The time it takes for your website to load can make or break a visitor’s first impression of your site. Loading your website fast is critical in maintaining the number of visitors to your website; apart from its having a perfect web design.
If your online business is one which is offering people important information, it is critical to have a great website design, but it should have a quick load time as well.
It is easy to check out the load time of your webpage, so that you’ll become aware if your site loads quick enough for the average user. Cable, T1 and DSL internet connections may have become widely available these days. But still there are still many people who are using dial up 56K internet connections.
A free resource that informs you of the loading time of your webpage is found at
http://www.websiteoptimization.com/services/analyze/. Enter your site and the tool displays a report on the time it takes to load your site based on different speeds or types of internet connection. In addition, there are other useful tips given in this resource in order to decrease the load time of your website.
Upon doing a speed test, if your homepage takes a long time to load in the visitor’s browser, it is in your best interest to do some web redesigning to decrease load time. A minimum load time definitely increases the number of your visitors that will not click back on the browser. So as not to lose potential visitors to your site, web designers should also ensure that the webpages will load quickly.
Text may also contribute significantly to the loading time if you have a large amount of HTML code. But this may not be as significant as when you have a number of pictures on your site. Limit the large sized graphics on your web sites if you can.
Images, sounds and animations are the major menaces to download time. While these enhance the attractiveness of your website, they may also take up a lot of time to load. Avoid large sized files, if you can. Many images can be optimized in order to take up less space, and download more quickly. Many image editors such as Adobe Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro can perform these tasks.
Sounds and videos take up most time to load because these are large files; normally from 100 KB to 1 MB in size or larger. Someone surfing a 500K video file on a 56K modem internet connection, will wait some 90 seconds upwards to complete. This is a big turn off for these type of users. So keep these files to a fairly small size, or avoid if possible if most of your website visitors are not using broadband internet connections.
The other very useful and free resource is Yahoo! YSlow. A Firefox add-on, YSlow analyzes and grades web pages. It suggests ways to improve their performance based on a set of rules for high performance web pages. After running YSlow on your webpages you will see a summary of the page’s components and all the statistics for that webpage. It will then offer suggestions for improving the page’s performance and provides tool for optimizing web page image files and other optimization tools.
I ran YSlow on my webpages and I followed its suggestions and optimization tips. With the new optimization, I was able to reduce the loading time of my webpages significantly. As a result, the number of visitors to my sites have increased consistently by almost a hundred percent since then.