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CSS Optimization for a Faster Website

Web Design | Admin | Last Updated: 2010-09-02

CSS Optimization for a Faster Website

A website's popularity depends as much on its design and content as on its user-friendliness. A major aspect of this is the loading time of a website. Now you may ask, how does this affect the viewership? Imagine surfing the internet and coming across a website related to a highly interesting topic but the only glitch is that it is taking too long to load properly. Needless to say this compels you to close the page and search somewhere else. As for designers who make websites with elaborate coding, every effort can fall flat if their websites do not load properly or run too slow on servers. Although there are many factors that come together to increase the downloading time but today we discuss a major factor here and that is CSS optimization.
CSS or Cascading Style Sheets control the designing aspect of a website and if optimized properly these can help in the formation of a well-designed website that loads quickly to show its content. Permitting browsers to directly access information from the .css files that are related to the styles, these sheets eliminate the need for repetitive information reading, each time the page is loaded.

  • Remove redundant coding and combine scattered codes at one place : Through smart coding you can drastically reduce the loading time of a webpage on a computer and if the discrete codes are combined into one then rendering occurs earlier as compared to pages with redundant coding. Also, some properties like CSS !important override should be used only if required.
  • Use CSS Sprites : This enables you to store multiple images at one place and allows faster webpage loading. The combined segment can then be displayed selectively, using CSS properties of background-image and background-position.
  • Use CSS Optimizer Tools like CleanCSS and YUI compressor to delete things like:
    • Unnecessary characters
    • Whitespaces
    • Useless properties
    • Repetitive selectors
  • Keep all Cascading Style Sheets at one place or in a separate external file : This is done to trim down the requests sent to the HTTP Server and having a single file means that only one request will be sent, resulting in faster downloads to the client's computer.
  • Place CSS on the top of pages to load them faster : This is based on the fact that the CSS scripts placed here will be rendered first because the parallel downloads are blocked by scripts. This also prevents the display of blank white screen and content that has not been styled.
  • Some other steps that can be taken include:
    • Grouping styles that are alike
    • Use CSS shorthand
    • Deleting unnecessary line breaks and comments
    • In many browsers using @import causes WebPages to slow down so use this sparingly or better still use link

A cleaner code with smart placement definitely translates into the speedy rendering of WebPages on a server. With the further support of minification tools, you can easily increase the number of time your website is viewed by people. We will be back soon with more tips on how to make your website load faster and become more popular with web surfers. Watch this space!

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