Seeking to improve my blog: HELP!


@Postaday 200; #postaday2011.

Yesterday I visited Lionel Houde’s Website, ObscureWriter.com. I don’t know how he got on my radar, but it’s possible that it was a Twitter link. Lionel had posted an entry called “Charlie Nitric: Hi-Octane, No-Methane writing for Men (and Women)“. I was intrigued. Why was (and Women) in parentheses? And who could be more obscure a writer than me?

After reading Lionel’s piece of Charlie, I responded:

“I’m obscure, too! Mahalo for sharing Charlie’s blog with us.”

I didn’t expect to hear from Lionel, but I did. Lionel highlights upcoming and established writers on his blog. By that I mean he’s busy. He’s quite prolific and many writers have been featured on his site. Lionel told me he visited lavagal.net and gave me his honest observation with which I completely agree:

“I had difficulties loading your page and wound up shutting everything else down.  Even after shutting everything else down, my memory usage was running around 385 MB just for that one page.  Also, I kept seeing several related websites loading their parts in… Google, Twitter, WordPress and so on.
I had similar difficulties with a beautiful WordPress theme two years ago.  It was visually clean with retractable sidebars, but as I started adding plugins, the load time started to increase geometrically.  After 12 plugins, load time became unbearable, and a friend told me the same.
Just so that I (hopefully) don’t have the credibility of an isolated crank with a temperamental computer, I did a test run of your site on Pingdom.com…”

Obviously, lavagal.net is a blog with a lot of junk in the trunk, a big-ass mother lode of my heart, soul, text, and photos. My home page is like every entry ever written, more than 360. At the beginning of the year I set up a new page for 2011 entries, but it was stagnant and I couldn’t seem to figure out how to get my latest entries on it and to have it sticky out front.

If anyone could offer me advice, I’d appreciate it. Lionel told me a few things, and I am honored that he said he’d like to feature me on his site. I’ve put him off. I told him let me clean up the site first and then we can give it a shot!
Here are a few things that I really want to be able to do. Advice welcome! Please!
  • Not run entire entries on front page (Actually figured out how to do this yesterday with the html code to add a jump.
  • Use “pages” more actively for posts and to fan traffic into my site.
  • Archive entries by months (Starting to do this, but it will take a while to take care of nearly three years’ worth of entries).
  • Break up the home page to give it more of a magazine feel.
  • Get lots of readers.
  • Be discovered, make lots of money (I always think if you don’t say that you won’t).
  • Figure out why paragraph spacing stops working correctly part way through entries.
So if anyone could give me ideas on how to tighten up the home page, direct traffic to other pages through abbreviated entries, make my site more of a joy to enter, I’d appreciate it. I am very fortunate in that there are actual subscribers to my site, and I so enjoy the feed back I get from readers who relate to the lava flow. But I want my site to be a place that is easy to visit without straining everyone’s bandwidth!
Love,
me.

Author: lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer is my new opponent. Writer, super sub teacher, triathlete, awesome cook, ocean girl with head-to-toe sun protection.

4 thoughts on “Seeking to improve my blog: HELP!”

  1. As a reader, when I read your blog title the first (& only) thing I thought of was that your page takes forever to load. Truncating is cool. As far as becoming more prolific I am clueless since that’s not one of my personal goals on my blog. I am definitely more obscure than you.

  2. I’ve only ever looked at your blog on a mobile device and it loads/reads great. Frustrating how they are not consistent, huh?

  3. Hi Paula, I saw this as a pingback. Glad to offer suggestions, I had meant to respond further… I would say the only real thing I did to fix stuff up before when it lagged was to cut out a lot of plugins or change the theme, as some seem to handle more plugins better.

    As for organizing recent posts, there are some themes out there that do that for you. There is also an awesome category sorter plugin that doesn’t seem to bog things down at all. It’s called Category Show. The other is called List Category Posts.

    I wonder if it would be worth it to export everything to a test site…

    I took notes on the “How I Make Money” PDF from John Chow.com. Some of it is, as he calls it, “evil” (mostly on reviews and affiliate earnings), but he has a big list of recommended WP plugins and tips I’ve been applying to ObscureWriter.

    Last of all, the reason I added “For Women” was that some male writers view their writing demesne as a heavily armed retreat from everything where they can rip on stuff that makes ’em mad with blog guns blazing. Charlie just has a universal appeal I think. 😀

    Will look at more of your posts, good luck with everything. Maybe WP forums can help?

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