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The Skinny & the Bloated (part II): Technology blogs

Feb 8

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Friday, February 08, 2008  RssIcon

Fat Irish Technology bloggerYesterday I posted a blog entry ranking Irish music web sites, from the skinniest, to the most bloated. For those of you who missed it (or don't have the time to check it out) I basically started off riffing about how, despite the growth in broadband penetration in Ireland, website owners and bloggers should remain acutely sensitive to the size of their blogs as: a) there is still about 7% out there who are on a dialup modem and b) broadband users are an impatient bunch you don't want to annoy with bloated pages that test the outer limits of their download capabilities. I then ranked the top 30 or so Irish music sites and blogs in terms of their page size.

Today I'm turning my (weight-obsessed) attention to Irish technology blogs, namely the the 21 blogs longlisted for the category of "Best Technology Blog" in this year's "Irish Blog Awards" (this blog is also one of the longlisted technology blogs).

The table below ranks all these blogs in terms of their total size of their main page. As I did for the music sites, I have also in the table broken out the "payloads" for each different 'component category' that typically makes up a web page (i.e. the HTML part, images, Javascript files, Flash files and CSS files). The results are then clustered into 4 colour-coded categories, based on overall page size:

  • Less than 250 KB: ("Optimal balance of content and page size")
  • 251 KB to 500 KB: ("Total nightmare for dialup users")
  • 501 KB to 999 KB: ("High risk of testing the patience of broadband users")
  • Greater than 1 MB: ("Clinical cases of inexcusable hyper cyber-obesity")

Topping the list is here is Bill de hÓra super slim blog, barely detectable on the scales with its impressive 39 KB. And hats off to to James Corbett whose blog is the only other one to come in under 100 KB. At the other end of the spectrum are Ina O’Murchu and Matt Vinyl's blogs, both of which strain the scales with their 1 flabby megabyte of content (a payload that would require a poor dialup user to hang in there for about 4 minutes to complete the download).

All in all, these technology blogs are a slimmer bunch than the music blogs: over 3/4s of them coming in under 500 KB, a feat only 3/5s of the music sites were able to do. The average weight of the technology blogs is 390 KB, compared to a 630 KB average for the music blogs.

The 5 tech blogs falling into the orange and red categories below would do well to reduce their payload by pursuing tactics I yesterday recommend to the music bloggers i.e., reduce the size of images (or in the case of Tom Raftery and Ken McGuire remove the Multimedia flash content that massively bulks out their blogs) and then reduce the number of blog entries on their blog home page. All of them (except Ken McGuire's blog) have 'server side' compression already activated, the other piece of advice I offered yesterday.

Ireland's Top Technology Blogs
(ranked in terms of page size)

Rank

Blog

Components of webpage (in KB) Total page size
HTML Images Javascript CSS Flash
1 Bill de hÓra 18 15 0 5 0 39 KB
2 James Corbett 11 27 45 4 0 87 KB
3 Dave Northey 14 20 63 14 0 112 KB
4 Karlin Lillington (*) 30 85 0 7 0 123 KB
5 Chris Horn 34 2 89 4 0 129 KB
6 John Collins 14 65 71 11 0 161 KB
7 Haydn Shaughnessy (*) 49 117 3 6 0 175 KB
8 Michelle Gallen 68 114 26 2 5 215 KB
9 Niall Larkin (*) 67 173 0 7 5 252 KB
10 Michele Neylon (*) 57 165 17 15 0 255 KB
11 Inside View 13 236 26 11 0 286 KB
12 Donncha O’Caoimh 17 309 26 18 0 371 KB
13 Promenade 25 257 85 13 1 381 KB
14 Robin Blandford (*) 77 307 37 16 0 438 KB
15 What I think (*) 94 287 62 9 0 451 KB
16 Pat Phelan 15 343 58 18 39 473 KB
17 Ken McGuire (*) 66 95 51 8 447 667 KB
18 Tom Raftery 18 274 38 20 358 707 KB
19 Alexia Golez 127 579 6 10 62 785 KB
20 Ina O’Murchu 15 960 41 2 17 1.03 MB
21 Matt Vinyl 26 746 71 4 195 1.04 MB

(*) These sites/blogs do not have compression activated on their web server, for more detail on server-side compression see note 2 below.

Notes on the above:

  1. Figures above are the sizes of each site's main page on the morning of 7 February 2008 (according to the Web Page Analyser service). It just represents a snapshot in time. The sizes above are dynamic and will fluctuate whenever new content is added to, or older content removed from, these blogs' main page.
  2. Of the 21 sites in the above list, 15 are configured so that text files (such as HTML) are compressed by the webserver before being sent to the requesting visitor (whose browser then automatically decompresses them when the file is received). The advantage of this being that the amount of text data to be downloaded is reduced (the reduction in size of a HTML file that can be expected with such compression is usually in the order of 70-80%). In such cases it is the size of the HTML file after it has been compressed that is cited in the table above. The 10 sites who do not have this function activated (indicated above with an asterisk) are strongly advised to do so.
  3. The above list does not include the 'Digital Sole' blog (one of the 26 blogs longlisted for the Best Music Blog at the Irish Blog Awards 2007) as it was inaccessible at the time I was checking the sizes of the blogs / websites.

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4 comment(s) so far...


Re: The Skinny & the Bloated (part II): Technology blogs

Thanks for taking the time to do this.

In relation to the lack of server-side gzip compression on my blog, my hosting provider, Blacknight, recently requested that all WordPress blogs enable the WP-Cache plugin to cut down on server loads. Unfortunately, this particular plugin does work with gzip compression.

Congrats on being long-listed for the blog awards.

Regards,
Paul

By paulmc on   Thursday, February 07, 2008

Re: The Skinny & the Bloated (part II): Technology blogs

Odd one to do on blogs due to the dynamic nature. So if you write more you should have fewer posts on the front page? And yes - I have 35kb of image with each post (10 on homepage). Hard to solve. Mind you, I know I need a lighter template ASAP. It's on the todo list but waiting until after the Blog Awards so not to look like I'm changing it for just that.

Any pointers on where to look for the compression stuff? Thanks!

-Robin

By Robin Blandford on   Monday, February 11, 2008

Re: The Skinny & the Bloated (part II): Technology blogs

Paul - I wouldn't be too worried about not being able to do server side compression with your hosting provider. The difference it makes is, for many blogs, marginal compared to a reduced images payload. Robin - It does really boil down to images. The additional question bloggers should also ask themselves is does each blog entry really have to have an image? If the answer is going to be 'yes', the blogger just needs to be aware that the cumulative weight of images will have a consequence for a proportion of his/her visitors. In terms of finding info on compression, I'd say the best port of call would be your hosting company's tech support team. See first if they support it (GZIP is the most common web server compression out there as far as I can see). They might be able to just flick a switch and activate it.

By eoghan on   Monday, February 11, 2008

Re: The Skinny & the Bloated (part II): Technology blogs

It's my own virtual machine - hosting company don't have access to my account on it!

Thanks again.

By Robin Blandford on   Monday, February 11, 2008

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