Optimize your website: what should you challenge?

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In this blog, the  “Best Practices” category will contain discussions about tips and rules for a faster and better website. But first, what does website optimization mean? That’s a very huge topic. Here are some key figures on the websites performance optimization:

A load time increased of 400 milliseconds resulted in a loss of 9% of Yahoo’s traffic.

source: http://fr.slideshare.net/stoyan/yslow-20-presentation

Every 100ms delay costs 1% of Amazon’s sales

source: https://sites.google.com/site/glinden/Home/StanfordDataMining.2006-11-28.ppt

This post is going to explain what implies this term and why you can’t ignore it.

General best practices

When you talk about website optimization, the topic that comes up the most is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Indeed, complying with best practices for this subject offers you the opportunity to achieve a wider audience.

But today, that’s a mistake to follow the best practices related only to SEO. There is no doubt that your website can currently be improved, either in terms of user experience, service stability or maintainability. And improving these topics indirectly influences… SEO!

You can compare your website to a restaurant. Location is the main factor: if you are at the top of Mount Everest, you’ll probably have less customers than in the very center of Paris. But you can’t pay attention to this only one criterion. You must ensure cleanliness, good food, accessibility for people with disabilities, a competent kitchen brigade, an efficient waiters squad and a smooth teamwork. And the accumulation of all these criteria will help you to improve the reputation your restaurant (here, SEO  )!

That’s why we have yet identified 7 categories on which you should challenge your website:

  • SEO (location)
  • Content quality (good food)
  • Code quality (cleanliness): for instance, follow the advice of the Word Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
  • Server configuration (efficient kitchen brigade): communicate only what the client needs, and use all techniques that could improve communication between the server and the client
  • Performance (efficient waiters squad): optimize your website performance on client-side
  • Layout actions (smooth teamwork): how to organize your code? How can you maintain it easily?
  • Accessibility: make sure that everyone can access to your resources, whatever its configuration (support all major OS/browsers and keep in mind people using a screen reader!)

All these topics are linked to each other. The sum of all these criteria will ensure that your website will be popular. However, you can target even further…

Optimize specific tools

Each website is unique and relies on several specific technologies.

By instance, with a restaurant, one person can’t handle everything. You need suppliers who prepare the products, advisors (financial, marketing, etc.), a kitchen brigade, or a waiters squad. The role of the manager is limited to oversees every aspect of the restaurant and to coordinate the whole structure. Again, we can link these principles with a website.

Today, the web offers so many opportunities that websites are not developed from scratch. Many technologies exist to facilitate the creation and maintenance of a website. These technologies are placed on several levels:

  • CMS (suppliers who prepare the products): you get components, and adapt them to your needs
  • Server providers (kitchen brigade): resources are generated, it remains to provide your customers
  • JavaScript frameworks (waiters squad): increase efficiency on client-side
  • Statistics providers (marketing advisor): like Google Analytics
  • etc.

For example, using badly a JavaScript framework, like JQuery, will result in bad performance, and your user experience will suffer. Therefore, it seems essential to optimize technologies used by a website.

Convinced? Let’s upgrade the web!

This blog will introduce best practices on different topics discussed above: overall best practices and good practices for the tools used by your website. Our goal is to provide you a reference on which you can rely to optimize your website. But we can’t do it alone. Our wish: be able to build a community to discuss about the best pratices, and allow you to bring your own knowledge.

Need a time-saving tool to optimize your website?

We are aware that it’s not easy to go through each best pratice and apply it to your website. That’s why we will soon put an online service based on the rules that we have built yet. We’re sure you will love this tool!

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