Websites are one of those things in life where slow speed kills – it kills user experience and negatively impacts SEO (i.e., where your website appears in search engine results). If your site takes more than two seconds to display its content after clicking, it will leave your visitors frustrated and they may abandon your website altogether.
It doesn’t matter if you have the exact product or service your potential customer is seeking. A poorly performing website will kill your search engine rankings, the amount of traffic coming to your site, the chance that traffic converts into paying customers, and your bottom line. Even if users decide to stick around, slow page load time will deter them from returning in the future.
So, how do you stop the torture your website users experience while waiting for your sluggish web pages to load? Let’s talk about what you should expect from a website maintenance company, and how we help our clients.
Website speed and performance optimization is an iterative exercise that continues over the lifespan of your website.
Website maintenance has an impact on your overall page speed and can improve the effectiveness of your website. An exceptional website maintenance company will perform many routine tasks that will help improve website performance, including:
There are countless ways that your website load time and performance can be improved. In this article, we outline a few of the ways a website maintenance company can help. Some are iterative and ongoing, while others are one-time efforts.
Where your website is hosted and the type of server that hosts your website has the largest impact on your website performance. This fact is indisputable.
The worst performing websites are, more often than not, hosted in shared hosting environments. These “cheap” hosting services offer little value to your business.
How much are you saving with $10/month hosting when your visitors are enable to quickly load your website?
When your website is hosted on a server that shares CPU and memory resources with thousands of other websites, you can expect your website to load very, very slowly.
Even if you are not directly paying for shared hosting, there is a high chance that your website maintenance company is hosting your website in a shared hosting environment. We take a different approach to hosting.
Mackmedia focuses on website performance and security. Here are just some of the ways we improve website performance in our fully managed hosting environment, and how we differentiate ourselves from our competitors:
Nearly all of our clients (before becoming part of the Mackmedia family) where hosted in a shared hosting environments. How many of these websites were performing poorly, as slow as 7-10 seconds? How many did we dramatically improve website performance (by as much as thousands of percentage points)? Every single one. Once we moved them into our fully managed and dedicated hosting environment, these same websites fully load in under a second.
Decreasing the number of requests exchanged between a browser and web server is one of the most impactful optimizations a website maintenance company can make.
Every round trip HTTP/S request between a browser and server takes time, often adding seconds to the overall time is takes to “paint” the website in a browser. Even if each round trip request takes only a couple hundred milliseconds, when the browser makes 150 requests it may increase your page load time by 5-10 seconds (or more).
Images account for a large portion of a website’s load time, and regular maintenance ensures that all your images are optimized to download as quickly as possible under varying conditions, such as slow mobile networks.
Your website may be using stock photos or images that are large and bloated, and are not optimized for websites. They can be resized or compressed so your visitors won’t be downloading files that are larger than necessary.
The number of images on each page of your website increases load time. Regular website maintenance can reduce the amount of data transferred to load your website (without changing what can be seen) by making the pictures smaller or reducing the resolution and compression.
The number and quality of plug-ins on your website can also result in less than ideal load time. Here are some ways that plug-ins can negatively impact your website:
Website maintenance companies will regularly review plug-ins installed on your website, and provide recommendations to consolidate, remove, or use replace plugins.
External resources can increase the amount of time it takes to load your website. This includes Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel. There are correct ways to load external resources, and poor coding or incorrect usage can dramatically decrease your visitor’s user experience.
An experienced website maintenance company will review externally loaded resources, and ensure they are loaded asynchronously or differed when possible.
An experienced website maintenance company will test your website to ensure images and text automatically scale to appear quickly and properly on any screen size. This is called responsive design, and it can ensure that the page load time is as low as possible on both mobile devices and desktop platforms.
With responsive design, there’s no need to scroll or pinch-zoom to read text or view images, or dig through buried menus or search for navigational links that might otherwise be hidden.
Website maintenance is complicated and requires an extensive amount of technical experience (to do it correctly). It is one of the most overlooked areas, yet it is critical to your business– the wrong company can impact your business in ways that are hard to directly attribute but directly impact your revenue.
Contact us to learn how we can help manage and maintain your website, the right way!