Website updates, changes and sakura

A few months ago I went to a house party hosted by a friend who had just started his own online business.

He mentioned that my website was quite heavy with photos and wondered if I ever did a speed test.

He was having issues with his own load times and wanted to know how I dealt with it.

So, in front of everyone at the party we did website speed tests to compare speeds on their big screen TV.

His website was up first and he got a “B-“ rating for speed. Not too shabby for a new site.

My turn came next and I admit that I was feeling a little uncomfortable as I input my URL.

I got an “F-”

That was embarrassing. But not entirely unexpected.

So before I really start I think I should apologize to all of you who have been frequenting this site over the past few years - Especially those of you using your mobile phones without unlimited internet.

Over the past few months I’ve spent a considerable amount of time changing the way this site is presented, adding new content and also reducing load times.

I’m happy to report that I’ve gone from from an “F-” to an “A-”

But there is still a lot of room for me to improve.

To achieve faster load times I’ve not only reduced the amount of images that are being loaded but also the image size and resolution of all the images on the main page. I’ve also split up galleries into different sections and have started to remove the gallery section on each of the blogs I post.

In the future I’ll start to post more photos directly on the blog and won’t post large galleries at the bottom of each post, which will drastically increase load times.

Unfortunately I’ve posted over two hundred blogs on this site over the past few years, so its going to take me a bit more time to go back through all the old blog posts to remove the galleries.

As always, I’ll link the entire gallery of photos for each blog to my Flickr account, so if you’re interested you can always click through to see the entire set of photos.

In addition to reducing the load times, I’ve also added quite a bit of new content.

If you notice the “Taiwan” menu on the top navigation there is now a drop down menu that links to several photo galleries. Likewise I’ve shared some “Travel” galleries that include images from some of the countries I’ve traveled to in the past few years.

I’ve made it easier to search by specific locations in Taiwan by adding pages that separate blogs by their location in Taiwan as well as by categories which include Hiking, Urban Exploration, Temples, etc.

What was once the “Map” section is now the “Maps” section as it currently not only includes a map of my Taiwan blogs but another map of all the other travel blogs I’ve posted as well as the Taiwan cherry blossom map I constructed a few years ago.

I’ve also updated the “About” section, the “Contact” section and added a “Disclaimer” section.

Over the past few months I’ve noticed a few places not only using my photos without permission but also plagiarizing the articles I’ve posted here, which I can’t really say been too impressed with. Especially since one of the guys who plagiarized an article of mine was paid to write it.

I hope that the disclaimer, which includes a Terms of Use and Privacy Policy makes it a bit clearer that stealing my content isn’t cool. Although I’m sure thief’s aren’t really that concerned when they’re stealing stuff.

Finally, after a discussion with my good friend Alexander Synaptic I’ve gone through all of the blogs I’ve posted and removed any reference to the term “Aboriginal” and replaced it with “Indigenous” which is the term that is most widely accepted when discussing anything to do with native peoples.

I hope with changes and the new content that this site not only loads faster but the user experience is much more convenient.

As always I hope that if you have any questions, comments or concerns that you feel free to communicate them to me directly. Likewise if you have any suggestions on how I could improve your user experience, make sure to let me know!

Thanks for the continued support!