Here’s a great article by Jeff Veen on the practical, financial reasons for using CSS and XHTML when building websites. He cites a speedier development process, the simplification of ongoing site maintenance, faster page loading times and the increased availability of content to more devices.
He also mentions the very obvious benefits to be gained in trimming pages of excess tag soup:
“When we stripped away the fonts, tables, and little images used as design elements on our home page, we reduced the size of the code from 20.9K to 9.2K. Now, this may not seem like a lot, but it would aggregate to quite a bit if our site generated heavy traffic.”
I had a discussion about this with Jamie over at Message a while back. He had a client who was paying extra bandwidth charges every month. By looking at the server logs for the average amount of visitors per month and factoring in the cost of the extra bandwidth charges, he was able to figure out a price-per-Kilobyte figure.
So, instead of saying “I trimmed this page down by X Kilobytes”, he was able to say “this new page will save you £X compared to the old version”.
As Jeff Veen says:
“Saving 30K to 40K from each page view - plus a cached stylesheet that never needs to be downloaded again - can save you thousands of dollars per month. Ever see an IT guy get excited about a new design? You will.”
There’s plenty of good ammunition to be found in the article. And he doesn’t even mention the benefits in search engine optimisition to be gained from using web standards. That’s normally the clincher when I’m trying to convince people to make the switch to XHTML/CSS.