P.J. Onori had to expect that his free WordPress Theme on Smashing Magazine was going to force a lot of pageviews, right? Of course! SmashingMag is a huge site with tons of followers and readers and has been known to tank much smaller sites when referenced.
P.J. was ready. In fact, he had created his theme called Frank specifically for speed and performance under fire and he wisely chose the “demo” site as his own personal blog as a living example of the theme. Of course, he can’t really ever change his theme now that it’s locked up as the “demo,” but that’s neither here nor there, right?
What’s neat is that PJ recently shared his thoughts and experience with how Frank performed when it got caught up in SmashingMag’s PR wave:
As was expected, my site got bombed. Since Frank was designed from the ground up to be fast, I wanted to share the results of how Frank performed on a high volume traffic day. It’s important to know that my site is hosted on a medium-tier VPS with no CDN.
Globally, pages loaded at an average time of 1.73 seconds with ~55.9% of page requests loading in one second or less and ~90.7% of page requests loading in 3 seconds of less.
U.S. traffic was even more impressive. Pages loaded at an average time of 0.94 seconds. ~75.1% of page requests loaded in one second or less and ~94.1% of page requests loaded in 3 seconds or less. Not shabby.
PJ goes on to share some more statistics surrounding bandwidth load and a few graphs to boot which help provide some visual context to what Frank experienced and how it performed.
But, the most interesting comment that PJ made was about the point of making a high-performance WordPress Theme:
Blogging is ultimately about sharing ideas with the world. We have tacked on a bunch of superfluous additives to the medium, but when boiled down, it’s still about sharing.
The more weight we add to our blogging platforms, the more we get in the way of sharing – both from the writer’s and reader’s perspective.
Frank was created to remove those barriers so that writers could rely on a performant blog (even on a low cost web host) and so readers weren’t forced to wait for a site to load just to wade through excess.
I share the exact same perspective. Even us here with the design of WP Daily is meant to showcase the content first and leave little to the typical design aesthetics. Sure, we’ll go through a redesign at some point this year (and we’re still tweaking the backend and server layer) but we want to make it easy, super-accesible, and as fast as we can make it go.
Great job PJ and thanks for sharing your thoughts on your process and the results as well as the “why” – I hope more and more Theme designers and developers consider the point of publishing first before adding unnecessary bloat to their end product.