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), and even if a redirect mechanism is available, any redirection is a performance hit. To keep users on secure connections and to contribute to a good user experience even if they leave a 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 the 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 again allowed me to save a number of links.
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 from rather than aiding 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whether the posts still give reasonable advice, and otherwise to add a note at the top that the respective post may be outdated.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 of 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 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.
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 revision of my CDN setup.
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 a part of an open article series. Check out some of the other posts!
I’m Jens Oliver Meiert, and I’m an engineering manager and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to the W3C and the WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. Other than that, 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 Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play Books, and Leanpub.