I mentioned on my Breaking CriticalMAS post that I wanted to go back into my archives and delete posts I deemed worthless. I’ve since gotten a better idea. I’m going to add the best posts to the site Medium. I like a lot of the aspects of Medium. Blog posts look clean and it is easy to follow accounts you wish to read. It builds on the strength of Twitter and is more approachable to many than RSS.
I am aware that Medium is having business issues, so I won’t be foolish enough to shut down this blog or provide too much original content (if any). I also won’t publish anything to Medium that hasn’t already been available here for at least week – unless it is super topical.
So if you do Medium, follow me if you like. My plan is to gradually post 1-3 of my better posts per week until I’m caught up.
This blog is back on Siteground with my other sites including INeedCoffee. They are simply the best. I can not recommend them enough if you are running a site that uses WordPress. I’ve been on SO MANY hosts going back to 1998. Siteground is faster and more stable than anything else I’ve ever tried. Their customer service is the best as well and they have numerous tutorials guiding you on how to do anything technical.
UPDATE March 2021: Siteground service has fallen in recent years. The servers are still fast though.
HTTPS – Running Secure
All my websites are HTTPS now. Google told everyone in 2015 it was giving secure sites a higher ranking in the search results. And if you have a secured site on Siteground they will deliver your site via the new faster HTTP/2 protocol. Siteground also offers the free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates too.
It is a no-brainer to make your website secure. You are going to see plain old HTTP sites fall further and further down the search rankings, just like the sites that were never made mobile and tablet friendly.
AMP for Mobile Speed
This blog is now AMP validated as well. This means if you access any blog post from Google Search on mobile, you will get a page delivered from the Google server closest to your location. The page will often load in 1/4 of a second. Smoking fast! See below.
My page loads in 1/4 of a second. The second search result takes 4 seconds and is not mobile-friendly. My blog post gets a higher ranking. #winning
The one area of blog housekeeping I wasn’t successful with was setting up a CDN to deliver images from Amazon’s CloudFront. I tried numerous times to get it working, but Amazon would only index 80% of the images. The rest would display as broken links. I tried their support forums and got no response. I reached out to a local developer that does classes on this topic and he couldn’t figure it out either.
At some point, I will revisit this challenge as I want to deliver all my images and static files from Cloud servers across North America and Europe. Have you figured out that I’m obsessed with fast page draws? What most sites haven’t figured out yet is that often the fastest site wins.
Right now I’m happy with my North American speed, but I really want to shave off a second or two in Europe. Mostly for my coffee site, but this site would benefit as well.
I’m astonished how few websites run Broken Link Checkers. Even though this site is more than a decade old you will rarely find broken links. The reason is I have broken link checkers testing both internal and external links all the time. Then I review the report and fix the links. Sometimes I can find an alternate site for the same story. Other times there might be an archived copy on Archive.org.
Anyway, during my 11-month hiatus, over 100 broken links piled up. They have all been repaired.
Other bloggers may focus more on making a pretty layout or hammering promotion on social media, but my approach has been to deliver a website on a stable server smoking fast that looks great on all devices. I’m already getting over a thousand visitors a day just on the AMP version of my coffee site.
UPDATE March 16, 2017: My Medium experiment turned out to be a flop. I added just 2 new followers and my content was barely viewed. At least I know now.
UPDATE April 8, 2017: Medium Take 2. Also, I stopped using AMP. I didn’t like the experience. And I’m using Cloudflare as a CDN.