Pentagramme

Website Optimisation: Part 1

by Keefe Tang

It seems everybody is obsessed with optimising their website, be it to make it run faster or to get good seo ranking. No matter what your intentions are, the principles are the same because like it or not they are closely related to each other.

Many would think that getting good seo ranking is different from optimising their website to run faster. Contrary to this believe with good web optimisation your website’s seo ranking will improve itself, by then it would seem that hiring someone to improve your seo ranking would be redundant. Here are, in my opinion, some optimisation tips that you should follow.

get your markups right

This cannot be more important than anything and yet very often it is ignored. The rule is to create a well structured markup that denotes the structural semantics of the web page.

why?

A good markup provides the meaning to the document, getting your html markup is your most important task. Your document can have the most beautiful styles in the world but it means nothing when it is poorly structured.

Having a good markup also saves a lot of time in maintaining it. Trust me, if it is a good markup, you will not see the need to change it anymore. A well structured html markup will stand the test of time.

The <head> element is one of the most abuse element in a html document. Web masters very often shove every single crap they can into the <head> element. Putting all these <meta> elements will bring you no where while creating a messy and ugly code.

omit needless code

Favicon

There is absolutely no need for that line of code. Favicon has become a standard and it is supported by all browsers. By default most browser will automatically retrieve the favicon that is properly named and placed.

Even if for some bizarre reason you want to put your favicon some place else, you can always rewrite the url in your .htaccess file.

seo Keywords

seo keywords will bring your site to no where. Paying someone to “improve” your site’s seo ranking is almost the same as paying your dog to clean your house, it does no good. Having a good markup however, will.

stylesheet

css is used to style the presentation semantics, it renders your markup into your desired structure, so it is vital for your viewers to load the file as soon as possible. Let’s face it, viewing the html markup without any styling isn’t very appealing to the viewers.

That is why stylesheets should be placed first, preferably after the <title> element but if you really want to have the css file load first you can place it on top of <title>. The rest of the <link> element can be place after the stylesheet.

body

The part where structure your content. It is what the viewers will see from their web browser. The contents are normally dynamic so it is important to write cleanly indented markups so that it is readable.

While normal viewers will never look at the html source, there are many web designers—including myself—like to read. Having a readable markup will not only encourage others to read the source it also allows you to read them as well1.

Code is beautiful, code itself can be poetry.

scripts

Javascript’s job is to enhance the viewer’s experience when visiting the site by defining the functionality, not to replace the web page’s structure or presentation. As such, javascript should be placed at the bottom of <body> because the site should look the same even without javascript.

This is because when browsers load the javascript file, everything stops. If your javascript file is huge—I don’t see any reason why it should be—loading the script will halt everything, giving an unresponsive feel to the viewers.

Another reason is that javascript cannot change the html dom until the html document has loaded. Placing the script at the top will not make it run any faster than placing them at the bottom.

source

The article series is sourced from various articles including, Website Optimisation Measure by Kroc Camen, Website Optimisation Measure series articles by Jens Meiert, Optimizing openSpaceBook by Ryan Doherty, Exceptional Performance by Exceptional Performance team from Yahoo and 14 Rules for Faster-Loading Web Sites by Steve Souders.


  1. When your markup goes wrong you would wish you have a readable markup to debug.