In this age of instant updates, delivery on the same day, and otherwise high customer service expectations, website visitors simply won't wait long to download your website.

Web performance and download speeds are increasing science, and research shows that milliseconds can make a real difference in customer behavior and get those conversions of sales. Most website owners automatically assume that to get the most customers they need all the "bells and whistles" on their site. But those extra features like parallax web scrolling and trendy moving background are only fine as long as customers don't have to wait for the website to load for 10 seconds.

The main point to keep in mind is that some sacrifices come with a quick website. You'll have to decide very quickly what's the core of your user experience, and then get rid of all the "extras" that don't boost that primary experience. To provide your customers with the best, fastest, and most efficient user experience, we recommend 8 key website enhancement strategies. Read on, please!

1. Code your website for mobile-first quality and speed

Given the mobile website's prominence (and dominance!), making sure your website is mobile first is critical. It is now necessary to switch the paradigm of making desktop sites responsive to mobile devices. The strategy should be to first code for mobile users and then gradually improve the tablet and desktop experience. This will help to decrease the number of unnecessary dependencies. So, how do you first make your website mobile? Google's Mobile Website Auditor is the easiest way to check the usability of your website on the mobile. The test shows the score of your website by selecting usability criteria, such as configuration of viewpoints, plugins, proximity of clickable elements and readability of text. Optimize your User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) for mobile devices Think of your user flow strategy, SEO optimization, voice search and copy readability for all devices UI.

2. Reduce the size of your images

61 percent of the page weight of a website on a desktop computer is images, according to the HTTP Archive. Make sure your pictures are properly sized. Adopting new image formats like WebP and JPeg XR can also help to reduce image weight by 20 to 50% without sacrificing quality. Best ways to reduce image size for responsive design Reduce the actual image size in any editor Combine images into CSS sprites to reduce roundtrips This is a very useful technique that combines commonly used images into a single image file, reducing the number of HTTP requests required to download the web page. This feature is implemented by properly using the properties of the CSS background image and background position. Set a container property with a maximum width not to exceed 90 percent of the boundary .

   width: 800px; 
   maximum width: 90 percent;

Autoresize images to the maximum width using max width:100 percent and height: auto img{ max width: 100 percent; height: auto;

3. Try a CDN

A content delivery network is a system that uses distributed servers to deliver websites and other web content depending on the location of the user and the content of the website. Essentially, a way to take static files such as CSS, images, and JavaScript from a website and deliver them through web servers closer to the physical location of the user. Shorter proximity makes loading time faster. If you host your website with Forte Web Design, ask us how we can implement CDN to further improve site speed delivery.

4. You've probably heard this term before, cache as much as possible

What, then, is Web Caching? Caching is a temporary web pages storage mechanism for reducing bandwidth and improving performance. The cached version will be served when a visitor arrives at your site unless it has changed since the last cache. This saves time for the server and makes things much faster. Make sure your website has this feature enabled! And if you need help understanding this then contact us here at Forte Web Design where we can explain the different types of caching, what they do and why they are important.

5. Reduce the number of requests for HTTP

What is a request for HTTP? HTTP is a web browser request / response protocol used to fetch web server files. Here you can read more about using GET or POST methods.

6. Load asynchronously JavaScript

Another trick is to think about loading asynchronously any of your JavaScripts from third parties. Today websites are increasingly integrated with content from third parties: social media, chat features, comment services, feeds for information, and others. So if you load async then the third party crashes in the event that your page does not stop trying to load that resource. Loading Async can also accelerate page loads.

7. Review your hosting service plan

Check with your hosting provider to see if you have shared or dedicated hosting if you have gone through the checklist above and still find that web performance is affected. A shared hosting account often involves sharing server space with dozens of other companies where speed of the website is affected by the number of people using the servers. If this is the case, it may be time to consider a dedicated plan where you can access the server on your own.

8. Adopt cloud-based website monitoring

There are advantages to offloading your web monitoring to a cloud based hosting solution. Cost, scalability, efficiency, to name a few. Not to mention, this allows you to focus on growing your business, which is of the greatest importance anyway. If you want to get onboard with the latest cloud-based monitoring, try a 24/7 monitoring service such as Uptime Robot. Uptime Robot allows organizations to monitor their network at any time and from anywhere with its world-class first-class service. For instance, you can tell Uptime Robot when your hosting service goes down, accompanied by timely notifications via texts and email. Forte Web Design can help with the configuration of this service.

Remember, your website's primary focus is on improving traffic and making money. The glossy images and trendy styles may look good and good, but they may be detrimental if your visitors wait more than 10 seconds to access your site. Go through the above 8 points to make sure all is optimized and run as efficiently as possible. With a lot of happy returns, your customers will thank you!

Be sure to drop us a line at our Contact Form if you have any questions.

Consider hiring a web design agency to build your online presence and secure a foothold on local search engine outcomes?

Would you be surprised if we said local web design services in Hobart Tasmania may be the best way to go when determining which agency to hire? While web design agencies abroad offer attractive prices and quick turnarounds, local web design agencies provide a slew of benefits that can't be found elsewhere. In the long run, working with a local web design agency can have a drastic effect on your online foothold's potency. Instead of listing the problems that arise from web design agencies abroad, let's look at the benefits you can receive when working with an agency in your own backyard.

The Benefits of Working with a Local Web Design Hobart Agency

Local insight and knowledge

One of the best reasons to work with a Hobart web design agency is the domestic knowledge they bring to the table. When lifting your website to the top of Google, local agencies will have a deeper understanding of the competition in your area and the best ways to improve your SEO. Being on the ground really does make a difference because they will see the same search engine results that your potential customers and your competitors see.

Faster communication

Need to talk to your web designer, but in their part of the world it's 4 am? Nothing hurts progress and momentum more than long communication pauses due to time zone differences.

Working with a local website design agency solves this issue. Communication should be instantaneous, allowing you to suggest changes, discuss progress, and review real-time results.

Without wanting to sound terrible, sometimes the language barrier can cause real headaches in translation.

In person - face-to-face meeting

Face-to-face meetings are integral to build trust, measure expertise, and accurately convey your online strategy's scope and vision. Not only are face-to-face meetings a valuable way to share ideas, explain concepts and avoid potential confusion, they also help measure your return on investment (ROI). Ultimately, you decide to invest in a quality web design agency in Hobart because you see the hidden longer term values in it.

Security and reliability

Some countries may be exempt from mid-project disputes, a potential headache if the overseas web design agency you hire leaves a project before completing the contract, as originally stated. You can avoid this problem by hiring local, or at least ensure you have the best security the law provides. Another benefit is the agency's reliability. Which is easier to test when you can look up past customers and contact them directly for reassurance that your Hobart based web design agency is serious in their commitment to your business.

Post-launch services

Another huge benefit of hiring a web design service in Hobart is the post-launch support they can provide. While an overseas agency will likely do the minimum work expected for the project to succeed, a local agency will try to establish a long-lasting relationship with you and your business. They'll not only build your website, they'll probably help you. Its actually in their best interest to see you succeed over the longer term because happy customers make for very good referrals in the future.

Is a Local Web Design Hobart Agency Right for You?

Many benefits come from working with a local web design agency, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a local agency is right for you.

Quality is undoubtedly worth it, and spending more for a professional service you can count on will almost certainly save you time, money and potential headaches in the long run. If you’re on a shoestring budget or you trust a particular overseas agency, then outsourcing isn’t necessarily a bad idea. However, local web design agencies offer peace of mind. To some, that’s priceless.

If you’re looking for a web design agency in Hobart or have any questions about working with a local agency, get in tou with us at the link below.

There is much more to designing a website than you might first think. When you look around its not hard to see some websites that stand out for their better design and easy to understand messages and content.

We take you through the 7 steps for how to design a website.

1. Identify your site's purpose

When I work with clients the first thing I'm trying to understand, apart from what their business is about, is why do they want a new website design and what are they hoping the website will do for them?

2. Define the scope of the project

Defining the scope of your new website design is critical if you want to mark your against milestones and tick boxes to show you are progressing your project. Something called 'scope creep' can easily happen where, as you are working through the project, you see new things to add or change along the way. Each of these changes can extend out the time it takes to complete your project. In a commercial environment, extending the time it takes to deliver a project means the cost of the project goes up and the deadline has to be adjusted outward. You should always try where ever possible to stick to your original project scope and jot great ideas down on white board for consideration once completed.

3. Mapping out your site and Wireframing

Mapping out your site sounds like a no brainer, especially when all you want to do is jump right in and start building amazing looking webpages. But the smartest thing you can do early on is step away from the keyboard and pick up a pen/pencil and paper. Carrying on from the site purpose and scope definition you are at that point where you need to clarify the site structure. Starting with the homepage, consider what other high level pages you will need branching off. What should the topics of these being, what layout of the page and so on. I like to have a page dedicated to each topic for purposes of better Search Engine Optimisation but often a client will want to reduce costs, at least initially, and will opt to place lots of topics onto something like a 'Services' page. This is fine but be aware that with so many different items being described, it does get confusing for a search engine to work out what your page is all about. If this happens I believe its best to make the Service page describe what your high level service is, ie: a plumber provides plumbing services, so we'd describe this. Then when we get to the sub-services, drain clearage, water heater replacement, tap repair, 24 hour emergency service and so on, then I would keep the summary of each of these to a minimum and talk to the client about expanding each of these out eventually to their own separate page.

Once you have this down on paper, start sketching out boxes on your paper to show how you would like the sections to be layed out. Scribble notes to yourself about what features you want, ie: bold <h1> Title, and even feel free to set down what fonts and font styles you will want. Keeping in mind you usually won't want more than two font families on a site, Serif fonts are fine for heading texts but Sans Serif are clearer and easier to read on body/paragraph text.

4. Creating your content

You should know have some very clear ideas in your mind about what content you want on each page and how the layout of each page.

With your writing, keep in mind that you want to make it interesting and descriptive for humans, but be sure to identify what your keywords are for the topic and make sure to use these a few times through out your text. This helps the search engines to understand better what the page is all about.

5. Getting visual

Page layout is all about making things interesting to the eye, so you don't lose your visitor too quickly, but also providing easy, readable material they can digest. This means getting it right with what images and/or icons you will need.

Now is the time to start bringing all these images and icons together to fit in and around your writing copy. With images, its always best if you can provide these yourself. For starters this is one of the cheapest options out there but also it means you own the copyright to the images. If you would prefer stock images then check out for a great supply of high quality free images.

6. Building the site

Here at Forte Web Design we use WordPress. With well over 30% of the internet using WordPress its a safe bet that this content management system platform is robust and secure. But with so many other options out there for web design you may have different ideas. We live in a great time that there is so much choice!

Start laying down your website pages, one by one. This should be a fast process since you will have plenty of paper diagrams and notes to go from. Make sure the header of your site conveys important information like your business logo and contact details. And that there is a menu bar or menu icon making it easy for the visitor to navigate your site. Also be sure to add a footer section at the bottom as this is an opportunity to place a lot of this information at the bottom. You don't really want your visitor to have to scroll to the top of page to get your number.

7. Testing

Now comes the fun part! Test your site from the highest level pages to the lowest. Click on all of the links and make sure they behave as they are suppose to. Check the font sizes, weights and colours across all pages for consistency and also keep an eye on overall site design so that there is a consistent look and feel across the site.

A key tip I always follow is to grab a pad and pen then write down my changes for correction later. This means I'm not stop/starting the analytical process and keeps my brain more in the 'now' of testing.

Once you're happy with how it all looks and works, view it on a tablet and then on a mobile phone. Does it still look and behave as expected? If not, fix these issues. When you think you are really ready, ask a friend or two. Its likely they will use a different browser to you and a device with a different viewport size. Any feedback that they can provide is worthwhile. You'd rather a friend point out the faults than a potential customer.

8. Website launch

Once you believe everything is working as it should be, go ahead and advertise the fact. The search engines will eventually get links to your site and crawl it for information to be indexed, or you can speed up the process either by creating an account with Google Web Master (Bing have a similar tool) and then submitting your sitemap for indexing. Premium SEO plugins can also submit the sitemap on your behalf.

If you want to fast track exposure to your new site, paid advertising is always a good way to start. This gets your site out there for everyone to see.

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