How about some branding or colors or both!

This isn’t really supposed to be web development 101 but it is boiling down to it, isn’t it? We started out with dead simple DOM (our html markup) and now we are adding to it.

The point is that we have some good speeds right now, but we don’t have any utility. We don’t have any functionality. So the speed is worthless. What we really want is to have high speed AND utility, functionality and reliability.

So let’s get our branding on this relatively blank canvas as well as some text.

Adding a GIF image to the top and increasing our DOM elements by double (from 8 to 16) we still have a pretty speedy page.


  • Load Time: 0.439s
  • TTFB (First Byte): 0.153s
  • Start Render: 0.394s
  • Speed Index: 396

Pretty decent. But we really only have one image, and no conveyence of our purpose for existing. Haha. We better continue adding our core elements of purpose (utility, functionality and reliability)

A little better

I was looking at what was causing the slow down, and it was the favicon.

I hadn’t defined its location, name or anything about it and the results were going out and looking for it on its own. And including it in the test.

I moved it off to a CloudFront CDN and made both the .ico and .png versions available using the CDN, and then also put in a “dns-prefetch” link so that it can resolve that CDN as quickly as possible and our TTFB went down by a single MS. No big deal.

But at least the favicon (which is typically called upon by the browser AFTER the page is loaded) won’t get in the way of our tests.

Marching forward!

Moved the blog

I moved the blog to a sub directory and sure enough – huge gains!

The problem is – the new landing page doesn’t have anything on it. So this is a worthless test. But it does show us how minimal we CAN be.


  • Load Time: 0.255s
  • TTFB (First Byte): 0.151s
  • Start Render: 0.389s
  • Speed Index: 389

Super fast and gets us an “A” in the TTFB rating.

But I wonder if we can do better…


To begin, we are going to use the metrics highlighted on

Running a test there, we see a few things that stand out:


  • Load Time: 4.438s
  • TTFB (First Byte): 0.968s
  • Start Render: 2.589s
  • Speed Index: 2636

Total weight of the page was 0.99 Megs; which makes the home page actually pretty expensive as far as downloading on a mobile device.

Luckily our hosting provider has done somethings to help our performance out of the box. They have allowed keep-alive and compress files for transfer. This is good. It gives us a few “A”s.

Clearly we have our work cut out for us as far as time to first byte. Let’s start there.

The start…

I spent some time yesterday formulating a plan and today marks the beginning of the engagement.

I’m moving the blog to a subdirectory of the website because we are going to be doing some experiments related to performance tuning and the first step is to baseline with static files. Our WP site has some backend processing when it loads which makes it a bad candidate to have as our landing home page.

The plan is to journal through this process so that wherever we end up, we have a repeatable path and have a proven plan for success as well as lessons learned. So over the next few days, the site is likely going to be a little wonky. Bear with me …

Prodigious Accumulator of Wealth – PAW

In this book, The Millionaire Next Door the Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy there is a formula for determining whether someone is exceptionally productive in their wealth building.  Take your age and multiply it by your income divided by 10.  If you have more than this amount of money in assets you are doing well.

This is definitely hard to apply.  It involves saving, budgeting and being thrifty.  I can tell you, it isn’t easy.  Although, if it was easy – everyone would do it.

Upsell, cross-sell, downsell.

These terms used to have a positive association for me. But lately, they seem to imply pop-ups and annoying alerts and other things that get in the way. If you are so interested in increasing order size, then try offering supplemental products that are actually relevant and actually useful to your buyer. There is an integrity issue at play here, and I guess it is sort of transparent, but I never try to sell something to my prospective buyers that is something that I would not be interested in buying for myself. Sure, you can say that it is a disservice not to show them something that might benefit them (even if it is outside the realm of what I would want) but some websites have taken it to the point of ridiculous and obtrusive and I know for a fact that they are turning away customers. How do I know, because my wife tried to buy something online and was completely repelled and put-off by the upselling that was attempted. A word to the wise, back-off trying to get people’s money, and being greedy, and get back to serving the customer. In that way, you stand to be profitable, gain loyalty, and product momentum.

Deer Hunting

I haven’t been hunting very many times but I have family members who hunt regularly and they have shared with me a certain phenomenon. 

When a deer is shot at, occasionally it will run away – but frequently, it takes a few leaps, and then stops.  In other words, it gets frightened, but it doesn’t know enough to vacate the area completely.  Even if a nearby deer is shot and drops dead right next to it – it won’t move too much.  

Why am I bringing this up?  Well – a few weeks ago my company laid off 50% of it’s staff.  50% is huge.  Walking around today, I see people watching YouTube and “playing” around while at work.  Our boss just told us that corporate is investigating all “moonlighters” – that is, people who have side businesses.  

It seems to me that people are acting like those deer.  They are not paying attention to the real source of the problems, they are not heeding the warning shots that are going on around them.  It is time to see the dead carcuses around you and rise above it – but first – self preserve!