As the web continues to evolve, managing a website is becoming more complicated than ever. Beyond the constant rush to get marketing campaigns aligned and fresh website content produced, is the often overlooked aspect of website health. Your website health is an external measure of your websites' speed, security, search ranking, and overall site experience. Below we have outlined 5 tips for measuring and optimizing your website health and security.
1. Keep your CMS up-to-date and secure.
This is more important than ever. Some platforms like WordPress have opted for automatic updates, which could potentially cause lots of issues for sites using lots of community plugins. More complex CMSs like Drupal and Magento alert their community when important updates are released and need to be prioritized. This gives developers a chance to apply and test the security patches before sending them live to make sure they do not break any website functionality. No matter what platform you are on, it is extremely important to make sure that your core system and any community modules are constantly kept up-to-date. At Tragic Media, we recommend updating your site and modules once per month as well as whenever your platform announces it has released important security patches.
2. Make your website mobile friendly.
Mobileggedon has come and gone, but that does not mean its effects are not long lasting. If your website is not currently responsive, chances are your search rankings/traffic has been hit hard. But even if your website is responsive, does not mean that it is mobile friendly. Ensuring that your website experience is optimized for all devices is extremely important. An optimized experience prevents user frustration and keeps users on your site longer. The first step is to check and make sure that Google is registering your web pages as mobile friendly (to prevent getting hit with the mobile search penalties). The second step is to check that your web pages are optimized for all device widths. This will ensure that your users are getting a great browsing experience no matter what device they are on.
3. Ensure that search engines are properly indexing your site.
Possibly one of the most important elements of a healthy site, is making sure that Google and other search engines are properly indexing your website. Google has a great article which breaks down the different steps needed to submit your site to add to Google search as well as how to check that Google is not running into any problems when indexing your website. It is important to check regularly to ensure that Google has not run into any crawl errors and that no pages are coming up as 404s during indexing.
4. Keep your site spam free.
If your website has proper spam content filters, and you are keeping the platform up-to-date, you should be able to prevent spam and malware from getting on your site. However, even those most updated site can still be at risk for new viruses and vulnerabilities that are found every day. There are many tools for keeping your site spam free. Site Check offers a free tool that will crawl your website and make sure that no spam content or malware is on your website. There is also a plugin available for WordPress.
5. Test your site load times.
Website visitors are finicky. They have an immense amount of content at their fingertips, and they have become spoiled. When pages take a long time to load, users will become frustrated and go elsewhere. Often to one of your competitors. There are many great tools out there for testing website performance, one of our favorite website analytic tools is New Relic. Their free tool will test the performance of your website from multiple locations around the world and deliver to you a report with details on how your site performed and what can be improved.
A healthy website leads to happy users. The 3 key elements to a healthy site are security, speed, and usability. Contact us today for a free audit of your existing website. Each audit will test your websites speed, security, and usability and we will provide a short list of recommendations for any potential issues that we find.