Website DownloadingWeb users often abandon websites that are slow and take more than a few seconds to load. An Akamai survey says that four seconds is the maximum length of time an average online shopper will wait for a Web page to load before potentially abandoning a retail site.

Need for speed - While the "4 second" threshold was derived for online shopping websites, it still suggests that "fast websites" are very essential to getting traffic and retaining them.

Related: How to Completely Test Your Website

As bloggers and website owners, there are several ways in which we can reduce the average page loading time and give a better experience to our site visitors.

Let's look at some of more popular tricks for making faster webpages:

1. Move all HTML code present inside <style> tags to an external CSS file. Styles embedded in webpages make them bulky while the CSS file is downloaded just once on the client computer.

2. Say no to Macromedia Flash Movies or embedded quicktime objects that autoplay when the page is loaded. Youtube videos, that start only when the Play button is pressed, are not an issue here.

3. If your pages have lot of Javascript code, move all the code to a separate external file that would load just once.

4. Split pages with lengthy content into smaller pages. Even search engine robots would love you for this.

5. Large pictures should be avoided on webpages. But if you can't do without them, slice them into smaller pictures.

6. Just say no to bells-n-whistles like Blog Chats, Google Gadgets, Weather forecast widgets, etc. They don't add value to your site and increase the page loading time.

7. A simple height and width attribute to your img tag can significantly improve the image rendering time as the browser gets an hint about the image size even before downloading it locally.

8. Compress your web graphics using any of the free image editing software like Irfanview. A jpeg image with 60% quality compression is good enough for the web.

9. Manually clean up your HTML - if you have done the blog template inside Macromedia Dreamweaver or Microsoft Frontpage, they would have add some extra HTML tags and other information which you probably don't need in the finished version. Open the template in Notepad and delete the additional commentary mercilessly.

10. Stay away from HTML tables especially nested tables. They just confuse the web browser and increase the page rendering time. Use CSS layers instead.

Related: Why is Your Website Slow ?

Bonus Tip: If you are loading images from different web servers [like the RSS subscription buttons you see on this site], this could affect your webpage downloading speed when one of the external site is slow to respond or their server goes down. It's therefore advisable to put all images on just one server.

Related: Get your pictures on Google Images - via.