Cures for Slow Loading Websites

The bane of a slow loading web page is one which all users of the internet have had to encounter and these slow loading websites are often on the receiving end of the choicest of insults. A fast website is attractive and easy to use and does not fray any tempers but allays them with speed. Web sites which respond slowly lose visitations and also decrease in search engine rankings. Google itself has revealed that they include speed into their search ranking algorithms.

Any website deserves speed and while everyone might not want to top on Google’s lists, search engine optimization is a reality and what most companies seek to do in their web based operations. Below are a few small pointers which can help decrease web page load times and are good for beginners making their first forays into web-design.

  • Speed Check

    Analyzing the current speed of the web page allows the user to chart any progress and improvement made in loading times. There are many websites such as Pingdom, Page Speed or Web Page Test which provide tools to assess web page performance and also do some basic trouble shooting.

  • Image Optimization

    Intelligent and clever use of file formats can greatly reduce load times. Images have different sizes in different file formats. There are basically three file types. GIF, which is the perfect format for images which have lesser color and detail, JPEG, which is perfect for detailed images and photographs and finally, PNG, which is for high quality images. Images should also be scaled down in order to lessen the total size of the web page and also to allow for better and cleaner layouts. The scaling down should not be done through HTML code but through editors such as PhotoShop which decrease the file size as well when the file is resized.

  • Content Optimization

    Compressed content can hugely affect website loading times. HTTP compression sends all web page based data in a small package instead of the webpage responding to many repeated requests for information. JavaScript and CSS files can also be altered and made smaller.

  • Style Sheet and Script References

    It is common practice to move style sheet references to the <head> of the HTML document which gives the illusion of web pages loading quicker due to the progressive form of page rendering. Browsers are limited in their ability to load more than a single component from a singular host in one instance, hence, if there is script in the beginning of the page, it keeps other utilities in the page from loading and thus, script references should be placed right before the closure of <body> of the HTML document.

  • JavaScript & CSS

     The modern web page has a lot of JavaScript and CSS files on it. IF the JavaScript and CSS run directly from the HTML document, then the files are downloaded in every instance of the document being requested. This renders browser caching resources useless and increases the total weight of the HTML document. JavaScript and CSS files should be kept in external files as it makes the website lighter, and simpler to maintain.

  • HTTP requests

    A significant amount of load time is used in downloading images, style sheets, scripts or in other words, components of the page. HTTP requests should be minimized in order to make the website quicker. CSS sprites combine multiple images and these reduce load times. Varied style sheets, libraries and images can also be combined.

There are of course other ways to make websites quicker but the above steps are suitable to beginners and more experienced coders and programmers will probably face more serious problems than repeated HTTP requests, however, these are basic concepts and they need to be ingrained into the programming of the website in order to ensure smooth running.

Vanessa is web-developer who has been making web sites and domains for the past decade. She hates waiting on websites to finish loading and has been helping give advice which are good for beginners as they can gain access to her resources and experience in order to solve their own problems.

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