Entrepreneurs need to have an online presence and they turn to professional website designers to create a stunning, elegant, functional and fully responsive website design. However, the more complex the design, the more weight to the page and this means longer loading times. Just like this, a lot of factors affect the page quality of a website. Website optimisation is key to being found on search engines by your ideal clients or audience.
Keyword Optimisation for your website
Website designers usually focus on the visual aspect of the website and use the content provided from their client to display on the website. However, they do not usually review this content as part of the design process. This is a major factor which will be determining in terms of SEO for your website to be picked up by Google when your ideal clients are searching for your services. A great tool (and also currently the most popular one) is Yoast SEO.
Yoast SEO will scan your website and provide clear guidelines on how you can have a better SEO score. You will need to setup the plugin and choose your keyword. The free version allows only 1 keyword. If you are a freelancer with a very unique offer with a niche, 1 is probably enough; But for most businesses out there, the best option is to pay for the pro version. You will still end up paying much less than hiring a company to do it for you.
Image Optimisation for your website
When you upload images on your website, they are resized visually to fit in the ‘blocks’ as specified in the backend. However, these images still keep their original weight. For example, you could have an image in your media library which weighs 1.5 mb for a size of 500×500 px which you are using in a testimonial section as a thumbnail with dimensions of 50×50 px. Resizing the image prior to uploading to your media library will save you a lot of precious mbs. A lighter webpage equals a faster load speed and Google loves fast websites.
An interesting tool to use is the Smush plugin which compresses your images (with or without loss depending on your settings). Super easy to setup and run in the background.
Make use of a CDN. This is usually done at server level and will distribute your content to multiple servers. This will allow a faster load time for different users in different geographical areas.
I personally use Siteground hosting which is (as per popular vote and as observed in online searches) the best out there and they have a very effective CDN. Log into your site tools section, head to the CDN tab and .. voila!
Sometimes, you cannot achieve the design you wanted within your page builder. You then turn to scripts but each script needs to be read by the website visitor’s machine and this again adds to the loading time. Badly written scripts will slow you down a lot. Advice? What good is a beautiful website if google does not want to show it to people?
Each plugin has a very specific function. However some plugins will potentially slow down your website. You can head over to https://gtmetrix.com/ and scan your website. You will see the guilty plugins under the yslow tab. Identify and eliminate the plugins that you do not use.
GZIP for better website optimisation
Enable GZIP to compress most components on your website. Enable it by using a plugin or by accessing your Htaccess file and adding a few lines of code. Those who, like me, have chosen Siteground, head over to your site tools section, access the htaccess file and paste below in there:
A very useful plugin which comes with Siteground is the SG Optimizer plugin which will automate a lot of tasks to optimise your website. An alternative would be WP Rocket.
Siteground also provides free SSL. SSL is a security certificate and this will allow you to give more comfort to your webpage visitors by showing the padlock icon next to your ‘https’ and domain name. This means the connection is secure and the information exchange is secure and encrypted. This is mostly important if you are requesting information such as payment details, identification details etc.
If you are a business owner and looking into launching your website, get in touch with me and let’s chat about launching your website.