Many people think that a "good website" is one that looks nice, yet that rarely has an impact on how well that website will attract new visitors and customers.
Google doesn't care (too much) about how pretty a website is - that's just the icing on the cake. Factors like speed and errors behind-the-scenes are more important.
This page will help you to identify 2 main factors that should always be addressed with any website, they are:
Time taken to load the page.
Hidden errors and warnings.
Speed is now such a huge factor when determining which websites should rank highly in any search results.
Depending on how a website is built, it may be inherently fast or slow.
Imagine someone sat on the bus, on their phone, with minimal signal, trying to visit a website, Google wants to make sure that user has a great experience.
If a website takes 10 seconds to load (it happens), then that's not a good experience for the user, so Google will simply move that website down the rankings, and instead favour faster websites.
A recent study (analysing over 140,000 websites) looked at the impact speed had on a websites position in the search results.
They found a clear correlation between the speed of a website, and where it ranks.
This is one factor you do not want to ignore, and can be a huge game-changer when done right.
For example, if a web-designer uses a tool like WordPress to build a website, they have little real control over the performance of the site, plus WordPress is a bloated piece of software to begin with, which results in a slow website 99% of the time. Add on all the various plugins you need to use, and it quickly turns into a real mess.
However, if a developer builds a website from scratch, they have absolute control over all aspects of the site, and can optimise it endlessly.
All websites should be built from scratch, this of course costs more money, but at the end of the day you get what you pay for. If you want a pretty website that gets no visitors, spend £500, if you want a website that actually gets lots of customers, be prepared to spend a few thousand.
It's massively important to note that this is Google's own tool, this is what they use to determine how fast a website is.
If anyone ever tells you not to take notice of these results, common-sense should prevail.
Enter a website below to test the speed on both desktop and mobile:
Before choosing a web-designer, use this tool on a selection of their portfolio websites, to see how fast your own site may end up being.
It's a little known fact that there are actually standards when it comes to designing and building a website, much like building-regulations when building a house.
These standards are set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C for short), a group made up of advisors from the likes of Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, etc.
Unfortunately countless web-designers don't follow these standards, either because they're lazy, or they actually don't know they exist.
When caught out, they'll often make excuses that the standards aren't important.
Would you trust a house-builder if he told you building-regulations weren't important?
Once again, common-sense should prevail when someone tries to convince you of this.
Failing to abide by these standards can affect not only how your website displays in various browsers, but also how Google ranks your website, which can directly affect how many new customers can find you.
As you can imagine, a sloppy website probably won't be looked on favouribly by Google.
A website can sometimes look great, but still have many underlying issues according to the W3C.
As I always say, "There's more to building a website, than just building a website".
When anyone builds a website, they should always abide by all the rules set by the W3C, there's no reason not to.
To check a website, the W3C provide a free tool called the W3C Validator.
This tool will show how many errors and how many warnings a website has.
Unless you're a developer most of the results may look like jibberish, but just counting the number of red and yellow boxes will give you an idea of how well the website was built.
Ideally you want to see a single green message.
Enter a website below, including the "http://" at the beginning:
Before choosing a web-designer, it can be quite insightful to use the W3C Validator on a selection of their portfolio websites, to see what sort of attention your own site will get.
For any website to be online it needs to be hosted on a server somewhere on the World Wide Web.
One common option is to share space with another website, and reduce costs.
Unfortunately some web designers take this to the extreme, and put a website on the same server as literally thousands of other websites.
If one of those websites gets really busy, it can affect all the other websites running on that server.
If the server gets attacked and goes offline, then every website on that server also goes offline.
There are a few tools online that will list all the websites on a single server.
Enter a website below, without the "http://" at the beginning
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This is what gives you the padlock symbol in your browser, and adds the 's' on https.
Google is beginning to use this as a factor when determining how to rank websites - those with an SSL certificate are preferred.
Due to this "requirement", SSL certificates are now available for free. See Let's Encrypt for details.
There's a few different technologies used for sending/receiving email these days.
Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly.
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