Trimming the Fat

After spotting a link on Fosstodon to the Web Bloat Score Calculator and investigating my scores on Google’s PageSpeed Insights I decided to reduce some of the “bloat” on my site.

Namely this was:

Removing Google Analytics

I had forgotten I had Google Analytics until a few weeks ago so they weren’t being used yet data was being collected. This meant that I was gaining nothing from the analytics whilst Google was adding it to their ever growing databases. And as someone who values privacy online that’s not something I really want to expose my visitors to if I can help it.

Thankfully the way Google Analytics is added is pretty simple, it’s a script tag in your HTML. And the way I added it was with an include in my Jekyll templates so I had to remove one line of code to remove it.

If I need analytics I will be investigating as they have their own open source alternative that can be self hosted, putting all data in my hands alone.

Reducing Image Quality

I currently have a single image of myself on this blog that I load in the side-bar of every page.

Awkwardly this image is actually a high resolution photo scaled based on your window size. I did this mostly out of laziness as generally you want to use pre-scaled versions of an image for different view-port sizes so as to not waste your visitors bandwidth.

My rather lazy solution to reducing this 300+KiB image to something a little more reasonable was to run a tool called jpgoptim on it to subtly reduce its quality. This resulted in something you could only notice if you looked at the original next to the reduced quality. Specifically I reduced it to be around 100KiB big, 3 times smaller:

jpegoptim --size=100k profile.jpg

If you use png images on your site I can recommend the tool pngquant which basically does the same thing for png images except the quality reduction is even less noticeable.

Removing Web Fonts

I was using the web font PT Sans that was pre-configured in the Jekyll CSS I based my site off of.

This font is very nice! But it adds unnecessary requests (and rendering changes when it’s loaded) to my site compared to using a font like Helvetica that is on basically all systems by default. The slight differences aren’t really worth the extra trouble of loading in the WOFF file and CSS defining it.

End Result

The end result of these endeavours was that my “bloat score” went down and my PageSpeed score went up, additionally my site is no longer making any third party requests.

Ironically this is all a bit of Yak Shaving as the main thing slowing my site down is being hosted on GitHub Pages. I am tempted to migrate away to self hosting as it gives me more control over the site in general but that’s something to explore a little later.


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Name: Lyndon
Date: March 15th, 2021 18:40

Well after reading a blog post and poking DigitalOcean I actually moved across to a non-GitHub host so the site should be even faster!

Specifically used this blog article.

Over the next day or so the DNS might be a bit weird for my site but everything should work soon enough!