GigaOM knew they had a speed problem with their site, so a redesign was in order. Unlike many, they decided to make speed a main focus of their redesign, rather than aesthetics or some other goal.
The results are quite amazing, as reported by VIP.
The first thing the team decided to focus on was getting the content to your browser first, then load everything else around the content so that you could begin reading quickly.
This was accomplished by lazy loading everything that’s not content. Giving the readers what they want first, the content, is a huge win, and something many other sites could probably benefit from.
Next, they begin to tackle some huge CSS files. When asked, the team reported that their CSS had grown to 1MB in size, which would definitely cause some speed issues when attempting to load pages on their site. They completely scrapped this huge CSS and started from scratch with speed optimization in mind.
This next trick might sound difficult, but according to the folks at GigaOM, it wasn’t all that hard. Another way to decrease page load times is to get rid of images. They accomplished this by using web fonts to replace many of the graphics they loaded previously, such as their logo and the Twitter icon.
The biggest piece of advice the team can offer for optimizing a WordPress site is to let WordPress be WordPress. They got rid of unnecessary features and focused on building a great site using WordPress alone. All of their code starts as an independent plugin that runs on baseline WordPress. This allows for easier debugging and maintenance, while also adding to performance.
Check out the new site and let us know what you think! Have you encountered more and more of your decisions based on speed rather than look and feel?