|HTML Code Optimization
Just like spring cleaning a house, the html code of your web
pages should get periodic cleaning as well. Over time, as changes
and updates are made to a web page, the code can become littered
with unnecessary clutter, slowing down page load times and hurting
the efficiency of your web page. Cluttered html can also seriously
impact your search engine ranking.
This is especially true if you are using a WYSIWYG (What You
See Is What You Get) web design package such as FrontPage or
Dreamweaver. These programs will speed up your web site creation,
but they are not that efficient at writing clean html code.
We will be focusing this discussion on the actual html coding,
ignoring other programming languages that may be used in a page
) characters instead of correct html so that the code examples
will display properly in this newsletter.
Up until recently when coding a page in HTML we would be using
tags such as the (font) tag and (p) paragraph tags. Between
these tags would be our page content, text, images and links.
Each time a formatting change was made on the page new tags
were needed with complete formatting for the new section. More
recently we have gained the ability to use Cascading Style Sheets,
allowing us to write the formatting once and then refer to that
formatting several times within a web page.
In order to speed up page load times we need to have fewer characters
on the page when viewed in an html editor. Since we really do
not want to remove any of our visible content we need to look
to the html code. By cleaning up this code we can remove characters,
thereby creating a smaller web page that will load more quickly.
Over time HTML has changed and we now have many different ways
to do the same thing. An example would be the code used to show
a bold type face. In HTML we have two main choices, the (strong)
tag and the (b) tag. As you can see the (strong) tag uses 5
more characters than the (b) tag, and if we consider the closing
tags as well we see that using the (strong)(/strong) tag pair
uses 10 more characters than the cleaner (b)(/b) tag pair.
This is our First Principle of clean HTML code: Use the simplest
coding method available.
HTML has the ability of nesting code within other code. For
instance we could have a line with three words where the middle
word was in bold. This could be accomplished by changing the
formatting completely each time the visible formatting changes.
Consider this code:
This takes up 90 characters.
This is very poorly written html and is what you occasionally
will get when using a WYSIWYG editor. Since the (font) tags
are repeating the same information we can simply nest the (strong)
tags inside the (font) tags, and better yet use the (b) tag
instead of the (strong) tag. This would give us this code (font
face="times)This (b)BOLD(/b) Word(/font), taking up only 46
This is our Second Principle of clean HTML code: Use nested
tags when possible. Be aware that WYSIWYG editors will frequently
update formatting by adding layer after layer of nested code.
So while you are cleaning up the code look for redundant nested
code placed there by your WYSIWYG editing program.
A big problem with using HTML tags is that we need to repeat
the tag coding whenever we change the formatting. The advent
of CSS allows us a great advantage in clean coding by allowing
us to layout the formatting once in a document, then simply
refer to it over and over again.
If we had six paragraphs in a page that switch between two different
types of formatting, such as headings in Blue, Bold, Ariel,
size 4 and paragraph text in Black, Times, size 2, using tags
we would need to list that complete formatting each time we
make a change.
(font face="Ariel" color="blue" size="4")(b)Our heading(/b)(/font)
(font face="Times color="black" size="2")Our paragraph(/font)
(font face="Ariel" color="blue" size="4")(b)Our next heading(/b)(/font)
(font face="Times color="black" size="2")Our next paragraph(/font)
We would then repeat this for each heading and paragraph, lots
of html code.
With CSS we could create CSS Styles for each formatting type,
list the Styles once in the Header of the page, and then simply
refer to the Style each time we make a change.
font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
font-family: "Times New Roman", Times, serif;
(p class="style2")Paragraph Text(/p)
Notice that the Styles are created in the Head section of the
page and then simply referenced in the Body section. As we add
more formatting we would simply continue to refer to the previously
This is our Third Principle of Clean HTML Code: Use CSS styles
when ever possible. CSS has several other benefits, such as
being able to place the CSS styles in an external file, thereby
reducing the page size even more, and the ability to quickly
update formatting site-wide by simply updating the external
CSS Style file.
So with some simple cleaning of your HTML code you can easily
reduce the file size and make a fast loading, lean and mean
About the author:
George Peirson is a successful Entrepreneur and Internet Trainer.
He is the author of over 30 multimedia based tutorial training
titles covering such topics as Photoshop, Flash and Dreamweaver.
To see his training sets visit www.howtogurus.com