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