Founder of Suncoast Web Solutions

Neil McNulty

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What is website optimization really worth to your business

One of the consistently hot topics floating around the internet and business communities globally is the constant battle of website optimization. Getting those load times down on a website, making it more accessible and favourable for search engines to rank your site over others in the marketplace. It is a battle that a lot of website owners struggle with as they do not know who to trust or what to trust. Names like ‘Google PageSpeed’ and ‘Pingdom’ often get mentioned but there is no real consistency on who to believe or what to trust when it comes to website optimization.

The fact of the matter is that you really cannot just trust or rely on one particular source as it covers such a broad range of things including site load times, server response, leverage browser caching right through to accessibility on different devices and for different types of users. If you or your website developer(s) are trying to get you a perfect score on Google PageSpeed Insights it is totally possible but it may take a fair bit of effort especially if there is quite a few plugins running behind the scenes on your website.

Putting this back in to perspective you really need to understand your website software and the server it is running on better in order to get optimal results. In our case as website builders on the Sunshine Coast we often have business owners ask “What can you do to get my site loading quicker?” The answer to this from most website designers and developers is usually “There is a series of steps we can take to make it load quicker but it may require us to look further in to your site than what you expect. It could lead us to have to rebuild your website to some extent to make it happen. It is ok though because it isn’t going to be overly expensive.”

In this answer there is quite a few open ended comments and you can almost bet dollars to donuts that it will end up involving that dreaded rebuild. This is usually something that people do not budget for and do not understand why it needs to be done. In some cases they are probably right. In quite a few occasions they are wrong though!

The real answer should be something like the following:

“If you would like for your website to load quicker there are a series of things we can do, and there is certainly a couple of ways you can get around this. If you want to do it on the cheap then we can do x,y & z. Doing it on the cheap though may not get the results you are after and you need to understand that could happen.

If however you want it done properly then you will need to take in to consideration that you will probably be best investing time and extra money in to giving the site new, relevant and up to date content along with a new look and feel. From this we can make sure that we put a focus and emphasis on site load times and site performance.

Before you make that decision though it would be best if you check out your website hosting service as it could be on an over populated server which could be half your battle and costing you more financially than you are aware.”

Now for the justification of costs associated with website optimization…Most website optimization tasks require at least 4-5 days of solid effort, testing, uploading, deleting and modifying of the websites functionality. Changing things for optimization can cause things that are operational currently to break so this is why testing is so crucial. It also means that you will look anywhere up to $1,000 to $2,000 for this sort of job.

From a business owners standpoint you need to ask yourself “is that sort of budget going to generate me 3 to 4 times that expense in sales as a result?” If it is done right and you are going to market the website then the answer should be a ‘yes’ however you may want to consider the cost to rebuild the website as it could be cheaper and more beneficial due to the fact that the site is up to a couple of years old. It could lead to a faster site ‘out of the box’ as the site software could have had significant improvements made to its core structure and more importantly the design can be geared to load quicker as it is a core focus before embarking on the process of website optimization.

If however you are wanting to do this on a budget and would like to attempt this yourself there is a few things you can do yourself (providing you have a fairly good understanding of your website software) that could help without investing money you don’t have. We have compiled a couple of simple guides and tools you could use to optimize your website. To do this simply follow the links below:

For your WordPress based website you should have a look at our article “Optimizing a WordPress website for better performance

For your Joomla based website you should have a look at our article “Optimizing your Joomla website for better performance

 

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More Stories By Neil McNulty

Neil is a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), but has an extensive knowledge of a wide variety of software, operating systems and web development processes.