Are you getting the most out of your site? Modern SEO takes a lot of different things into account; naturally written content, preferential TLD’s and regular new content. But did you know that most search engines take page performance into account too? Google were the first major search engine to do this with many other big names following suite.
Performing a site audit is easier than you might think and you’ll be surprised at what it may uncover! There are many free tools that can help you test performance in different ways. Let’s take a look at some of them and how they work.
For a good overview we like to start testing with Google’s page speed insights. Page Speed Insights are fantastic for identifying lots of common issues that could be slowing down your website. Simply paste your URL into the tool, run the test and in roughly 30 seconds you’ll have your results. You can also run the same test using Chrome’s built in audit tools. Press ‘f12’ to access the developer console, click audits in the top bar (or the double chevron ‘>>’ if you don’t see it), then click ‘perform and audit’. Check the performance box and click run ‘audit’.
You will be shown scores between 0 and 100, where higher is better. We would suggest you take action if your score is below 80, but take note that some issues will be harder to solve than others. If you are familiar with, code google provides plenty of information and pointers to help you boost your score. If you are not into your code, things will become a little tricky to fix, but it could be worth looking for help to see if any fixes could help you out.
The second key part to a website audit is to test cross browser compatibility. Many CSS rules are now understood by most major browsers in the same way, however, some still require prefixes and occasionally cause rendering issues.
Compatibility across a variety of browsers and sites is vital to ensure you don’t miss out on visitors that may not have the latest technology. As a basic rule we like to think about two levels of compatibility; complete and functional. Complete describes no compatibility issues in display or functionality, this is likely what at least 90% of your audience should see. Functional describes the site being navigable, usable and all key features being accessible. When deciding which browsers you want to support to each level, you should utilise your analytics to see what devices, browsers and versions people are using, helping you prioritise your site. As a basic rule we focus on Chrome for all devices and screen sizes, safari for iOS and OSX. We always test in Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge. For all these browsers we strive to have compete compatibility. As for our functional testing, we look towards older versions of chrome and internet explorer 11. Together this covers over 98% of users assuming you traffic roughly follows the UK browser demographics.
Once you have found elements that appear to have rendered incorrectly you can check sites like Can I Use, to identify CSS rules causing issues and find potential solutions. Once again if you are not familiar with code you can look for help from a front end developer or agency.
On a final note if you are using an off the shelf WordPress theme, some of these issues can be hard to solve and your results might vary between theme and WordPress updates. If you’re looking for help with auditing your site, some help with SEO or looking for a new high performance site, get in touch and see how we can help.