Page speed has been spoken about a lot over the past two years. Google has made it a major ranking factor for search and they even made a special tool called AMP to show us all how to make pages load fast and be mobile friendly.
I have taken all of this to heart myself and I am always trying to ensure we have fast page speeds for our main websites, and that for our clients that we convince to take part in it.
Anyhow, this is not about page speed, it’s about Linkedin.
The Linkedin Insights Tool
I recently attempted to use Linkedin Insights. It was very insightful.
Its a tool similar to Facebook pixel or Google Adwords tracking code. At its core, it is meant to allow you to track users from Linkedin on your website. You can then make an audience to market to these users with remarketing methods. Sounds like a wonderful idea and it is, in fact, a really good idea.
I went to the Linkedin insights tool and I added the specific code to my Google Tag Manager. I was a really simple process and after checking it was tracking, I thought nothing more of it.
A few days passed and I had on my schedule to do some page edits and refresh a few pages on my website. We are doing a full site audit at the moment to improve all pages for SEO and conversion etc.
Immediately I noticed some very odd messages in Google Chrome. Weird domains were loading lots of scripts. Immediately my mind jumps to the worse case scenario and I’m left wondering if it was a Google Chrome extension or virus. At this point, I scanned my Mac using a malware tool and started to try and track down the culprit of this problem.
After running the scan and experimenting with an enable and disable on all my chrome extensions I realised the problem was my website. It was loading something weird. I had a sinking feeling, I was wondering how my site could have possibly been hacked and this script got onto my pages.
Then, it occurred to me. I had added the Linkedin Insights tracking code. I went to my Google Tag manager toolkit, turned on the preview mode and could see Linkedin Insights. It was loading a bunch of total crap behind it. I mean, why on earth should a tracking code have such weight to it.
A deeper investigated into Linkedin Insights was needed.
Using GTMetrix I loaded a page speed report using Australia as my location. Last time I ran it I was just above one second total load time.
It was 8.0 seconds. 8.0 seconds, not 4, not 3 but 8 seconds. I was finding this hard to believe. Anyone that knows how hard it is to get WordPress to load a nice site in 1.2 seconds will appreciate my disappointment. I had gained weight, a lot of weight.
This result reminded me of the fat-free yoghurt episode on Seinfeld years ago. In this episode, everyone started getting fat eating yoghurt that was thought to be fat-free. When they jump on the scale, of course, it was over, they had all gained weight. You can do a Youtube search to find the episode.
I too had bought into the dream of Linkedin Insights and found it was fat. Very Fat and was a weight on my page.
I went to Google Tag Manager and published a new version of my tag container code without linked in insights and re-ran the test. I was back at 1.7 seconds.
Linkedin Insights takes over 6 seconds to load.
Simple maths here was telling me that the Linkedin Insights code was adding a whopping 6 .3 seconds to my load time. Yep, 6.3 seconds.
It was loading just 0.3 megabytes in 6.1 seconds and managed to take my Pagespeed ranking from an A to a B.
All the hype and sales marketing materials on the earth can’t make up for such a terrible tracking code load time.
I removed the insights code and began to rethink my advertising strategy however the insightful side of myself (see what I did there) made me want to look further.
That’s an interesting decision.
I’m merciless with a tracking code.
You should be merciless too. You see, Google tells us that for every second we increase load time on our pages, we lose 25% of our customers. So effectively to lose all your customers you can just load LinkedIn insights.
I have included the screenshots of the test comparison below. The red column is the load time for my site with Linkedin Insights installed.
Page Speed test with Linkedin Insights compared
At my current page size, my biggest weight is Google Tag Manager at 0.5 seconds. GTM is giving me lots of good information with Google Analytics. After my site audit will also have AdWords tracking code added to GTM.
When should you use a tracking code?
Acting on analytics will make a difference. Act on what you already have. After that, If you cannot get the insights you need from Google Analytics, use something else but uninstall what doesn’t work and use what you have installed.
Don’t load what you don’t need.
As for facebook pixel – I don’t use it on my site because I’m not using retargeting advertising. If you are, then you may want to use it but don’t load it just for the fun of it. All you will do is slow down your website to no advantage. You may, in fact, cause a disadvantage if your webpage slows and gets too heavy from the script.
One rule is the rule to rule them all in 2018, make sure your page loads fast.
When I say fast, GTMetrix should be giving you a total page load time of under 2 seconds with Google Analytics on no bandwidth restriction.
If you cant do that, its time to get mean and get lean. Lose that page weight and get results. You can have the best website design ever, but if it loads slow no one will ever hang around to see it.
Should I use Linkedin Insights?
No. Unless a tracking code loads fast you should not include it. The only exception is when you absolutely must have the script to make your business work.
For just about every customer I can think of that means you should never install LinkedIn insights. Wait it out until they can get it loaded in under 1 second.
Why is it important to have an SSL on your website?
When you have an SSL on your website you are taking a big step towards a better internet.
An SSL, or secure socket layer, is a method of transferring information in a secure way on the internet. It’s that little green padlock in the top corner that tells us we are on a secure page. It is what lets us all use the internet for online banking, and make payments online in a secure way.
A couple of years ago, it was unnecessary to have an SSL on a standard small business website. Then, a few years ago, Google began to encourage every website to become secure. Other large organisations joined Google and a movement was born.
SSL is no longer limited to an E-Commerce Website. Google is driving this so that we can all enjoy websites becoming more secure.
What has changed for SSL on your website in 2018?
We now know that Google has confirmed the use of HTTPS or SSL as an SEO ranking signal for your website. This means they Google are favouring a website that is using an SSL over one that is not.
This is a big one for anyone doing search engine optimisation, which we all should be doing.
SSL is now a standard feature of every website.
An SSL is one of the many steps needed to ensure you can rank higher in the organic search results with Google. A good search engine ranking means more search traffic to your website and more leads.
Is Google ranking SSL on a website a surprise?
Not really. For years Google was pushing mobile websites and the need to support mobile devices. Then one day we had Mobilegeddon. A moment when a new Google algorithm favouring mobile sites kicked in to search results. Websites that were not mobile friendly dropped out of Google search results overnight. Websites that were mobile friendly using responsive website design. took over the search results.
When are we going to see something similar with SSL security? If I only we knew. What Google has told us is SSL is a good idea and you should have it on your website.
We agree. Install an SSL on your website as soon as possible.
The advantage is:
- Your website is secure.
- Users will feel more confident.
- A secure website will actually be able to go faster due to new ways of delivering traffic on the internet with HTTP/2.
How does an SSL make your website faster?
The internet now has a new HTTP protocol, called HTTP/2. Very original naming. HTTP/2 requires an SSL to be installed on your website. With HTTP/2 enabled your site can download faster.
Are all sites with an SSL using HTTP/2? Not always. You can get HTTP/2 enabled with most good hosting providers. Check with your hosting provider or Managed WordPress provider for more information
HTTP2 is great because faster sites are always better. The faster a site, the more sales and leads you will get. It’s that simple.
How does HTTP/2 work?
The new method allows many files to be downloaded at once. The old method had a limit to the number loaded at one time and made the page load in chunks. Now you can get lots of files all shoved down at the same time in a very fast way. This is great for the internet and great for your website and marketing too. No one has ever complained about a website being too fast and secure.
With SSL you can accept credit card and personal data on your website. Encryption will keep this information safe. This makes a clear pathway for your business to take online payments and grow into E-Commerce.
Are an SSL and HTTP/2 expensive? No. Most people can get a free SSL from Lets Encrypt and be delivering a secure site in hours using HTTP/2.
Do you need a paid SSL?
No. A free SSL from Lets Encrypt is fine. You may need to move on from a free SSL at some point but getting started is what matters.
Does SSL ensure my website is secure and protected from hacking?
SSL is a great step forward but you should also ensure your site is up to date and your SSL correctly installed. An SSL will not stop hackers because anyone can access your website over the internet. This means a hacker can still attempt to gain access to your site. Stopping a hacker gaining access means keeping your website and hosting well maintained.
To check an SSL installation is secure on your website is pretty simple. Go to SSL Labs and run the SSL test. I’ve added a screenshot animation to make it easy to understand.
Run this test to ensure the SSL on your website is installed correctly and up to date. If you get an error or a low grade, send the output to your hosting company or IT Department. They can sort the problems out for you and the report gives good advice on how to do that.
You will also need to make sure your website software and hosting are secure.
Keep your website up to date.
If you use WordPress or other open source software keeping it up to date is a great way to keep your site secure.
Remember, all the information transmitted from your customers to your website is secure. Your website is encrypted when using an SSL, however, it could still be hacked if you don’t keep it up to date.
For every business with a website get your SSL installed ASAP. This will position your business as a great internet citizen. You will help make the internet more secure and safe for everyone.
Finally, use a good hosting service provider because a good host will be operating in a safe way.
If you need more information you can download this great guide here from stonetemple.com.
It’s a comprehensive guide to SSL certificates and your website.
Want to learn more about SSL? Contact the team at M R K. We can assist you in understanding your requirements and make a recommendation.
Footnote: This article was originally posted in 2016 and we revisit it to update as needed.
I question I often get asked is, “Does my small business need a website?” In short, the answer is a resounding “Yes”.
Recent stats show that in Australia, over 50% of all businesses have a website. Out of those, only 30% can take orders online. This stat seems low, but this is actually a great result for Australian businesses. For the first time in 2017, we went over 50% of small businesses having a website.
So why do you need a website for your small business? Keep reading to discover my top five reasons…
5 reasons why every small business needs a website infographic
Download this infographic as a PDF
Reason 1 – Google Search
The main reason why you should have a website is for search results. People are searching online for your business every day. And most times they are unaware of what services you provide and how you can serve them.
Search engines pick up information on your website. Whenever a user searches on Google, Google uses an index of the internet to find the best result for that search. That’s why having good content on your website is so important. This is Search Engine Optimisation.
The fact is that over 90% of all purchases in Australia start with an online search. This is when a potential customer is looking for product information or prices to start a journey to buy. A much lower percentage of purchases finish online. Being able to show up in search results when a potential customer is looking for you is important. This means you need to have an online presence.
If you are a beginner and getting started online, a good starting point is to set up your free Google Maps listing. Once you have that you should move to a quality website. Your website will need good product and service information for your business.
If you are one of the 49.9% of businesses that don’t have a website, you need to start your online journey. Being found in search results is a good way to start engaging with potential customers.
Reason 2 – Phone books are rarely used
Today, businesses can no longer get away with not being online. Many businesses used to pay for a listing the phone book and that was enough to get leads and phone calls.
In 2018 you need to make sure Google can find you and especially Google Maps for your local listing. If your business can’t be found online, then a potential customer is likely going to call a competitor.
Tip: Do a search for your business or related information in Google and see if you can be found.
Reason 3 – It builds Trust and Legitimacy
More and more, it is expected that you have a domain name and a website for your business. Having a professional website design and a branded domain for email all help. How? By building trust and legitimacy for your business.
It’s very difficult to build trust with potential clients online when you don’t have a website. A Facebook page and a Google Maps listing are not enough. You still need to have a website and it needs to be professional and accurate.
Tip: Secure your business domain name and at least get a simple One Page website to start.
Reason 4 – A Marketing and Information Channel
A website can help you learn more about your customers. Google Analytics can track lots of interesting information. This can enhance any business by providing reliable data about your customers.
You can avoid accidental marketing with real data and real statistics.
Making your marketing budget more effective will give better results for your business.
Facebook and Google Maps also give you some statistics. It’s important to note that in this case, a user has been using other brands to find you. Getting your own online property is like a dedicated store. Facebook and Google are more like the shelf at a supermarket. That’s worth considering.
Reason 5 – Share Information and Knowledge
A recent customer survey asked what helps make a purchase decision. The results were clear, brand recognition reigns as the Number 1 reason for a sale. The second purchase decision indicator is documentation and knowledge.
Understanding the customer’s purchase decision journey means you need to build trust. The best way to build trust is with information and knowledge sharing on your website. This shared information should centre around your area of expertise. By doing that well, you place yourself as the go-to expert in your field of business.
If you have a great website with good knowledge on it, you will get more leads from your potential customers. And with that better chance of converting sales. Without that shared knowledge, you would need to resort to other methods to build trust with new customers.
Finally, what’s your reason for not being online?
I have spoken to a few businesses that don’t want new work, they are already busy enough. In this case, it’s true, you may not need a website. It is still smart to make sure you have a good Google listing and professional email. Remember, a customer may be looking for you. Make sure they can find you online and make it easy for them.
If you do want new business and new leads, you must have a good website and a relevant domain name.
If you need help, contact the team today. We are happy to consult and enable your business to get online with a great website design.
Do you know if your website is fast enough to get great SEO Results?
What about on page conversions?
An interesting metric has come up that we are seeing over and over again – page speed.
Simplifying the art of Project Management
Time goes by so quickly. And everything is happening all the time. So many of us are juggling several balls in the air at any one time. For those of us who have been around for a while, we know that time is more than money. It’s something we never get back. It’s something we all want more off. Therefore, it is so important the we have the right tools to help us manage our time.
As your business, teams and projects grow it is important you review your current project management needs and requirements. You want to the right tools to foster and encourage team environments. Tools that bring fluency and creativity. After considerable research and discovery MRK Development made the change to Active Collab.
What is active collab?
Active Collab is a web-based project management tool which offers features such as task management, collaboration, time tracking, and invoicing all in one system. So what are some key points?
With so many different projects, tasks and key people involved, the team will know what they have to do, when it must be done and who needs to do it. Users get their own Dashboard listing what needs to be done and is broken down into list and tasks that can have its own files, discussions and content. One of the best features is the ability to allow restricted access to clients. Clients can see what you want them to see, while your team can see everything.
While Active Collab runs in the cloud like most browser apps today, you can also install it on your own server. If you want absolute control over your own data, or simply do not want to pay a monthly fee for storage and users, Active Collab’s self-hosted model maybe the perfect solution.
Slack, Xero, Stripe and Paypal are just a few of the extra features and addon’s available. Active Collab lets you track time for each task and define the hourly rates for each client. This provides you with the ability to create and issue the invoice from the billable time in Active Collab. Because they are always in sync paid invoices are reflected in both systems allowing you to work on the project and the accounts people to work on their accounts.
There are many more features and attributes that you should check out and see if this maybe the right solution for you. For us, it has brought together many tools that we have in the past used several tools for. Is it 100% perfect? No, but it doesn’t have to be. What it does need to do is provide for is a solution that connects the majority of our needs and brings transparency to our day to day business and clients. Moving forward out clients and partners will have access to input data inside Active Collab to better work with our users.
What do you think? Have you used or been using Active Collab? How have you managed to bring solutions your business project needs?