Friday, June 29, 2012

Easy Ways to Decrease Home Page Load Time

The Sad, but True Facts

The Big Factors

Unfortunately, not everyone has the same internet provider, connection, and/or browser as you do. Any one of those differences can determine whether your website loads in 1 second or 120 seconds. As you know, page viewers do not like to wait. In fact most visitors would rather research and try a different resource than a website that does not load in under 5 seconds.
  • internet provider
  • computer speed
  • web browser
  • device or computer
  • location
  • cache memory
  • bandwidth

Obviously, you cannot buy all of your readers Alienware super computers so to decrease page load time you must focus on your websites' internals.

Is Less More?

To decrease your home page's load time, yes, less is most definitely more. In general, the less content on your home page, the faster the it can load. The problem is identifying how much each type of content is "worth". By "worth" I mean how much time will it add to your pages load time for the average visitor. Time is money.

Easy Ways to Decrease Home Page Load Time

  • Change .png files to .jpg or .gif using an image editor such as Paint, Fireworks, or Gimp. By decreasing the size of the files loaded on the home page it takes less time to load. In order of size (smallest to largest): .gif < .jpg < .png
  • Eliminate requests to other websites.
    For example, I use Alex Gorbachev's SyntaxHighlighter to highlight code examples in 4 languages of the many in his library so I deleted all the references to resources I did not need at load time.
  • Eliminate excessive or unnecessary comments.

  • Compress your CSS to eliminate unused or duplicate lines. CSS Compressor
  • Replace text based images with literal text. This helps your website become smaller and faster in addition to being more search engine friendly (SEO).
  • Use CSS to replace excessive HTML tags.
  • Defer javascript to the end of the loading process.
  • Use free professional tools to determine the status of your websites load time. I like to use Pingdom but there are several others.
  • Remove excessive widgets
  • Remove excessive pictures
  • Remove LIVE content

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