Speed up your website by following the following design principles

on Sunday, 28 July 2013
Web design is an exciting field, and it's pretty easy to overwhelm yourself with options. There are a lot of different ways your site can go, and if you work on a fast PC with a great internet connection, you might not even notice why sometimes web design is about thinking smaller, not bigger. You don't want, one day, to wake up to an inbox of people using certain choice words to describe the speed at which your pages loaded up for them last night; it's better to stick to what we in the web design business know makes for fast pages.

Treat Costly Scripts like a Necessary Evil

There are certain scripting languages you will sometimes have to use, for a certain look a customer (or yourself) wants. These include Actionscript (bundled with Flash), Javascript (and Java Applets, to a greater extent), and a few other popular choices. Sometimes, there's going to be something you need to do that you just can't get anywhere else, or do any other way. But please, only do these things if you really have to. Not convinced? Load up virtually any fancy restaurant's website on the slowest computer you own. Chances are, you had time to cook any of the dishes they're offering today before the site had finished loading. Looks and interactivity don't always get you terribly far in the internet world, particularly when they come at the cost of a web page loading in a reasonable time frame.

Change your Images up a Bit

The most common mistake made by start-up web designers is probably the use of JPEGs where they aren't necessary. If you're selling professional photographic prints, by all means show sample images in .jpg format. These files come at incredible costs, however. It's typically smarter to opt for lighter formats with slightly lower image quality. Depending on the type of image, bitmaps, .png's, and other formats will do just as well, and load in a fraction of the time. It's also worth mentioning that you should never use too many images in the first place. I've never logged onto my town's webpage because I wanted to see pictures of dogs running around; I log on to look up tax information. A pdf of a tax document is fine, a jpeg of someone's wedding is not. Make sure the images you have are necessary, relevant, and load as quickly as possible.

Optimize Your Site for Old and New Technologies

In my experience, one of the biggest pains in web development is supporting old technologies. There are a lot of browsers out there, old and new, and it can be very frustrating to have to account for every version of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or really anything else floating around out there. But let me make this very clear: just because something isn't even remotely fun doesn't mean it isn't worth doing. Make sure you look into supporting as many browsers as possible, to ensure most people, no matter how they access your site, have a great experience.

Speeding up your website speeds means doing a lot of things that time serious time, effort, and considerable thought. But trust me, they are all important. Take the time to carefully approach web development, and your site won't just be better for it, but your users are sure to thank you. At the end of the day, their experience matters most.

Chris McMahon is a professional web designer. He likes to share his insights on various small business and web development blogs. He currently works for one of the leading website design company in Australia.