Saturday 2 May 2009

Speed up Blogger Blog Load Times

There are several things we can think about to speed up Blogger blog load times. It is easy to get a bit carried away by the plethora of widgets that are available on Blogger blogs. Often these are third party scripts that take time to load. All HTML that pulls in information from another site will, bit by bit, slow load times. Typical examples are on this site are:
  • Advertising. These are scripts and sometimes the adverts are the last to load. For example, I am considering doing away with the Amazon advert bottom left in red. I hardly get anything out of it so why bother with it?
  • The statcounter top right is a third party script as is the bookmarker just above. These load OK but they all add up to a slower load time. I would consider limiting these (update March 2011: this has been removed).
  • One particular slow loader is the Digg button under each post. I might get rid of this as well. At the moment, though, load times are just acceptable, I believe (update March 2011 - this has been removed)
  • Pictures will always slow loading of the webpage. Internet access is becoming faster so this is less important but an image file, including the header image, should be no larger than about 30,000 bytes (or less) if you have several on the page. If you have one picture on the page then a larger file is OK provided the other factors such as third party scripts have been addressed. One slowing factor contributes and compounds the problem and every little thing helps.
  • Image files should have dimension tags but these are automatically added by free image editing software such as Paint.net. Images should be resized carefully for maximum effect and quality while maintaining minimum file size. Images that are words are best saved as .png files and ordinary photos as .jpegs. Another piece of software that allows image resizing and blog writing is the new Windows Live Writer. I talk about this in another post: Write Blogs in Windows Live Writer.
  • You can tell Blogger how many posts that you would like loaded at one time on the page. The higher the number the slower the load time. To control this go to Customize>Settings>Formatting and select the number in the box against “Show”. I selected 3. 
  • Note: this page has a background image. This will slow load times. However, it is a Google background image which will load as fast as a background image can load. There is also an image above the posts - a banner - this is about 40K in size. This will slow things up.
  • Long and large posts also slow up load times. Keep things succinct and original.
The above factors are all we need to know, in my opinion to control load times. Ultimately the simpler the site with the least amount of images the faster the load time. And load times are important. Speed up Blogger blog load times and please visitors.


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Changing Blogger Heading Background Color

Changing Blogger heading background color in the most popular template is relatively easy and provides a little bit of customization so your blog stands out. You can select the color and copy the relevant Color HEX for the selected color name from this excellent website: http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_colornames.asp

OK, these are the steps to changing Blogger heading background color:

  1. Go to the “Layout” page.
  2. Click on “Edit HTML”.
  3. Open the search box – Ctrl F
  4. paste this code into the box: #header {

That takes you to this on the template. The green highlighted text is the code that you searched for:

header-blogger-template

You need to type this code background-color:#1E90FF; into the block of code below the green highlighted header so that it looks like this:

header-blogger-template-2
The color that I selected is a light blue but as mentioned it can be changed at will by altering the color HEX code number: #1E90FF. I mention above the site from where you can select a suitable color.

Then:

  1. Preview the changes.
  2. Save the changes if satisfied.
  3. Note: Downloading the whole template using the “download full template” button just above the code window is advised as if things go badly wrong (unlikely if you are careful) then you can simply upload the template using the Browse and Upload buttons. Changing Blogger heading background color is easy.

See also: Fitting header picture into border.

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Savannah Cats with Nice Characters

Bringing into the world Savannah cats with nice characters is at the core of the Savannah cat breeding business and the number one cattery in the world in that business is A1 Savannahs managed by Kathrin and Martin Stucki. I made a short post about Kathrin Stucki. She is a talented person. One thing that the Stuckis focus on is socializing the cats that they breed. All new born Savannah cats stay with them in their home for a time and one thing they have to do during that period is feed them, day and night:



This is part of the process that leads to Savannah cats with nice characters or in cat fancy language, cats that are well socialized. This is particularly important for wildcat hybrids as they can be demanding and a bit intimidating for some people. Here is the Stucki's own little F2 Savannah kitten playing with a tamed Serval kitten, demonstrating the excellent work that A1 Savannahs do of socializing their cats:



These cats were awesome. You can hear Kathrin talking to Ken and Helmi Flick in the background. You can use this video in HD mode.



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Fitting the Header Picture into Border

Fitting the header picture into the border is important and I fairly often see uploaded pictures on the most popular template, Minima, with the horizontal edges of the picture out of alignment with the double border that is automatically produced for the header. This is the procedure I use for ensuring that the picture that you upload to the header (in place of the text) fits perfectly into the double border. These are the steps:

  1. Go to the “Layout” tab of your blog. You can get there via “customize” in the navbar at the top of the page when viewing the blog or via “dashboard” and then click “Layout”.
  2. Click on Header “Edit” (the block at the top of the template).
  3. Upload your pre-prepared picture from your computer or internet. It should be bigger than the border size but click on the check button, “Shrink to fit” and the radio button, “Instead of title and description”.
  4. Save.
  5. Your image will be up as the header. Vertically it should be aligned. Horizontally you will be very fortunate if the edges of the image exactly fit the double borders of the Minima header or the header of other templates. To fit snugly do this:
  6. Click on “Edit HTML” tab.
  7. Open the search box by keying “Ctrl F”
  8. Paste in this code into the box: header-wrapper
  9. You will be taken to the correct part of the template.
  10. The line below #header-wrapper { will be this: width:684px; although the number will be different as in this example it has been changed and this is what you will do next.
  11. Change the number of pixels (px) to a lower or higher number depending on whether your image overlaps the border (make the number higher) or is well inside the border (make the number lower). Do this in smallish increments and click the preview button to see the outcome.
  12. Keep adjusting until the image exactly fits the border.
  13. Save the template. Always preview your work before saving it and you should download the template to your desktop before doing this procedure although this is a very simple procedure that will not “hurt” the template if you don’t do it correctly.

Fitting the Header Picture into the Border is easy and creates a nice clean look.

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Friday 1 May 2009

Adding Technorati Tags to Blogs

Adding Technorati Tags to Blogs is of questionable benefit in terms of bringing in more traffic. But if it can be done easily, indeed almost automatically, perhaps we should give it a try. Research by http://www.dailyblogtips.com as to whether Technorati tags are useless resulted in the conclusion that they probably or possibly were of no value. But they are meant to:

  • facilitate people finding your blog
  • increase the traffic coming from Technorati
  • increase the keyword density of posts
  • increase search engine traffic

Well, notwithstanding that gloomy start to this short post, I am adding them using the best blog post editor, namely Windows Live Writer. Yes, it’s a Microsoft product and it is damned good. And it is a free download.

With Windows Live Writer you can add Technorati tags with a click of a button almost:

You can also add tags for other social bookmarking sites:

And:

I think I’ll add Technorati tags for a while and do a bit of research myself! By the way I always add an internal link, which Google likes, as follows:

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