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Websites - Best Practices

This guide will give you tips and ideas on how to improve your website. They can be summed up as 'use the minimum required to get your message across'. Hopefully by using some of these tips it will help improve the performance of your site, reduce security issues and mean less work in maintaining your site.

The current trend for sites seems to be high on Javascript and giant images and low on actual content. Pages are unnecessarily complicated to just display a few paragraphs of text and a header image.

They are subjective but I try and follow them where possible, they are:

Aim Lower - Target HTML 4 Strict

HTML 5 is the latest version of the html standard, it offers many new features and deprecates a lot of unused features. Does your site actually need or use any of them though?

If you were to target HTML 4 Strict, you will ensure compatibility with more older browsers and with current browsers that have trouble with the newer standard.

Resize Your Images

You may have a 10gb internet connection, your readers may not. Your camera may take amazing pictures at an incredible resolution, but putting these on your website/blog without resizing them makes your site slow to load and can eat up reader data allowances.

If you want your readers to view your amazingly high resolution pictures, create a smaller thumbnail version of it and put it on your website which links to the larger version.

Most paint and image tools have an option to specify the JPEG quality / compression level. Experiment with this when saving JPEG's, usually 80% to 90% is offers a good compromise of image quality / compression.

Do Not Make Your Website Require Javascript

Javascript can be useful, it is used by games and activities on this site and to make the drop down menus work. There are many down sides to it though:

A good website should be enhanced by Javascript, not dependant on it.

Lower Your Server Requirements

PHP and similar server side languages makes it very easy to make web sites that build the user a custom page. Most sites would probably be much better if the server did the work rather than relying on Javascript.

However, are these server side language overkill for your site? This site is hosted on an Apache server which runs PHP. Although most of the pages on this site are PHP pages, the only thing it does is glues the header and footer on. Apache is capable of doing that itself without PHP, this page and most of the recent pages are not PHP based. For a simple site, look at what is really necessary to produce it.

There are also many security advantages to lowering the attack surface of your server, if you run your own server it is one less thing to worry about keeping up to date.

Files And Downloads

Last updated 13/04/2018

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