web developer undermines the goal in attracting more visitors to your website

[fa icon="calendar"] 14-Sep-2017 13:00:00 / by Etiënne Lof

Etiënne Lof

These are 5 of the issues with technical performance and technical SEO we generally encounter during our projects when optimizing company websites - make sure you check these points with your web developer.

While you’re working hard to attract more website visitors through content marketing, linkbuilding, organic SEO or Adwords, it could be that your website is undermining your potential successes. We see this often as web developers. Beautiful websites with a good user experience, but with various imperfections that prevent you from reaching your goal in gaining more visitors. So here are 5 points to discuss...

1. Load scripts from the footer

Most scripts are quite extensive, so it takes a relatively long time to load - which you of course don’t want, because speed is everything. Web browsers load your website from the ‘top to bottom’. Whenever the browser encounters a script, it will pause loading the rest of the webpage.

So therefore, simply said, you first want to load the visual elements of the website, like the design (CSS stylesheets) and images that appear in the initial viewport. Scripts, mostly Javascript files, are only necessary for making your website interactive. Those aren’t necessarily needed for showing the website (you may assume no visitor will start clicking on buttons within 1-2 seconds).
So make sure these scripts are moved to the bottom of your page source code, below the body content (the page you see as a visitor), so it will not pause the loading and rendering of your page.


2. Make sure you don’t have non-existing pages (404) on your website

Keep your website nice and tight without broken links or non-existing pages. Everybody dislikes it when they expect to visit a certain webpage which isn’t there anymore. Search engines will rank your website lower when there are many broken links and non-existing pages on your website.

Still, errors can occur. So make sure you have a custom 404-page for whenever the user encounters an error on your website. While you’re at it, grab the opportunity to turn an annoying moment in a positive encounter between your website and the visitor by making them laugh, like these companies do with a funny 404 error page.

3. Avoid (unnecessary) redirect chains

A redirect chain sends a visitor from an url to another url, mostly through a 301-redirect, which points to another url and so on. It forces both the user and search engines to go through every redirect for getting to the end-point.
Redirect chains are often collected over the years that a website is live, because of deleted webpages or altered URLs of webpages. As you can imagine this isn’t doing the page load time any good. Also the user experience isn’t great either.


4. Optimize loading time of images on your website

Quite often the images on your website are among the largest files your visitor needs to download before viewing your website. So the quicker your website delivers images, the better the visitor experience will be. It may sound odd, but distance is a factor on the internet. The internet still is a physical network with cables and datahouses. (Do you know sharks really like the taste of the internet?!)

The closer your files are to your visitor, the quicker they will receive it. A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of servers around the world. Hosting your media files on CDN will mean that the visitor will download your files from the nearest server. So serving your images from a CDN will speed up the loading time of images significantly.

In future updates we will sharemore about this subject, like lazy loading of images and using svg-files for your visual elements.

5. Make sure your website is truly mobile friendly

The easiest way to do so is to have a website with a responsive design. A responsive website adapts to the device screen size of the visitor, whether it’s a desktop or smartphone, without making separate versions of the website (a desktop version and mobile website).

To ensure the fastest loading time for your mobile visitors, you don’t want them to load the high-resolution images for your desktop visitors. For web developers it’s possible to push smaller images to your mobile visitors without scripts or other code. By using the image element called SRCSET, your website can display different images based on a device’s screen size. Smaller images means faster loading time, faster loading time means higher rankings.

This same principle can also be implemented on the stylesheets and assets for your website. There is no need to load the styles and assets that aren’t needed for mobile visitors due to a smaller screen size and lesser bandwidth for downloading. Make sure that your web developer separates the stylesheets and assets based on the device’s screen size.

Search engines reward websites with a mobile-friendly experience above the ones who haven’t optimised it for mobile. Google even started experimenting with labelling websites with mobile friendly pages in the mobile search results. This is another way to stand out from your competitor’s websites in the search results.

Another latest development in mobile friendly websites is the increased use of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP is an open-source format to load pages almost instantly. What AMP does is that it basically strips down your website to the essential elements for a quick loading time.
Before using AMP, make sure to check it with your web developers, because it has some downsides you should consider. But the trend is very clear; mobile devices will become the dominant browsing device.


...and 5 more

We've written extensively about 10 topics you can go through with your web developer, based on the information and an easy checklist. You'll also receive our next article concerning these matters - easy to unsubscribe if you don't like it. We'll make sure it's worth your time.

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Etiënne Lof

Written by Etiënne Lof

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