- Check the Loading Speed
While ranking websites, search engines take their loading speed very seriously. If a website takes more than a few seconds to load then it annoys the users. More than 50% of people leave a site if it takes a lot of time to load.
The user experience is a serious issue for search engines like Google which is why websites should aim for a quick loading speed.
Tools To Check Site Speed & Performance
- Google Page Insight
- GT Metrix
- Go for CDN (Content Delivery Network)
A CDN can alter your site speed immensely which is why it should have a place on your checklist. Visitors can access the content on your website faster with the help of a CDN as it improves page speed by storing the content of your website in different data centers around the world. The CDN delivers the content on your website to the users who search for it by using the data center that is the closest to them.
Examples of some trusted CDN providers:
One of the benefits of CDN is a faster user experience that influences critical metrics like online leads and revenue generation. So if your website gathers traffic from all around the world, including the U.S.then you should use a CDN.
- Assess Mobile-friendliness
Your website should be fast on mobile phones as Google uses a mobile-first index. The rank of your website will be low in search engines if you have a fast desktop site but a slow mobile site. As a result of this, your website’s capacity to generate traffic and the sales and leads that come from that traffic will be impacted.
Tools to check your site’s mobile friendliness:
You need to take more actions than the ones mentioned in this website performance checklist if you don’t have a mobile-friendly website. A responsive design and some other development work are the solutions for a mobile-friendly website.
- Evaluate Server Response Time
The user experience and PageSpeed Insights score get affected due to a slow response time from your server in negative way. Your server reciprocates the requests to load your page and dictates when your page starts loading.
The server response time functions as a receptionist. Just like when the receptionist does not pick up the phone it keeps ringing keeping the caller waiting and irritated. If and when the receptionist picks up the caller can get the information s/he is looking for.
Tools to check server response time or Time to First Byte (TTFB):
Tools like Lighthouse give websites with server response times that exceed 600 milliseconds (ms) a low grade. To give the best and quickest user experience to your visitors the TTFB of your website should be ideally under 200ms.
Issues that lead to a low server response time:
- Slow routing
- Sluggish database queries
- Not enough memory
- Optimize Website for Speed
Speed Optimization varies from platform to platform. For example, if your website is in WordPress then there is a certain checklist, if it’s on any other platform the checklist will vary. Here are some activities that will improve your website speed. These activities should be done via a developer as some may lead to unexpected results.
- Delete Unused Plugins or Extensions
- Reduce Redirections
- Remove Unnecessary Linked CSS Files
- Minify HTML, CSS, & JS Files
- Compress HTML, CSS & JS Files
- Optimize Image Size for Faster Loading
- Compress Images
- Use Lazy-load for Images
- Enable Browser Caching
- Keep Your WordPress and Plugins Up to Date (or any other software)
Outdated software is the reason why many websites are compromised daily. Sites are always at risk of getting hijacked by hackers and bots.
The health and security of your website depend on updates. A website with outdated software and applications is in danger.
Plugin and software update requests should be taken seriously.
Security enhancements and vulnerability repairs are parts of updates. You can either add an update notification plugin or check for updates yourself. For the security of websites, some platforms have automatic updates.
You must prioritize website updates. With passing time if you keep avoiding the updates the security of your website will be endangered.
- Add HTTPS and an SSL Certificate
For the safety of your website, a secure URL is needed. The private information of your visitors should be delivered through HTTPS sites and not HTTP sites due to safety reasons.
What is HTTPS?
To provide security over the internet HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is needed because when content is being transmitted it checks disturbances and interferences.
Your website should also have an SSL certificate to construct a secure online connection. The connection of your website with your visitor should be encrypted if your website asks for details like registration, sign-up, or transactions of any kind from your visitors.
What is SSL?
Another essential site protocol is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). Your visitor’s personal information is transferred by SSL between your database and the website. To prohibit others from reading the information when it is in transit, SSL encrypts it.
Unauthentic people are denied access to retrieve data by SSL. One example of an SSL certificate is GlobalSign which is functional for most websites.
Tools to Add HTTPS and SSL Certificate
- Use Google Search Console
Ensure that you or your website management team integrates Google Search Console into your Website. Google Search Console monitors internal activity & security aspects of your website such as broken links, robots.txt issues, crawlability issues, hacking and malicious issues, etc. Any issue appearing in the search console may impact your website traffic and conversion.
Tool for Google Search Console
- Keep Hard & Long Admin Password
With there being so many websites, databases, and programs needing passwords, it is hard to keep track. A lot of people end up using the same password in all places, to remember their login information.
People have multiple websites, databases, and programs running at the same time and they all need passwords. It is difficult to keep up with so many passwords which is why people make a common mistake of putting the same passwords in all these places so that they can memorize their login information easily. But this is a consequential security mistake.
There should always be a different password for every new log in request. Those passwords should be random, complex, and hard to predict. They should be stored outside the website directory.
The safest way to create a password is by using a mixture of letters and numbers of 14 digits. An offline file, a different computer, or a smartphone is good storage for passwords.
You must generate a sharp and clever password when your CMS requests a login. Keep any personal information out of your password. Simple information like your pet’s name or your birthday will make the password easy to guess. So do not use them.
Every three months or earlier change the password. Any smart password should carry at least twelve characters. A combination of numbers and symbols should be there in the password. The letters should be in both uppercase and lowercase.
Do not commit the mistake of using the same password repeatedly or sharing it with anyone. Make sure that all the employees change their passwords regularly if you are a CMS manager or business owner.
Tools to create strong passwords
- Use a Hosting Service that Gives More Security
Consider the domain name of your website as a street address and the web host as the plot of real estate where your website remains online. Just like you go searching for a good plot of land to build your house you should also search for potential web hosts to find the correct one for your website.
Server security features are provided by many hosts that secure your uploaded website data more finely. You must check for certain elements before deciding which host you want to select. They are:
- Does the web host offer a Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)?
- Is FTP Use by Unknown User disabled?
- Does it use a Rootkit Scanner?
- Does it provide a file backup service?
- How well do they keep up to date on security upgrades?
- Whether you choose Shared Hosting or VPS to host your website, make sure it has what you need to keep your site secure.
- Backup. Backup. Backup.
Get a good backup solution to keep your site secure and safe. Do not stop at one solution, have more than one because they will be very significant when there will be major security issues on your website. Damaged or lost files can be obtained with the help of different solutions.
Off-site storage should be maintained to keep the information on your website. Backups should not be kept on the same servers as they are prone to attacks as well. It is advisable to keep the backups of your website either on a hard drive or a home computer. Off-site storage will prove helpful during hacks, hardware failures, and viruses.
Cloud storage can be another backup solution for your website. You can access the information easily anytime from anywhere with this solution.
Automating the backup process of your website should be taken into consideration. A solution with the provision for scheduled backups should be used. A dependable recovery system must be there in that solution.
Backing up your backup is advised as you should be repetitive in your backup process. This way files can be recovered from any point before anything irreparable happens.
- Enable a Firewall for Your Website
A web application firewall (WAF) should be there for sure. Between your website server and the data connection, the web application firewall reads all the data to fortify your website against threats.
Most WAFs nowadays come with a plug-and-play service and are cloud-based. All the traffic to your website comes through the gateway of the cloud service, as a result of which all attempts to corrupt or hack your website get obstructed.
Tool to enable firewall
Tip: Cloudflare’s free plan itself is sufficient to protect your website from outer threats and it will improve your website speed too.
- Maintain Fresh Content
Old content, in most cases, means the blogs and articles on your site. You need to keep going back to them and update them with the latest information regularly. They need TLC and can be revised in the ways mentioned below:
- Rearrange or re-write certain sections
- Optimize posts to include the latest keywords
- Update imagery
- Add new, up-to-date, information
To keep your website relevant in the eyes of search engines you should also publish new content consistently.
- Find and Rectify Broken Links
Error 404 messages and dysfunctional pages while searching for something on a search engine repels most visitors to other functional websites. It is believed that 73% of people abandon a website if it does not work well.
This is a part of the user experience which is an important aspect of any website for it to thrive. Broken links leave a bad impression of your website on search engines. They should be eliminated from your website for their fitness and well-being.
Tools to check broken links
- Check and Remove Duplicate Content
Duplication is referred to while discussing meta tags but it is also applicable to the whole of your website. Both inter-site and external duplication should be avoided. Search engines will penalize you if some other website copies the content of your website. You should keep an eye on that.
Tool To Find out Duplicate Content on Your Website
Survey the internet with the help of this tool and get results of identical or similar content. To resolve such content you can rephrase the content, edit the links, rearrange the structure, etc. This will show the distinctiveness of your website to Google.
Top tip: If you come across a website that has copied your content, you can report them to Google.
- Investigate Backlinks
A big part of SEO is backlinks from other sites to your site. The reliability of the information available on your site is proven by backlinking with other first-rate websites because they are already established and have a good reputation. Be careful while associating with other sites because if their reputation is bad then it can affect your website adversely.
Note: Most backlink monitoring tools are paid.
- Use Google Analytics
To analyze the performance of your website you can use Google Analytics. It is a very convenient tool as it comes free and gives a lot of useful information about the performance of your website. This tool is profitable for both newcomers and experienced people.
It can be used to check the performance of the individual pages of your website, which page is retaining visitors, and which page has a high bounce rate. Accordingly, you can refine the content of those particular pages. You can also know about the search terms used by people if you have access to the search function. This information is very profitable as it can be used to avail people of exactly what they want.
Did you find the checklist helpful? Have you provided your website with all these services and maintenance? Even if you have not, no worries because we are there to help you. We offer everything that is there on the checklist. Go to our website https://www.aaravinfotech.com/ for more details. You can contact us at +91 7506506672 or mail us at email@example.com.
Written by: Jitendra Raulo
Jitendra Raulo is the Founding Director at Aarav Infotech India Pvt. Ltd., a leading Web Design and Digital Marketing Company with 11+ years of experience and having headquarter in Mumbai, India, and Support Centre at Bhubaneswar, India, he is actively working with Start-ups, SMEs and Corporations utilizing technology to provide business transformation solution.