What makes a website great? More importantly to businesses, what makes a website rank? 

It used to be that great content and design alone were enough. Today, new factors determine a website’s success. Now, great, high-ranking websites have:

  1. Strong performance
  2. Mobile optimization
  3. Search engine optimization (SEO)
  4. SSL security enabled

 THE PROBLEM

Research suggests that the average grade (or score) for websites is 60 out of 100.  That’s a D-.

On average, the websites analysed by HubSpot:

  • Take 3.9 seconds to load.
  • Have a page size of 1.4 MB. 
  • Have 61 page requests.

 Where are websites falling down? Across the board, HubSpot Research* has found gaps in four metrics. Below we have listed potential solutions for you to improve website speed in these four areas.

1. PERFORMANCE SOLUTIONS

Consider these potential solutions:

  • Compress and resize images as much as possible.
  • Reduce, or remove, any non-asynchronous requests. Everything should load as quickly as possible, and anything that is blocking this from happening should be removed or deferred.
  • CSS spiriting can be extremely effective method for loading images, if you have a developer or someone familiar with the technique.
  • Minify all your code, especially JavaScript.
  • If you have long pages, defer loading some of the content until the user begins scrolling.
  • Think strategically about the order assets are loading in. Your main CTA should not be last on your page because the user will have likely moved beyond that CTA by the time it displays.
  • Deactivate and delete any unnecessary plugins.  

We have developed a comprehensive free e-book that addresses all these areas. You can download our free e-book “Improving Your Website Performance” here. 


2. MOBILE SOLUTIONS

  • Run your website through Google’s test to see where you stand.
  • Strategise the right mobile design for you – either a responsive or separate mobile site. HubSpot recommend responsive design since it’s favoured by search engines, but either will work.
  • Plan your next website around mobile behaviour and user experience. 


3. SEO SOLUTIONS

This will require an audit of your website. Key areas to review:

  • Seek out and address missing page titles, heading tags, and meta descriptions. Use keyword analysis to assist with defining these tags and descriptions.
  • If your website has many pages but lacks a site map, consider creating one. This will also give visitors to your site an easier way to navigate.
  • Review the pages in your website to ensure that pages aren’t cannibalizing SEO ‘points’ from each other. For example, an electronics business may have multiple pages optimized for ‘best kitchen appliance.’ Those pages compete with each other for search traffic. Consider consolidating duplicate pages or creating a crosslinking strategy.

 

4. SSL SOLUTIONS

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) creates a secure tunnel between a visitor’s browser and a website’s web server. Highly recommended, especially where you are collecting and processing sensitive customer data.

  • Ensure that your content management system has SSL capabilities enabled. If they don’t, your options are unfortunately limited. Press your host’s customer support, agency or development teams to prioritize SSL and request a timeline.

 

 For even more practical suggestions to optimize your site and check your website performance, download our free e-book “Improving Your Website Performance”.

 Website Performance Guide 

   * Source: The dataset consists of URLs submitted to websitegrader.com. HubSpot Research believes the data is compelling because active submissions indicate that the websites in the dataset are truly up and running, are maintained, and have at least one person actively working to improve it. Given that the total internet is massive and there are millions of dead websites, this dataset is a reflection of today’s active website landscape. Over time we will append data and update this report. Outlier data, greater than 2 standard deviations from the average load time, was excluded from the analysis.