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Page Load Time

The loading time of a website is very important in retaining your visitors, especially in today's impatient society. While waiting 1-2 minutes for a page to load was fully acceptable some years ago, that's not the case today. We live in a fast-paced world where the smallest time difference can have a huge impact. If your site's load time does not at least meet the standard, you can expect most of your traffic to go elsewhere - that's why people sign up for high-speed internet service!

There are a number of things that you can do to improve your page load time, a factor that should be taken into consideration in the early stages of website development with optimization in mind. While many factors are involved, here's a quick guideline for delivering your information quickly:

Image File Size
Large image files can slow down your page load time tremendously. The size of image files can be greatly reduced by simply reducing the number of colors used per pixel. Depending on the graphic, the difference in quality could be miniscule with a reduction of up to a fourth of the original file size. You'll find that you may need to do a little testing to find the right level of optimization for each particular graphic.

Include Size Specifications
Specifying the "width" and "height" parameters when using tables and images can improve page load time multi-fold. If you provide the browser with the information it needs to create a layout of the page faster, the browser won't prevent images from being displayed while waiting for the pertinent information.

Avoid complex Tables
Use simple tables. Oftentimes, the more complex a table is, the longer is will take for the site to load; with growing complexity of a table grows the need for more memory storage, increasing the overall page load time. Don't be afraid of using multiple tables inside of one another; it keeps things organized and makes the code easier to read for the browser.

Use HTML Text
Use text instead of images when you can. Instead of using small images to display text as was done in the past, most web designers have switched to simple HTML text and use CSS files to manipulate the look of the text. Not only does this increase the load time tremendously, it also makes the website easier to maintain and more efficient in terms of ranking in the search engines for particular keyword phrases.

Don't force Introductions
When using Flash or JavaScript-enabled introductions, keep in mind that not all of your visitors will want to sit through it, especially if it's an advertisement. Be sure to give users the option to "skip" the introduction.

Remember, that no matter how great your design or how well you managed to put together your content, if your visitors can't see the page, it's all a waste of time. Acceptable page load time is Sone of the most important aspects of a website, one that is easily achieved.