Need for Speed

When I migrated my site to hugo my main objectives were:

  • Get off wordpress
  • Ditch my shared hosting service (and costs)
  • Make the site super fast
  • Lower the barrier to writing so that I’d write more frequently

I chose the Academic theme because it seemed good for a “personal brand”. It’s pretty fast pagespeed-wise, with the sacrifices in the name of a nice design. Hugo (via markdown) has been great for lowering the friction on writing.

I wanted to make the site faster, so I spent some time trying to optimize an older version of the theme for speed to decent success. However, whenever I’d upgrade the theme I’d lose some of the speed I’d gained.

I started to look to re-optimize the latest version of the theme, but given it’s reliance third-party JS, Bootstrap and Google-fonts, there was always going to be a ceiling on how fast I could make the site go. Since the greatest advantage of the Academic theme for me was “personal brand building”, which wasn’t even one of my objectives, ran counter to one of my actual objectives (speed), here’s what I did:

  • Stood up a fresh new Hugo site
  • Opted for the Hugo Flex theme
  • Removed Google Analytics (for both speed and user privacy)
  • Added privacy-focused commenting system Commento

While Commento may slow the site down slightly, I’ve gotten decent engagement on one post via organic search. Disqus is awful in both user privacy and site speed (Pagespeed scores of ~30 for mobile). The results for mobile page speed scores:

PageAcademic 7 Day Ave.Flex
Home page83100
Image-heavy post76100
Long, text-heavy post7499