Thursday, July 30, 2009

How to Enhance the Online Performance of Your Website?

One of the key factors that influences the success of your website on the World Wide Web is the performance of your web pages. All it requires is to make some tweaks at your end and you can make your web pages perform well.

The front end performance is a crucial area where you can work on to improvise the website performance. Front end includes your HTML, CSS, JavaScript and images on the website that can be accessed easily. Here are some tips to speed up your web pages and make them perform better.

Identify Heavy Components

Large images or components have huge file sizes that makes the web page heavy and further increases its page loading time. As a result, the website takes a long time to load and get displayed on the user screen. Thus it is important to identify these heavy components and optimize them accordingly.

Profile your web pages and key in on unduly heavy components that can either be done away with completely or can be optimized to suit your requirements. It will help you analyze its size and how long it takes to load. Ideally, you should aim to restrict page components under 25 KB.

Use Appropriate Image Formats

The best way to optimize images is to store them properly. Some of the most common file formats to save images are JPEG, GIF and PNG.

JPEG - It is used to save realistic photographs that have multiples shades of colors and smooth gradients.
GIF and PNG - They are used for images, primarily graphics that have solid colors. Though both of them are quite similar. PNG produces a relatively lower file size.

Compress CSS and JavaScript Documents

Compressing CSS and JavaScript documents involves removal of unnecessary characters like tabs, spaces, comments etc. from the source code in order to reduce the file size.

There are a number of free tools available on the internet that help to reformat your code and compress the CSS and JavaScript documents. However, do make sure that you are using good quality online applications that also give you the ability to reverse the formatting through the development process.

Merge CSS and JavaScript Files

By combining the CSS and JavaScript files, you can reduce the number of HTTP requests to the server. This is because an individual HTTP request is created to the server for all the components required to render a web page. Therefore, for each CSS file that you have, a separate HTTP gets requests for the web page. When you combine all the files, only one HTTP request is required to generate a web page.

Use CSS Sprites

CSS Sprites are combinations of smaller images into one big image. For this image to be displayed correctly, you need to adjust the background position CSS attribute. This is a great way to reduce HTTP requests by compiling several images and bulking them together as one. This way the HTTP requests are reduced and the web pages are able to load faster.

Though you can do this manually, there are also several web based tools that offer the option to upload images to be combined into one single CSS sprite and then delivers the CSS code to render the images.