Blogging Tip/Plea

Most of us have several scripts on our blog pages that deliver on feeds from other sites–blogrolls via, hit counters from SiteMeter and others, and, of course, various advertisements (BlogAds, Amazon, GoogleAds, and so forth). Some of these–notably and SiteMeter–go down frequently owing to the massive number of people using those services. When they go down, page load times increase tremendously and, often, the page simply won’t load. With having been down for several days, there are numerous blogs I haven’t been able to read even if I type in their URL–the page just freezes at the point where the blogroll code is inserted.

Some of the services are useful enough to put up with occasional balkiness. The thing to do, however, is to put the scripts in a place where they do less harm. I finally moved off my main page to dedicated page a couple weeks back. It’s slightly less convenient that way, but the faster loading and increased reliability of my main page more than offsets that. Similarly, my SiteMeter code is at the very bottom of my page, literally the last thing that loads. So, if it doesn’t load, the rest of the page does. I also put all of the advertising except for one Premium BlogAd strip into the third column so that, again, the posts will load even if the ads won’t. (I’m generating enough revenue with the Premium BlogAds that removing that one doesn’t make sense.)

If you’re not willing to re-arrange your page, at least monitor it. If Blogrolling or SiteMeter isn’t working, disable them temporarily. There’s also a hack for Blogrolling that will display a customized message after a few seconds if attempts to load it time out.

Update: Kevin Aylward has a technical fix for some of the problems with

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kathy K says:

    I try to keep an eye on mine. I took most of my blogroll off the front page. Only the ‘new guys’ stay there now.
    I use the PHP feed, rather than javascript; it’s a bit more polite about returning error messages when it times out (rather than blowing up the page). But I’ve still had to disable it several times.

  2. bryan says:

    Your site always loaded slowly for me, even on a t-1 line. Now, it seems to load a little better (I always assumed it was because of the tables-based layout). However, now I have another weird thing. Every time I go to your page, I have to hit reload to get the style sheets to load up. Otherwise, I get a white background and all the blog posts are centered. Weird. It also happens on Steven tyler’s site, but those are the only two regular reads that I notice this on.

  3. James Joyner says:


    Bizarre. I have that happen on a lot of sites, to be honest, although seldom on mine or PoliBlog. I’ve always assumed it had something to do with the cascading style sheets.