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New Years resolutions for your website

Written by Emz | 10-Dec-2013 17:06:00

With the end of 2013 looming and the New Year in site (pun intended), we all start thinking about the new ‘me’ and what we want to achieve over the next year. With this in mind we set ourselves New Year’s resolutions which we try to stick to (for at least a month), such as losing weight, getting fit, quitting the bad habits and taking better care of our money to name just a few. We all set these personal goals for ourselves, some are easily achieved, others not so but we can also take this approach and apply these goals to our websites. Why not make 2014 the year to really make your site work for you and achieve all your New Year’s resolutions by following some of these tips from the equimedia Digital Development team: 

New Year’s Resolution #1: Lose weight – Increase your Site Speed

Every second counts! When your users visit your site they don’t want to be sat around waiting for it to load (even if they are on the train or bus on the way to work). Jakob Nielson discusses response time limits, and how a delay of longer than 10 seconds will often make users leave the site immediately. 

  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  • A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
  • 46% of users expect the load time on their smartphones to be almost as fast as or equal to their desktop load times.

 Source: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/loading-time/?wide=1

 Things to consider when reducing your site speed:

  • Enable compression
  • Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content
  • Optimize images
  • Reduce Server Response time
  • Increase the use of “browser cachingâ€

New Year’s Resolution #2: Getting Fit – Improve Conversion on your website

Make your site work harder for you! So you want to get fit and, most importantly, stick with it. We all know the best way to stay focused is by keeping it simple and following some common sense rules… eat clean, train regularly, get enough sleep and track results.

Check out Ryan’s blog to find out the training plan required to improve conversion on your website and get your site working harder for you

New Year’s Resolution #3: Redecorate – Give your site a fresh lick of paint

Not one that we all jump to in January and definitely not one of my resolutions but according to a poll done by LA fitness, redecorate was the 4th most popular New Year’s resolution of 2013. Bearing this in mind, it’s a good time to reflect on the look and feel of your website; ask for feedback from others and start to think about the direction you want to take in 2014. A complete overhaul of the whole house? Or maybe just a few little touch ups in certain rooms could provide a new fresh feel?

Whether you decide on either a complete overhaul or a few touch ups, it’s always best to start small. Maybe decorate your hall way (landing page) and see how you feel about that and what response you get from others. The last thing you want to do is invest money into completely redecorating your house and then not love the new look and feel.

A few things to consider when looking at landing page testing:

  • What are you testing? Make sure you test one major thing at a time
    • Visual aspects – Page layout, colours, buttons, images, etc.
    • Messaging – Your page content, how is it written? Will your audience understand?
    • Information Architecture – How is your site organised?
  • Who are you targeting? Don’t forget it’s not always just the end user you need to target, what about the business / technology or any other user whose understandings and processes can help make the experience better.
  • What is your goal action? What is the action you want your visitors to complete? Submit a form? Contact you? Add something to their basket? etc.
  • Ensure your landing page receives a healthy level of traffic but be aware of seasonal spikes that could skew results.

New Year’s Resolution #4: Take better care of your money – Avoid these Conversion mistakes

Every year I say to myself, right this will be the year I squirrel away my hard earned cash and start saving for a house or even a really nice holiday, but every year is the same, money goes in the savings account and something happens or maybe I decide to treat myself (photography is not a cheap hobby!) and the money comes straight back out again. However, 2014 will be my frugal year!

When looking at this resolution and how it can be applied to your website, have a look at Ryan’s great blog which explains the conversion mistakes people make when implementing responsive design. If you avoid these 5 mistakes you’ll definitely be taking better care of your investment and hopefully making money from it!

New Year’s Resolution #5: Quit smoking – Some technical bad habits you need to stop

OK so that’s my bad habit, but one that will be vanquished early January 2014, not just as a New Year’s resolution but because I always said I would not smoke after I turn 30.

As a team we’ve pulled together a few good habits you should start adopting for your website, if you don’t already follow these:

  • Update your frameworks regularly – If you have a website, the chances are it is on some sort of framework. Platforms such as WordPress, Drupal & .NET are under constant attack from hackers, both ethical and non-ethical. These frameworks need to be constantly updated to protect your site, not only from malicious attacks but also functional bugs. Special care must also be taken with any 3rd party plugins you are using, as these can be more susceptible to security holes and bugs.
  • Use an SVN – Stop manually trying to keep track of your developments. Using a subversion tool allows you and your developers to maintain the current and historical versions of your website. Making it easier to provide change lists, revert files, track changes between merged files worked on by two or more developers and more.
  • Test your backups and disaster recovery plan – Having the back-ups and disaster recovery plan is a must, but how many of you have tested them? Everyone needs to get out of the mind set of ‘it doesn’t matter until something goes wrong’. Check yours works before it’s too late.
  • Don’t rely on Firefox or emulators to cross device / browser test – Although Firefox and IE offer a wide range of device and browser testing options; as well as the various amount of emulator tools and plugins available, the best way to see what your site looks like on a certain device or browser is to try it on the actual device or browser (version), as you never get the same results with an imitation. The proof is in the Christmas pudding.