Nowadays Google uses the speed of a website as one of the factors when determining how highly to rank the website in search results, and in what position, e.g. top of page one.
Anything more than 500ms to fully load a website, will have a damaging effect on how many users go to that website.
If a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, the majority of users don't even wait, and instead go back to the search results and try another site.
If/when that happens, Google takes note, and will start to push slow websites down the rankings for subsequent users.
Depending on how a website is built, it may be inherently fast or slow.
For example, if a web-designer uses a tool like WordPress to build a website, they have little real control over the performance of the site, plus WordPress is a bloated piece of software to begin with, which results in a slow website 99 percent of the time. Add on all the various plugins you need to use, and it quickly turns into a real mess.
However, if a developer builds a website from scratch, they have absolute control over all aspects of the site, and can optimise it endlessly.
All websites should be built from scratch, this of course costs more money, but at the end of the day you get what you pay for. If you want a pretty website that gets no visitors, spend £500, if you want a website that actually gets lots of customers, be prepared to spend a few thousand.
Don't assume spending a few thousand will get you a great performing website, you still need to check the web-designers portfolio of websites to gauge what sort of site they'll build for you.
A recent study (analysing over 140,000 websites) showed just how much of an impact site speed can have. This is one factor you do not want to overlook. www.neilpatel.com/blog/does-speed-impact-rankings
It's massively important to note that this is Google's own tool, this is what they use to determine how fast a website is.
If anyone ever tells you not to take notice of these results, common-sense should prevail.
Enter a website below to test the speed on both desktop and mobile:
Before choosing a web-designer, use this tool on a selection of their portfolio websites, to see how fast your own site may end up being.
It's a little known fact that there are actually standards when it comes to designing and building a website, much like building-regulations when building a house.
These standards are set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C for short), a group made up of advisors from the likes of Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, etc.
Unfortunately countless web-designers don't follow these standards, either because they're lazy, or they actually don't know they exist.
When caught out, they'll often make excuses that the standards aren't important.
Would you trust a house-builder if he told you building-regulations weren't important?
Once again, common-sense should prevail when someone tries to convince you of this.
Failing to abide by these standards can affect not only how your website displays in various browsers, but also how Google ranks your website, which can directly affect how many new customers can find you.
As you can imagine, a sloppy website probably won't be looked on favouribly by Google.
A website can sometimes look great, but still have many underlying issues according to the W3C.
As I always say, "There's more to building a website, than just building a website".
When anyone builds a website, they should always abide by all the rules set by the W3C, there's no reason not to.
To check a website, the W3C provide a free tool called the W3C Validator.
This tool will show how many errors and how many warnings a website has.
Unless you're a developer most of the results may look like jibberish, but just counting the number of red and yellow boxes will give you an idea of how well the website was built.
Ideally you want to see a single green message.
Enter a website below, including the "http://" at the beginning:
Before choosing a web-designer, it can be quite insightful to use the W3C Validator on a selection of their portfolio websites, to see what sort of attention your own site will get.
For any website to be online it needs to be hosted on a server somewhere on the World Wide Web.
One common option is to share space with another website, and reduce costs.
Unfortunately some web designers take this to the extreme, and put a website on the same server as literally thousands of other websites.
If one of those websites gets really busy, it can affect all the other websites running on that server.
If the server gets attacked and goes offline, then every website on that server also goes offline.
There are a few tools online that will list all the websites on a single server.
Enter a website below, without the "http://" at the beginning
If you're currently being charged for an SSL certificate (the thing that gives you https and the padlock in the address bar), these are now free, for all.
No-one should be paying for SSL anymore. See Let's Encrypt for details.
There's a few different technologies used for sending/receiving email these days.
Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly.