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BLOG DESIGN JOURNAL


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Slow Blog? Or Too Many Toolbars?

Posted on November 20, 2007 by Kathleen

I use Blog Design Journal as a sort of blog design laboratory. I constantly try out new widgets, plug-ins, ads and what-not.

So far, experimenting here has worked out well. It keeps me from piddling with my other blogs too much and annoying the readers any more than necessary.

Trying out Widgets

You really do need to try out widgets on your blogs. Great new ones come out all the time, while old ones quit working. Sadly some cool-sounding widgets just don’t work out. You can’t know for sure till you try them.

Page-Loading Slowed to a Crawl

Recently I joined a beta-testing group for Jonathan Leger’s new project, Real Traffic Exchange. I was thrilled.

Then I installed the widget on my blog, and it slowed to a crawl, maybe even a backstroke. Also, it seemed as though the scrollbars were not working right. I want to give Real Traffic Exchange a fair trial. I have great hopes for it! (As soon as I have the results, I’ll post them here.)

Removing Widgets

So I started removing other widgets, hoping that would speed up page loading. The first thing to go was my newest fun toy, The Gaping Void cartoon widget. It is, frankly, the hardest to justify of all the widgets. I just love it, that’s all.

Sometimes you have to give up widgets you enjoy, for various reasons. I removed the Digg widget, for example, because it was killing my productivity. It was just too tempting to click the links and then spend too much time reading news stories and the comments on them.

But removing The Gaping Void didn’t help. I was trying to figure out what else do part with, when it dawned on me that I had installed two or three toolbars in Firefox that were just taking up real estate. I never used them.

Firefox Toolbar Troubles

Then the real trouble started. Firefox slowed nearly to a stop and almost would not let me disable those toolbars. I turned of the Google bar, the StumbledUpon Bar, the Smart Toolbar (whatever that is), and low and behold, I can use Firefox again.

The Real Traffic Exchange widget was not the culprit. It was Firefox and those pesky toolbars.

I have now restored The Gaping Void for all of us to enjoy. No more Digg, though. I’m still a recovering Digger.

Are Toolbars Slowing Your Blog?

Now I’m wondering: How many readers have stacked their browsers with resource-hogging toolbars and are blaming us for having slow sites?

Should we design our sites to load faster by eliminating widgets we want, in order to compensate for toolbar bloat? What do you do? What do you recommend that others do?

Also, do you like the Gaping Void? Pro or con?

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