There is no question that page load times are critical in the popularity of a web service. Google has been the master of this. GIve people what they want and don't make them wait.
So it's been bugging me for the past year that this blog takes half the afternoon to load fully. We all know the reasons, it's the sidebars full of widgets and calls to other web services. I've tried a number of approaches to solving the problem, but I think I've finally cracked the problem (as usual thanks to a reader's suggestion).
You'll probably note that the page loaded differently today. It is now loading the center column first. No waiting to see the posts. They come up instantly.
The sidebars still take half the afternoon to load, but you can be on to your next task by then if you want to be.
You'll probably also notice that I went back to a fluid page width, but this time the sidebars are set at 200px and only the center column floats. I'd like to thank Ivan at Federated Media who helped me figure out the CSS to do all of this. If anyone wants to see it, I will happily publish it.
Another cool thing about this redesign is that when you visit my blog page on a mobile browser (at least on my blackberry browser), all you get is the center column. Which is going to make it much easier to read AVC on a blackberry.