Updates on the blog

Posted on Categories Blogging, News
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These days, I’ve made many updates on the blog. Since the migration to self-hosted WordPress, I’ve improved the performance of the website, fixed the HTTPS version of the site and cleaned up my WordPress plugins. I am hoping that this will improve the experience of the readers of the blog.

In this post, I’m going to describe the changes I’ve done recently. The goal is to improve the performance of the website as well as the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of the website. This will be a blogging and hosting post, nothing really related to finance here :)

SSL Issues

You may have noticed that there was some issues with the HTTPS version of the site before. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice it directly. Some of the services I used to test and manage the blog were not able to connect to the site. This was due to an incomplete SSL certificate.

Today, the  HTTPS version of the sites is very important. Browsers are becoming stricter about this. Even Google adds some importance to it in its ranking. Thus, I started with fixing this. It’s really important for SEO to improve a secure website. Also you really don’t want your user to be faced with a security error from their browser.

In fact, it was simple to do that. It was coming from an incompatibility between two features provided by my host, bluehost. The Sitelock CDN and the Free SSL Certificate are not compatible. This was quickly resolved after some time on the bluehost support chat (very fast by the way, I was impressed). I still don’t understand why bluehost allows configuration of these features together.

So now, there should not be any issues with the HTTPS version of the blog. If you are ever faced with a security warning or error, please let me know.

Performance

The second thing I did was to improve the performance of the website. For now, I don’t use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) anymore. I’ve disabled the one from bluehost because of SSL issues. Moreover, it was not very fast anyway. But, I may consider using Cloudflare or MaxCDN in the future. Cloudflare will be slower but it is free. MaxCDN will reach maximum performance. For now, I do not really want to invest more money into the blog. But that may change in the future.

The main thing I did to improve the performance was to reduce the number of network requests. I used the W3 Total Cache plugin and listed all the used scripts and style sheets to combine them together. This is quite some manual work. But not very difficult if you know a bit of JavaScript, to handle the errors that can arise. This will greatly reduce the number of HTTP and DNS requests that are done when you visit my website.

By cleaning up the plugins and using Jetpack to replace most of the features, I was also able to speed up the website. For testing the speed of my blog, I used GTMetrix. This is a free online tool that is really easy to use.

Clean up plugins – Jetpack

Lastly, I cleaned up the plugins I’m using to a minimum. For this, I used Jetpack to remove the need for most of the plugins. This is the first time I’m using Jetpack on WordPress and although it’s not perfect, it’s still a great plugin. Jetpack is a plugin developed by the team developing WordPress. A lot of features are free, but some of them will require that you pay. So far, I have only used free features.

One feature I was missing before is Related Posts. I like it a lot when I have a link to other relevant articles that I could read. The problem with most related posts plugin on WordPress is that they are very CPU intensive because they do the computation many times. With Jetpack, WordPress servers are finding the related posts, so it should not be a big deal on my host. On the other hand, you don’t have as many customization facilities as other plugins, but it’s very easy to use.

I also used the comments system from Jetpack. This should help readers since you can now use your login from many websites to post comments. I hope this is convenient for all my readers. And I also used the subscription system from Jetpack as well. This should make it easier to connect with me.

Before, I was using WP. Smush to optimize my images. Now, Jetpack is directly serving optimized images over its CDN. This is faster and requires one less plugin.

I’m posting every new post on Twitter. Before, I was doing it with a plugin especially for Twitter. But now Jetpack can do it for me. And it also supports a lot of other social media accounts if I need them in the future.

It also has support to create contact forms, therefore I didn’t need my old Contact Form 7 plugin. It also includes support to add social links to the sidebar, one less plugin again :)

With all that, I’m down to 6 WordPress plugins. In WordPress plugins and finance, I believe in simplicity. I now have less plugins than ETFs. I take this as a sign that my portfolio is already too complex.

Jetpack surprised me overall. It is a really good plugin. However, there are a few problems. First, the configuration options are all over the place. Sometimes they are redirecting you to wordpress.com although the options are also available on the blog. Moreover, it requires an account to wordpress.com. Even for the features that do not require such connection. It’s a really invasive plugin overall.

Feedback

I think that the blog is now in better shape. I’m not saying now that I won’t do anything more on the blog, the rest should be some fine-tuning.

If you notice anything wrong with the blog, please let me know via the Comments below. Also, if you think of any improvement for the blog, I’d be very glad to know :) I’m hoping that all these changes are making your experience on this blog better.

I don’t know what my next post will be, but it should be finance related at least :)

5 thoughts on “Updates on the blog”

  1. Too bad Let’s Encrypt certificates aren’t compatible because certificates with only 90 days validity with UbiquiTLS… Arfff ;-)

    1. The free SSL Certificate is automatically renewed by bluehost. And if you want, it is possible to install letsencrypt certificates on bluehost. But you need a second machine to generate the certificates if you have a shared hosting.

  2. Thanks for the insights!
    I’ll look a bit more into JetPack for my own wordpress install.

    For the hosting I went for a Swiss one: Alp Hosting.
    Price is quite similar to Bluehost & co and since I plan for my audience to be in Europe, the servers being in Switzerland should be a tad better for speed.

    I’m always happy to save money but I’m also happy to “give back” to Switzerland whenever I can. It’s the country that allows me to enjoy one of the highest levels of quality of life, both on Earth and in history.

    Customer support was great when I needed it and they were quite accommodating so props to them.

    1. You’re welcome :)

      For all the sites I’ve created for Switzerland people, I’ve always used a swiss provider: Hoststar, it’s pretty good and cheap. Only problem is most of it is in german. I never heard of Alp Hosting, I’ll take a look next time I need to host a site, thanks.

      I agree that it’s sometimes better to try to use Swiss services when possible. However, we have to recognize that some Swiss products are so much overpriced compared to their foreign counterparts, that they are not worth it. For hosting, we have some pretty good services.

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