The Art of Blogging: Choosing Your Canvas
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One of the many things I’ve learned over the last year of blogging is that there is a tremendous amount of creativity that goes into the process. Blogging requires the continual generation of new ideas. New ideas for posts, site design, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, expansion of your blog, and the list goes on…
If you accept the analogy that bloggers are painters, then their theme is the canvas. And just like every artist, the canvas needs to be properly chosen and prepared to best portray the artist’s work. Improper preparation and handling can lead to a disastrous display of even the best rendering.
The Benefits of a Faster Loading Blog
Early research at independent firms showed web surfers consistently felt that web pages load far too slowly. Research by Amazon attached a value to user wait times, estimating that every 100ms a user must wait for a page to load translated to a 1% reduction in sales.
Google’s research into this subject has shown that increasing search latency from 100ms to 400ms reduces the searches per user by 0.2-0.6%, which translates to a potential loss of ad revenue. Translation – fewer people taking the time to view your content.
In a recent interview with Matt Cutts, he indicated that page load times would be a great idea for a ranking factor. This, combined with the recent release of Page Speed, could lead one to speculate that load times may play a part in search rankings; if not today, then perhaps in the future.
Speed or Design? Let’s have both!
And, truth be told, some of these are necessary, and can improve the user experience.
Unfortunately, in many cases, they’re just as apt to detract from the experience, by slowing page load times and increasing clutter. After all, how many times have you clicked away from a page because it was poorly designed, or just plain slow to load?
Fortunately, there are a variety of tools available to help webmasters evaluate their site’s load time. There are two excellent plugins for Mozilla; Google Page Speed and YSlow. Alternatively, you can check out WebSiteOptimization.com. Any of these tools will provide estimated page load times, information about the load times of your page elements, and suggestions for improving efficiency.
Just like any artist, to display our work properly to our readers, we must take the time to prepare the canvas. It must be stretched, so it is neat and clean. Then, it must be properly rendered, so it can accept the brilliance that will be placed upon it.
If you take a look around at some of the best known blogging sites, and you’ll notice that they’re consistently a) fast to load, b) clean, and c) logically organized. These are hallmarks of a well-prepared base onto which your content can be properly displayed.