A Simple Guide to Website Performance Evaluation
The task of building a well performing website is not an easy and straight-forward task. It is the work of a combination of skill, experience and patience. In this post, we shall provide a checklist of website performance evaluation criteria that are useful to maintain good health for a website.The performance of a website is usually done regarding user experience and website security. These are very fundamental to success.
The First Steps
URL (Intuitive) - The URL needs to be short and simple. The best URLs are intuitive. From the URL, you need to be able to understand what the website will be all about before you read the content of the website. An example is todhost.com It tells you that it is about a web hosting service.
Download time - Size of home page. The is very important for users. Most users are not willing to spend so much time waiting for a slow website. This factor has also become a search engine ranking factor and so should be taken seriously. It is recommended that all pages should be kept under 50k in size. The homepage should be especially small and quick to load.
Look and feel - Readability. Make your website easily readable, clear and easy to understand. It is important not to clutter a site with text and images. The font size needs to be large enough to be readable and rioting colors need to be avoided.
Conditions to enter the site - Avoid asking users to download an application or a plug-in before entering a site. This can cause upsets and send your visitors away. Pay importance to the home page (above the fold) It is a good practice to have the major services offered and everything the site is to appear on the homepage without having to scroll down.
Unique Selling Point (USP) or Value Proposition - Try to create a key selling factor that gives your website a major advantage. It is extremely important for users to quickly find the site to be potential benefit to them. The unique selling point should be on the homepage.
Ability to take action (Key action point) - The site should be interactive and encourage user participation from the outset. There should be direct links to key action points immediately visible on the homepage. Links like order now, get started, begin a search etc will need to be strategic and easily visible.
Feeling of wanting more -; Depth of site - The site should strive to create a feeling of wanting more in the user. The goal should be to get the user to stay as long as possible and to come back to the site again.
Contact details - Providing immediate contact details such as e-mail addresses and telephone numbers build confidence and trust in using the site.
Credential validation - certifications, associations etc. - Providing credential information is a useful way to build trust in the user.
Statement from management - This provides an opportunity for the surfer to see the business vision and values of the company.
Website Security - It can be very upsetting to visit a website only to find that it has been hacked, defaced, or put offline due to a security issue. This can put off customers significantly. When you want to perform some maintenance, you need to choose a low traffic time, say 1.00am at night when you will expect users to very minimal on site. If you have registered users, you need to send an advance notice ahead of your scheduled maintenance.
Read also: Website Security: A Guide For Shared Web Hosting Accounts
Pay attention to brand consistency: Endeavor to ensure consistency in the pages. The colors, layout, image format etc need to consistent throughout your entire website. If you have a separate blog, ensure that the logos are the same and the colors and not in sharp contrast. Build consistency throughout the site.
Tools for Testing Website Performance
Let's now look at some 5 Tools for Testing Your Site[s Performance and Speed. But before then, you need some insights into why websites load slowly.
Keep in mind that fast-loading sites have better user engagement, conversion rates, and search engine rankings.
Why Does Your Site Load Slowly?
There are multiple reasons your site could be performing less than acceptable or usual. Loading speeds are going to vary site by site, but there are a few factors that trip up most sites.
For most websites, especially content management systems like WordPress, the most common causes of page loading are bloated plugins, having a poorly coded theme, big image files, and/or having poor hosting not suited to your website. Below we'll show you how to fix these common issues. However, before you jump into optimizing your website, you need to see how fast it's running in the first place.
Tools For Testing Your Site
The following tools will give you a complete picture of your website's performance. You can use a single tool, or use them all.
Google PageSpeed Insights
PageSpeed Insights is a brainchild of Google. This app measures your site's performance across multiple devices, including desktop and mobile browsers. This is useful if your visitors are accessing your site from a variety of screen sizes and devices.
This is a free tool that gives you full-site performance information including load time, page size and an analysis of each page on your website.
GTmetrix gives you a complete history of the website's loading speeds and a report that suggests ways to improve the performance of your website.
WebPagetest gives insights into the load speed of your website and a breakdown of your site's performance. It&rsquo;s unique in that it allows you to select a country to view your report from, so you can see how your site performs across different countries.
YSlow is a browser plugin that lets you track the performance of any site you're currently visiting. It doesn't give you the actual load time, but it does break down over 20 different performance criteria. This helps performance comparison.
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