July 6, 2016 | Dave Dechant


(Photo credit: Alan Cleaver)

Does Your Website Need to Lose Weight?

For this Web Workout we’ll be taking a look at an issue nobody wants to talk about — weight. Well, the weight of your website, that is. And maybe it’s not that risqué, but it’s definitely important!

When discussing the weight of a website I obviously don’t mean physically, but digitally. The size of your HTML and CSS files, images, and everything else that makes up your website affects the overall weight.

Why is the weight of your website important, anyway?

Speed!

Internet surfers expect websites to load quickly so they can consume all the glorious information and content it contains. But if your website is slow to load, those same visitors will likely leave your out-of-shape website, and instead get all up on that sweet website your competitor has!

Plus, not to mention the fact that Google doesn’t like slow load time, either.

Don’t let your visitors be swayed because you can’t be bothered to keep your website in shape.

How to Speed Up Your Website

We know we don’t want a fat website. But how to ensure it’s lean?

Let’s move on to a few simple pointers to keep your website fast and trim:

  • Minify CSS/Javascript
  • Save images for web use
  • Use CDN

Using these three simple methods will help keep your website running quickly.

Minify files such as CSS and Javascript.

Your CSS files help make your website beautiful. Need a facelift? Your CSS can perform that operation! Javascript? It allows different parts of your website to do things they never could before!

That said, your CSS and Javascript files can also become rather plump with all the stress of keeping your site looking and functioning well.

With that in mind, whenever possible we need to trim those files up so they can do their jobs as quickly as possible. Minifying your files removes spaces and unneeded parts of these files to make them as small and fine-tuned as possible.

There are many tools online to make this happen, but my personal favorite is Codekit, which does this all on the fly during development.

Save image files down as small as possible.

Images on a website can take up a ton of space! They are the grease-laden french fries of the web — but they don’t have to be. When saving images for the web, there are many things to consider, including file type and file save size.

While there are many image types, we’ll go over two:  .jpeg and .png. If you’re saving an image with even an average amount of detail (profile photo, landscape, etc.) you should consider using the jpeg file type. This will keep the file size small while still retaining a decent amount of quality. My rule of thumb is no larger then 150kB.

If you’re saving a very simple type of image (logos, icons) then a png file type will likely be your best choice. The file size will remain small and the quality super-high.

There are many great pieces of software that can work your image size down even farther. I again prefer Codekit.

Host files on a Content Delivery Network (CDN).

Want to take some of the stress off your web servers? Offload some of the work to someone else! While you could do this with a bunch of files (CSS, images), some just make sense.

Many websites use extensive Javascript libraries such as jQuery. Instead of hosting the entire jQuery library on your server, simply use a CDN to offload the burden when appropriate.

For example, Google hosts all sorts of commonly used libraries that you can simply link to.

One thing to keep in mind is that the CDN you use should be reliable. Remember, if the content delivery network you’re using goes down, so do the files you’re connecting to!

While that’s all I’ll cover here, there are many other possibilities that can help keep your website trim. Not sure if your website needs to lose weight? Go ahead and check the speed of your site.

Any thoughts on all this? Let us know below!

Web Workout is a blog series concentrating on all the ways you could and should be keeping your web presence in shape. We all know that a consistent workout is necessary to keep in good heath, and a website is no different.

Don’t neglect the health of your web presence; follow along with our Web Workout to get tips and tricks you can do to help manage your online marketing.


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