A while ago I came across this small tip in an online conversation. It might not be a huge thing, but it can have an impact if you have a site with lots of traffic.
80% of the end-user response time on a website is spent on the front-end. Most of this time is tied up in downloading all the components in the page: Images, stylesheets, scripts, Flash, etc. Reducing the number of components in turn reduces the number of HTTP requests required to render the page. This is the key to faster pages.
One thing which can increase load-time in a website is the way redirects are handled.
This quote from Yahoo.com describes the problem:
Redirects are accomplished using the 301 and 302 status codes. Here's an example of the HTTP headers in a 301 response:
HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
The main thing to remember is that redirects slow down the user experience. Inserting a redirect between the user and the HTML document delays everything in the page since nothing in the page can be rendered and no components can start being downloaded until the HTML document has arrived.
One of the most wasteful redirects happens frequently and web developers are generally not aware of it. It occurs when a trailing slash (/) is missing from a URL that should otherwise have one. For example, going to http://astrology.yahoo.com/astrology results in a 301 response containing a redirect to http://astrology.yahoo.com/astrology/ (notice the added trailing slash). This is fixed in Apache by using Alias or mod_rewrite, or the DirectorySlash directive if you're using Apache handlers.