Getting visitors to your Web site is half the battle of a successful Web site; the other half of a successful Web site is keeping visitors there once they find it. While there are several important things to be aware of when optimizing your site for the search engines (see Helping Spiders Crawl Through Your Web Site), you should always balance that with creating an optimal experience for those who visit your site.
One of the biggest barriers to an effective Web site is creating a site that takes forever to load properly. Internet users are an impatient bunch and want to see a Web site appear immediately after they click a link from the search engines or type in a URL. When a site does not appear right away, Web surfers are more likely to hit the back button and try to find a similar site that loads faster than to wait for a slow site to appear.
The main culprit behind slow loading Web sites is large image files. With so many ways to design a unique Web site, it may be tempting to overload your site with large graphics and photos. While your site may look great, large images files may only make it more difficult for potential customers to view your Web site.
So does this mean you should have a plain site that makes use of no graphics whatsoever?
Not at all. But it does mean that you should use images and graphics strategically and correctly so that your site does not sacrifice speed for aesthetics.
As you consider the design of your Web site (see Practicing Good Design), it is important to make every image count. In other words, don’t have images on your site for the sake of having images, but use them to help communicate your overall message and help establish your credibility.
The larger an image’s file size is, the longer it will take for your site to load. For this reason, it is important to reduce the file size of every image on your site. This can be done by removing any unnecessary information from your images and compressing files.
To compress image files, it is important to use the best file type for each image. The most common image files are JPEG, GIF, PNG and TIF. Below are some basic descriptions of the best uses for these common file types.
- JPEG—this file type is usually best for saving full-color or gray-scale images that demand photo quality realism.
- GIF—this file type is usually best for logos or illustrations that make use of lots of solid colors.
- PNG—similar to JPEGs, PNGs work best for photos. They have the added benefit of transparent edges, like a GIF. Caution: there may be browser compatibility issues with PNG that prevent PNG images from appearing correctly.
At SonicSEO.com, our expert Web designers can help you create a custom Web site with compelling design that does not sacrifice loading time. We pride ourselves on staying up-to-date on the latest design trends and coding practices, and can help you transform a ho-hum Web site into a dynamic site with magnetic appeal!
Call 888-437-3737 to learn how you can make the most of your Web site today!