thebillington

development blog

Written by Mr Rebecchi

Why it's important to have a fast and clean personal website

In an increasingly technology led world more and more people are turning to the web and other online services in order to connect with customers, advertise products and display information. You'd think this would mean having the most innovative and best looking website would be of paramount importance, but this isn't necessarily true.

Back to Basics

The KISS principle, or 'keep it simple stupid' can be applied to websites just as it can to most other things. Unless you have an e-store you don't need to have hundreds of tabbed menus displaying every page on your website, and if you do then you're just putting extra load on your server and ensuring that customers are gonna have that much harder a time finding relevant information on your site. If you'd like an example of a website that does the multi-tab menu well, then have a look at the Maplins site.

Instead, if the website is a blog, provide a search bar and allow users to browse by category. This subtle change will actually increase your readership as people will have to do a little bit of digging to find the information they are after, but not so much that they are unwilling to do it. Also, since I imagine your blog is going to have an overarching theme to it, the reader will stumble across a lot of information that isn't exactly what they wanted, but is interesting and relevant regardless.

Also remember to keep it clean! Google have published thousands of articles on material design which is focused on making your website look easy on the eye, whilst representing data cleanly and succinctly. Don't overcrowd your website, split up information and if you're not great with colour schemes (like me) just stick to a black and white! It doesn't offend the eyes and it can look great if you remember to KEEP IT CLEAN!

Search Engine Optimisation

Providing good Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is also of paramount importance to any website due to the sheer volume of traffic provided by Google and other search engines. SEO is a buzzword thrown about a lot in the industry, and the meaning of it has been warped to mean a plethora of different things. In it's simplest form, when I discuss SEO I'm talking about the way in which your website communicates with search engines and social networks.

Ever noticed the way a website has an image appear when you post the link to Facebook? This is achieved through something called an Open Graph (OG) tag on your web page, which tells Facebook what image to use, what the title of the web page is, and other important information. Twitter uses something similar called cards.

Google uses a different tactic called web crawling, which has a number of ways of ranking your content. Repetition of keywords, incoming & outgoing links and page names all effect your Google rankings. Keyword density is also a factor, so there is no point putting a keyword like 'map' in the title of the article 10 times if you were discussing a route you had walked in a blog post.

Speed

Between 2000 and 2015 the percentage of the world population using the internet increased from 6.5% to 43% according to this report from the ITU. This means that over 3 billion people are using the internet, and that's a lot of search traffic.

It also means the number of websites have increased and more importantly the amount of data has increased. Speed is fast becoming one of the ultimate factors for whether or not you are able to retain an online readership or customer base. This means that bulking out your website with unnecessary amounts of fluff could lose you lots of business, as users will just get fed up with your loading times.

Wordpress has completely dominated the internet for the last few years, but I have noticed more and more that it is getting slower and slower. The WP framework is now one of the most extensive on the planet, with your pick of plugins that allow you to build a website that does almost anything. But if you don't need all of these features, is Wordpress worth it?

My personal website is written in pure HTML and CSS, and the blog has been created using a super simple and super lightweight CMS framework called Anchor. I'm astonished by the speed I'm getting now from my web server, which is attributed solely to the simplicity of the site.

So there you have it, why you shouldn't bulk up your website with unnecessary features. If you need it, have it! But if you don't then it's worth remembering that there are better things to spend your time and money on than a feature full, but really slow website.