Improving Your Web Page Speed

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 by Mistlee

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Improving Your Web Page Speed

By Rene LeMerle

Google recently announced that web page load time was a contributing factor to their Google AdWords Quality Score. As an the AdWords Quality score impacts the success of Google Advertising campaigns, optimizing pages for fast loading is now essential.

Below are some quick tips to ensure the web pages for your Google ads are lightening fast. If you're not the author of your website, ensure your web designer has undertaken these strategies to optimize your site's speed.

Key web page load time factors
These are some of the key areas that impact a web pages load speed:

Server speed - the computer that hosts your website
Database - how reliant is your web page on a database
HTML code - how much code makes up your web page
Images and Media - what's the size of the images and rich media on your page
Scripts - the use of Javascript and other scripts on your page

Images and Media
Images and rich media are the main cause of slow web pages. Often images are used where text could be equally effective, and when used are not optimized to load quickly.

While appearances are important, always ensure your images and media are providing real value to your web page, and if not - consider omitting them.

If the images and media are enhancing the page's performance, then ensure they are optimized for quick loading.

For images, generally optimize them to 72dpi and use GIF or PNG formats for the best results. Where image quality is vital (e.g. product images), use JPG. Trying keeping the total size of images and media on the page to under 50Kb.

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HTML code
It's very easy for your web page's HTML code to blow out in size. Ideally, sub 20Kb sizes are ideal. The most common way to trim your HTML code is the use of CSS (stylesheets), which avoids the use of excessive coding, such as tables and style tags. For help with using CSS, visit W3C help pages.

Server Speed
Where you host your website can have big impact on your site speed. Many people look to cut costs in hosting to the detriment of their sites load time.

Often shared hosting or narrow bandwidths provided by hosting companies create load time issues. Where possible, seek dedicated hosting options and the widest bandwidth suitable for your site. It's always good to shop around for hosting packages.

Does your website rely on a database to load? Many websites which are driven by databases (many cms based sites use databases) would be equally effective as static pages. If you can avoid database reliance, then opt for a static format to streamline your speeds.

While its not always feasible or logical to use static pages, then ensure your database is set up to simplify the access process. Consult a database specialist or professional web designer if you're not sure that your db is set up optimally.

Scripts are often used to create web page interactivity and functionality. As browsers have matured, often scripts are required less to achieve these results (e.g. mouse-overs etc.) If you really need to use scripts such as Javascript on your web pages - try to keep them in external files which help to keep your web page code clean and search engine friendly.

Now that's not the definitive list of elements that impact your web page's speed, but addressing some, if not all of the above, will surely have a noticeable effect of your web page's load time - and help to improve your Google AdWords Quality score.

If you're unsure about any of the items above, either speak to your web designer/webmaster or visit the numerous online help guides.


About the Author:
Rene is the marketing manager of - a leading small business search marketing firm with over 10 years of experience. Rene has over 8 years of marketing experience with much of that time spent helping businesses embrace the best of the internet.

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