As part of having this site as a portfolio piece, I have fully optimized WebVeteran.com for download and render speed.
Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and shown in studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites don't just improve user experience. Users place a lot of value in speed — that's why search engines have decided to take site speed into account in search rankings. They use a variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites.
Search engines are encouraging webmasters to start looking at their sites' speeds — not only to improve ranking in search engines, but also to improve everyone's experience on the Internet.
I'm pleased to say WebVeteran.com has a speed score of 100% as tested by GTmetrix, which uses both Google's "Page Speed" and Yahoo!'s "YSlow" tests.
But it still did not perform well in actual usage. With some more tweaking, and not just following Google's and Yahoo!'s guidelines blindly, I was able to make this site perform even better while maintaining the perfect score.
With cache disabled, the home page loads in 2.25 seconds. Cached, it loads in 0.5 seconds.
The nicest part is that the original source does not get effected. I created a server script that upon first request, combines and minifies files, then saves the result to disk (a disk cache). That server-cached file is then gzipped and sent to the browser.
Here I have the best of both worlds - super optimized delivery while keeping the source usable.