Optimizing your website for faster loading times is a vital part for user interaction. If your site takes more than a few seconds to load, the Internet user may lose interest and move on to the next site. Below you will find some simple, yet effective techniques to help you save some download time.
1. Optimize your images
Graphic images play a large role in the optimizing of your site for download speed. If you happen to have an image editing software similar to Photoshop, then you should have an option called “Save for the web”. You can use this feature to help reduce your image size, therefore reducing load time of your site.
If you don’t have image editing software, you can use the FREE online image optimizer.
This image optimizer will give you choices for saving your files in different formats from the original. It will show you the results of the image in different compressed percentages, giving you options for which one you’d like to use. When you choose the image you want to use, right click on the image with your mouse, and save the image to your desired location on your computer.
2. Image Formats
When optimizing your images, it is important to choose the correct image format. JPEG (jpg) images are suitable for photographs or true color images. These images don’t allow for transparency, so the image will be just like a photograph, with squared edges.
The GIF format is used for flat-color images, its best use is for logos and buttons. This format supports up to 256 colors. Gif images allow transparency if you need those rounded corners, or see through portions of the image. These images would be good for cartoon type graphics.
PNG is the latest and greatest format that allows transparency similar to Gif images, but the file is larger because it supports more colors. If you are looking for a much cleaner image that allows transparency, the png format is the way to go.
3. Use the Height and Width Attribute
Many people that add their images, forget to add the attributes of height and width to their image codes. If the image is defined with the width and height tags, your browser can move on with the loading of the text (otherwise the page has to wait and load the image before the text).
Since these tags allow the browser to know the size of the image prior to loading it, the results will be a reserved spot for the image, reducing the loading time.
NOTE: WordPress adds these attributes automatically when you upload an image to your media library, but it doesn’t hurt to verify that it has taken place. Below is a screen-shot of one of my articles showing the width and height attributes for my image using the ‘HTML’ tab in the ‘Edit Post’ box.
4. Optimize your CSS (cascading style sheets)
Most website’s today including blogs created by WordPress are designed with cascading style sheets. You can clean up your css using an online tool called CleanCSS that will merge selectors, remove unnecessary properties, plus remove the whitespace from your code.
To access your style.css page on your WordPress-based site, navigate to your Dashboard > Appearance > Editor, then scroll down until you see style.css. If for some reason you don’t see this file named this way, look for another file with the extension of css.
Before you use the CleanCSS site, make sure you back up your CSS script by copying and pasting it into a text editor like notepad. Once you replace the CSS script with the optimized code from CleanCSS, test your site thoroughly for appearance.
If for some reason, things don’t look right, you will need to replace the code back to its original state. I used it without any issues or errors!
5. Use the Forward Slash When Linking
When a person clicks on a link in the form of http://www.xyling.com (without the forward-slash), the server will need to figure out the type of file or page that is contained for that address. When you include the forward slash “/” at the end of your link, the server will know that it is a directory page, which will reduce the load time of the site.
6. Reduce the Number of HTTP Requests
Conclusion About Optimizing Your Website Speed!
If you reduce unnecessary images and objects from your site, plus combine CSS files together and other like scripts together, you will reduce your web page’s download time.
I recently wrote an article about how your site’s speed is being used in the Google Algorithm… if you would like additional optimizing tips; follow the link to my recent article about Google adding script to their algorithm that will test your site’s download speed, and rank you accordingly.
The article also has a link to a website where you can test the download speed of your site, side-by-side with a competitor’s website of your choosing, to see which one is faster.