Google says that as your site load speed increases from 1 to 7 seconds, your bounce rate increases 113%. Missed opportunities; bounced prospects means missed sales.
I tested my own website against a number of other sites on the Google Test My Site tool and here’s what I found.
My site www.mccordweb.com – 3 second load, excellent rating, low loss of visitors. My site is a responsive design in PHP and only uses WordPress for the blog.
Industrial company legacy HTML website that is over 8 years old, but the owner is not ready to do an update yet. 7 second load time, fair rating, 26% estimated visitor loss.
Service industry company legacy PHP website that is over 10 years old, but the owner is not ready to do a site update yet. 6 second load time. fair rating, 24% estimated visitor loss.
Doctor’s practice redone responsive WordPress website, but the owner was not speed-focused. 7 second load time. fair rating, 26% estimated visitor loss.
Technology business newly redone responsive WordPress website with a very glitzy look, but the designer was not speed-focused. 10 second load time. poor rating, 29% estimated visitor loss.
What I have found is that the WordPress sites with the slide show on the home page are not testing well for speed. The PHP based websites that do not have a slide show cover and are more text focused and utilize created AMP pages are testing as speedy.
Friction points, it’s all about finding where customers have trouble completing during the buying process with you and fixing the issues.
Here are some examples of friction points:
Buyers have trouble downloading completed video files for a drone photography agency. What can be done? Maybe using Drop Box with easy to follow instructions and photos on what to do next for a file download.
Prospects have trouble understanding what is included in a blog post sale. How can that be clarified? Maybe posting samples of content with the right word count and number of links to help a prospect understand the type and quality they will receive on your website to prequalify prospects before they even call.
Buyers have trouble getting contract documents to sign and return. How can the process be easier? Maybe using a digital signing service and online document archive would work to speed the return process.
Each business has their own unique set of friction points. Making things easier for people to buy from you is not all e-commerce focused. Friction points exist even for transactions with consultants and business to business sales, and for people who do not even sell items on their website.
My own company’s friction points have previously been: blog writing samples and writing expectations, prospects not having the proper technology to send or receive a contract, and buyers needing an online self-serve credit card payment center.
Are you hearing the same issues over and over from clients and prospects? That is a friction point. Now’s the time to identify what yours are and do something specific to address them to make buying from you and your company frictionless.
HTTPS – Google loves it, but for informational websites, moving to HTTPS adds to your costs. Expect to pay $129 to $229 for a SSL or secure socket layer certificate to be able to have your website use HTTPS in the browser bar.
For me at this time, I am not moving to HTTPS and it is mainly due to the additional cost. I do not have e-commerce on my website and I only use a contact form for prospects, so do not feel that I must have this extra security. But, Google loves the security and encryption that HTTPS affords for websites. At some point in time, the use of HTTPS on your website may be a ranking factor for organic results, but for now, it is not.
E-Commerce Sites MUST be HTTPS
If your website has e-commerce, you take payments or log users into a secure area, you really need to be using HTTPS at this point in time, no exception.
New Websites Should Embrace HTTPS
Any new websites we design are all in HTTPS. At this time I do not feel that existing informational websites should move to HTTPS, but that day may be coming soon.
To find out more about how we can help you, I invite you to visit our website to browse our service offerings and read more content on topics that will help your business grow.
Plan ahead, bringing a new website online does mean that you will drop organic placement. It happens! Sometimes with redirects, after 4 to 6 weeks a website will pop back up in organic placement, but sometimes, the site stays down and does not regain the placement that the original site had.
It is a reality and one that you should honestly prepare for when you launch a new website. It may be smart to build your new website at a new domain, so you do not lose your organic placement of your old site. If that is not an approach you would like to take, know that you will drop and plan a pay per click budget to drive traffic to your new website and get started quickly with blogging and content creation to try to build inbound links and help your site regain position.
Many businesses will own multiple domains and it may make sense to use one of your domains and leave your legacy website alone. Especially if you have thousands of blog posts and thousands of inbound links.
If your site is relatively small and has under 150 inbound links, your placement is not so strong that you cannot overwrite the URLs on your site and damage your organic placement.
Be careful and thoughtful about the changes you want to make beforehand so you are prepared in case your site does fall significantly in the organic results.
Don’t damage your existing SEO when you launch a new website. Once you have changed page URLs, all inbound links pointing to your website (that helped you garner your old website’s placement) will be broken and the SEO juice gone.
I recommend taking time to do an .htaccess file redirect in the root of your server; list your old URLs and then redirect to the new page that is the best match. If you have a very large blog, consider leaving the old blog up and then starting a new blog site on the server, having multiple incidents of WordPress so you do not lose thousands on inbound links if you have been a very active blogger.
This is of particular importance when you are moving from a PHP or HTML site to WordPress as the format of your website links will be different.
For many well-placed websites, setting up a new domain and leaving the old site untouched may be the best solution. In fact, if the old site is well placed organically you can point your pages to your new website (not with a domain forward, but rather with links in the footer and content). This may pass some of your SEO capital to your new site to help it get established.
When you want a new site and build one, but do not come up with a plan to address your historical inbound links, you break what you had and literally have to start all over again building SEO placement. Don’t damage your existing SEO out of ignorance.
Overwriting your existing website with new URLs without a well-thought out process can really damage your online placement and may be very hard to recover from, so move thoughtfully and carefully.
Moving to a new web host? Here are my top tips on quickly moving with a minimum of downtime for HTML and PHP (non-database driven) websites.
Know Before You Go
Make sure you know what is going on with your site before you go. What are you using at your old webhost? Email? Script? When you repoint your domain to your new host, anything that you had at your old host is wiped. That means you will have to set up email accounts, any scripts, and any other things you have been using. Make sure before you move, that your webmaster does their due diligence and make sure you are knowledgeable to inform them of what you have and are doing. Typically they can see scripts that run your website, but may not know of your mail server set up.
Use a Web Host that Provides a Temporary Domain
I like Hostway, when I set up a new domain that is owned or pointed elsewhere, Hostway gives me a temporary domain to use. I can load files and even test scripts and make any changes I need to before I move a domain and go live. If you don’t see this option ask, as sometimes it can be turned on for you.
Test, Test, Test
Before launch of any site, I do extensive testing both in my clients area and then in the temporary domain. Try to get all problems resolved before you turn your new site on. It will save having headaches and frustration.
Be Prepared for Propagation
Once you repoint your domain name servers to a new web host, be prepared for propagation. Know that it takes typically 4 to 6 hours for servers to refresh and longer for small internet service providers for your domain at the new web host to be seen consistently and properly. Don’t freak out when you cannot see your site. This takes time and there is nothing you can do to speed the process.
Looking for a webmaster to help you move to a new web host? Contact us and review our webmaster services today.