Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Blog for Thought

Bare Bones Gardener raised an interesting issue on his blog yesterday. He's on dial-up and is constantly frustrated with blogs using a multitude of images and/or white space and thus taking a long time to load. If this happens, then he simply won't look at those blogs at all. This is an issue for any website, but as a blog newbie I've no idea what impact my site has on potential readers like him. I've learnt that linking to other website pictures can seriously increase download times, so I use these as a last resort. I'm also using an ancient digital camera for my own picture illustrations, so my jpg files will be relatively small and will therefore load more quickly. However, this may still not be enough to help those on dial-up. So can anyone out there answer the following questions or point me in the right direction?
  • What proportion of web users are on dial-up vs. broadband? This will probably vary by country, so a breakdown by country would be useful, if available
  • If I make my site mainly text based, is this going to put off those readers who don't have download issues?
  • Where can I get information on download times for my website? How do I tell if these are good or bad?
  • Where can I get a simple, non-technical guide to website optimisation?

Looking at and learning from other people's blogs, I'd been thinking of a re-design of mine to include more pictures per posting and/or put more pictures in the sidebar. I was also considering upgrading my camera so that picture quality would be better, especially for close-up shots. Bare Bones Gardener's made me think again!

10 comments:

  1. THanks for the link. Yes when people put lots of photos within one post it takes forever to load. But even when bloggers only put one or two pic's within each posting, but have 20 or more posts on their front page the effect is much the same.

    This is why I only allow 7 postings on my front page. If people are after my older entries then they have to go to seperate pages. This allows each page to load faster.

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  2. Hmm, I'd set mine to 50 posts as I'm not sure if people look at the archived stuff. Hmm, food for thought, think again VP!

    For anyone lese reading this, NAH has suggested that the picture loading problem can be overcome by setting the browser options to read text only. How to do this will depend on:
    a) how willing you are just to look at text as a permanent option and not have some pictures to look at
    b)what browser you have as I believe how you go about this will vary from browser to browser and probably by version as well

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  3. I am lucky enough to be on broadband so I don't have a problem with the pictures. I love the picture element of people's blogs-it brings them to life and I am a very visual person. I have set my blog to have 5 posts per page although they do tend to be picture heavy.I guess you have to strike what seems to be the right balance for you and hope people come along.

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  4. Yes Threadspider, I love the visual element of things too and gardening blogs would be much the poorer without them.

    I suppose it also depends on the audience you want for your blog. Mine's mainly to keep in touch with friends/family who also just happen to be on broadband, but I also love the fact that there's people all over the world reading my blog. What I don't know at the moment is how many potential additional readers are put off by the pictures and if there's anything else I can do to optimise my postings without having to sacrifice pictures for readership.

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  5. Now I have to say I would also miss seeing the pictures if they were not there. As they say a picture explains a lot more than words alone.

    However with your 50 postings per page, it means that there are 30 or more images to load at the moment.

    Now this is not as bad as some that I have seen, where there are 90 or more images trying to load, after the page comes up. These were the ones that I had in mind when I wrote the posting.

    If you increase the picture quality, or increase the number average of piccies per posting then this will def' slow things down further loading wise.

    And I certainly would not know how to set my comuter up to read text only anyway, apart from missing a big element of many postings.

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  6. I bet there's all kinds of things that we can do to improve our websites/web experiences. It's very easy to start blogging without any technical know-how whatsoever. I'm the personification of that and as I'm relatively new to all of this, I still have much to learn!

    I've reduced the number of Posts on my page to 15 and willl see how that goes. I've chosen 15 as it should cover the number of posts I make in a week. I'll also try to continue to use single images when I illustrate a post.

    Great, I've learnt things today - thanks guys!

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  7. Don't necessarily cut cut back your posting of pictures per post if that's what you want or need to do to illustrate your posts. Threadspider only has 5 posts per page yet it loads no faster than yours because it is a lot heavier in pictures per posting. But the pictures are there to tell a story better thab wordws can, alone.

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  8. Hi Bare Bones,

    Thanks for doing the site comparison and letting me know the result. I'll continue with the 15 posts per page for now and adjust down towards Threadspider's if and when I start adding more pics.

    I've also found a good site for blogging tips today, so I'll be studying it with care over the next few weeks. Hopefully you'll see an improvement!

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  9. Just remember that the only person that you really have to satisfy when writing a blog, is yourself.

    ReplyDelete

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