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10 Ideas how to improve HTML performance

Improving your HTML performance is a key factor in the success of your website. There are certain factors that you need to be aware of when it comes improving your HTML code to optimize your website, and ultimately gain a better conversion rate.The latest HTML5 will improve the functionality of your website and make it easier for websites to read it.

Here are 10 ways you can improve your HTML performance. Special focus is given to the use of modern technologies such as HTML5, CSS3 or Javascripts. The focus will also be on your website’s front end performance.

1. Profile your web pages to find the culprits.
Profiling your web page will enable you to find aspects of it that may need to be optimized as well as other components that you need to get rid of. Free web-based tools are available that will determine which component of your website is being requested by the user. These components are your images, CSS files, HTML documents, and your JavaScript files. A good tool will also indicate the size and length of time the requested feature on your page takes to load. These components of your page should be kept as small as possible. Anything less than 25KB is a good size.

2. Reduce the size of your images by saving them on the right format.
The three common web image formats are JPEG, GIF, and PNG. It is important for you to learn about the optimal for the images you use on your website, especially if you use a lot of images. JPEG format are best for realistic photos that have smooth gradients and color tones, while images such as charts and logos that have solid colors are more suited for the GIF or PNG formats. Although similar PNG formats produce smaller file sizes than the GIF format.

3. Apply minification to CSS and JavaScript documents.
Minifying a file simply means that you will reduce the size of these files by getting rid of unneeded characters from your source code. These unwanted characters include tabs, spaces and source code comments. When this is done, a chunk of source code could become as little as one line.
Manually reformatting is unnessary as there are a number of free tools available for minifying source codes in your CSS and JavaScript files. A few examples of these tools are JavaScript Code Improver, YUI Compressor, CSS optimizer and Clean CSS. These tools will also give you the option to reverse the minification process when you need to do developments.

4. Reduce HTTP requests by combining your CSS and JavaScript files.
A HTTP request is created to the server for each component of your page that needs to render. This means that for each CSS file you have on your page the same number of HTTP GET request will be created for that web page. Combining your files will reduce the HTTP request overhead that is needed to generate a web page. You can combine your CSS and JavaScript files by copy and pasting, or you can search the web for alternate methods. Copy and pasting is effective.

5. Reduce HTTP requests with CSS sprites.
You can reduce HTTP requests by combining multiple images on your web page. CSS sprite features the combination of smaller images into one large image. Use CSS to position the images correctly. The correct image is displayed by adjusting the background-position CSS attribute.
The web-based tool CSS sprite generator allows you to upload images to be combined, and it outputs the CSS code or background-position attributes to render the images. You can also choose to do the combination manually.


6. Reduce file sizes with server-side compression.
Compressing page components will allows for optimization. You will need to pay keen attention here as it can be tricky if you are using a shared web host that does not already carry out this function. Compressing objects on a page is similar to zipping large files. You can simply install a compression application to your dedicated server if you use one or if you have a VPS.

7. Inline CSS and JavaScript should be avoided.
External CSS and JavaScript files are cached by the user’s browser by default. This allows your stylesheets and JavaScript files to be captured by the user’s browser even if they navigate away from your page. This saves them the time and trouble of having to download them again. Using a lot of CSS and JavaScript in your HTML document will not allow you to take advantage of the user’s web browser caching features.

8. Consider unloading some of your site assets and features to third-party web services.
This will significantly reduce the amount of work your web server does. Sites such as Feedburner can be used to handle your RSS feeds, and Flickr for serving your images (be sure to inform yourself on the implications of doing so). Unloading to other sites will allow your server to handle just the serving of CSS, CSS image backgrounds and HTML functions. This will improve the response time of your web pages.

9. Plan out an optimal web page structure with an appropriate tool.
You can use tools such as Cuzillion to experiment with the configurations of your web page structure so that you can see its optimal structure. Use the tool to stimulate your page structure, then do some tweaking to see if its performance can be improved by moving things around.

10. Conduct regular monitoring of your web server performance and create benchmarks consistently.
Your web server carries out the brain function of your operation as it receives and sends HTTP request and responses to the right users. It also serves all the components of your web page. Any short fall in the performance of your server will greatly affect your websites performance.
There are remote tools such as HTTPWatch and Fiddler you can use to monitor HTTP traffic. These tools will highlight troublesome areas that you need to address. Benchmark before and after each change you make to your website as this will allow you to observe the effect of these changes. Change your web server if your site traffic grows beyond its capabilities.

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