You can tell a lot about a company by its website. Are they approachable? Communicative? Efficient? If your website is clunky, slow, confusing, and impossible to find, what does this say about your company and the services you provide? Long gone are the days of physically visiting a store location: first impressions are now made via your virtual storefront.
In our experience at Cloud Clicks, we find many companies are held back by their website. In the worst cases, potential customers are turned away from even considering a company due to shoddy and subpar website design and functionality.
Recently, Cloud Clicks was engaged to transform a website for a client suffering from low search engine ranking and tardy performance. By dealing with the core performance issues, Cloud Clicks was able to drastically improve this company’s virtual storefront and in result create better first impressions for future website visitors.
When a website takes too long to load, users get impatient; this is what was happening here for our client. Running it through GTMetrix, an invaluable tool for measuring website performance, the website received an F grade: prohibitively slow.
The details of this result was that when a user first encounters their website, it’d take 3 seconds to onload the website and a whole 10 seconds for the interactive aspects of the site to become functional. For websites, this is a snail’s pace.
The second speed test we ran the website through was Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Since webpage speed is a factor in Google’s page ranking system, it is essential for us to use Google’s own tool and see to what level the webpage is at risk of being penalised in search results.
Predictably, PageSpeed Insights gave our client’s site a poor result: 11/100. Unfortunately, this means that Google will likely rank this site lower than they would be if they had a better performing webpage.
Overall, the consequences from a slow, subpar website ultimately results in less hits from Google search and those users who do manage to land on their site having to stick around through the slow load times to even engage with their services on offer.
Suffice to say, this was clearly not the first impression our client intended potential customers to get!
What we did
In improving the website, we had to ask ourselves the question, “how can we improve website performance and entice users through their virtual storefront, while also representing our client’s desired character for the website?”
Our first step was to streamline the information on the website. Among other things, we added a phone number to the header, we made the logo bigger, and we made the social links more prominent.
Also, we transformed the contact information on the website page to make it more personal and helpful for prospective customers. Essentially, we wanted a website visitor to see a clean and well-structured webpage.
Secondly, we took away messy, clunky, and complicated page features that were both slowing down the page and also unhelpful in bringing in more customers. So, things like the slider was removed, took away the chat box (which had only ever been collecting spam messages), and made the website browser-friendly. Our goal was to keep the original ‘feel’ of the website design but supercharge its performance.
While there is still more that can be done, we put the new and improved website through our tests to see the results. This is what we got:
GTMetrix: A rating.
PageSpeed Insights: 81/100.
Considering the original score, we were very pleased with these new ratings.
And, there is more we can do!
The next phase of transforming this website for our client is to make it live for them (pending approval). Then, we will make our final optimisations so that our client has a world-class website that browsers love.
First impressions are vital. With a sleek, streamlined, and efficiently designed website, companies are engaging with their customers and establishing a rapport from the get-go.