Best Practices for Optimizing Your Website

The more optimized your website is, the more appealing it will be to search engines and human traffic alike. While a website can always stand to be worked on and improved, here are some general guidelines that will bring your website both up to date with today’s optimization musts, and up to speed with today’s fast internet connections. Only after you’ve taken the time to optimize your website should you focus on being able to market your site.

  • Get a great host.

A stable, reliable, and fast web hosting company is the foundation for a successful website. You can spend months building a beautiful website, but if you don’t have it hosted on a fast server, nobody is going to stick around to check it out. Pick a web host who offers all of the features you need, plus reliability and speed.

  • Compress images and other media files.

An optimized website is a fast website, and there are some simple things you can do to make your website as fast as possible. Reduce the size of the images you upload and link to, and use image compression software that will reduce the overall quality of your images by as much as 50 percent, but without ruining the look of the image. And always save images in .GIF format, which is an extremely web-friendly format that is efficient on file size.
Reduce sound clips and video clips as well – or better yet, remove them altogether. And if you must use Flash, use it only when necessary. Search engines can’t crawl Flash files anyway, so from an SEO standpoint it does you no favors.

  • Minimize redirects and lookups.

Try to do away with redirects unless they’re for an entire domain; and reduce DNS lookups by keeping everything on the same server. The less your website has to call out to other websites, the faster it will load.

  • Code cleanly.

Use clean, compliant, correctly-formatted HTML and CSS code. Don’t use visual editors to create websites in, except for reference. Code from scratch and use websites like W3C and About.com to ensure that the coding you’re using isn’t deprecated or incorrect. Clean code renders fast and without errors, which means a quick-loading website.

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