We're now well into 2018 and it's clear that this will be a big year for web security. For years the industry has been pushing for the ubiquitous use of encryption for websites (i.e. that all important s in https://). But we think that this is the year that will see the largest changes for websites that don't use this technology. We'll cover what this encryption actually is and is not, why these changes are happening, and what you should know about the future changes coming up this year.
The web as a whole has been moving toward encrypted browsing for a while. First, browsers started highlighting encrypted sites with a green security symbol in the address bar so highlight them favorably to internet users. Next, search engines started ranking sites higher that used encryption, giving a them a modest advantage. Now, this year in July we're going to see Google go a step further and mark all non-encrypted sites as insecure in Google Chrome. This will drastically reduce the number of users visiting these un-encrypted websites and will most likely almost completely cut-off any potential user engagement.
Our clients often wonder when it's time to update their website. We're not just talking about a minor tweak here or there, we're talking about a major update or even a complete overhaul. It's a very complex matter and it can differ from one company to the next but here are the top 10 reasons that your website might need to be updated.
Search Engine Optimization! This is the single biggest reason to update your site. We could have made a list of 10 reasons to update your site with all 10 of them being SEO. What's the point of having a website if your potential clients aren't visiting it? Part of the reason that this is #1 is that it is so broad. We should probably write another whole article about SEO but suffice it to say that in the ever changing landscape of search engines and social media this is more important than ever. Content, security (see #4), speed (see #7), microdata, local/mobile search, keyword research, there are so many things that fall under this category that can make the difference between a user never finding you and a lifetime customer. If your SEO isn't up to date you're missing out, period.
This is another big one. Many people think that their website is all about driving traffic or making sales or increasing their brand identity. While all of that is true it can also provide a treasure trove of data to help you run your business. It pains us to see sites in 2018 that don't have analytics and it pains us even more to see sites that have them but they aren't using them. Well implemented analytics can help inform almost every business decision. If your website isn't providing you with this benefit or it's using older, less valuable analytics platforms then you could greatly benefit from an update in this area.
UX seems to be such a hot buzzword right now but it's not without good reason. Websites have to be user friendly so the user experience is critically important. The only reason this isn't higher is that SEO and Analytics drive you toward good UX and it's not always the other way around. Just look at how user experience has changed over the years, who remembers Windows XP? The days before tabbed browsing? How did we get by? Even if your site followed the best UX principles a few years ago, it could be time for an update. As the big players like Google and Facebook evolve, users eyes and fingers are trained to move towards different areas of the screen, they expect certain things to be placed in certain areas. If your website doesn't match, you'll be neglecting your users and losing conversions.
It's important to have a fast website. No one enjoys clicking on a link and then waiting and waiting for the page to load. Many users will even abandon a site if they have to wait too long for it to load. Furthermore, search engines will rank sites lower both if the pages load slowly and if users tend to abandon the site. For this reason it is doubly important to have a website that loads quickly. There are many, many things that come into play that make a difference between a slow webpage and fast webpage.
One of the most popular tools to test how fast a webpage loads is Google PageSpeed. A perfect score of 100 is rarely seen. There are many reasons for this and even more factors that go into how quickly a page loads. There are many excellent guides out there that go into detail on easiest ways to improve the load times of a webpage. This article will not be a comprehensive guide but will focus on a couple of surprising items that we found recently that significantly impacted our score. We'll also discuss why we decided not to address them and why you may not want to have that perfect 100 Google PageSpeed score either.
We're really excited to launch the new website today. Even though it's been less than three years since we updated our web presence so much has changed. We all know that technology moves fast but this made us realize just how quickly it shifts. One of the biggest changes is the introduction of HTTP2 but that's not to minimize the effects of new SEO strategies like structured data and Accelerated Mobile Pages. Our new site sits on a brand new framework that's designed to be lightning fast, secure and capable of rapid development. Here are just a few of the improvements.
- Cache Optimization
- Structured Data