Responsive web design has been around for a while now. In fact, most forward thinking designers will create new website designs with a so-called “mobile first” approach. As the name suggests, this means your website is designed with responsive devices – phones and tablets – first in mind. This is a long way from even ten years ago. Back then most websites were designed for desktop first – with adjustments for mobile devices made later.
There’s a couple of reasons for this trend – firstly, your audience demands it. While figures vary from sector to sector, many website owners will now find the vast majority of their traffic are users on mobile devices.
A new website performance factor.
But over the last few years another imperative has emerged. Search engines like Google now look at how your website performs against a range of measures. And this is used – in part – to determine where your website appears on search results pages. This means that site speed and stability can have a direct impact on how visible your website is – and user experience.
So what exactly do we mean by an optimised website? Essentially, we’re looking at all those factors which affect how quickly your website is served. And the speed and stability with which it loads in the users browser. Improving your website’s site speed generally involves significant technical work and might require specialist assistance.
Matt Angel provides web design in the Blue Mountains and says site speed and stability now influences how websites are designed and built. “There was a time when websites with lot of moving parts were popular – think image banner sliders and the like. While these can look great and provided a wow-factor, the way we use websites and what makes a website work is changing. Now, website performance is a significant consideration from the get go. Design elements should be chosen for their function, aesthetic and how they will influence site speed, stability and accessibility.
WordPress and site speed.
Many websites are now built on the WordPress platform. So let’s take a look at how this influences site speed and stability, and what you can do to improve your website’s performance. One of the first things you can do is to move your website to a hosting platform which is built for WordPress. There’s lot’s of technical stuff to look at here, but it boils down to this: dedicated WordPress hosting will almost always see your site served faster than regular shared hosting. Companies like WPEngine have invested heavily in developing high performance WordPress hosting.
There are also a range of WordPress plugins which will help with various aspects of website optimisation. However these are only tools – they don’t do the work. And as we mentioned above, the work is still very technical. So you’re likely well served to seek assistance from a website developer experienced in site speed and performance work. If you are interested in seeing how your website currently performs, there are several tools available , including Google’s PageSpeed tools.
Designing for the future of the web.
So, is all this attention on website performance really necessary? You might wonder – especially if your website is ‘working fine’ on all devices. If this is the situation for you, here’s a couple of things to consider. First – the motivation behind making web pages as fast, easy and stable as possible. Search engines like Google are interested in making everything on the internet as easy as possible. How quickly users can see and interact with the content on your web page matters. And it matters in milliseconds. This trend is unlikely to change – ever. Ensuring your website speed is not just ‘okay’ but excellent is essential to maximising website results.