Golden Goose of Page Load Times

April 9, 2003

From time-to-time, I talk about techniques I use to develop my work site. I’m really busy with about 10 different projects currently, but I took some time today to find out the total “weight” of the main page. It’s not bad, has a 28 second load time on a 28.8 modem, but that’s still too much for what I have to accomplish.

I’m trying to make three large promotion areas on the website…nothing secret here, most site do it too. I’m testing a couple of ways to lessen my dependence on graphical banners. My main test, is to make a CSS version of the ads. I can get the same colors and some of the same fonts, plus adding to terms that Google searches us for. It works on my Mac, so I have some testing across platforms.

On the current site, it’s running at about 86k….71k of that is graphics. Not bad for a large page, but not good either. Using CSS instead of graphics, I knocked that down to about 49k….cutting my load time in half…to about 16 seconds for a 28.8 modem. Now keep in mind, I still use tables for that site, but not too bad….a test CSS version was about 1k smaller than the tabled version. Having a core group of about 5 SSI elements, helps to cache page load around the site.