20 ways to speed up your website

Thursday, October 14, 2010 by Richard Howe

If your website is running slowly, put some of these tips into practice. They're all simple to implement but can shed seconds from your web page load times.

Website images

1. Compress .jpg's and .gif's using the Photoshop “Save for Web” feature.

2. Get rid of unnecessary web page flash navigation or other elements which can be slow, full of bugs or frustrating to use. 

3. Don’t set image dimensions using the HTML code. Your website visitors will still have to download the full-size image.

4. Specify image dimensions within the HTML code which lets the server know how much space to give for each image.

5. Slice large images up so they all gradually appear, rather than one big image appearing a few seconds after everything else. 

6. Use the correct image formats. JPGs for photos, GIFs for flat coloured images and PNGs for supporting more colours in a GIF style.

Website coding

7. Convert tabular website layouts into CSS based. Leave tables for displaying data only, and use CSS for cleaner code.

8. Use CSS images instead of coding an image tag. 

9. Use external stylesheets across the whole website rather than in-line styles for every page. Browsers will cache this stylesheet, so it only has to be downloaded once.

10. Specify the document type in the web page header. 

11. Use external Javascript for visitor caching.

12. Use shorthand CSS to cut down on every attribute being on an individual line.

13. Put a "slash" at the end of your a-links so the server knows this is a directory page.

Website servers

14. Ensure your website is hosted in a  geographical location near your target audience.

15. Upgrade your server memory to reduce processing time.

16. Upgrade your server hard drive for accessing database information. 

17. Use different servers for your web content and databases. 

18. Only use secure pages for your website shopping carts, log-in pages and member areas. https:// is around 3 times slower than regular http://. 
19. Reduce the number of other web sites referenced for information and images.

20. Use Gzip to compress bulky html code. 

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