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Website Optimization Tip: Place Videos Below the Fold

February 16th, 2008

wordpress-more-tag.JPGOver the past two days, I have been exchanging emails and BlogCatalog messages with another site owner who had a very slow-loading and graphically cluttered home page. Although I normally don’t like to criticize other webmasters, this particular page seemed like an egregious case of poor optimization and advertising overload. So when I clicked through to his blog at Etavasi.blogspot.com after I received a notification from BlogCatalog that he had added me to his friends list, I left a short message in his profile shoutbox thanking him for the add and mentioning that his home page was taking an especially long time to load. I noticed that in addition to multiple ads and banners everywhere (many of which had animated graphics that caused my computer’s fans to squeal), most of his posts contained YouTube videos and had very little text content.

At this point, I remembered an optimization tactic that I had implemented on this site about one month ago and suggested in my comment that he could move some of his videos “below the fold” of the posts so that they would not add to the total file size of the home page and further slow it down. At first he did not understand what I meant because of the language differences (he is Malaysian and probably not a native English speaker), but after a few emails I was finally able to get the message across by using my previous post on Chinese New Year as an example of what I had done to reduce the loading time for my main index page. The CNY article had four embedded YouTube videos in it, but I managed to keep them all off the home page through strategic application of the WordPress “more” tag.

The “more” tag is a function that will divide a post in which it is used and place any content that appears below the tag on the permalink page but not on the home page. It will also generate a link to the permalink page on your home page that entices readers to click through and read the rest of the article. This function is very useful for breaking up long posts, reducing problems with duplicate content, and allowing you to use multimedia and larger image files without having to worry about them slowing down your site too much. To use this tag in a post, you can simply place your cursor at the desired location and press the “more” button that appears in your admin panel just above the text window. The image in the upper left corner of this article shows you what this button looks like.

If you use this option to break up posts containing videos, it is a good idea to write some descriptive content that can be placed above the videos so that you still have enough text on the home page to optimize for keywords and increase your potential search engine traffic. Meanwhile, if you want to test your loading times, figure out how large your page files are, and read some suggestions on how to optimize your website, you can use the web page analyzer tool at WebSiteOptimization.com and receive a free diagnosis.

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