A Fitness Plan for a Lean, Mean and Faster Website – We want everything in an instant, nobody wants to wait for anything. Our pace in our daily lives has increased so much that some people do not stop and keep moving. We live in a world where everything is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round. That is probably the main reasons why drive-thrus, instant messaging, one-touch photo printing and all sorts of “now” technology and products were invented and are making millions in profit for companies.
The same can be said when surfing the Internet. Current studies conducted on Internet habits show that users get irritated when a web page takes more than 10 seconds to completely download. Beyond 15 seconds, more than half leave the site entirely . That is how demanding the average Internet user is now. Think when you go on to an site, you want the info now, right now not in 25 seconds.
Some web designers and developers would probably argue that with broadband access, download time should no longer be an issue. However, what these people fail to mention is that only 3 in 10 users in America have hi-speed access, and in the rest of the world is a lot lower. Although mobile 4G has made high speed internet available to millions that cannot have a landline internet connection. A great majority of Internet users still surf the Internet via dial-up modems. At speed of about or below 50 kbps, web pages heavy with unnecessary baggage easily lose the race for the user’s precious attention.
So how do you keep your website lean, mean and super-fast? Well, we’ll help you in the right direction with some tips:
Use lean graphics.
Graphics, even in .jpeg , .png or .gif form will still take a while to load. But since images do enhance a website’s appearance, it is very likely you will find these necessary. However, keep the loading time for the images down by specifying the height and width attributes of your images. That way, the user’s browser will be able to map the page’s layout while the images are being loaded.
If large images are really needed for your content, then use a thumbnail which links to the bigger version of the picture. This allows the user to choose what images he will wait for to load and saves him from needing to wait for those pictures he’s not interested in.
When using images be it large or small make sure you optimize the image, run it through sites like Tinypng.com. They will reduce the image size and still keep the quality good enough for the web. They also have a API developer account that you can plug into and send the images via code instead.
Cut down on the flash intros.
They may look nice, but they take forever to load. And if these animated presentations are at the front door of your website, you stand to lose a lot of visitors (practically half) even before they saw your actual site.
If you simply have to have a flash introduction, please do not forget to include a “skip” button prominently displayed on the page as an option for those who don’t want to wait to load the intro.
Another caveat that comes with flash intros is that (as for some time now) search engines are unable to index content on flash format. So, if you intend to present most of your important information via flash presentation, you stand to lose a lot when it comes to hits from search engines.
Apple device had long since stop using Flash on their device. Flash although still seen throughout the web is a thing of the past. You should stay away from it as much as possible. There was an article titled ‘Thoughts on Flash’ written by someone call Steve Jobs, back in 2010. This guy from apple gave his thoughts on Flash and it make for a really good case on the disadvantages on flash use. Give it a read – https://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/
Maintain an ideal page size.
Keep the pages as shallow as possible.
No one wants to go through so several clicks and links before accessing the page they intend to reach. When creating your site’s over-all organization, make sure that every page can be accessed from any point within 2 clicks. (3 are ok, but it’s pushing it.) This is all about usability. If a 6-year-old can get around the site with ease then you got it right.
Use CDN for worldwide caching
They have good integration with web hosting companies and it is super easy to setup. With it being free millions of websites are taking advantage of it, making the web faster and nicer for all of us.
Use website speed tests
Use these site speed test to help you judge how well you are doing in optimizing your site. Take a base reading and make one improvement at a time. At each time take a test and compare results. These tests are also not 100% correct so take them over a period of time to get the best assessment.
Below are some of the main free website speed test you can use: