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The 6-Step Guide to Make Your Mobile Site Load Faster

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Your users expect your site to load fast. If it doesn’t, you could lose a ton of traffic.

How fast, you ask?

Some research suggests that if a page doesn’t load in the literal blink of an eye, people could lose interest. That’s about 400 milliseconds.

Just a one-second delay can reduce customer satisfaction by 16 percent and one in four visitors will abandon a site if it takes more than four seconds to load.

mobile site speed stats

Not to mention the mighty Google says site speed is a ranking factor for mobile sites.

So if your site isn’t fast, both your audience and Google will think poorly of it. You’ll lose visibility and traffic.

So, how fast is your site?

Because if it takes longer than one or two seconds to load, you’re losing traffic right this moment.

It’s okay if your site is slow. There are steps you can take to make it faster to ensure you don’t let a single visitor slip through your fingers. Here’s how.

Step 1: Test Your Mobile Site Speed

Before you do anything else, you should test how fast your mobile site really is.

You might think it loads just fine, but it could be slower than you think.

One of the best mobile tests is from Ubersuggest. Here’s how it works:

Step #1: Enter Your URL and Click “Search”

ubersuggest make your site load faster

Step #2: Click “Site Audit” in the Left Sidebar

ubersuggest make site load faster site audit

Step #3: Scroll Down to “Site Speed”

ubersuggest make site load faster site speed test.

This is where you’ll find the loading time for both desktop and mobile devices. This shows that my site’s mobile loading time is 2 seconds, which is an “excellent” score.

It also tests speed related to six key elements of your website:

  • First Contentful Paint
  • Speed Index
  • Time to Interactive
  • First Meaningful Paint
  • First CPU Idle
  • Estimated Input Latency

If your site speed is excellent, you shouldn’t have any concerns. But if there’s room for improvement, don’t wait to take action. Every additional 0.5s it takes to load your site increases the percentage of visitors that will leave.

I’m going to address the most common causes of slow mobile sites and explain what you can do to improve yours.

Step 2: Perfect Your Mobile Site Design

Think back to when you designed your site.

Did you have mobile devices in mind?

I’m guessing you didn’t. (If you did, give yourself a pat on the back.)

If you didn’t now is the time to rethink your design with a mobile-first mindset.

Mobile sites have changed a lot in the last few years.

It used to be that sites would have two versions, one for mobile and one for desktop.

A mobile site is easily identified by the “m.” subdomain:

mobile subdomain make your site load faster.

In this situation, the mobile and desktop sites are two completely different animals operating separately from one another.

This is no longer the case. Now, most sites use responsive design.

Responsive design allows you to have one site that dynamically changes depending on how it’s being accessed.

So your mobile and desktop users will be looking at the same site, but it will appear differently on each device.

This is actually what Google prefers. They state it quite simply:

“Responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern.”

You’re probably thinking, “Okay, cool, but what does this have to do with speed?”

Responsive designs typically load faster than mobile-only sites, so you’re gaining a massive SEO advantage there.

If you use a responsive design, your site will get more attention in the form of social shares, which will also boost your SEO.

Making your site responsive is good for both the short term and the long term. If you don’t already have a responsive site, I recommend looking into it as soon as you can.

Step 3: Keep Your Site Lightweight

It’s easy to get caught up in making the best and most eye-catching design out there.

Sometimes you get too caught up, and as a result, your site gets slower and slower because you keep adding more and more.

This is a condition that developers call code bloat.

Code bloat happens when your site gets weighed down with excess code.

make your site load faster code bloat

Most of the time, code bloat happens when a designer is too focused on the visual presentation of a site.

Don’t get me wrong. How a site looks is extremely important.

But performance can’t take a backseat to looks.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to. You can have your cake and eat it too. Here are some tips to keep in mind when designing your site:

Keep it Simple

Leonardo da Vinci had this to say about simplicity:

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Now, about five hundred years later, his words still ring true.

Look all around you. The complex designs of the past have been replaced with the minimalist designs of the future.

This applies to websites too. Especially mobile sites.

On a mobile screen, sites can easily become too crowded, so it’s important to keep everything open and decluttered.

As a rule of thumb, you should only have one call-to-action per page. This will help you reduce the amount of code you use, and it’ll also improve your site’s user experience.

You might also want to consider a more simplistic design like this one from Rug Doctor:

It’s not flashy, but it catches your attention with its sleek style.

You don’t need lots of bright colors and photos to make your site stand out. When it comes to mobile design, less is often more.

Eliminate Steps

The less your users have to do, the better.

Think about it. Why should there be seven steps between a customer and a sale when there could be only 3?

This effectively shortens your sales funnel, but it also makes the user experience even simpler.

Lots of ecommerce sites use this strategy to increase their sales.

On Boden’s mobile site, it’s super easy to buy a product. You add it to your cart, click checkout, and pay.

It’s straightforward and to the point. There are no unnecessary steps.

This also naturally helps relieve code bloat. It’s hard to go overboard with code if you don’t have tons of pages on your site.

Cutting out unneeded steps is one of the best things you can do for your visitors. Mobile users are much more likely to stay on your site if they don’t have to do much.

Save your users a few clicks, and you’ll reap gigantic rewards.

Use Fewer Images

Before I get into this, I want to say that good images are definitely important for any site, and they also have SEO benefits.

However, you can have too much of a good thing.

In this case, you can go crazy with images and slow down your site in the process.

You may not think this is a big deal, but images make up roughly 63 percent of a page’s “weight.”

From 2011 to 2015, the size of the average mobile page tripled.

make your site load faster use fewer images

That means images are some of the most demanding elements on your site. They take up a lot of space, so having too many is not good.

One solution is to simply cut back on images.

Another (probably more practical) solution is to compress your images and reduce their file sizes.

Compression basically makes your images smaller without degrading the quality. This reduces the amount of time it takes for your site to load.

As a bonus, it also reduces the amount of time it takes for search engine bots to crawl and index your site.

Sites like Compressor.io can do this in a snap.

make your site load faster compress images

In fact, this is a best practice you should adopt even if your site is already blazing fast.

Don’t Use Custom Fonts

I like a nice custom font as much as anyone else, but some of them are really high maintenance.

Some fonts use tons of CSS, while others go heavy on JavaScript. Either way, you’re looking at a ton of code.

If you want a really deep read on this subject, check out this post on Google’s Web Fundamentals site.

If you want the short version, here it is: Only use custom fonts when they’re absolutely necessary.

Step 4: Minify Your Code

Minification is a super useful technique for streamlining your code.

Here’s a quick definition of what it means to “minify” code:

make site load faster minify code definition

Essentially, minifying your code takes out everything that’s redundant and unnecessary. It makes sure your site is only using the code it needs.

This goes a long way toward making your site lightweight.

You can minify code manually (instructions here), but if you don’t have any coding experience, it can be a little bit intimidating.

Thankfully, there are several free tools you can use to minify your code in no time at all.

Minifycode.com offers several minifying tools to let you simplify your HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and more.

minify code tool make site load faster

If your site runs on WordPress, you have even more options thanks to plugins like Better WordPress Minify:

minify code wp plugin make site load faster

By using these tools, you can minify your code with just a few clicks, and you’ll be well on your way to a speedier site.

Of course, you should do all that you can to make sure there’s no unnecessary code, but mistakes happen. These tools let you fix those mistakes and improve your site at the same time.

Step 5: Cut Down on Redirects

I love redirects. They can be really useful for SEO and user experience.

But just like code, redirects have limited uses. You can’t use redirects all over the place and expect your site to perform well.

That’s because redirects inherently slow down your site.

When you click on a normal mobile link, the server provides the document found at that link.

But a redirect means there’s no document at that particular link. Because of that, the server has to go to the page where the document lives and retrieve it.

make site load faster reduce redirects.

This process has to happen with each file on a web page. That means every image, CSS file, and JavaScript file will go through the redirect.

As a result, it could be several seconds before the right page loads. By that time, your users could be long gone.

I recommend using Screaming Frog to check for redirects.

Then you can trace the roots of your redirects and change any that aren’t completely necessary.

The less work your site has to do, the faster it’ll go. While redirects have a time and a place, don’t overuse them or grow dependent on them.

Step 6: Load Above The Fold First

It’s obvious that users see above the fold content before they see anything else.

So why load your entire page all at once?

Why not load only the above the fold content at first and then load the rest as needed?

This is a concept referred to as “lazy loading,” and it can work wonders for site speed.

I bet that if you had the choice, you’d rather lift three pounds than 30. Am I right?

Lazy loading is that exact same concept applied to websites.

By implementing lazy loading, you’re asking your site to do only as much work as it needs to do and no more.

If you’re comfortable with code, you can use this jQuery plugin.

For WordPress sites, there are plugins like BJ Lazy Load to come to the rescue.

lazy load make site load faster

If neither of those options fit, you may need to hire a developer to help you out.

This is a more advanced technique, but it can save your site from doing a lot of work in the long term.

Conclusion

Speed isn’t just for race cars. It’s one of the most fundamental ingredients of a great mobile site.

A faster mobile-friendly site can increase traffic and bring in a flood of new customers and conversions.

It’s no surprise.

Mobile is here, and it’s here to stay.

Desktop performance still matters, but mobile is the present and the future.

In short, make your site as fast as possible and reduce the amount of weight your site is pulling.

This Think With Google article put it perfectly: “If speed thrills, friction kills.”

Improving your mobile site speed is a one-two punch that will make your site better for your users and for search engines.

If you haven’t focused on mobile yet, I urge you to start today.

Which of these techniques are you going to use to speed up your mobile site?

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This unused Star Wars poster could have ruined everything

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This unused Star Wars poster could have ruined everything

A recent unused poster design for 1977’s Star Wars has surfaced and reveals just when you think you’ve seen it all around this iconic movie, there’s always something new to talk about. Particularly as this rare and unused Star War movie poster art was so bad it could have ruined the franchise before it even launched.

The unused Star Wars poster from 1977 was posted on Twitter by film nerd’ account The Spaceshipper and many fans of the franchise were thankful it was never used. While some recent film posters, like new Ant-Man 3 posters that are a Photoshop nightmare, this rare Star Wars poster is bad on so many levels – it’s a graphic design fail, the slogan makes no sense and there’s little to engage with.

Star Wars film posters have been some of the best ever designed, from legendary artists such as the Hidlebrandt Brothers who painted the original 1977 poster that was used. Iconic poster artists have also designed for the franchise; the Drew Struzan Star Wars poster for The Force Awakens impresses and Hugh Flemming revealed all in our feature ‘the secrets of a top Star Wars artist’.

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How to Manage Your Online Brand?

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You might be asking yourself, “Why do I need to manage my online brand?” It’s a valid question, especially if you’re not sure what managing your online brand means precisely.

In short, managing your online brand is the process of taking control of how others see you and your business online. This can involve creating and maintaining a strong presence on social media, developing positive reviews and testimonials, and monitoring your web analytics to track progress.

By taking the time to manage your online brand, you can improve your chances of success in today’s digital age.

In this article, we’ll explore some key reasons why managing your online brand is essential.

What is an online brand, and why do you need one?

Your online brand is the way you are perceived by others online. This includes your website, social media profiles, online reviews, and all other digital real estate that represents you when someone searches for you or your business.

It’s important to have one because it helps your potential customers get to know, trust, and like you before they buy anything from you. A strong online brand can also help you attract new customers and grow your business.

It’s good to remember that your online brand is the first thing people will see when they search for you, so it’s important to make sure it represents you and your business well.

How to manage your online brand for success?

Your online brand is your reputation. It’s how people perceive you when they see your name, read your work, or interact with you online.

A strong online brand can help you attract new clients, collaborators, and opportunities. But how do you create and manage your brand for success?

1) Consider what you want your online brand to convey.

Are you an expert in a certain field? A thought leader? A creative visionary?

Once you know what you want your brand to communicate, be consistent in everything you do online.

Use the same name, photo, and bio across all of your social media platforms. Post regularly about topics related to your brand, and make sure the tone of your posts is consistent with the image you’re trying to convey.

2) Interact with other people online in a way that reinforces your brand.

When someone mentions you in a post, thank them publicly. If someone leaves a negative comment on one of your posts, don’t delete it – instead, respond politely and professionally.

By managing your online brand thoughtfully and proactively, you can set yourself up for success both online and offline.

3) Monitor your web analytics to track your progress.

Use Google Analytics or another web analytics tool to track how people are finding you online and what they’re doing on your website. This data can give you insights into what’s working well and what needs improvement.

For example, if you see that most of your website visitors are coming from Facebook, you might want to focus on creating more engaging content for that platform.

Or, if you notice that people are spending a lot of time on your blog but not your sales page, you might need to work on driving traffic to your products or services.

4) Make sure your website represents your brand well.

Your website is often the first thing people will see when they search for you online, so it’s important to make sure it’s up-to-date and represents your brand well.

Update your website regularly with new blog posts, photos, and products. Use attractive visuals, easy-to-navigate menus, and clear calls to action.

If you’re not sure how to create a website that represents your brand well, consider working with a web designer or developer.

5) Pay attention to your social media presence.

Social media is a powerful tool for managing your online brand. Use it to connect with your audience, share your work, and promote your products or services.

Be sure to post regularly, interact with others, and use hashtags and keywords that will help people find you. You can also use social media ads to reach a wider audience or promote specific products or services.

6) Monitor your online reputation.

Use Google Alerts or another tool to monitor your online reputation. This will help you stay on top of what people are saying about you online and take action if necessary.

For example, if you see a negative review of your business, you can reach out to the customer directly to try to resolve the issue. Or, if you see someone spreading misinformation about your work, you can correct it.

7) Manage your online brand proactively.

The best way to manage your online brand is to be proactive. Be thoughtful about everything you do online, from the content you post to the way you interact with others. By taking control of your online presence, you can set yourself up for success both professionally and personally.

By following these tips, you can create and manage an online brand that will help you achieve your goals.

The benefits of having a strong online brand

Let’s look at a few benefits of having a strong online brand:

1) Stand out from the competition.

With so much noise online, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. But if you create a well-defined brand, you’ll be better able to cut through the clutter and attract attention.

2) Build trust and credibility.

A strong online brand can help you build trust and credibility with your audience. If people know what to expect from you, they’re more likely to trust and respect you.

3) Connect with your audience.

By definition, a brand is a way of differentiating yourself from others. But it’s also a way of connecting with your audience on a deeper level. When done well, branding can create an emotional connection between you and your audience.

4) Drive traffic and sales.

A strong online brand can help you drive traffic and sales. If people are familiar with your brand, they’re more likely to buy from you. And if they trust and respect you, they’re more likely to tell others about you.

5) Increase your visibility.

A well-managed online brand will increase your visibility online. When people search for you or your business, you’ll be more likely to show up in the search results. And when people see you frequently in their feeds, you’ll be more likely to stay top of mind.

6) Attract media attention.

A strong online brand can help you attract media attention. If you’re known for something specific, journalists and bloggers will be more likely to write about you. This can help increase your visibility and reach even further.

7) Enhance your career prospects.

Your online brand can have a big impact on your career prospects. If you’re looking for a new job, employers will likely research you online. And if you’re an entrepreneur, investors will want to know more about your brand before they invest in your business.

8) Make a positive impact.

Finally, a strong online brand can help you make a positive impact in the world. If you’re passionate about something, you can use your platform to raise awareness and advocate for change.

The importance of staying consistent with your branding strategy

As you can see, there are many benefits to having a strong online brand. But it’s not enough to just create a brand—you also need to be consistent with your branding strategy.

When it comes to branding, consistency is essential. Your audience needs to know what to expect from you, and they need to see that you’re consistent in your messaging and your visuals.

Here are a few pointers if you’re not sure how to stay consistent with your branding:

1) Define your brand.

The first step to being consistent with your branding is to define your brand. What do you want people to think of when they see your name or your logo? What do you want your brand to represent?

2) Create guidelines.

Once you’ve defined your brand, it’s time to create guidelines. These guidelines should include everything from your mission statement to the colors and fonts you use in your branding. By having a set of guidelines, you’ll be able to ensure that all of your marketing materials are on-brand.

3) Train your team.

If you have a virtual assistant or team, it’s important to train them on your branding guidelines. Make sure everyone knows what your brand represents and how they can help you maintain a consistent brand identity.

4) Monitor your brand.

Once you’ve launched your brand, it’s important to monitor it. This means paying attention to how people are reacting to your brand and making sure that you’re still presenting yourself in the way you want to be seen.

5) Be prepared to adjust.

Finally, be prepared to adjust your branding strategy as needed. As your business grows and changes, your branding will need to change with it. By being flexible and willing to adjust, you’ll be able to ensure that your brand is always relevant.

Wrap Up

A strong online brand is essential for any business or individual. By definition, your online brand is the way you’re perceived by others online. And while that may seem like a superficial thing, the reality is that your online brand can have a big impact on your business or career.

If you’re not sure how to create a strong online brand, start by defining your brand and creating guidelines. Then, train your team on your branding strategy and monitor your brand over time. And finally, be prepared to adjust as needed.

About:
Oscar is a passionate full-time blogger and a part-time author. In his personal blog OssieRodriguez.com, he writes about software, online influence, and different business models.

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How SEO Works in Digital Marketing

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how-seo-works-in-digital-marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral part of digital marketing.

SEO helps with brand discoverability. When done right, SEO can create the most consistent and by far the highest-quality traffic source which doesn’t require on-going maintenance.

Yet, SEO is usually the most isolated part of the marketing. Whether it is an in-house team or a third-party service that’s delivering your SEO campaigns, it usually exists on its own without really communicating goals, progress or results to the whole company.

This creates silos that can lead to poor results and even reputation crises.

How does SEO work in digital marketing and how can a business make it work better?

What is SEO?

SEO is a collection of tactics (content, technical, link building, even website security and usability) that ensures that your website is easy to understand for search engines.

Basically, it ensures a machine knows that your page will be easy to find to a human being who is looking to solve a related problem.

Search engine traffic is one of the highest-quality traffic for many reasons:

  • Unlike PPC (paid) traffic, it doesn’t require an ongoing investment to keep coming
  • Unlike social media traffic,  it doesn’t require an ongoing work to keep coming
  • Unlike social media traffic, you are not interrupting people’s browsing. Instead you give them what they were actually searching for.

In other words, it is consistent and it converts well. No other digital marketing tactic beats that.

Apart from driving direct traffic, search engine optimization helps build brand awareness by increasing your brand’s organic findability.

Keep Your Whole Team Aware of Why SEO is Important

The great thing about today is that everyone understands the value of ranking high on Google! Sadly, however, many folks only know that they “need SEO” without having really understood what that means. 

SEO these days is too hard for a digital marketer to do alone. Many SEOs find themselves in situations where an executive will simply come down and go “Why are we not ranking well for ‘dingwobble’?” 

Keep working hard with teams for them to understand how they contribute to the SEO process:

  • Product Marketers who are responsible for the business, personas and messaging understand that SEO is critical to driving the bottom line revenue numbers they are looking at. Part of the persona developing process should be the development of the “digital persona” – what websites and search terms are these people looking for? This helps the product marketer when it comes time to develop messaging, as that is going to be critical for developing the content, so the right search terms better be there!
  • Field Marketers responsible for the campaigns need to know how SEO fits within their campaign, how it in fact is core to our demand generation, and how to make sure to keep the campaigns integrated.
  • Marketing Communications is creating the content, so SEO should very well be top of mind for them, as the content itself will be critical in impacting how successful SEO will be.
  • But that’s not all! Often, other groups are creating content (Press Releases, Blog Posts, Presentations, etc.) that also end up on the web and impact SEO. Whether it’s Corporate Communications, Investor Relations or even Legal teams, working with them is critical.
  • IT manages the infrastructure and can be very critical to the technical aspects of SEO.
  • Sales and customer support teams are at the forefront of marketing talking to your future and current customers, so they need to be involved in the SEO strategy. Creating relevant content goes beyond keywords. It needs to address real problems and answer actual people’s questions, and your client-facing teams will be your best source of inspiration here.  
  • Executives also care! While they can’t often influence the day-to-day of SEO, they will care a lot about the bottom line, to which SEO contributes.

Educating all of these people about SEO helps empower them, as well as position yourself, the SEO, as the subject matter expert who is not just someone back-office who gives very little visibility into the black box of SEO, but someone who is actively educating and contributing to the organization’s success.

Review and discuss common KPIs early and often to make sure everyone knows what victory looks like to the team.

Additionally, SEO should be a solid part of any project launch as it impacts every stage of product positioning. From choosing a business name to choosing a website builder, your initial efforts should be driven by SEO best practices.

What is the key to SEO success in a constantly changing environment?

As a practitioner of SEO, I believe that you need to look to ensure you are looking at both developing yourself in both depth and breadth of knowledge. A key danger in the name of being informed or being a part of the SEO community is spending all your time debating tactics and practices rather than testing them. 

Additionally, SEOs as with all employees need to look outside their field to stretch and learn how to be more well rounded. This could mean learning to code, or educating yourself in some other area of the business you work for.  This will expose you to ideas others may not have.

As a manager of people, success is really about diversity of expertise. Who you hire and the kind of people you hire will be far more valuable than much of what people invest in with regards to SEO programs. You have to have people who can roll with the punches and develop a skill for self-management and personal growth. 

Finally, I think knowing what your real goals are in having an SEO program are the key to long term success. The reality is you may get more traffic, but if that traffic is not from qualified leads and generates real revenue then the benefit may be very little. Having well defined goals and metrics will also help you avoid chasing algorithm changes and focus on the big picture.

Conclusion

SEO is the most essential long-term digital marketing strategy but to make it really effective, you need a knowledge team that is well-integrated into the company’s life. Good luck!

Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty is the brand NINJA at Internet Marketing Ninjas as well as the founder of numerous startups including MyBlogGuest, MyBlogU, ViralContentBee, TwChat and many more.

Ann Smarty has been an online marketing consultant for 10 years providing high-quality digital marketing consulting through her services and courses (both free and paid).

Ann Smarty’s content marketing ideas have been featured in NYtimes, Mashable, Entrepreneur, Search Engine Land and many more. She is known for her indepth tool reviews, innovative content marketing advice and actionable digital marketing ideas.

Source: Ann Smarty

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