Awesome website design means that your online presence looks great, but if it’s packed full of excess code, plugins and massive images you’ll end up with something nobody sees. Numerous works of art are lost online through a well-designed site that hasn’t been search engine optimised, and as a result, never ranks on Google and loads too slowly for an increasingly impatient audience. If you think speed doesn’t matter, the science tells us that you’ll gain around 7% in conversions, and decrease abandonment rate by up to 17% by speeding up your site by half a second. That’s insane.

In order to create a balance between epic website design and online speed, you need to understand what impacts on speed and what doesn’t. Firstly, check out your page speed for free here

Headers

‘Above the fold,’ is the term used to describe everything that appears onscreen before scrolling down. It’s these things, usually within headers, that your browser loads first, and it’s the images, videos and plugins that are used in this area that have a major impact on SEO. If you’ve got a cool video, or an incredible image, placing it below the fold would be wise.

Images and Video

Speaking of images and video, as a general rule; large looks great and kills performance.
Header videos are impressive and are proven to engage viewers but if they’re slowing down the site they probably won’t see them. Web design for SEO is all about minimisation and speed, so reduce the resolution on images using a minification program recommended by Google here.

Plugins / Addons / Resources

The names differ depending on which platform you’re using, but the impact is the same; bad extras mean slower sites. The golden rule for web design is that if you don’t need it, then don’t download it. However, don’t be in a hurry to delete all your plugins, many of them are just minding their own business and doing their job in an effective way – it’s the little ones that are most likely impacting on your speed.
There are programs out there to measure which plugins are slowing down your system, and this again is dependent on your platform. Begin by evaluating whether you’re actually using each of your plugins, and removing those that you’re not.

Remember, website design isn’t only about making something that’s pretty; it’s also about building a platform that is effective. You should check your PageSpeed once a month, or even better, let us do it for you.