Something is happening that is annoying me because it's wasting time. Usually, when I change pages there is a long delay while something is loading. My "waiting" icon is going. At the bottom left corner it says things like "Read pagead2.googlesyndication.com", or "Waiting for digg", "transferring data from pagead2.googlesyndication.com". These things are really bogging things down and take 3-5 minutes to stop. For instance, I can't log out until it's stopped. Not to mention that I wonder if something personal is getting sent from my computer somewhere, to Google maybe?. I also can't use the formatting tools for bold, italics, hyperlinks, etc until it stops. Do the Google ads have anything to do with this?
So I wonder if this is just on my computer or if others have this problem. I have various internet filtering software, Norton Internet Security, and Zone Alarm firewall, so it may just be me.
In this day and age of social networking, sites often depend on resources from many other sites.
As pages on TheChocolateLife load they look for content and resources from the hosting services provider (api.ning.com), from Google (pagead2.googlesyndication.com, google-analytics.com), Digg (digg.com), and ChipIn (widget.chipin.com) - as well as my own server at discoverchocolate.com which is where I host some graphics and other high-bandwidth files to reduce the load on thechocolatelife.com server.
api.ning.com - images and other site content
pagead2.googlesyndication.com - the ads in the column on the right
google-analytics.com - keeping track of page views
digg.com - viral marketing through social bookmarking
chipin. com - "lend a hand" ad
I am really surprised that it takes 3-5 minutes for all of these resources to download all of the information the page requires; at the worst, they take about 15-20 seconds for me [which is way too long and as I spend more time on this site than most people it' can be a drag]. However, some of the slowness could be from the firewall you're using. And I am sure Ning gets slammed at times, too.
I do know that pages take longer to load on my old pre-Intel Mac Mini (using Firefox) because I don't have a lot of memory in the Mac and Firefox on the Mac is notoriously slow under low memory situations. On my Windows XP box, there's a lot more memory and everything is routinely much, much, faster. It sounds like you're on a PC but there may be some configuration issue with your computer that affects things but you'd probably see it across the board and not just here.
SO, everything is dependent on how busy things are all over the Internet. If a lot of people are slamming Google (and they always are) things can slow down if there are network bottlenecks. Many of the things that can be done to improve the site's performance are beyond my control because I didn't write the software. Even though I do have source code access the kind of changes that need to be made are way beyond my skill level.
I have always planned to remove the Google ads from the site. That's the major cause of the slowdown. However, I planned to wait until the site was generating a little income because I have to pay to remove them. So far there's been very little interest (like one order) for any of the offers on the site. I'm looking for ways to reduce costs in other areas so I can do it sooner. (Is a PayPal "Donate" button too crass?)
I can remove the google analytics. They're the second-worst culprit. It means I have to rely on the site's traffic metrics but at the moment, maybe having both is belt and suspenders and all I need is the belt. I will do that when I get done writing this reply.
If any of you have any idea how to help market and promote the site so I can remove the Digg link (technorati never seems to be slow) by all means let me know.
If I get absolutely no response on the ChipIn campaign I will remove that at the end of May even though the campaign is nominally not closed until the end of August.
Please be assured, however, that no personal data of any kind is being transferred or transmitted from the site to anywhere else through any of these processes. Hope this helps and belays any concerns you might have.