Mar 252013
 
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Readers may have noticed the site had a drastic theme redesign a few days ago, I wasn’t fully publicizing in an article until I had most of the tweaks completed and everything I wanted fixed, but my main purpose of the theme was to showcase more articles front and center on the homepage, be more magazine like to reflect that Dragon Blogger is a Technology and Entertainment portal and to make my pageload times faster as the jQuery and other functions of the featured slider and archive bar on my old theme were really hurting my pageload times.

The new DragonBlogger.com is using the free Suffusion WordPress theme, as I wanted something flexible, customizable and wasn’t willing to invest in the Genesis framework at this time as it would require me to purchase or hire someone to create a child theme that had this look that I wanted.  I may at some point move to Genesis, but only if I can prove it would give me better site performance than Suffusion does now.

image

The smaller thumbnail images, no featured slider and optimized site have achieved some of the best pageload times I have recorded from my site so far.  As a further test I continued to compare to see just how much extra benefit MaxCDN provides as a content delivery network and by all means if you are looking to increase the pageload times of your site you need to purchase a MaxCDN plan.

Here were pageload times for the new DragonBlogger.com theme without MaxCDN

db-newtheme-nomaxcdn

Pingdom Toolsdb-newtheme-nomaxcdn-insightsGoogle Insights

Here were the pageload results when using MaxCDN configured and optimized with W3 Total Cache on the new DragonBlogger.com theme.

pingdomdb-new-theme-maxcdn

Pingdom Tools

db-newtheme-maxcdn

Google Insights

For the first time Pingdom Tools recorded my site multiple times with less than 3 seconds load times and hit the elusive 90 PageSpeed score.  Now I am still on a shared hosting provider with Bluehost, but I have heard that with a NGINX, PHP-FPM and APC optimized site you can get even better results, this is one reason I plan to move DragonBlogger.com over to WebSynthesis in the coming weeks to see if I can get better performance from this WordPress optimized VPS provider.

The new theme also allows me to feature videos in post content in a much wider 800px wide native format so readers can have an easier time watching the video content we produce on the site instead of in the smaller 450px wide embed boxes of old which weren’t as visually pleasant.

What do you think of the new DragonBlogger.com share thoughts and questions, feedback is always welcome.  Disqus commenting is still here to stay, but I can’t say I haven’t considered going back to Livefyre or even WordPress commenting with CommentLuv Premium at some point to experiment again.


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Justin Germino
Working in the IT Industry for over 13 years and specializing in web based technologies. Dragon Blogger has unique insights and opinions to how the internet and web technology works. An Avid movie fan, video game fan and fan of trying anything and everything new.
Justin Germino
Justin Germino
  • marty preston

    I like it clean and fresh

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      Thank you

  • Michael Aulia @CravingTech.com

    Love the new theme, Justin. It’s much cleaner and I especially like the new logo and how it blends well with the overall color theme (not a fan of your old one to be honest :D)

    Have seen this some weeks ago and couldn’t wait til you’ve changed the theme to a new one. But I’m sure it wasn’t easy to change and tweak every little thing to how you want it to be!

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      There were tricky components, some of my widgets had to be resized, css for plugins had to be fixed. Testing 51 active plugins against a new theme is time consuming. Also went through about 8 minor logo tweaks. Aww, my old logo is my tattoo so I am partial to it, I know it was not simplistic but I was partial to it which is why I used it for so long. I agree however, I wanted something cleaner, simpler and would be easier to print on T-shirts for the near future. I just updated my favicon right now, this week I will be setting up DragonBlogger on a new VPS hosting provided by websynthesis for comparison to see if it can give better performance on NGINX vs the Apache shared hosting I have with Bluehost right now. I took all the benchmarks, performance tests and I am really trying to get my pageloads to be rock solid. Problem is I have so many plugins, and have reasons for all of them, I really need to try and trim some down.

      • Michael Aulia @CravingTech.com

        haha yeah, I understand. Took me a long time to change my theme as well (not to mention that I had to learn Thesis 2 framework which was way different than Thesis 1)

        Looks like you really are going all out! Trimming plugins is never easy

  • Andy

    Hi, the new look is better however I found one issue with the social media button tab attached on the left hand side. I am on a regular screen with 1280px width and I can barely see this tab as its going out of the left side.

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      Thanks for pointing that out, I need to do something about this. Now that my post area is so large, on smaller screens there is no room for the floating share bar of Digg Digg and it won’t interfere with the content. Maybe I should just move the share buttons inside the bottom of the article. Will experiment and see what I come up with.

  • http://113tidbits.com/ tony greene

    It’s weird. I get under 2 seconds with MaxCDN and cloudflare and W3 Total Cache configured from Dallas,Texas. Really much better if I was to get off of the shared hosting too.

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      I have my 2nd report coming, as of yesterday I am now on WebSynthesis VPS hosting instead of shared hosting. The load times are about the same, but now I am not using MaxCDN or Incapsula and my pageload times are excellent with WebSynthesis but they are W3 Total Cache optimized and I think use Cloudflare by default. The key here though about my new hosting provider, is I ran a load test and can get up to 50 concurrent users and still have 400-500ms response times, whereas with my shared hosting, when it ramps up to 50 concurrent users the pageload times go over 1 minute per user.

      • http://113tidbits.com/ tony greene

        Justing, getting a 404 whentrying to respond back to your comment.

        • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

          I got the reply? My site took a minor bump while the rebooted the instance I think to make some changes for W3 Total Cache.

        • http://113tidbits.com/ tony greene

          Firefox browser still has the 404 in cache..so responding to you from Firefox with no problems. Have you used the page load tool at webpagetest.org and compared your results?

  • http://www.famousbloggers.net Hesham Zebida

    Great work Justin,

    One comment for the home page though, (Maybe it’s just me!) the sidebar is longer than the content area, maybe adding more posts to the front page will create a balance!

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      I am looking for my sweet spot, was going to try adding 4 more articles to homepage, but needed to measure how it would affect homepage load times.