5 CSS Tips and Tricks to Help You Create Websites that Rock

February 08, 2014 Web Design

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) came into being more than 15 years ago and fundamentally changed the way websites looked and behaved. This language has evolved over the years and its various updates aim to empower designers and developers to build more beautiful, more functionally efficient, and increasingly lightweight websites. The following five CSS tips and tricks will help you make the most of CSS and all its updates:

• Use a good editor.

You may be a coding guru, but two heads are always better than one. Being able to validate and look up codes, the auto-complete feature, and syntax highlighting will not only speed up your work but will also impart more accuracy to your stylesheets.

• Compress wherever possible.

Use a powerful compression tool to chop off the bytes from your CSS and JavaScript files wherever possible and without deleting any relevant content. This ensures that your website remains lightweight and loads fast. One way to reduce unwanted bytes in your CSS files is to delete duplicate references and conflicts. Delete comments as well. Although comments make it easier for another person to work on or maintain your files, these increase the file size significantly. Instead, write your codes and arrange them such that your files are readily comprehensible. Also, cache, whenever you can, to improve loading times and preserve bandwidth of your website visitors. Improved loading times also enhance the SEO prospects of a website and drive it up the Google ranks. You can improve the performance of your website by using only a single stylesheet that slashes the number of HTTP requests.

• Increase the readability of your stylesheets.

You can do this in multiple ways. The easiest way is to add white spaces. While this method will definitely increase the size of your CSS files, you can be sure that the readability will also improve manifold times. Ensure that you keep the code layout consistent. Another nifty trick to ease the maintenance of your stylesheet is to do away with inline codes. Also, keep the CSS file names simple so that you know from a glance what each file contains.

• Disable CSS to debug.

All browsers have in-built debuggers. Learn the hotkeys to activate these tools. But if you cannot spot the glitch even after careful scrutiny, make sure that you disable CSS or remove all the styles before bringing them back one at a time to simulate the glitch.

• Check your codes on all the major browsers.

This is probably the simplest of all CSS tips and yet, many programmers fall into the trap of ignoring it. Do not use a browser emulator to check. Instead, check your codes on the real browser or a virtualized edition. And remember to check on all the major browsers—Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari.

The above-mentioned five CSS tips and tricks should ideally be strictly adhered to as best practices that make the lives of developers, website administrators, Google spiders, and website visitors easy. Write down these tips and put them up on the whiteboard in front of you!

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