As you dive deeper into the realm of website management and creation, the topic of optimization is one you’ll see repeated when discussing almost any web-related topic. In terms of website performance, optimization ensures your site not only runs smoothly, but adheres to the expectations established by Google and visitors. However, the value of optimization doesn’t only apply to images and content layout. One of the most important ways you can optimize your website is through proper CSS code organization. In brief, CSS is the coding language responsible for giving your site its actual look and feel. While HTML determines content structure, CSS brings this structure to life in stunning detail.
Much like any other coding language, organization is paramount. Not only does a well-organized CSS stylesheet simplify the actual coding process, but its layout directly impacts the speed and efficiency of page rendering. Therefore, if you’re looking to not only craft visually stunning websites, but also a high-performance platform, you should narrow your sights on CSS code organization best practices.
Tip #1 | Be Sassy with SASS
SASS is a type of CSS preprocessor. In brief, preprocessors streamline work while minimizing written code for maximum efficiency. While there are many different preprocessor, most design professionals recommend building code based upon SASS principles. There are many reasons why this method is preferred. For example, SASS offers nesting and a variety of mixins and declarations. Nesting is an excellent organization method as it allows you to separate specific declarations, such as colors, to prevent browser compatibility issues.
Tip #2 | Think HTML First, CSS Second
It’s always easier, and more efficient, to develop your CSS code after you’ve completed HTML markups. Not only does this offer you a greater idea of the final content product, but it streamlines selector creation as you already understand what the visual structure of your site looks like. In many cases, writing HTML first followed by CSS prevents duplicate and unnecessary CSS blocks. This helps keep your code better organized and highly optimized.
Tip #3 | Avoid Referencing IDs in CSS Markups
Have you ever encountered the frustrating experience of the “!important” statement when rendering a newly written page? One of the main causes of this is when a designer inputs IDs directly in CSS. The main reason why you should avoid this behavior is because selectors are hyper-specific. IDs may disrupt their flow and result in structure overriding processes.
Tip #4 | Study Github CSS Guidelines
Want to write industry-standard code that’s highly optimized and perfectly organized? If so, then you should continuously study Github’s CSS guidelines. These easy-to-follow guidelines offer explicit instructions when it comes to creating neat and clean programming structure. Not only will your code be easier for web browsers to render, but optimized and organized code is easier to troubleshoot and adjust in the future as your site grows.
Tip #5 | Simple HTML Structure for Maximum CSS Efficiency
While tempting, don’t make your HTML structure complex. Simple truly is better, especially in the realm of efficient coding. Keep your tag hierarchy easy to follow and avoid wrapping unnecessary tags within each other. Not only does this make your HTML and CSS files easier to read, but simple and straightforward HTML files provide essential rendering should your CSS file fail to load. Use a waterfall chart generated from a webpage speed test to determine CSS file load times.