Katie Lamberg Sevenseven

Written by Katie Lamberg in Performance Marketing

Website speed and security changes to improve your website

Website Speed

How many times have you heard that your website is the shopfront to your business? Before almost anything else, people will check you out online, and the experience they have from interacting with your website will all go towards that first impression of you as a business.

So, what if your website is slow to load, or is flagged by Google as “not secure.” Yes, that is a thing now, before you ask. More on that later. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and it’s easy to see how off-putting either of those scenarios would be. Generally speaking, people expect modern day websites and apps to be fast, intuitive and user-friendly. There’s also increasing attention on how personal data is stored and used, making website security a hot topic.

Site speed and SEO

Research shows that a site that stutters as it loads content is more likely to discourage people from sticking with it. In fact, a study by Akamai Group revealed that 40% of people would abandon a slow loading page, and 47% of people expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.

Page speed is different to website speed, and specifically looks at how long your website pages take to load. Aside from giving people a reason to navigate away from your site, slow loading pages have another negative effect on your brand. That is, they can affect your SEO rankings.

Any self-respecting business has one eye on their SEO performance. Climbing the rankings on Google will make you easier to find, and drive traffic. But did you know that site speed is one of the factors in Google’s algorithm when it comes to ranking websites? If you want to get really technical, it’s also worth noting how search engines work. If it takes a long time for them to crawl through your pages, they’ll cover fewer of them, all linking in with how high you fall on the index.

The real cost to your business

Understanding the basics is one thing when it comes to site speed, user interaction and SEO. Putting a plan in place to keep your website as sharp as possible is another. Keeping on top of essential site maintenance will hep you stay on friendly terms with both customers and search engines.

Here are a few top tips for a faster loading site:

  • Find out how slow you are – there are plenty of tools out there to help you analyse your website’s performance. This will give you a good indication of where the issues are. Try Google’s PageSpeed Insights, Yahoo! YSlow, and Pingdom for starters.
  • Optimise images and videos – 80% of a page load time is taken up by things like images and page scripts. This is called HTTP Requests, and it basically means that the more complex the page, the more work needed to load it. By optimising things like images for the web, you’ll be able to reduce these requests, and speed up your page.
  • Swot up on caching – another way to reduce those HTTP Requests is to enable caching. This will allow parts of your site to be stored on a user’s temporary files or hard drive, meaning the page doesn’t have to load from scratch each time.
  • Keep the design simple – the easiest way to increase page speed time is to stick to a simple website design. The other benefit of a clean website design is that they appeal more to users than cluttered sites.

"47% of people expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less."

Source, Akamai Group

What about security?

So, you’ve tackled the time it takes for your pages to load, now what about security. There have been some changes to the way Google notifies users on website security recently. If you’re using Chrome, a hard-to-miss red flag will appear on websites deemed “not secure” by the search engine. And what is this based on? It all comes down to SSL, which is a specific technology that monitors the transference of personal data between the web server and the browser.

Even if your users don’t understand the reason behind the “not secure” notification, you can be sure they’ll notice the alert. Chances are, this will put them off even clicking on your site in the first place, and there goes your chance to increase traffic, not to mention the impact on your credibility as a brand.

How to improve your site’s security

There are some simple and essential tips for improving your site’s security and avoiding the dreaded Google red flag. Here are a few:

  • Get an SSL certificate – a Secure Sockets Layer certificate will verify and encrypt your site’s data. So, when Google takes a peek, you’ll tick that all-important box.
  • Have a solid verification process – this will include asking for more complex passwords and a two-step verification process. All this will make your site harder to hack into.
  • Consider cloud storage – if you’re holding people’s personal data, make sure to use a cloud storage solution with strict permissions. This will restrict who can access the files, and how much data can be saved online.
  • Keep testing your systems – hackers are clever in finding new ways to break into systems, so keep on top of your website security. Enlist experts to test your system and be on top of the latest cyber news.


Two things sure to have an instant impact on any visitor to your site are page speed and security. People are both savvy with personal data breach issues, and they expect websites to be streamlined and easy to use. Google will instantly flag up unsecure sites, and your SEO rankings can be damaged by slow, inefficient pages.

You don’t have to be a technical whizz to understand these basic needs from a user’s point of view. It all comes down to creating an experience that makes people want to come back to you and use your site again and again. By making a few essential changes to how your site operates, you can encourage people to do just that.

For more information get in touch with one of our digital experts and we'll be happy to talk through how we can help, improve site speed, give a better user experience and increase customer visitors.

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