Improving Web Page load times is important to keep existing visitors on a website as well as to encourage visitors to revisit. It is also often mentioned in various Search Engine Optimization guidance that Search Engines may use page load times as part of their ranking algorithms.
Fortunately, for most web sites, there are a few activities that may be undertaken which will greatly improve page load performance. Described below are five factors that will improve page load speeds.
1. Check that your HTML is valid
Although many of the latest generation web browsers are good at providing accurate workarounds for invalid or badly constructed HTML, it still consumes time and resources when HTML is incorrectly constructed. It is always a good idea to use an HTML validation utility on your web pages (use Search Engine to find one of the many free online HTML validators).
Please note also that HTML, as provided when saving to HTML from some Microsoft applications, is NOT fully valid HTML. If, for example, you save a document in Microsoft Word 2003 using the ‘save as’ – ‘Web Page’ then your HTML will be invalid.
3. Image Size
Always use images with as small a file size as practicable. Large file sized images take more time to load than small ones. There are various ways of reducing image file sizes including using different image formats (e.g. .gif instead of .jpeg) and reduced resolution. There is also a multitude of free online image compressors and other tools. There is, of course, a trade-off between file size and image quality.
4. Stylesheets (CSS Files)
There are four guidelines about Stylesheets and page load times:
- CSS should be held/defined in an external file on the local server.
- The external Stylesheet should be referenced from each web page.
- The link to the CSS file from the web pages should be in the head section of each page.
- If the CSS file is large then compress the CSS file with GZIP (try to avoid large CSS files where possible).
- Some knowledge of CSS is necessary to use CSS most effectively and it is highly recommended to be familiar with CSS and its usage.
5. Reduce HTTP Requests
Welcome Faster Page Load Speed
Above are five basics to improve page load speed performance. Load times of pages are necessary for effective SEO and are the basic best practice of web page design and development.