How healthy is your website?
Often when we’re asked to build a website, the client expects it to work flawlessly forever. The truth is, it won’t. Websites break—most of the time because they’re out-of-date, or some plug-ins just stopped working, or it’s taking time to load, or scariest of all, it has been victimised by cybercriminals. Yikes!
Many website owners just don’t give their websites the needed love and attention, and so they get all too surprised when things get bad. The website starts falling off, their customers get turned off, they ask someone to rebuild it, and they get a hefty bill for the work.
But you can avoid losing a huge chunk of sales and having to spend heaps on website repair by having a simple and inexpensive website health check plan.
WordPress is software, which means it needs to be updated regularly. WordPress sites are made up of a variety of plugins and themes, which, give shape to your website. They, too, require constant updates. Apart from providing the features and functionalities, these apps also increase your site’s security, covering up vulnerabilities and strengthening your site against cyber attacks. Moreover, updating your plugins and themes will help fix bugs existing in earlier versions, so you won’t have to worry about errors on certain features of your site.
2. Page Speed
We all know how important page speed is: if your site loads slowly, visitors may leave in frustration, and search engines will drop your ranking. If you’re not sure how fast your website loads, you can use a speed test tool like Google Page Speed Insights, GTMetrix Page Speed Tester or Pingdom Website Speed Test. Once you’ve entered your website address, it will tell you how fast your web page loads. It will also give suggestions on how to improve your speed.
So what could be slowing down your website? Unoptimised pages, large images and a slow web host are the most common culprits.
While identifying website speed issues is fairly straightforward, fixing them is not as simple. The first and most obvious step is to choose a professional web hosting provider. If you’re using WordPress, the next step is to install a WordPress plugin to increase page performance. This will help with large images and unoptimised pages. And finally, it’s worth thinking about using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to increase page load times. A CDN basically takes a copy of your website and delivers it from a closer location to the visitor.
Much as we love the Internet, it’s not exactly the safest place in the world. You may have installed a really cool plugin but found that it’s carrying malware, infecting your website and putting your entire system at risk. Creepy cyber crawlers are also lurking everywhere, waiting for any chance to exploit your website. Any outdated software can give hackers the access to your system, and once they found their way inside, they will spread malicious content, take personal information and misuse them for monetary gains, and worse of all, shut down your site completely. To fend off would-be attackers, you need to check and update your site regularly.
4. Mobile friendly
With over 60% of first visits happening on mobile rather than desktop, you can’t afford for your mobile experience to let you down. Ideally, your website should work across all devices, including computers, tablets, and smartphones of all brands and sizes.
Having to pinch and zoom to see text on smaller devices is annoying for your visitors. Also, now that Google has rolled out their Mobile First Index, you need to act fast.
5. Mobile Responsiveness
We all know the future (and the present) is mobile, so having a responsive website is essential. In 2019, 80% of users used a mobile device to search the internet. 80%! If your site isn’t easy to browse on a mobile device, you are without a doubt losing visitors. And Google won’t rank you as well. Because mobile devices and resolutions change with such speed, it’s important to check your website’s mobile performance regularly. What worked previously, might not work now.
So how do you test your site’s responsiveness?
Using your cellphone, browse to your website and ask colleagues or friends if they can do the same. This way you can see what it’s like to browse to your site on different devices.
Chrome offers a built-in tool to switch the screen resolution to various popular devices.
Numerous free and paid-for solutions let you test your website for mobile-friendliness (including the Hubspot Website Grader we already mentioned).