Website Loading Like A Dog?
Use Google’s Page Speed Insights Tool To See What’s Gone Wrong!
With networks speeding up all the time and with 5G mobile data already with us, you might think that optimising your website’s loading speed is irrelevant theses days. However, that would be a bad mistake to make and there are a couple of very good reasons why.
The speed at which your web pages load is particularly important, so just opting for form over function when it comes to web design is a critical error if you are serious about presenting a great user experience and doing well in the Google search rankings.
Unfortunately not too many people realise just how important good website performance is and this leads to them accepting really rather poor new websites from their chosen designers. All too often, the designer will know that what they are delivering is substandard and well outside of Google’s requirements, but they go ahead and hand the site over anyway. Most of the time they know they can get away with it and the designer will be long gone before the website owner starts asking questions.
The key of course, is to let your designer know that you understand the issues related to website speed and that you will be testing your new website to make sure that it performs properly.
Why is page load speed so important?
We’ve touched on this a few times in our blog, but to recap, websites need to load quickly to ensure that users get a good navigation and usability experience even where network speeds are quite slow. Not everyone is blessed with fast internet or the latest mobile speeds so you need to be sure that your site is still accessible and easy to use under these circumstances.
Equally important these days is that Google wants your website to load quickly. There are numerous theories as to why this is, ranging from them trying to take responsibility for promoting a fast and efficient internet, to the more cynical suggestion that they want it to be as fast as possible to facilitate serving ads! The truth is probable some combination of a number of factors, but suffice to say that if Google desires us to comply, then comply we should! To encourage this, Google now rewards fast websites with better search rankings whilst demoting those which are less good. It should be said that this isn’t the only factor which dictates where your website will rank; however it is becoming increasingly important as time progresses. So please don’t ignore it!
Google ranking is so competitive these days, so if there is a factor within your control which you can optimise such as website loading speed, then you really should take the opportunity to do it. If your designer says it doesn’t matter, then they really aren’t doing their job properly. Incremental improvements such as this really do make a difference.
All that glitters isn’t gold!
Here at Dental Media we design hundreds of websites for dentists and as part of the process we ask potential new clients to show us examples of websites they already like. This is useful to help us gain an idea of the type of design style they prefer. When we are referred to these example sites we also take the opportunity to asses their strengths and weaknesses and discuss these with the client. Invariably we get shown some really “glitzy” websites often built using WordPress visual editing tools, or worse, tools like Squarespace, and on face value they look decent enough. However, when we dig deep into the code and evaluate the actual performance of the sites, a lot of them are real shockers! There is often quite a strong correlation with relatively poor search results too.
The moral of this story is that form doesn’t rule over function and these days, both factors are extremely important. Simply put, your website needs to look great and function extremely well too.
How can I check my website?
You may be wondering if you need ninja web design skills to check out a website’s performance? Fortunately you don’t as Google provides a great free tool to help you do this already. It’s called the Page Speed Insights Tool and you can find it here:
Simply add the web address (URL) of the website you wish to test and run the tool. The results will display performance on a scale of 1-100 both to the desk-top and mobile styles of the site. You may see the desk-top performance is often quite high but be sure to flick over to the mobile performance too – remember that far more people are viewing on mobile devices these days and this is actually what counts more.
As a rule of thumb you need to try to get a website performance in the “green” sector of the results, but anything 75% or better is reasonable. Then try to improve this over time with the objective of getting as close to 100% as possible.
How do I optimise an under-performing website?
We mentioned earlier that you don’t need to be a web design ninja to test a website’s speed performance and we’ve showed you how to do it using the excellent Google tool. However, where you do need design skills is to interpret the results and start making corrections to enhance the results. This is best done by your designer during the building phase of your new site, so stay close to what they are doing to make sure they deliver. It should also be said that Google has tightened their guidelines over the last few years so you have to work harder to comply these days than ever before. This doesn’t mean that older websites can’t be optimised, but your designer will probably want paid to go back to revisit. But for new sites, this optimised performance should be built in.
Websites which load like a slug are not cool and will mess with your user’s experience; very likely they will simply go elsewhere. Google doesn’t like slow sites either and so if you are serious about securing the best possible search rankings, then you’ll need to make sure your designer is on the case.
It’s always good to know how your own website is performing, so why not run it through the Google tool we linked to above? If the results don’t look great, it’s time to call your designer to discuss. Alternatively call the team here at Dental Media on 01332 672548 and we’ll be pleased to take a look and make some recommendations for you. So onwards and upwards to a faster website, happier users and better search engine results!Google+