Pagespeed Insights: How to Use a Website Speed Test

Google Ranks Sites Based on How Fast They Load

How to Use a Website Speed TestLearn how and why you should use a website speed test to find out how fast it loads.  You don’t want to be penalized for a slow page load time on your site. Google and other search engines are emphasizing how quickly pages load, especially on mobile devices, as part of the 200+ elements of their ranking algorithms.

To further prove the point, there is also keen interest in the new Accelerated Mobile Pages Project. (Click the link to find out more)

Many things can affect how quickly a website loads, but one of the biggest drags on page load time are large images, or more specifically, HEAVY images.

Site visitors evaluate a web page in 5-8 seconds by scanning it before they decide to actually read the content. Images can help visitors get a sense of what the site is about, whether graphics or pictures.

Case Study: Images and Page Load Time

We audit all websites that we work with at the beginning to set a benchmark and to look for opportunities to improve website performance.

One client had unusually slow page load time on a fairly small site without much text and virtually no video. Some hosting companies offering cheap hosting can be the cause of slow site load speeds because of high server load when they host thousands of sites on one server.

We ran website speed tests on some of the other sites on the server and they were loading faster than the client, so it had to be something else.

When we looked at the Media library for the site, we noticed that the pictures were all a million bytes or more and many of them were 2.2 megabytes per picture. Those take a LOT longer to load than image files of 100,000 bytes or less and increase the page load time considerably.

The client was uploading pictures to his site without reducing the DPI (Dots Per Inch) before uploading. These heavy files were taking a long time to load! Continue reading

Gift Shop Marketing

For several years I have been  a speaker/trainer at the North American Celtic Trade Association‘s annual Celtic Marketplace near Chicago for buyers and vendors. I reviewed dozens of member websites and made recommendations on everything from design to messaging and marketing.

I’ve written articles for their newsletter, Seanchai, on website success, and most recently an article on gift shop marketing to help  their members attract new business throughout the year.  I was limited on the number of words and images, so I have upgraded the content here. The ideas expressed should benefit all retailers, not just Irish gift shops.

Local Marketing:

How Buyers Find You Even If They Don’t Know Who You Are or That You Have What They Want

For many gift shops and other retailers, the biggest shopping days of the year are right around the corner. What is your strategy for getting more customers during the holiday shopping season?

Whether you own a website or not, here are some FREE and inexpensive ways for more buyers to find you 24/7/365.

To Be Found You Need to Be Findable

When people search for you, do they always find your phone number?
Is the right address listed?
Do all fields in your listing have information that will help people choose your business?

According to Google, more than 80% of users search for stores and local service providers online before visiting them, which means that it is important for your business to show up in “Local Search.” Your prospects will use search engines, review sites and local directories looking for recommendations.

Local Marketing for Gift Shops can include many things from optimizing a website for both the types of products you sell; such as Irish wool sweaters, kilts, communion dresses, Lalique, books or jewelry, and the communities that you serve, to getting listed in local business directories and review sites. Shoppers will look for you in multiple search engines, directories, review sites and social media.

Being listed as a ‘gift shop‘ might attract people who aren’t necessarily thinking of your goods, but will be amazed when they become aware of your unique quality offerings. Many directories will allow you to classify your business 3-5 ways, like ‘clothing store,’ ‘religious goods,’ ‘home furnishings‘ or even ‘book store.’  Some Celtic shops are also ‘travel agents’ and ‘tour operators.’ Make sure you categorize your business for your primary offerings.

For example, Papa John’s offers pizza for takeout or delivery but does not offer on-premises dining. It should use the category “Pizza Delivery” and additional category “Pizza Takeout” (instead of the less specific “Delivery Restaurant” or “Takeout Restaurant”).

If you have another business that you do not own located inside your gift shop, you should list that separately. An example would be a pharmacy in a grocery store. If you are a tour marketer as well as a gift shop owner, then you could include both, but in many cases, it’s better to create multiple listings, especially if both entities are different brands.

Continue reading

Content Strategy

What is Content Marketing?

content strategyTo develop a content strategy begins with understanding what content marketing is. In this post, we will define content marketing and share a dozen links to more tips and resources.

Like Social Media, Content Marketing isn’t new. The way we communicate using social, including blog content, has evolved with technology. But the conversations are largely the same.

But Mark Schaefer says the trends of content consumption are changing. In his podcast, he talks about changes and testing of content marketing strategies and why Snapchat may be the most important new communication channel online. Click here for The New Psychology of Content. Continue reading