Tech Tip: Is Your Website Up to Speed?

Most small business’ websites are built by two groups of people: local logo design firms turned into web design firms or a so-called web shop far far away across the ocean. This is so common that it is ridiculous! The result: a mediocre website! Chances are, if you had a local shop that does print-web-seo-everything build your site, you probably have a slow site and don’t know it. Sorry for the gloomy picture, but it applies to a significant number of small business websites.

Don’t believe it? Put it to the test!

You can find out how your website stacks up to Google’s standard, by following these simple instructions:

  • Point your web browser to https://gtmetrix.com
  • Enter your website address in the text box to analyze it
  • Wait for the report generated by GTMetrix

If you get B or higher grade, congratulations! You either have a very static, simple website or a really professional-grade site built by a great person or team. Here is an example of an excellent rating.

evoknow_perf

Disclaimer: evoknow.com is our parent company site, and it is very simple in design.

What to do with a bad grade from GTMetrix?

First, you have to understand the score. That might be a lot to ask if you are not too familiar with Web technology.  So the easiest thing you can do is:

  • Save the report as a PDF from the site. Look for the PDF report link on the page
  • Send the report to your web guy/team and ask for an explanation of why you are getting a low rating
  • If you got an awful grade such as a D or F, ask them to fix it immediately and be prepared to switch your vendor if needed

What GTMetrix does when you enter your website address on their site is as follows:

  • Test your site using Google’s Pagespeed specifications
  • Generates a human readable score such as A, B, C, D, F, etc. to make you understand the grade of the site
  • Provides a detailed explanation of why the score is what it is
  • Provides a great deal of helpful information to fix the issues it found

This is the best tool you have for performing a quick check on your web guy/team’s performance.

How do you motivate a vendor to fix your site faster?

Nothing drives business to jump into action than having a rush to catch up or exceed a competitor. So, do yourself a big favor, enter one of your major competitor’s website address in the same GTMetrix website analysis site.  Find out how your competitor’s site compares to yours and then add your site to the comparison using the COMPARE tool.

If yours come out on top, you are in good shape! Otherwise, take a printout of the comparison to your business partners and show them why you can no longer put up with a slow website!

What is a good website anyway?

An excellent site has the following characteristics:

  • Loads in under few seconds (3-5 seconds)
  • Easy to read and navigate on any device — aka responsive on every device
  • Easy to access useful information without much effort
  • Provides the viewer with the unique sales proposition (USP) within seconds instead of digging through pages
  • Has at least one call to action (CTA) on every page that promotes the site’s purpose

A site’s speed is probably the most important metric that one should worry about. Every second counts when it comes to page speed. Just look at this chart.

screenshot-2015-05-14-01-02-07

So, make sure you are hosting your site on a real cloud environment that uses solid-state disks, CDN caching of images and static files, and has other complex page optimization techniques, such as compressed file serving, built into the platform.

What the heck is a responsive website?

Hmm.. if you don’t know what a responsive website is by 2017, you are probably going to have to catch up soon.  When you browse your website on your computer (laptop/desktop) it probably looks good to you. But when you try it on a smartphone or a tablet, it probably doesn’t do so well.  For example, consider the figure below.

viewport

The left screenshot shows a website on the smartphone that is hard to read and navigate, as it is not responsive to the device it is being shown on. The right-hand screenshot looks much better and easier to navigate on the phone.

Can we help you?

Sorry, we don’t do websites. We recommend that you use the guidance mentioned in this post to find the right vendor in your local area.

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