It’s October baseball, folks, and the Astros are in the postseason for the first time in 1,000 years. Hope and delight reign in the hearts of Houston sports fans, but torpor rules on the pages of the Astros’ primary blog, blog.chron.com, where Astros fans often turn for news. Why?
If you’re like me, you’ve noticed that your phone or computer starts to struggle whenever you hit the Astros’ Chron blog, and here’s why: the Chron blog webdesign needs life support, stat.
Too many ads. Soooo so many ads.
I counted 17 ads in this example (right), and I was generous. I only counted the giant Outbrain panel in the middle of the page as one ad. It has fourteen links, half to Chron sports content and the other half to the typical drivel that earns the Chron income — clickbait content like “9 MLB Players Who Are Actually Huge Jerks” and “Sofia Vergara: Her Hottest Photos From Her Adolescence Until Now” (because Vergara is a huge Astros fan, right?).
Click on the image to the right to see the detail; look for the green arrows which denote ads.
ASTROS BLOG FAIL #2:
The Chron’s Astros blog also needs tuning to meet Google’s standards. I ran a random Astros blog page (about McCullers allegedly making a throat-slash gesture at the Royals) through PageSpeed Insights and compared it to a random ESPN article.
ASTROS BLOG FAIL #3:
Lastly I ran my sample Chron blog page through a website speed test and compared it with ESPN’s. Again the results aren’t pretty.
ESPN’s page weighs in at 1.7 MB, loading in 8.1 seconds on average.
The Chron’s blog page loafs in at 14.5 MB, loading in 47.5 seconds on average. It’s almost ten times fattier and almost six times slower.
This site’s no glowing example of web design. It’s pretty basic. But since we respect our readers, we try to make the reading experience welcoming and enjoyable.
We spend an inordinate amount of time at the Chron’s Astros blog. They’re tuned in to the happenings and all the games, and our lives would be poorer without their reporting. But it wouldn’t take much for the Chron to tidy up their web presence a smidge and make the Astros blog pleasant to visit instead of a teeth-gritting, disk-churning experience. Will the Houston Chronicle deliver? Or will they continue to treat the Astros blog as a low-brow basement useful only for penny-click ad revenue?