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.
They are subjective but I try and follow them where possible, they are:
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.
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.
For more about how to optimise the images on your website, click here.
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.
Avoid Mystery Download Links - If you link to a file the user can download (e.g. document or archive), make sure you say what the file is it is and how big it is. If it's an uncommon file type, maybe suggest a tool the user can download to open it.
Avoid Obscure File Types - Following from the above, if you do list a file for the user to download, try and use the most common file format you can so the user does not need to find a special tool. For example, although not popular, almost every device can open a PDF but not everyone can open a DOCX.
Offer 7zip files as well as Zip files - Using Zip files to compress files is always a great idea, smaller files and some degree of error checking so the user knows if a file is damaged in the download. If possible, maybe offer 7Zip files as well? They offer even smaller files which means even quicker downloads, the downside is that they are not as common at the moment but more general use would be great.
Last updated 13/04/2018