Web Site Design
One of the factors in site speed is the design of the site (really the overall development). Many so-called “developers” will recommend frameworks such as WordPress. These are not actual developers. If they were they would not need to use that type of framework. These are hacks who have learned how to use WordPress. They generally purchase a template developed by a third party, modify it a bit to fit your needed look (or sometimes they actually have decent design skills and can put together a good design) and then they use WordPress to provide all of the functionality they require.
Why is this bad? Simple. WordPress, in its simplest form, is a one-size fits all framework. What that means is that they have a lot of functionality available by default and they load all of the script files necessary to provide that functionality whether your site requires it or not. More files means more requests which take more time. It also means more data that needs to be transferred which means more time.
However, site speed is only one factor to consider in site design.
Other factors include, of course, appearance and appeal, usability, availability in all major browsers, overall function and presentation.
Let me touch on two of those:
Availability in all major browsers. This doesn’t just mean on a desktop computer. This must include mobile devices of all sizes. This is often referred to as responsive design or being mobile friendly. It means that your site must be designed in a way that it is effective, automatically, on screens of all sizes. Gone are the days of having a full version of a site and a mobile version. Google frowns upon that and the unreliable nature of detecting devices would often result in the wrong version of the site being loaded.
Now we develop from a “mobile first” approach. This means that we develop the site so that it will look great on a mobile device and then we scale it up from there. What many “developers” do, far too often, is design a full-sized site and then try to make it fit smaller screens. And that is exactly what the site looks like on a smaller screen: A site that was made to fit onto a smaller screen. A correctly designed site should look like it was made for the screen size it is being viewed on no matter the size.
Beginning this year, because Google has measured 63% of all searches as coming from “mobile devices”, they are using mobile performance as their primary consideration of how well a site is designed. They use a test called PageSpeed for this. This looks at how a site is put together to determine how effectively it will load on both Desktop and Mobile devices. Google uses this overall score to help determine search rankings because, if your site is likely to load slowly or ineffectively, then it is not helpful to their users. If your site scores below 80 on PageSpeed, certainly, then you are going to be ranked lower by Google. And your rank will be lower and lower depending on just how low your PageSpeed score is.
Presentation. This covers several factors, but some of the most important are spelling, grammar and effective wording. So many web sites contain many spelling and/or grammar errors. This does not make your potential customer feel very confident in your ability to provide effective service.
Communicating to potential customers via the web is different than communicating via other forms of advertising or via a letter. Content must be effectively worded both for your human visitor as well as for search engine bots.
Your site can be beautifully designed, but completely ruined by incorrectly written content.