Reduce your websites size

Put your Website on a Diet in 2014…

Over the festive period it’s not unusual to put on a bit of extra weight, and so many of us spend January on a diet. This January it’s also worth taking stock of the size of your website, and if it’s a little on the heavy side it may be time to put it on a diet too.

Why slim your website down?

By ‘size’, we mean the actual physical size of the data that makes up your website, in KBs and megabytes, and more specifically, the individual size of each page that makes up your website. The size of your web pages is important because it will affect how long each page takes to load, and potentially how much you pay for hosting.

When designing your website it’s important to remember that every single byte of data (be it code, images, scripts, text content or anything else) must be transferred to the user’s computer for them to see the final result – your web page. And while broadband speeds are constantly getting faster, not everyone has a lightning-fast connection. As a general rule, the larger your website, the longer it will take to load.

The accelerating growth of mobile internet usage makes page size even more relevant. Unless they’re using a Wi-Fi connection, mobile users are generally at the mercy of whatever data transfer speeds are available where they are (and some areas still don’t have 3G coverage, let alone 4G). Every bit of data means valuable extra seconds of page loading time, and an increasing chance that the user will navigate away from your page. Google said last year that the average mobile webpage takes more than seven seconds to load, and that webmasters should be aiming to have ‘above-the-fold’ content loaded within a second.

Tips for your digital diet

So what can you do to trim the fat off your website and get those pages loading faster? Try some of these healthy, slimming options:

  • Reduce image size and resolution/ number of images per page
  • Compress images and other files
  • Combine images using CSS sprites
  • Limit data-heavy advertisements (banners etc) wherever possible
  • Break content up over several pages
  • Minimise redirects
  • Remove non-essential code
  • Use browser caching