Page loading time is one of the most important metrics that website owners need to look into. Nobody wants to visit a website that loads like you’ve got too much time on your hands. Here are some reasons why website speed should be in your priority list:
- The attention span of online users is extremely short. Any discomfort caused by waiting too long for content to appear on a page will trigger them to shift to another website, sometimes to a competitor site. The result is a loss in viewership and returning visitors.
- According to this article, a delay in page loading time of 1 second may result to a drop of 11 percent on page views, 16 percent on client satisfaction, and 7 percent in lead conversions.
- Google includes page loading time in ranking websites for search engine placement. In short, make your pages load quickly if you want to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and increase your site’s chances of landing at the top of Google search results.
As a website owner or Web developer, you may look into several avenues to improve website speed. However, one of the most underrated factors for page loading time is Web design. Did you know that a poorly designed website can prolong page loading?
Design for Website Speed
Here are five ways to configure Web design elements in order to boost the loading speed of your website pages:
1. Optimize design-related HTML codes
All websites are written in HTML, and it would be wise to streamline your codes so that the page doesn’t have to load unnecessary HTML jargon. For starters, you should remove deprecated HTML tags and replace them with industry-standard codes. One great example is to replace HTML codes for table layouts with a leaner CSS counterpart. Try to also limit the use of iframes because these external pages may affect the overall loading time of your site.
2. Use CSS instead of images
Gone are the days when you need an image to display visually attractive buttons on the site. Now you can use CSS to create buttons, including the currently trendy “ghost buttons”. You may also create custom-font headline titles and text-based logos using CSS, without the need to rely on your trusty image creation software. Remember that CSS loads faster than image files, boosting overall website speed.
3. Optimize site images
Why put a 1280px-wide image on a page and compress it to 200px? That’s going to take a long time to load! Instead, you may crop your image to fit the dimensions that your page needs. Alternatively, you may use plugins to process the images and resize them automatically for proper placement on your site pages.
In terms of file type, photos load faster on websites when they are in JPG format. Images with transparent backgrounds are best presented in PNG format. GIFs, on the other hand, are best used for small images or animated graphics. Move away from BMP images at all costs!
4. Put all CSS codes in a single external file
CSS dictate the way your site elements appear on the site, and it may become too convoluted when you add more style elements into your pages. CSS codes may be inserted in your page’s HTML, but a better way of implementing CSS is by placing them in an external file. This practice shortens the code of your pages and minimizes the risk of having duplicate CSS codes.
5. Prioritize loading of content above the fold
Above-the-fold content is what visitors see first on your site. In terms of page loading, make sure that the content above the fold loads fast. That way, it will make a good impression to your visitors even if they don’t realize that the rest of the page is still loading.
As mentioned earlier, there are many ways to improve your website speed. You may opt to use these five tips if you think you have made several adjustments but haven’t really experienced the page loading speed that you desire. If you want an objective way to measure your current website speed and compare load times before and after you do some optimization, check out this post about Performance Testing Tools to measure your website speed.