You have less than 10 seconds to capture the interest of a visitor to your website. If your website takes more than 2 to 4 seconds to load, you have already lost half of your unique visitors. So in addition to having a good web design, it is also important to make sure that website loads fast. Here are a few things you could do to help your website load faster:
CSS can greatly improve your web sites load time! With your styles in an external .css file, the browser can cache all the formatting and stylizing for your pages instead of having to read each and every single tag all over again. Also it cuts down on long drawn out tags and replaces them with smaller class styles instead.
Use External Scripts
That way the browser already has it in it's cache and won't have to read it each time another page loads. This one saves a ton of load time, specially for larger scripts!
Choose The Best Image Format
Save buttons, typography, and simple graphic elements in GIF or PNG formats which are designed to make these types of images as lightweight as possible. For photographs, consider compressing JPEGs at less than 100% quality if you have many loading simultaneously on a page.
Resize Your Images
For thumbnails or to show a smaller version of an image, resaving the file at the exact size you want to display will save space. If you have then your file should be resaved as a 200x200px image instead of scaling a 400x400px original.
Keep It Simple
OK, while this might sound obvious sometimes the hardest thing about creating a website is not using every fancy trick that you know. Images, flash and sometimes even sound files are very impressive.. but do you really need to showcase all your talents on one page?
Embedded sound files are something many people just find annoying anyway. You'd be surprised how many are surfing at work ;-). The last thing anyone wants is a loud music or sounds announcing to their boss that they're surfing. Also not many appreciate it when they have to wait for a flash to end before they can access your website. Stand back and take a critical look at your website, you may see a few special effects that can be let go of for the sake of faster load time.
Split Up Long Pages
By splitting up long pages into multiple pages you not only make the content show up faster but many people that see a very long scroll bar give up. Remember, people's attention spans are often shorter than a grasshoppers (OK, not literally, but you get my point) since so much information is available at our fingertips. Try breaking it up into more readable lengths.
Remove Extra Space From Your Code
Many code editors add uneccessary whitespace or blank lines to your documents. Removing this unused space will make your files smaller and load faster. Be sure to check at the bottom of your code where whitespace may have been pushed down from a template file.
Keep The Code Clean
There are several software out there that allows you to convert an image or Word document into a website. If these software could do what a programmer could do, then the job of web developers would have been long extinct. The problem is these software add an unbelievable amount of complicated and unwanted code that slows down the website considerably. Even content pasted from Microsoft word can add unnecessary code. Clean up the unwanted code and see your website load faster.
Characteristics of a good website
Every business is looking to build a good website with a lot of traffic. However, what defines a good website? Here are some points that you should keep in mind while designing your website:
1. General Website Design
Keep the overall page layout the same so that the user feels a good transition from page to page. Also the width and height of the page should limit the amount of scrolling a visitor has to do to see all the content of the page. Contrary to common beliefs, a simple website layout is always much more professional and easier on the eye than a website with a lot of flashing things.
Your website homepage should very clearly convey the message about the service/product you are selling. Many times, my clients ask for a lot of flash and other things on their website homepage. This is not necessarily the user-friendly or search engine friendly option. Take a look at some of the most popular websites - Google, Facebook, Twitter. One thing they all have in common is the simple homepage that tells you exactly what is their product/service. A cluttered homepage is confusing to your visitors. So keep it simple.
3. Usability and Navigation
The navigation/menu buttons on your website should be very easy locate and highlight the different aspects of your business. So give some thought to the menu and sub-menu titles. This is how your users find more information about your business. Make it easy for them to navigate throughout your website. Keep the amount of clicking to a minimum. If possible, have direct links to all of your sub-pages from the main page. If a visitor needs to click more than 2 or 3 times from the main page to get to any page on your site, you may want to reconsider the structure of your web site. In case of a large website, provide a site map.
4. Fast loading
You have just a few seconds to catch the interest of a first time visitor to your website. If that time is wasted in the user waiting for your website to load, then you might lose a potential client. Make your webs pages smaller in size by limiting the number of flash and images on each page and reducing the size of each image.