How to check website performance for potential issuesNicola Buskell
Website performance is a priority when you commission a website. There is an expectation that there will be an influx of enquiries and orders overwhelming your inbox, but the reality is website performance is not just about design.
Factors effecting web site performance
Here are a list of website factors to assess in order of importance to attract a completely new customer to your business.
1. Search Engine Optimisation
Someone wants to find a Piano Teacher in Brighton for their son. They will most likely use the Bing or Google Search box to start they research.
What key phrase or keyword will they use?
My suspicion is they will use “piano teach Brighton” (words like in, at, to, a are called stop words, we don’t need to use them online and can negatively impact your SEO ranking)
Look to see if your website is SEO optimized and if not seek advice as this will be key to growing the website online.
We now recommend Ecosia as they plant trees everytime you search.
Note: Set up the website in Google Analytics and Google Webmaster.
2. Speed of website to load
Congratulations your website is on the first page.
Now the visitor clicks on your website. If the site is slow to load then the visitor won’t even hang around to view the site and this is what we call a high bounce rate.
The website performance must meet expectations, there is an expectation that a website will load within approximately 2 seconds.
To get a high load time we use a system of caching. Caching keeps a memory of the website files stored away for quick access and sends you those files rather then going to the server each time.
We also use a CDN (Content Deliver Network) to speed up the website. The benefit of this is the server location used nearest the visitor so this will speed up the site, in some cases by more than 50%.
Note: Cloudlfare and MaxCDN are two good CDN’s that work with WordPress.
3. The website visibility
Ok so the visitors landed on your website after a quick page load now the website is not displaying correctly on the mobile device.
This too will lead to a high bounce rate. A website performance should include accessible in all devices including; tablets, iPhone, iPad, laptops and desktops.
With more hotspots and wifi access increasing the likely hood is that your website will be access by a mobile device more than a desktop, so how does your website display?
Note: all WordPress websites are mobile compatible.
4 - Have an SSL in place will encrypt communication - gain trust
Most visitors by now will be familiar with the SSL (secure sockets layer) padlock found on all well known business sites. This padlock shows the visitor that the site includes encryption. This is now a requirement by Google so every respectable website will have this.
If you do not have an SSL chances are the browser will warn the visitor that the site is insecure and the visitor will leave.
Note: SSL’s are associated with the business.
5. Website design Versus the competition
The visitor has now reached a fast and viewable website so how does it stack up against the competition?
The visitor has already visited 2 other websites offering the same service, is your website better or worse than your competitors?
One way to find out is to ask them? Ask a few people to do some market research for you to get some feedback on your website.
Note: Research the competition.
6. Website features
The visitor likes your website, its passed the last 6 tests so now we can evaluate the actual website design.
My recommendation is the having the telephone number prominent on the home page and on every page, not just on the contact page.
Do not ask a visitor to click through to get the phone number, visitors are a impatient bunch, so make it easy for them to contact you.
Social media links (that work). Again if you are working hard to build your social media following don’t waste any opportunity to gain followers by not having prominent links.
Summary of the business on the home page. Give as many information snippets on the home page you can so people do not have to click through.
Neat and simple design. Nice logo with right amount of key information that visitors are looking for. Write the website as a would be customer.
Note: Don’t over use graphics and animations.
7. Privacy and Terms
Terms and conditions also need the correct terminology and be transparent about what you will do with the information and how long you will retain the information.
Note: Have an understanding of GDPR law to protect yourself.
8. Online Payments
If you are taking online payments add logos on the website such as Visa and security logos such as Verisign secure to give visitors peace of mind.
Note: If you use PayPal you are not responsible for the protection of personal bank details.
9. Website audits
Run some website audits with some of the main free tools
Pingdom, GTmetrix, PageSpeed Insights.
If anything comes to light then contact your website designer to see if they can make some changes to the website using the results.
Run regular reports in Google Analytics and Google Webmaster
Note: Make managing your website part of your working week.
10. Search engines
Make sure your website is submitted to all the search engines, not just Google. Bing is a quality search engine with lots of users so don’t miss out by not having your website in Bing.
Note: Google, Bing and Yahoo
There a lots of factors combined that make a highly successful website and as you can see it is not all about design, a lot of it is functionality.
All websites should have an SSL and be mobile compatible as standard. The speed is paramount so look for a good CDN or add a caching plugin.
You could delegate all this to a website Manager or your website designer to take of this for you.
If you would like any help with your website performance then please contact me.