Website Optimization Measures, Part XI
Welcome to another round-up of the last improvements I implemented on my websites. Is this useful for your own work? Let me know, please!
Updating http to https links. Not every site has HSTS set up (not every site even is on https in the first place), and even if a redirect mechanism is available, any redirection is a performance hit. To keep users on secure connections and to improve their user experience even if they leave your site, it’s useful to point to resources on secure protocols (there’s a brief chapter on this in Upgrade Your HTML II). Long story short: I regularly look for http links, check whether there’s a secure equivalent, and then update respective links—and that’s what I did again over the last few weeks.
Taking the time to replace rotten links with their archive.org counterparts. I used to respond to link rot with looking for alternative posts or removing such links—nowadays I look for a copy in the Internet Archive. This is fast and safe, and saved a number of links lately.
Collapsing tables of contents (through CSS). Tables of contents are useful, as long as they don’t get in the way. For some of my longer articles I flagged them as doing just that—distracting rather than aiding with the content. A CSS developer and long-time
Adjusting iconography. On meiert.com I don’t use many icons—one that carried some load was a white right pointing index
Reviewing all posts for up-to-dateness (and checking comment links). I regularly patrol all my articles (and also books)—it’s an ongoing process. Why I’m calling the last review out is because it specifically involved checking whether the posts still give reasonable advice, and otherwise to add a note at the top that the respective post may be outdated. That I did, including taking samples for links in comments to fix or remove them if needed. This is all work, yes, but it’s mechanic and therefore somewhat grateful, and I like the idea that the writings and your and others’ experience benefits from it.
Checking on popular 404 errors and setting up redirects for them. I barely look at my websites’ stats—they are mere anonymous server logs anyway—, but if I do, then I do like looking at those URLs where there have been errors. For those URLs that get a bit of traffic—a few dozen hits per month—I do set up redirects to whatever seems to be a suitable target (often just the homepage). It’s a light attempt to contribute to a more useful experience here.
Ensuring CDN use. In the last episode I talked about how I re-implemented a CDN for several of my websites (by the way, I switched from BunnyCDN to CloudFront—better global availability). In the weeks after I tested and also implemented more, meaning I made sure CDN integration was broad and consistent. Not the biggest news item here, but I did like this kind of review of my own CDN integration work.
This was some of the latest I’ve been focusing on; how is it for you? What have you been up to lately?
This is the eleventh part of an open article series. There are ten additional articles on website optimization, part I, part II, part III, part IV, part V, part VI, part VII, part VIII, part IX, and part X.
I’m Jens Oliver Meiert, and I’m an engineering manager and author. I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
If you have questions or suggestions about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message.
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Perhaps my most comprehensive book: The Web Development Glossary (2020). With explanations and definitions for literally thousands of terms from Web Development and related fields, building on Wikipedia as well as the MDN Web Docs. Available at Google Play Books and Leanpub.
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