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Get FASTER Download Times By Making BIGGER Web Pages!

By Michael Hopkins
Posted Friday, June 25, 2004

As a webmaster you already know how important it is that
your web pages download fast. In a nutshell, if your pages
are slow, then you're losing visitors. And if you're losing
visitors, you're losing money.

To speed up your download times, most web design
experts will suggest that you optimize your GIFs and JPGs
so that they download faster. They'll suggest that you make
your images smaller or remove them altogether. Or they'll
simply suggest that you put less stuff on your pages.

All of these methods work. The problem, however, is
that they all involve doing things that you don't want to do.
You don't want to squeeze any more quality and color out
of your images. The same goes for your content - you put
it there because you want it there. Basically, there's only so
far you can go with these approaches before you really
start to ruin your page.

Fortunately, there's one way to get your pages opening
faster without having to compromise your images or your
content. This is a simple and effective method, but one
that is rarely discussed by the web design experts.

To understand this approach, it's important to recognize the
difference between "perceived" download time and "actual"
download time. The perceived download time is the time it
takes to have enough stuff displayed on your page for the
visitor to be able to start studying your content. The actual
download time is the time it takes for the entire page and
all its contents to be fully downloaded.

The perceived download time is the one that really counts.
Why? Because once your visitor has something before
his/her eyes to read or look at, then there is much less risk
that he/she will click away because your page is taking too
long to load.

So how do you improve your perceived download time?

Simple, you break the content of your page down into two
or more tables.

You see, web browsers will not start displaying the contents
of a table until it has compiled the entire table to the end.
Once a table is compiled it will display, and the browser
will start compiling the next table.

That means that if you place the entire contents of your
page inside one big table, the browser will have to
compile the entire contents of your page before anything
will be displayed. The result: your visitor spends all that
time staring at a blank screen.

However, by putting some of the content towards the
top of the page into a table of its own, the rest of the
page can be downloading farther down, while your
visitor is busy studying the stuff that's already displayed.

I've used this method to great effect on my own website.
I went from an actual download time of up to 20 seconds
(staring at a white screen) down to a perceived download
time of rarely more than 3 seconds (often as low as
1 second)!

The ironic thing is, my page is now bigger (in terms of
Kilobytes) than it was before I made the change.
That's because 2 tables take more HTML than one.

But boy has that extra bit of HTML paid off!

Make a test page now and try it out. Your hit counter
will thank you for it!
About the Author
Michael Hopkins is owner of BizzyDays eBook Publications.
Visit now to download original ebooks for FREE at:
This article first appeared in Michael's newsletter 'Ebook Times'.
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