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Webmaster tip: fast loading pages

Statistics show that visitors are willing to wait for about 10 seconds for a page to load before moving on.

If your front page takes a long time to load into a browser, you may consider redesigning it to increase the number of visitors that decide to stay at your site. Don’t forget that not everyone has a cable modem, a T1, or DSL connection. The truth is that there are still a large number of surfers with modems of 56k.

There are certain things that you can do to speed up the loading time:

  1. First consider taking out the embedded multimedia (background song, videos etc.) unless absolutely necessary. Yes, they might create a great effect, but if your visitors get impatient and leave, then the whole purpose is lost.
  2. You can save loading time by using one or more of the images from the front page on your other pages (these will be on the browser’s cache and will load much faster).
  3. If you have an image that loads slowly, you can put it on the page leading to it (at the bottom of the page) by simply adjusting the width and height to 1. For example:
    <IMG SRC="Imagename.gif" border="0" width="1" height="1">
    This will make the image on the first page almost invisible, but it will save the image in the browser’s cache.
  4. Always use height and width tags on your images. This way the browser will know were everything is before the images are loaded. The users can start to read what is on your site before all images are loaded.
  5. Reduce your images. Use Gif Cruncher or Jpeg optimizer.
  6. If you don’t need really sharp resolution, use GIFs since GIFs usually load faster than JPEGs.
  7. If you are using tables, don’t make very large ones, instead construct several smaller ones (you can always link them up if you want). This will help quite a bit. Also, don’t put tables inside other tables if you can help it, because the browser will take longer to work out the spacing.
  8. Remove “white space” (the spaces between your coding). You can do this manually to avoid confusion and to get the best results (there is a “HTML Page Squisher” program available, but this may cause problems with some browsers).
  9. Last but not least, make sure your front page is as short as possible. A longer page will take a long time to load, even if it’s all text. You can always use a link with extra info on another page.
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