When it comes to graphics, nothing can slow down your page load like high resolution photos. My goal here is to make the theme as light weight as possible. By keeping the theme itself light, we can allow more load time for content and sidebars.
After several days of wrestling with graphics I finally settled on a text effect header. (Click the pic) It’s nothing flashy, but it’s simple and reflects what I’m doing here. It’ll settle in better once I start working on the rest of the page. The stylized ‘E’ I’ve used is potentially going to be carried throughout the theme. (Just a vision at this point)
Because I’ve used graphics in the header instead of the default text and image background, we’ll handle things a bit differently from what was originally coded. Since this theme is not being developed for distribution there’s no need for flexible code.
For instance. The Blank Theme contained 58 lines of code to produce the header. Most of this was for providing flexibility for the masses. Since I’m the only one to use this theme we can ditch the overhead.
By direct use of images (not CSS backgrounds) for the header I’ve trimmed this down to 17 lines of code:
<div id="headerRight"><a href="<?php bloginfo(‘rss2_url’); ?>"><img src="http://static.tornelements.com/torn_images/rssIcon.jpg" alt="Torn Elements RSS Feed" /></a></div>
<div id="headerLogo"><a href="<?php bloginfo(‘siteurl’); ?>"><img src="http://static.tornelements.com/torn_images/tornHeader.jpg" alt="Torn Elements – Larry Monte regaining lost passion for design" /></a></div>
By using images and not CSS backgrounds I get to assign ‘alt’ tag information which is good for SEO. Since we aren’t using text for the header it’s good to give Search Engines a bit of information about the site via images.
Take note of the sub-domain source for the image files. As I mentioned previously I’m using another domain to store my theme images:
The second sub-domain will house the theme images. Most browsers can only load 2-4 images simultaneously from any single domain. By keeping theme images on a sub-domain and content images on the main domain, I can increase the load speed of the site dramatically by allowing an additional 2-4 images to be loaded at the same time. (A preliminary step in page optimization)
I like to use images in my posts. Since many will appear within the length of my homepage it’s good to have some kind of optimization going on.