We've all been on one of those sites that takes entirely too long to load and chances are most of us weren't there for very long. Long loading sites lose more traffic than they think. So, what makes sites perform so poorly?
- The size of the html doc is far too big or they're using outdated code such as table based layouts.
- In-page elements like imagery, flash files, mutlimedia files and scripts are not optimized or are either too large or too processor intensive for the users browser.
- The html is overly complex for it's need. Smaller, better organized pages render much faster.
- The users connection is extremely slow.
- Third party servers where additional content is pulled from is lagging.
- DNS response time is slow in pointing to the correct server IP.
- General server responsiveness.
These are just a few common problems and though some are out of the designer's hands there are a few things you can do to speed up your site's performance.
- Optimize all of your html and dependent files as much as possible. Condense your CSS, use DIV tags instead of a table based layout. Compress all of your images down as far as you can without losing the integrity of your message.
- Don't rely on third party content pulled from other servers.
- Include all "large" scripts or CSS image loading divs at the end of your html file allowing the meat of the page to be loaded and displayed before the browser has to deal with rendering large script files. By removing these scripts from the head section of your pages and placing at the bottom of the page before the closing body tag you'll ensure the loading scripts won't interfere with the overall load of the page and the user's wait time to see your content is reduced.