Local SEO and Website Optimization are both important user-centric aspects of your small business online marketing. Local SEO allows local customers to find your site, but some of the strategies in the checklist include further website optimization to allow users to access your site from their mobile devices, such as image optimization and responsive website design.
Website Optimization includes optimizing for new users and mobile devices, to keep your website fast and easy to use. Use the Web Page Analyzer or Google’s PageSpeed Insights to determine if your website needs serious optimization services. There are many studies proving how integrated mobile device usage is in our daily lives. You simply must have a mobile-responsive, or mobile version of your website. To gain mobile rankings, you should optimize for screen real estate, as well as follow all SEO best practices.
Local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day. (Google, 2014) [Source]
Google uses site speed and page speed as a ranking factor. It has been an increasingly important element of a great website since before it became a ranking factor in 2010. Google and other search engines will index pages with short load times, and may choose not to index a page that takes seconds to access.
For most small business owners, you can’t afford to lose customers due to website optimization issues.
The Web Page Analyzer is our favorite because it reports on each item. This analyzer inspects website elements for size and download times, looking at some of the following elements:
- Number of requests
- Total size
- Objects sizes and download times
- Download Time
However, this analyzer has become dated. Google’s PageSpeed Insights provides mobile and desktop reports and details a simple checklist of priority, warning and passed rules.
At the bottom of the traditional Web Page Analyzer page is your report – items in RED should definitely be optimized. Your Download Time should not exceed 10 seconds. Recent reports indicate the human attention span is shorter than goldfish attention span (humans studied have an attention span of 8 seconds, while the goldfish can pay attention for 9). Thus, it is highly important to aim for a download time less than that of your local area connections, and optimize the content message and action in less than 8 seconds. (Read more about capturing interest at our page, Lead Generation and Conversion.)
Do you know someone in the outskirts of your community with dial-up? If so, look at the Download Time for 56K or 128K and optimize for customers in your area. Otherwise, be aware that the Download Time is dated – in the state of Wisconsin, the average internet speed was 7.41 Mbps in 2013, yet the Download chart tops out at 1.44Mbps. Today, the fastest ISP is Charter, with an average download speed of 66.04 Mbps, and the fastest Mobile network is Verizon at 20 Mbps, based on SpeedTest.net’s aggregate data.
How To Optimize WordPress Websites
- First, find out if your site is slow and where you need to improve by running a page speed test at pingdom or google. The speed test results will tell you where to make needed improvements, for example, Google will break out your grade for mobile and desktop, and offer solutions to common ailments, such as Optimize images, Minify scripts, Eliminate render-blocking scripts above-the-fold.
- Next, ensure your core files are current by checking your WordPress updates page. Back up your files and database and update as necessary.
- Then, remove plugins that are resource hogs, eye-candy or otherwise not used.
- Install a plugin that enables caching, like WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache. Utilizing caching reduces loading time by relieving the server of the processing task to retrieve the html. Caching stores a copy of the HTML for a set amount of time in the browser’s memory.
- If you have a very large or aging website, optimize your database manually, or use a plug in such as WP Optimize or WP Rocket.
- Optimize your images using WP Smush or an alternative plug in.
- Finally, the problem may lie at your website host, if you’ve done all you can to speed up your site but can’t get better than a “Poor” speed rating from google or a “C” grade for speed from Pingdom. You may need to look for a VPS plan or managed hosting.
- Webmasters can do some further coding enhancements by concatenating scripts, using sprites, resizing images and moving script loading to the footer.
- You may also decide to switch themes, or use a lazy loader plug in.
To optimize your WordPress website for mobile, the best way is to revisit your design and choose a responsive template and add mobile site plugins as necessary for enhanced UX on smaller screens.
If you need help optimizing your small business WordPress website, contact us to discuss your mobile, local, voice search and user experience needs.