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2. File Formats - There are two main types of images on Web: GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) and JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) files. Each format compresses files differently and each exhibits different strengths and weaknesses.
The GIF standard works better for images with large areas of similar, flat colors, such as logos, drawings and diagrams.
JPEG is better at compressing photos and images with complex and widely variable colorings. Within each standard, you can adjust quality settings. Those adjustments will affect file size and image appearance.
The key to optimization is to try out all different options to achieve smallest possible file size while maintaining an acceptable level of quality.
3. Reuse Your Images - increase efficiency of your site by making intelligent use of fact that browsers usually cache (save for later use on user's hard drive) downloaded files, including Web site images. Therefore, when a page calls for an image that's already been used, it loads and displays much more quickly on subsequent page views because it is coming from a local hard drive rather than Internet.
Therefore, one of wisest things you can do is to reuse images; whenever possible, use same logo on multiple pages, same graphic buttons and same graphic dividers. After first time a user loads these elements, they'll pop up very quickly on subsequent pages.
4. Text - text on pages loads far more quickly than images, permitting you to convey more information more efficiently. Don't have a page on your site that makes user scroll down several times. Too much text on one page will slow download time of your site. It will also make it very tiring for your visitor to read all your text.
5. Web Site Enhancements - there are hundreds of other elements you can choose to include on your site. This may include such things as: search boxes, pull down menus, opinion polls, hit counters, rotating banner ads, associate programs etc. You can have a multitude of options to add virtually unlimited functionality (and clutter) to your web site.
To sort out if you need any of these extras, ask yourself question: How does it help me accomplish purpose of this web site? If you can't think of a good answer, chances are you don't need extra element. Make sure they fit into your site's overall aesthetics. Check how they affect load times.
By reducing download time of your web site, visitors will return because they remembered how fast it was to find what they wanted (rather than slower site of your competitors). This may ultimately increase number of your sales.
Herman Drost is a Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) owner and author of iSiteBuild.com Site Design and Low Cost Hosting (http://www.isitebuild.com)