One of the reasons many site owners are losing money is a technical ‘out of date’ site.
Even if you had your site redone a year or two ago, you could be losing money.
As you are well aware, our Internet world moves very fast.
There’s not a day that goes by with some new ‘must-have’ for your business.
There’s not a day that goes by without your competitors tweaking their sites, their products and whatnot.
Running an online business is flat out hard work.
I know what it’s like, I’ve been working for online businesses since 1996.
In this blog, I want to help you understand the importance of the technical side of your site, without getting into the really technical stuff.
With the knowledge acquired, you will be become a little more educated and will have the tools to talk to your web designer and ask them to improve your site.
The good thing about this post, most likely the costs will be extremely low, and the benefits could be pretty darn impressive.
Warning: After reading this article, you may have one of those “why didn’t I do this before” moments. 😀
Now let’s get on with it.
The number of sites I have personally have optimized is subject to wrong and outdated code.
Your site might look beautiful on the front-end, but this doesn’t imply you’re in the green.
Browsers have become much smarter by accepting the messy code.
This is also one of the reasons your site can look and function differently per browser.
When optimizing a clients’ site, I always check what type of website I’ll be dealing with.
It’s like buying a car before knowing what engine the car has.
In the past, I’ve burnt myself trying to improve conversion rates with technically deficient sites.
How to check if your site is up to par?
Well, there are many free site audit tools around, but before I spill the beans, I must share chances are the essential bits could be a tad confusing. Most people find it hard where to make the necessary changes.
Because they want to save some money they often find themselves spending many hours without solving issues and in some cases even wrecking their site.
The problem with these audit tools is some of the tools identify errors and warnings which you can solve even if you hired a professional.
Some errors are errors you just have to accept. To give you an example:
Many audit tools show Google Fonts as a warning. In theory they’re right because every visitor is downloading the fonts. So, by visiting your site the user needs to ‘wait’ to download the font you used.
Of course you can solve this by hosting the font locally or you can use a standard browser font but why go through all the hassle when it’s perfectly ok to load the font from Google.
So you can spend hours solving this issue but if you’re optimizing your site for SEO benefits – this isn’t the biggest issue you have.
The same goes for pagespeed.
For the non-techies:
Pagespeed measures the moment a visitor clicks to your site until the page is fully loaded. Not just the top part of your website.
No, the full site.
Research conducted by a bunch of smart guys explains the effect of low page speeds and drops in revenue.
It’s imperative for you to check your pagespeed.
Luckily you can check the speed yourself by entering your URL into a site named GTmetrix
You may not be very technical, so let me walk you through the essential bits of the speed test.
If you test your site without signing up for a free account, you will be only to check your website from a standard location.
Sign up for the free account, and you can select different locations such as Frankfurt, Germany.
After you have punched in your site address, the test runs, and about a minute later the report pops up.
DON’T do it look at the grades. They aren’t important.
You should be focussing on the Fully Loaded Time. The fully loaded time is what really matters.
As you can see, my (old) site took 1.3 seconds to load fully, which is well within the 3-second threshold Google uses as the rule of thumb.
The Total Page Size and (database) Requests both have an impact on the Fully Loaded Time.
One of the biggest problems which affect the page size and requests is images and poorly coded plugins.
I’ve seen sites with 110 or more database requests and 30mb pages.
Each time a visitor visits a page, they need to download 30mb.
With a fast internet connection you won’t notice this but let’s say you are using a mobile connection and you have a limited internet package of 1 GB.
Viewing a few of these pages are going to take a gigantic chunk of your data allowance.
This is why it’s not only essential for you to keep the page size as low as possible.
You can click on the tabs Yslow, Waterfall (which will show you each database request your site is making) and Timings.
The Timing tabs reveals the trail from the point a user hits enter until your website is fully loaded.
You now understand the importance of auditing your site at least once a month, the importance of monitoring your pagespeed and the revenue impact it may have.
There are many youtube videos you can watch how to improve your pagespeed but do not tweak the technical stuff if you have no idea what you’re doing.
It can cause your site to crash and that ain’t good for business either.