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i3dTHEMES TV://interactive 33 – When they called me Hurricane

There was a time, when I first started golfing with the Frazoo boys, that I was known as “Hurricane”.  I had such an incredibly fas golf swing.  That it also happened to be a little out of control only made the analogy more apt.

Over ten years of semi-regular play has refined the swing, somewhat.  It isn’t much, if at all, slower.  But I’ve learned the dynamics of what it takes to get the ball to go straight, or have it fade or draw (when I want it to).  In no way am I a pro, because of my second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh… shots… well, you get the idea.

But boy can I blast it off the tee box.

This week, I snuck out for nine holes with a few of the fellas.   Had some fantastic drives on the second, fourth, fifth and sixth holes… but it was the 7th hole at Highland Pacific course that took the cake this week.  From the tee box, it’s a double-dog-leg left, over a ravine and blocking on the left is a tall Fir tree.

You have to be able to punch, straight, it at least 150 yards to make it to the fairway.

In my earlier “Hurricane” years, my natural “power slice” would have put my ball way out of bounds to the right.  But, with years of steady practice, I’ve learned how to “draw” it out to the left (on demand!) which is perfect for #7.  I lined up my shot, addressed the ball, and smacked that little white ball out and around the big Fir tree, 250+ yards down the fairway.  Man, that felt good.

It got me to thinking — is speed everything in golf?  I’ve been talking about website and web page load speed for a while.  How the speed of loading and rendering for your web page is critical.  And in fact there are a lot of parallels in golf.

The faster you hit the ball, often the farther it goes.

The faster your website, the better chance it has of being listed, viewed, and keeping your viewers from bouncing.  And consequentially, the “farther” your website goes.

Just like golf, getting your site listed, and keeping your visitors interested is not a “one piece puzzle”.  You need to make sure you’re active and engaging on social media.  That you have relevant content.  That you have back links from reputable sources.  That your website is well organized, and is mobile friendly.  There are many pieces to the puzzle.

In golf, if you don’t follow through, or you lead too quickly with your shoulder, or your feet aren’t positioned well, or your ball isn’t lined up… the golf swing, whether fast or slow, its not going to result in the ball going where you want it to go.

And it’s the same thing for websites.

If all the pieces to your web presence puzzle are not all in place, you’ll never see the complete picture of a well performing website.

And here’s the critical part though.  Page speed… it’s like the biggest piece right in the middle of the puzzle.  If your website isn’t fast, it won’t matter how every other piece of the website presence puzzle is.  If nobody can get to you, or they are tired of waiting for your page to load, or the search engines think your site is too slow compared to the competition (and subsequently don’t list you as well)…  your site will be under performing.

Think of it like this.  Every aspect of having a website is like a multiplier, with speed being one of the biggest.  If your speed is 50% of your competition (as in it takes twice as long for your pages to load), and all other factors are considered the same (same content, same inbound links, same social media activity, etc) then it stands to reason that they are twice as likely to be listed well, and keep visitors on their site.

Golf.. it’s a tricky thing.  You swing harder, and you can get yourself into trouble.  But you can also go farther and get closer to the hole.

With the web, if your site is faster, it can only be a good thing.

And that is what we’ve been working on here at i3dTHEMES these last six months. SPEED.  Website speed.

In fact, we are just finishing up the migration of one of our older web hosting servers — it is actually finishing faster than anticipated, so we’re pretty stoke about that.  It’s going to see website load time cut in half — in essence, the website speed will double.

Which is awesome!

But there are a number of other factors, other than just the raw server speed, that can affect the page’s load time.  We developed an application called “Accelerator” that can dramatically improve a metric called “Page Speed”.  If you go toGoogle and type in “Google PageSpeed Insights“, you’ll find a tool that will tell you how well your web page is performing.

It is mostly independent of the actual speed of your web server, although if you have a super slow server, you’ll get docked points based on poor server performance.  It is mostly concerned, however, with how much effort you have put into making sure that the page renders as fast as possible.  They give you tips and tricks on how to implement all of their recommendations… some of them can be pretty tricky to do.  Which is why we developed an application that does it all for you.

And it’s awesome.  Accelerator is able to optimize an entire site on the fly.  It has taken sites  that have had an average of under 50/100 for Google’s page peed metric, all the way up to 97/100, in just a matter of minutes.  We’ve even seen pages go from 0/100 to 100/100!

And now we’re developing this application as a plugin for the WordPress platform.

Because WordPress is a functionally robust CMS platform, it is also a slow platform.  The time it takes to render your page in WordPress easily adds seconds to the load time of your site.  There are nearly 500,000 lines of code in the WordPress system, so it takes some computational time to generate your pages and blog posts.

So we’re going to be looking at all of the awesome things we did with the website plugin version of Accelerator to see how we can make your WordPress pages load faster.  We’re already about half of the way through the Accelerator feature set so it looks like our July 1st launch of the WordPress plugin is on track.

Over in the design lab, Colin has been working hard on his mock-up of the new website template design using cinemagraphs.  You can see an example of cinemagraphs by going to flixel.com — they’re basically a still photograph in which a small movement occurs, either by way of an animated GIF or a video clip.

It’s an incredibly sophisticated and eye catching effect.  I’m totally stoked to see this as a feature in one of our web templates.

I’m hoping to have a sneak peak to show you in the coming weeks.

Hey so as you know, it’s so important for businesses to stay connected on social media these days.  If you’re on LinkedIn, drop me a line.

Also, if you haven’t let us know what you’ve been working on with your website in a while, drop us a comment here, or a direct message — we’d love to know what you’ve been up to.