Important but simple tasks for website performance

Ah, the love hate relationship with WordPress, hosting, security and efficiency. Some assumptions are made here:

1. Your website looks great and is responsive on mobile.

2. You have an SSL certificate with auto renew on all sites and subdomains.

3. You have someone keeping your plugins and themes up-to-date and reviewing them quarterly to make sure they are still the best solution.

Going with that, let’s add some simple items to your checklist and then some more complex ones.

Simple:

Copyright date in your footer. It’s February folks. This example is for a range of dates. Use the code view in your footer and add it in. You can also delete the second line and just have the current year.

&copy; <?php
  $fromYear = 2008; 
  $thisYear = (int)date('Y'); 
  echo $fromYear . (($fromYear != $thisYear) ? '-' . $thisYear : '');?> Company.

Check your staff – is the team current? Uh, do you have a staff page to show the lovely people that work with you? If not, what are you hiding them from? If you are a great company, no one can poach them. Make everyone look good. Have a photo day and lunch brought in.

Do you have any marketing specific landing pages, such as the landing page from your Instagram account with current specials, offerings, new services? Make sure it’s current.

Are your services and prices current? I know it sounds obvious, but a tucked away page we’ve forgotten to update can come back to bite is if rates are lower, prices lower, dates are different. Look through ALL of those types of pages. You may want to have an outside consultant run through them all to make sure what you are promoting on your home page matches the older pages people can still find through search.

Using drip campaigns? Time to sign up with a new email or unsubscribe and resubscribe again to go through the subscriber’s journey. If you have the time, perhaps someone on your team or your marketing consultant can review them all – checking links, rechecking spelling to make sure it’s all current and accurate.

How’s that LinkedIn profile – if your website links to your company page – how often are you posting there? If it’s linking to your own profile and that of your team, review them – are they active on LinkedIn? Does that photo still look like them? Is it time to update photos for your whole team?

More complex.

If you are using WordPress, is your back end updated? Do the forms all work? Who receives them? What happens to those leads? Test all forms – ALL OF THEM.

Are the plugins you are using the most efficient? Still in favor? Are there any you are not using that you can uninstall from your site admin? Is there a more current version of your theme? Are you notified of updates?

Time for a Google site speed test. Please know it will fluctuate, but you should be able to test over a week to get a good average on desktop and mobile.

Go here to test your site – try with and without HTTPS to see what happens. Try with and without www to see if there is a difference. Keep a record over a week for both desktop and mobile. Test key landing pages, too.

Recently I worked with a client who was in the 70’s on mobile and 80’s on desktop. His site has been around for 20 years and has had many design and function updates. It worked, but it wasn’t fast or efficient. His site is not in WordPress – I was grateful. I was able to go through his header and footer, change out a lot of the order of scripts, CSS and more. The result? From 73 – 92 on mobile and from 84 -97/98 on desktop! We celebrated!

WordPress has a lot of open source layers and fixes. There are some quick things you can do, depending on your site structure, theme, hosting, etc. but if you get stuck, make an appointment with me for a review. I’ll be straight up with you if I can only take it so far, I’ll make recommendations to one of three firms I recommend. It could be as simple as all of the widgets and plugins you are using to pull in Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, feeds and more.

Have you looked at your site through a browser with adblockers? Ad blockers are becoming more common, especially with company computers. The problem is, they aren’t always selective enough as to what they block. If you use tools like SalesForce, Marketo, and other sales lead management tools and tracking, your content may get completely blocked, or your site may hang for those with the blockers on. Latest numbers show that 20% of desktop computers have their browsers set to block ads. Test it to see. You may have to serve some alt content for those elements on your site being blocked if they are critical.

Test on mobile too. Not as common to block website content on mobile, unless you are using shared browser settings from Chrome or even Safari.

How about that firewall? Have you seen the reports? Are you being bombarded? Do you have enough security? Do you have backups happening every day – NOT on your web server? To be able to restore your site with a few clicks is HUGE. It can mean the difference between a sale closed and a sale lost.

Google Analytics – what were your top pages last year? Last quarter? Make sure those are up-to-date. It may be time to update an offer, revisit a topic from a popular post. What sites are sending people to you?

Google Search Console – assuming you are set up here and your sitemaps are being submitted and crawled regularly, how many errors do you have? Can you fix them? Broken or missing pages? Do you need to set up a redirect to more current content or replace what you may have deleted by accident or in haste? Also, check the referrers. What sites are sending people to you? Perhaps you can update them with the current link, thank them for linking to you. Great conversation starter.