Tips to make your website load faster

It is pretty annoying when you try to open a website that takes ages to load. Not everyone is blessed with good internet speed and in the world where everything runs in the fast lane, slow loading websites are the worst mistake anyone can make. The worst thing that could happen with slow loading sites is losing the potential clients. There are thousands of competitors on the World Wide Web and the visitor will be easily driven to the competitor’s site. To avoid this you can follow few things to make your website load faster.

  1. Images:
    Large sized images could be blamed for slow loading sites. Images are an essential part of your website. In order to let the images load faster you need to follow these steps:

    • The first thing you need to do is size your image correctly. You cannot decrease the size of an image by just decreasing the height and width. If you have an image of size 40k, decreasing its width and height will still make it the same 40k size. I was making the same mistake on my blog till someone pointed it out to me. When I did this the image’s quality degraded. You can use image editor like Adobe Photoshop to decrease the size of the image.
    • The second important thing is to use proper format. If you have complex pictures .jpg format works the best. For simple images with fewer colors .gif files are appropriate. .png format works for both but they could have larger file size.
    • You can even slice images in order to decrease its size. Image slicing is the process of slicing a larger image into smaller images and then putting them back together using an HTML table. This reduces the file size of the image and makes the web page download faster.
    • Using thumbnails is also a good idea to make the pages load faster. You can use Java Script and display only the thumbnail size of the picture and let the user see the larger image only when he clicks on the image.
  2. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) Files:
    Table based sites might take longer time to load. The better alternative is using CSS files. The advantage in using these files is that the browser cache can directly read the .css file which makes it convenient and takes lesser time than to read each tag every time the page loads. You can also compress your CSS files.
  3. Height and Width Tags:
    When you don’t define height and width tags , the browser will first need to figure out the size of the image, then load the image and then the entire page taking longer time. This takes a whole lot of time making your website load slower. Hence you need to define the height and width of images as well as tables.
  4. Clean Coding:
    Some editors add useless codes to your pages (for example: empty <font></font> tags). You need to remove these excess tags which will help to load your website faster.
  5. HTTP Compression:
    The HTTP Compression is the method of compressing data sent out from your web server and decompressing it on the other side. This reduces the amount of data transferred making the pages load faster. A standard Gzip or deflate encoding is used to compress the data.
  6. Remove Anything Unnecessary:
    Flash, images and sound files could be very tempting to place it on your website, but they could be the very cause for slow loading sites. Use minimal flash and images only when they are necessary. About the sound files, hmmm they usually tend to startle me more than be informative. So avoiding sound files could be a good thing for faster loading pages and you would not frighten your visitors away.

If you have other tips to make websites load faster, please drop in your views on our blog.

September 25, 2008 ISSUE #29