Website Design

Google S-Day Arrives: Chrome warns about non-HTTPS sites

True to their word, Google today released version 68 of their Chrome Browser and, as promised, they have changed the way they warn users about potential issues with web sites. In previous versions, Chrome (and Firefox and most other browsers) alerted users to sites that were not using SSL with a red padlock next to the URL, and sites with mixed content displayed an orange padlock. Starting with version 68, Chrome now uses a stronger warning system. If you haven’t yet converted your site to HTTPS / SSL, now is the time to give it serious consideration. You should also check that your site correctly redirects from HTTP to HTTPS in case anyone enters just the domain name into the browser. On their Google Chrome Help page, Check if a site’s connection is secure, they preview what this now looks like to users: Check if a site’s connection is secure To see whether a website is safe to visit, you can check for security info about the site. Chrome will alert you if you can’t visit the site safely or privately. In Chrome, open a page. To check a site’s security, to the left of the web address, look at the security status:  Secure  Info or Not secure  Not secure or Dangerous To see the site’s details and permissions, select the icon. You’ll see a summary of how private Chrome thinks the connection is. What each security symbol means These symbols let you know how safe it is to visit and use a site. They tell you if a site has a security certificate, if Chrome trusts that certificate, and if Chrome has a private connection with a site. Secure Information you send or get through the site is private. Even if you see this icon, always be careful when sharing

Website Performance and Site Speed Tests Revisited

In a previous post from April 2018, Testing WordPress Performance and Site Speed, I discussed an article describing five online tools for testing the page load speeds for your website. Google PageSpeed Insights Pingdom GTmetrix WebPagetest YSlow Browser Plugin Most of these simply test a webpage from the URL submitted and report relative site speed of that page (it’s not always clear relative to what exactly – presumably all other webpages that tool has tested) and then make suggestions on how you can improve the performance of that page. Pingdom allows you to select from one of three locations to use to test your page load speed. WebPagetest expands on this by offering a choice of several locations around the world and in addition allows you to check your page speed with a choice of browsers and devices. More recently, I learned about a new online tool which is similar to those discussed above but with several significant improvements: Website Speed Test | Dotcom-Tools. Dotcom-Tools adds the following features to those offered by their competitors: Tests browser-based load time of all page elements Detects slow or missing elements Tests from your selection of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or  various mobile web browsers Provides a complete waterfall report with  charts and graphs Displays results from nearly two dozen global locations all in the same report Conducts tests from each location twice, with the second visit cached to allow you to estimate the effectiveness of the various caching systems used by your page These tests are all absolutely free with no sign-up required. Dotcom Web Site Monitoring also offers a selection of various paid plans as well. In addition to the features of the free service described above, the Pro plans offer Website Performance Monitoring starting at $7.99 USD per month for

Testing WordPress Performance and Site Speed

5 Tools to Test WordPress Performance and Site Speed WPExplorer January 10, 2018 The following tools will give you a complete picture of your website’s performance. You can use a single tool, or use them all in conjunction to cross-reference website data. 1. Google PageSpeed Insights PageSpeed Insights is a brainchild of Google. This nifty web 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. 2. Pingdom Pingdom is a free tool that gives you full-site performance information including load time, page size, as well as a detailed analysis of each page on your website. Best of all, this app saves your performance history, so you can track if your efforts to improve loading times are working. 3. GTmetrix The report that GTmetrix generates will show you a complete history of the website’s loading speeds, as well as a detailed report that suggests ways to improve the performance of your website. Beyond the initial page analysis tools, this web tool also has a video playback feature that enables you to see where the loading speed bottlenecks occur. 4. WebPagetest WebPagetest gives you your site’s loading speed and a grade breakdown of your site’s performance. It’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 the world. This is useful if you have a large overseas user base. 5. YSlow Browser Plugin 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 cues. This can help you compare other competitors site’s within your niche to see

Google: Getting your site ready for mobile-first indexing

Getting your site ready for mobile-first indexing Google Blog December 18, 2017 Currently our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems typically look at the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for…. Sites that make use of responsive web design and correctly implement dynamic serving (that include all of the desktop content and markup) generally don’t have to do anything. Here are some extra tips that help ensure a site is ready for mobile-first indexing: Make sure the mobile version of the site also has the important, high-quality content. This includes text, images (with alt-attributes), and videos – in the usual crawlable and indexable formats. Structured data is important for indexing and search features that users love: it should be both on the mobile and desktop version of the site. Ensure URLs within the structured data are updated to the mobile version on the mobile pages. Metadata should be present on both versions of the site. It provides hints about the content on a page for indexing and serving. For example, make sure that titles and meta descriptions are equivalent across both versions of all pages on the site. No changes are necessary for interlinking with separate mobile URLs (m.-dot sites). For sites using separate mobile URLs, keep the existing link rel=canonical and link rel=alternate elements between these versions. Check hreflang links on separate mobile URLs. When using link rel=hreflang elements for internationalization, link between mobile and desktop URLs separately. Your mobile URLs’ hreflang should point to the other language/region versions on other mobile URLs, and

Google Rankings and Your Business

  An important reminder about Google Search Rankings: If they can’t find you, they can’t become clients or customers!     Are Poor Google Rankings Hurting Your Business? Here’s What You Can Do About It NoobPreneur.com December 4, 2017 How Important are Your Rankings? Perhaps you’re in the group that doesn’t really give much credit to Google rankings. If that’s the case, you may be surprised to learn that studies show 94% of Google search clicks result from that first page worth of results. What this means is that if your company isn’t showing up on that first page, there is only a 6% chance that customers will find you. It’s not that there is a lack of people searching for information it’s that they can’t be bothered to look past that first page of results.Make Sure You are Using Keywords Properly One of the biggest tips for those looking to improve their Google ranking is to take a close look at the keywords they are using, and how they are using them. Keyword phrases must be properly placed in order to garner results, and of course the right words need to be contained. It’s always a good idea to take a look at Google Trends to see which phrases are currently “trending”. It’s also a good idea to stay on one topic per page, rather than bounce around.Make Sure the Site is Updated Regularly Another tip is to make sure your site isn’t stagnant, meaning it is updated on a regular basis. Google likes active websites that are constantly getting attention from you. Blogs can be very helpful in this regard because it’s fresh new content that you add on a regular basis.Investigate the Speed of the Site Another area that you can be suffering is with the site

Get ready now for Google’s Mobile First Index

Google’s Mobile First Index is not expected top go live until some time next year (2018). But that doesn’t mean you should wait until 2018 to make sure your site conforms to the mobile search criteria. Prepare now and you’ll get the “ready now” bonus when Google starts crawling sites for inclusion in the new index. Google Will Roll Out Mobile-First Index to Individual Sites That Are Ready by Matt Southern, Search Engine Journal July 3, 2017 When Google rolls out its mobile-first index, it will begin by indexing individual sites that are ready for it. This was confirmed by John Mueller in a recent Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangout. Mueller went on to say sites may or may not be informed the mobile-first switch has changed for them. This presents a challenge when it comes to tracking analytics and ranking positions. On the positive side, with Google rolling out the mobile-first index on a per-site basis, those that are prepared have a good chance of being indexed before others. Those that aren’t ready for the mobile-first switch will have to wait a bit longer to be indexed, Mueller says. This can be seen a positive thing for both searchers and site owners. Searchers will see only the most mobile-friendly sites, as intended, while site owners who have put in work preparing for the mobile-first index will be rewarded with priority indexing. Read more… Check here if to see your site is mobile-friendly.

No Business Is Too Small to Have a Website

    From Why No Business Is Too Small to Have a Website: The average Canadian spends 45 hours online per month, more than any other nation and almost double the global average… Not only do we love shopping online, but many Canadians also rely on the web to research and to compare products and prices before purchasing… But what about Canadian businesses? It turns out… that over 40% of Canadian small businesses still did not have a website… This not only puts your brand and reputation at risk, but puts your business at a competitive disadvantage…. Why is it that in 2016, a year in which we all walk around with smartphones in our pockets, are constantly looking for a Wi-Fi network, and turn to Google with every question we have, does a business not have a website? Among the expected responses of “I don’t have the time”, “it’s too expensive”, and “it’s beyond my technical expertise” (all of which are common misconceptions), 35% of respondents reported that the reason that they didn’t have a website was that they were simply too small. Why No Business Is Too Small to Have a Website You can protect and build your brand online Your customers are online It gives your business a competitive advantage It doesn’t have to be expensive Read the full article at Why No Business Is Too Small to Have a Website. Contact us today for a quote on what we can do to help YOUR business.  

Customers avoid businesses with poor mobile websites

  From a recent post by LSA Insider, 57% Unlikely to Buy Online from Biz with Poor Mobile Experience: Studies continue to show that poor mobile experiences result in businesses and brands being overlooked by customers. According to a new study, 57% of consumers said they were not likely to buy online from a non-mobile friendly local business site. This applies equally to national brands as well. While the finding is logical as it relates to ecommerce, it’s a stand-in for a broader proposition: not delivering good digital/online experiences will result in a loss of good will and purchases of local consumers. For small business owners, this underscores the fact that you not only need to be online to be found by potential customers or clients, but that your website needs to be responsive, i.e., fully accessible and user-friendly when viewed with a tablet or smart phone. Indeed, with the increasing emphasis on mobile-friendly websites by Google and other search engines, customers trying to find products or services may not even see your business in search listings if it’s not responsive. Contact us today for a quote on an affordable website for YOUR small business.

Clickable phone numbers on smart phones

Automatically make phone numbers clickable on smart phones and tablets I just came a cross a plugin for WordPress sites called WP Phone Number. This is a simple but ingenious little plugin that does what it says it can do without any fuss or fanfare. There are no settings for this plugin. Simply install and activate the plugin and it automatically turns any telephone numbers on your WordPress site into clickable call links! And the beauty of this plugin is it only does this on smart phones or tablets! Nothing changes for anyone visiting your site from a desktop computer or laptop. They won’t see anything different. But those viewing from a smart phone or tablet will see a clickable link. Tapping on that link will automatically dial the phone number and bring up a little message box indicating that’s what it’s doing – with an option to cancel if this action was triggered unintentionally. Beauty! You have to love little tech gems like this.  

How quickly your web pages load matters. Here’s why.

Having a web presence is essential in today’s world. But it doesn’t stop there: People have to see your web site and interact with it if your is going to impact on new and returning clients. We’ve known for some years now that page load speed is a Google ranking factor. With the increasing use of mobile search (smart phones and tablets), it has become even more important, especially for small local businesses. If your pages don’t start and finish loading within a few seconds, several studies have shown that mobile visitors will simply click away to the next item in the search results. Web Hosting for Optimized Page Load Speed by Adam Thompson, Search Engine Journal December 10, 2015 [T]his study shows no correlation between page complete load times and Google rankings, but it did find a correlation for time to first byte. Another study also found no correlation between rankings and page load time. It seems likely that the impact of page load speed on rankings is very small, so as SEOs it’s important that we don’t present page load speed as a major factor in rankings. [On the other hand], the impact of page load speed on users is likely much greater than its impact on Google rankings. Multiple studies have consistently documented the impact of page load speed on user experience – slow load times lead to user abandonment and decreased conversion rates. Scale does matter when discussing this benefit, though. An incremental improvement in conversion rate (which is huge for large e-retailers) may translate to a very small monetary benefit for websites with small traffic numbers. Thompson goes on to discuss the specific ways in which your hosting service and/or plan contributes to load speed. Read more… There are several factors that affect your page
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