“Leave S-L-O-W Websites in the Dust – Tips to a Fast Loading Web Site”
Ever notice how fast paced life is around you? The fast lane for fast-moving vehicles, fast food to immediately satisfy your cravings, instant member access for fast access to information, and, instant easy-to-cook food. Everybody wants everything fast and instantly. Even my editor wants me to get this article done – FAST! Web design is a very fast paced and unforgiving industry.
Web users want the same thing – a fast-loading website. A great design is not so great when it loads slowly. As judged by users, a load speed of 0.1 seconds is instantaneous; 1.0 is fast; 10.0 is barely acceptable; and anything above that will cause users to leave a site. So leave slow websites in the dust and follow these helpful fast-loading tips for your website.
- Optimize Images for the Web – There are two priorities here: quantity and size. Minimize the total number of images on the page and choose only the important images that speak directly to your visitors. As for size, all images should be optimized without compromising the quality by using jpeg or gif and cutting down the number of colors.
- Utilize CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) Styles – Set up your font size, height, color, position elements, and boxes using CSS for faster pages. CSS uses simple HTML code to load fast. CSS produces a cleaner code and makes site-wide style changes easier and faster. It is typically one-third of the code used with HTML.
- Use Graphics, Scripts, and Flash Judiciously – These particular elements are some of the worst offenders of ‘page bloat’ and should only be used sparingly.
- Avoid filling your pages with unnecessary Animation – Minimize or omit fancy and flashy images as much as possible from your website. Try minimizing the use of .gif images, which are animated images that usually take time to load. Remove excess “whitespace,” also known as “negative space,” which is the space between elements in a design. Finally, avoid using a musical background. Most visitors play music while browsing and having music also on your website can annoy this kind of visitor.
- Design a Website using HTML – Just stick to the basics and try to create a great design by using HTML as much as possible as it loads faster.
- Use Tables Creatively – When using tables, always specify the table’s width and height. Without fixed dimensions, the web browser loads the complete table code then calculates the table’s dimension, which takes time. Also, do not put a table inside another table because it will cause long delays in loading the page. Tables load fast because it is just HTML code.
- Spread Out Your Content – Instead of using long pages, split them up into multiple pages. It is better to categorize your web content and use several web pages. Typically, long pages have a longer loading time. Visitors usually get frustrated when the information that they are seeking is not to the point, simple, and short. After enough frustration, the visitor will leave the page and your site. Users would rather wait for two six-second pages than one 12-second page. Do not use too much information and always minimalize!
- KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid – Using Google’s home page as an example, keep web pages light and users will reward your website with traffic.
- Simple & small Icons are helpful – Instead of using big images, use simple and small icons to add color and draw attention.
- Use background images whenever possible – Background images are useful for headers and footers and it helps reduce the size of the web page.
- Test loading speed periodically – It is necessary to check and double-check your website to ensure that your website is consistent in loading speed. This will also help you ensure that your site is free from errors.
We have learned the above tips from our experience in web design over the years. We have been building web sites for a wide range of clients including the manufacturing industry, service and non-profit groups, and the real estate industry. It would be our pleasure and privilege to help you build a great fast-loading website!