Spotted an article on button overload today which echoed my recent thoughts on the problem with social networking icons/buttons: all too often they slow down the loading time of a page.
A site I was working on recently was suffering from poor load times. 8 Social networking icons were in the header, and the delay of waiting for them to load was making the entire page stop whilst the header was rendered. Sometimes the load time was pushing 10 seconds+.
All the images were loaded from the same server so were stair stepping and were simply taking ages to load.
In this case the best thing to do is just remove the buttons, there is no point adding unnecessary load time to the site.
Here are some things you could look at to make social networking buttons load faster:
- Position in code (ideally display AFTER the main article content)
- Change plugin if using a plugin
- Image location (loading code or assets from another domain?)
- Image size
- Use a sprite
- Do I need the icons?
I think the last one is an important one. If you are making a website for nurses in Rotheram – do you really need that Digg share icon?
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