What might you call this process? Well, here are some candidates:
- Minimize. Possible; however, "minimizing a Web page" already means something else in the world of Windows and GUIs.
- Compress. This term has a technical meaning (as in, compressing to a .zip file) that isn't exactly what you're doing here.
- Condense. Ooh, nice … that's what you're doing, condensing the page to its essence, sort of.
All possible, but not what it's called. The word is … ta-da! … minify; the nounification is minification. This page provides a nice definition:
Minification is the practice of removing unnecessary characters from code to reduce its size thereby improving load times. When code is minified all comments are removed, as well as unneeded white space characters (space, newline, and tab). […] This improves response time performance because the size of the downloaded file is reduced.
But wait, there's more. Another term that's used for minification is crunching. (One tool that can do this for you is named the Crunchinator.) In at least one usage I know of, crunching is a little more, um, intimate than minification … it isn't just crowding everyone together on the bus, it's giving some folks a haircut:"Crunching scripts happens when scripts are built, and removes whitespace and condenses local variable names to further reduce the size of the script files."
The Google search "minification html whitespace" yields about 2,230 hits; the search "crunching html whitespace" yields 7,340. Based on this and a few other not-very-rigorous search tests, I'd posit that the more popular term is in fact crunch.