Monday, April 7, 2008

Fast & Easy Site Tune-Ups

Jeff Wisniewski presented "35 1-minute ways to speed up, clean up, and optimize your site with minimal effort." Since we are all busy, and money is always an issue, his suggestions can provide stopgap measures for sites that need updating.

Link to slides will be posted on Conference website in a week...
Here are some highlights:

Update your copyright statement, even if your website is old (provided that your content is still fresh). Customers will look at the date and see that someone is minding the store. Include "Last Updated" statements for each page as it is updated.

Use hCard tools (??) to add metadata specific to your library about blocks of text.

"Harness the Awesome Power of the 3 Question Survey" Survey your users to gauge the effectiveness of your website as it is, and respond to their needs.

Questions to use: 1. What is the pourpose of your visit to ourwebsite today? 2.Were you able to complete your task today? 3. If you were not able to complete your task today, why not?

Don't make the Server think.
add /'s to the end of your a href statements in html. speeds things up. (If your URL ends in "/", use it, so that the server doesn't have to try and figure it out, thereby wasting the patron's time (and patience) searching).

Logos - nice and clear, using small chunks of large sans-serif type

Web2.0 Stylr will create logos for you, including cute little "beta" images.

Be an Icon icon

Crystal Clear: downloadable icons to use on website, all public domain.

Need for Speed: If your site seems slow, find out how slow and why. Install Firebug and Yslow in Firefox. Test your webpage and will make suggestions as to how to improve the speed of the particular page.
Cache: Exploit the users cache to speed up use of your site.
Why does cache matter? Empty cache =more http requests=slower. Full cache=fewer http requests=faster.

Combine small images into Image map commbining multiple smaller images into a single image speeds downloads due to fewer http requests.

Eliminate Inline Scripts :
-In most cases calling scripts from external files to speed page download time, especially if these items are cached.

Exception: Your library's homepage.
-Inline scripts for your homepage
-Making http requests is much more expensive than the size of the data coming down.

Spring Cleaning
Use W3C Markup Validationservice. This validator checks the markup validity of Web documents in HTML, XHTML, SMIL, MathML, etc. If you wish to validate specific content such as RSS/Atom feeds or CSS stylesheets or to find broken links, there are other validators and tools available. Will tell you what's wrong with your page, and fix the errors for you. Takes about a minute.

Is your CSS bloated?
CLeanCSS - CSS Formatter and Optimiserwill clean up and compress your CSS file - cleaner is faster, more efficient for end-user.

Move important information "out of the blindness zone." (showed areas of webpage that are not focused on by end users, exploit the areas that most users focus on).

SEO - Search Engine Optimization: Page titles: must be present AND informative to optimize site.

Google Webmaster Tools
Site Link - diagnostic tools. Title Tag Analysis

Global find and replace...rewrite page titles with the follwing format:
Document titleSection NameLibrary/site name (makes easier for search engines to find you)

Add labels to your forms
Accessibility User friendly

How: (handout)More on Forms

Use radio buttons and check boxes appropriately: Radio buttons for a list of mutually exclusive options, only one choice. Use check boxes when there is more than one option.

Add social Bookmarks links: Social bookmark creator

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