Load Screen for Slow Sites Google recently announced plans to start “shaming” slow websites by labeling them as slow in their Chrome browser, using either a “badge” or a load screen that specifically warns the visitor that the site loads slowly. Even if, like me, you don’t like Chrome and don’t use it as a default browser, this is something all website owners need to be concerned about: According to W3Counter’s browser stats for July 2019, over 55% of web traffic comes from the Chrome browser. In effect, this means that it’s even more imperative for you to ensure that your website loads as quickly as possible. Seeing that loading screen, especially for mobile users, is very likely to mean they’ll click away and you have just lost a potential customer. With this in mind, I undertook my own research into the available WordPress strategies for minimizing load times. I looked primarily at options commonly highlighted by utilities like Google Page Speed Insights, WebPage Test, GTmetrix, and Pingdom: defer loading scripts that aren’t immediately needed as the page loads, minimize image sizes, and various WordPress caching plugins. As I tried the various (free) plugins available at WordPress.org, I retested each of three different sites of varying complexity, including one ecommerce site, using the speed tests listed above. Here’s what I learned which allowed me to bring these sites into the 95-100% range for Desktop and the 57-70% range for Mobile (mostly using 3G or 4G connections): Disabling unused or rarely used plugins does not help in these speed tests. The various scripts and CSS used by the plugin are still loaded by WordPress and included in the speed tests. If you don’t need it, deactivate and then uninstall the plugin completely. For general caching, what produced the best result for
Businesses in Canada, especially small local businesses in Canada, cannot hope to compete today unless they have a strong online presence. Read on for advice from Google Canada. Future proofing your business: Why digital is the way to win in Canada Think With Google June 2019 By 2023, Canadian digital commerce will grow by 30%.1 That’s a $60-billion market. The opportunity is there for the taking — and there’s room for all retailers to thrive whether they’re traditional, pure play, or brand-focused. When it comes to online shopping, Canadian consumers are, in fact, already leaders in many ways. According to new research by Google and Deloitte on the eCommerce landscape, 77% of Canadians go online to discover the things they want to buy, compared to 72% of Americans.2 And 82% of Canadians research and purchase online, which is on par with the U.S. at 85%.3 Plus, Canadian consumers want to buy Canadian products. Are you making it easier for them to purchase yours? There’s a great divide out there between the retailers who can quickly adapt to and thrive in this environment, and those who can’t. But the good news is, your business has more opportunity to build on than ever before. Sources: 1 eMarketer, May 2019, Retail Ecommerce Sales, Canada 2019 – 2023 2 Deloitte/Google, “”Future proofing your business: Why digital is the way to win in Canada”, Canada and USA, March 2019 – April 2019, n = 1009 Canadian Shopper 18+ and n = 1000 US Shoppers 18+ 3 Deloitte/Google, “”Future proofing your business: Why digital is the way to win in Canada”, Canada and USA, March 2019 – April 2019, n = 1009 Canadian Shopper 18+ and n = 1000 US Shoppers 18+ 4 Download Google/Deloitte Whitepaper, June 26, 2019 (PDF) Read more…
User experience improvements with page speed in mobile search Google Webmaster Blog April 4, 2019 To help users find the answers to their questions faster, we included page speed as a ranking factor for mobile searches in 2018. Since then, we’ve observed improvements on many pages across the web. We want to recognize the performance improvements webmasters have made over the past year. A few highlights: For the slowest one-third of traffic, we saw user-centric performance metrics improve by 15% to 20% in 2018. As a comparison, no improvement was seen in 2017. We observed improvements across the whole web ecosystem. On a per country basis, more than 95% of countries had improved speeds. When a page is slow to load, users are more likely to abandon the navigation. Thanks to these speed improvements, we’ve observed a 20% reduction in abandonment rate for navigations initiated from Search, a metric that site owners can now also measure via the Network Error Logging API available in Chrome. In 2018, developers ran over a billion PageSpeed Insights audits to identify performance optimization opportunities for over 200 million unique urls. Read more… How does your site measure up when it comes to mobile loading speed? Check your load times at PageSpeed Insights. Check Google’s Chrome User Experience Report to see how you measure up to other web pages. See Google’s article on Why Performance Matters. If your site doesn’t compare well to your competitors’ sites, you are almost certainly losing potential customers in a world where increasingly people have abandoned desktop and laptop computers and are searching for products and services on tablets or smart phones. Contact us today for an evaluation of your business website. We won’t mislead you and we will never try to sell you anything you don’t need. But if
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
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
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
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
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
Google’s Mobile First Index is not expected to 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.
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.