……..

  • http://twitter.com/bnotess Brian Notess

    It’s a new record for comments on TentBlogger! (I think)

    • Phillip Gibb

      Aweeeeesome stuff

    • John Saddington

      hmm. don’t think so. we could “game” it… shall we?

      ;)

      • Brian Notess

        Game on!

  • http://newbloghosting.com Peter P

    I actually tried to do this last night but ended up adding more to the page.

    Fail.

    • John Saddington

      DOH! what happened?

      • http://newbloghosting.com Peter P

        I had an amazon widget in my sidebar but instead of removing it, I added some text to try to get people to click on it (you know, the whole ‘making money as a blogger’ thing)

        I need to pare down the footprint of the site but am a loss what to do!

        • John Saddington

          DOH!

          what is your blog, btw?