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FedEx made their pages speedier by replacing little graphics next to links with HTML dots. The old graphics popped onto page one by one. Done tastefully, dots appear instantly and look just as good.
For outstanding examples of just how good plain old HTML can look, see http://www.the5k.org The site is dedicated to clever designers who create outstanding pages all under 5k. Even on slowest of dial-up lines, these pages load in less than a second.
Step 3. Bag Java. Java enabled links that change their look when you wave a mouse over them require three different graphics to work. A visitor's computer also has to take time to interpret Java code. Use non-Java links instead.
Also reconsider those Java scrolling news headlines. They also take time to load. CNN took their Java ticker down, making their page load faster. Visitors never missed it.
Step 4. Cut down on links. Lots of sites have a big thick forest of links at bottom of each page. It's doubtful many visitors even see all of these. If you've got more than ten links, you have too many. Cut some out and watch your page load just a bit faster.
While I'm all for copy-intense sites, very long copy can make a huge difference in how fast a page loads. Keep your text at around 300 words on opening page. Inner pages can be longer.
Step 5. Repeat graphics. One of best ways to speed up your site is to use same graphics on every page. Once a graphic has loaded, it doesn't have to load again. I like to have a medium-sized logo at top of page, then a small logo at bottom. It adds color and personality to an otherwise plain page, giving your site a feeling of continuity.
Once you've paired down your pages, try comparing them to your competition. Clean out cache on your browser, then time how long it takes your page to load. Now time how long it takes for competitors' pages to load. Results will vary from one user to next, but you will get a pretty good idea of where your pages stand.
Alvin Apple helps everyday people start businesses they will enjoy. Then he teaches them how to succeed. Read all his helpful strategies, including his latest article, "How to write the perfect classified ad" at http://AlvinApple.com. Reach Alvin at 801-328-9006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.