Improving SEO with a Modular Approach to CSS Styling

by | November 24, 2020 | SEO

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Last updated on: February 7, 2023

One vertical of on-site search engine optimization (SEO) is improving the speed of your website.

A fast-loading website is important for ranking well in search engine results pages, as well as for creating better overall user experiences. People spend more time on “good” websites, good websites rank better in search, more people find the site, more people use them and the site has more chances to do more business. Reducing the size of the code required to load a web page is an easy to way help speed up a website’s load time. Improving website speed with a DRY approach to styling CSS is often overlooked and underutilized.

faster websites = better experiences = more visitors = more business

Any opportunity to improve a website’s speed is worth investigating.

Code Splitting

A few modern coding frameworks offer code-splitting functionality. Code splitting is kind of like auto-magical modularization because code is split and componentized in a way where the website application knows to only load the code that’s necessary for displaying what’s currently rendered on-screen. It’s a really effective approach for instantly reducing the amount of code it takes to load a particular web page and improving the initial time to load. It helps to optimize on-site search engine optimization (SEO) indicators.

Code Spaghetti

Code spaghetti sounds like a funny meal on a kid’s food menu, but it’s a real common problem across many established websites. It’s not like there’s a code inspector checking the quality of output from every digital marketing agency in the world or something. Clients get what they get and are usually over the moon happy when what they get works how they wanted and looks like what they were promised.

Under the hood, a website is only as good as its developer(s) have the time and skills to make it be. Whether the styles are written in CSS, Sass, or Less, it’s too easy to write layers and layers of garbled code. Stylesheets don’t have many rules or require much structure to create, so if you’re not disciplined and intentional with your code it can quickly grow out of control and become unmanageable.

Using deliberate modularization and DRY (“don’t repeat yourself”) coding practices pay dividends in the long run.

Methodical Modular Organization

ITCSS (inverted triangle CSS), created by Harry Roberts, is an example of an idealistic organizational scaffolding. It’s well-suited for object-oriented componentized template styling and a supremely helpful approach for managing large-scale website projects. ITCSS is not a framework or design library like Bootstrap or Tailwind, but more of a refactoring methodology for doing styles right the first time.

Refactoring CSS rules into a top-down approach from most generic to least generic stylistic properties help to minimize the overall footprint of compiled stylesheets.

Similar to code splitting, the idea is to only create the minimum amount of styling needed to produce the styles for a component, page, or website. An efficient execution strategy results in reducing the footprint of the code which helps a site to load more quickly and improve the all-important user experience.

Using a methodical ITCSS-driven approach, hundreds or thousands of lines of CSS styles can be significantly reduced and remove bloat-like repetitive declarations.

Benefits of Organizational Efficiency

In short, build a better website and become a better business.

Modularized stylesheets manifest many positive benefits. Modularization focuses on the creation of features (or components). Componentizing features set you up for creating highly reusable and repurposable code bases allowing for increased flexibility to pivot or scale, as needed.

Standardizing the approach to creating style rules provides the much-needed structure to allow a team of developers to collaborate on larger projects. It improves a developer’s ability to manage and makes changes to the code, as well as the level of confidence you can have to hand the code off to different or new developers, too. You’re gaining the advantage of building a faster website, a better website management experience, and a better experience for the people who will be using the site.

  • Less code, faster website
  • Less code, easier to maintain
  • Standardized coding practices, easier to hand-off
  • Well-planned modularization, rapid development
  • Less bloat more G.O.A.T.
  • Less maintenance less frivolous spending
  • More budget more opportunity to create impactful new features instead of fixing bugs and breaks

Higher efficiency websites mean spending less over the life of your website to maintain and enhance it while increasing the potential for greater ROI. Avoid being stuck with a company or proprietary code, so digital marketing becomes more competitive and flexible. As an added benefit, you position yourself to outperform the competition.

Stylesheets may seem like a negligent item to focus a chunk of marketing or advertising budgets on, but there’s actually a lot going on there with the ability to influence your bottom line at a relatively macro scale.

Floyd Hartford is a website developer from southern Maine. He's focused on creating and building WordPress websites and loves spending time digging into code like HTML, CSS, scss, jQuery, PHP, and MySQL.


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