Quick loading web pages – a must for website optimization and a good policy in search engine optimization.
Why Quick Loading Web Pages?
Unless you rely ONLY on users with high speed Internet connections, you must take into consideration the quick loading issue for your web pages. According to statistics, a first-time visitor will not “waste” more than 5 seconds until seeing the content of your web page or, at least, until he/she gets an idea about what the web page is about. This means that for an average transfer rate of 3 Kbytes per second your web page must take maximum 15 Kbytes of disk space.
If we understand this as being the size of all the displayed elements (page’s script + graphics + content), then 15 KB doesn’t seem so much, right? Let’s see what we can put into 15 KB:
* one graphic element (your web optimized logo) with a disk size around 1Kb
* 1000 words of content (you should have content-rich pages)
* 3 KB of script (HTML, CSS)
* another graphic element of, let’s say, 2 KB (your linking partner’s banner etc.)
It is not so bad, is it? Of course, if you need to have pictures on your page, you will not be able to keep size within 15Kb. But even so, if in 5 seconds from click your logo and your content are displayed on your visitor’s screen, then it is OK. If the visitor is interested, they will wait another 5 seconds or more for your images to load.
How to minimize the “disk size” of a web page and how to make it load quicker
1. Minimize Scripting
Try to stick with plain HTML when designing your web pages. Do not abuse of text formatting and/or excessive special effects. Use CSS to define the behavior of the links on your web pages. If you use a WYSIWYG-type HTML tool, make sure that you delete all unnecessary blank spaces this tool inserts in your HTML code.
2. Keep Content to the Point
Keep your content simple and easy understandable. Use short and eloquent sentences. Do not use “high-tech” terms, unless your readers are of academic level. Use HTML Heading Tags to emphasize what’s important.
3. Minimize Graphics Size
Because graphic elements are critical when it comes to the size of a web page, you must pay a lot of attention to the graphics optimization issue. Carefully choose what type of image format you choose (GIF, JPEG or PNG) and make sure that you find for your graphics the limit point of the “screen size / quality / number of colors / detail level” ratio. If possible, keep the size of your small, simple graphics below 1 KB. It will load almost instantly due to the way the TCP IP protocol transfers data.
4. Split Website into Sections
Split your website into more small-sized sections (web pages), instead of single pages with large amounts of information. Especially if you have to display a lot of pictures on your pages.
5. Minimize use of Graphics
Try to have no more than 4 graphic elements on each of your web pages. Replace, when possible, image-buttons with simple text links towards the other sections of your website or towards your linking partners’ websites.
Interlace GIF Images
When saving big graphics in GIF format, make sure you check the “interlaced” box in your image processing software’s “Save As” box. This will not minimize the size of the GIF file, but it will tell the browser to load the graphic in two phases and quickly put something on your visitor’s display.
Is quick loading an advantage in Search Engine Optimization?
I can tell you for sure that it is not an inconvenience. In terms of Search Engine Optimization it is also recommended to have quick loading web pages. At least at their first visits, the search engines robots will spend little time crawling your website. If they can easily access the content of your pages they will be able to gather more information in less time and this is a good thing, isn’t it?
Bottom line: In terms of Website Optimization and Web Efficiency, we must make sure that we do what we can to ensure our web pages will load as quickly as possible on our visitor’s display. There are more chances for The Quick to survive on The Net, than for The Slow.
About the author: Decebal (Dudi) Scraba of http://www.ewolwe.com