Designers – is your site letting you down?

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You are a design company or a freelance designer – you have a great looking website and you’re proud of your portfolio  But it is working for you?

I have visited a lot of design agency websites, both freelance and multi designer agencies and I find a staggering amount are not optimising their sites or their customers sites.  Now I don’t mean optimising for content I mean the speed of the site, not employing the latest technology such as HTTP/2 and the sites are not secured with SSL’s or using recapture on forms.

What do I mean?

When I visit a designers website I immediately look for the SSL padlock, the lack of a padlock instantly tells me that HTTP2 is not being used – HTTP2 requires an SSL to work.  I check the portfolio site to see if there are any dates to show when the work was carried out, I look to see if there are twitter, Facebook and other social media links – this tells me if they are using this technology and are they employing it on the their clients sites.  Everything we recommend we use! I have an extension on Chrome that will change to red if it detects an old version of WordPress.  I then run a check at GTMetrix and note the PageSpeed and YSlow score for key components such as image optimisation, use of a CDN, use of gzip, page speed and page size.  I then look at any forms and the login page checking for capture fields.

I then do this for every site on their portfolio / recent work page.

What do we find?

That a lot of sites are not kept up to date.  Common issues we find are:

  • Out of date WordPress installations
  • Poor results for PageSpeed and YSlow (sometimes as low as F)
  • Slow page load times, up to 10 seconds on some sites
  • Lack of GZIP
  • Lack of HTTP/2
  • No SSL
  • No capture fields on forms

We accept that if the client does not want a managed service and does not pay for a managed site then this can cause these issues.  If this is the case then the site should not be appearing on your portfolio page – you want to show your clients that your sites not only look good but also perform well.

It’s not just the portfolio sites we find these issues on, we also find these issues on the main site – for this there is no reason.  Surely you want your site to run like grease lightening as well as look great?

What should you do?

Finding out what is wrong with your site is easy, just go to https://gtmetrix.com, enter your URL and click test – we recommend you sign up for a free login so you can keep a track of your history.  A login will enable you to select the type of browser you want to test with and where in the world you want the test run from.  Once you have the results – address all (or as many) issues as you can.

The performance and score of almost all sites can be increased  by carrying out the following:

  1. Install a decent caching plugin – WP-Rocket is our favorite, it’s not free but is worth the fee.
  2. Use a CDN – KeyCDN is the CDN company we use for all our sites, both company and client.
  3. Employ technologies such as gzip and HTTP/2
  4. Secure your site with an SSL
  5. Update your site with the latest version of WordPress, plugins and theme

The whole process should take no more than hour of your time.

Once you have sorted out your site – run the same checks across all your client sites, any that you no longer have access to and cannot update, remove them.  Having poorly performing websites is not going to your company image any good.

Going Forward

Ensure that all the above are included in every site you build.  Your clients will love their speedy site, your prospective clients will want you to design their site as all the sites you have highlighted on your portfolio not only look good, they are fast and secure.

Hosting your client sites?

If you are hosting your client sites and find that trying to implement gzip, HTTP/2 and/or SSL’s is difficult or not possible then contact us.  We can build you a complete hosting solution, based on the cloud of your choice and powered by Plesk.  We will build you a platform that can support all the latest technologies with full support for the latest versions of PHP, Nginx and Apache, supporting the latest technologies suchg as HTTP/2.  We can even manage the hosting platform and all your WordPress sites for you – leaving you free to get more clients on board and concentrate on designing websites not worrying about the technology.

Why not give us a call to discuss your requirements now?  Just click the button below or call us on +441622 320340.

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