Linkedin Insights is the ultimate page weight

Linkedin Insights is the ultimate page weight

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.

WOW.

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.

When I looked into it, I found the reason for this horrendous load time. It seems when you use Linkedin with Google Tag manager the system loads just about every retargeting platform on the planet on to your page via javascript.

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

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?

It seems a simple option for a lot of people to throw random javascript onto various parts of their website. We often do this with a promise of amazing information and advertising that will change your business. It’s all a lie. Fancy hot spots and tracking users won’t make a single difference.

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.

 

 

Do you have an SSL on your website?

Do you have an SSL on your website?

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:

  1. Your website is secure.
  2. Users will feel more confident.
  3. 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.

Check your SSL on your website using this simple online tool from SSL Labs

https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/

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.

https://www.stonetemple.com/http-to-https.pdf

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.
New Divi Training WordPress Plugin

New Divi Training WordPress Plugin

We are excited to tell our Managed WordPress clients about a brand new plugin, by Wolfgang Marketing, that we have installed on our Divi websites.

You will now find the Divi Theme Documentation, by Elegant Themes, in the Divi menu in the WordPress admin (see screenshot below).

Divi Menu

These videos are perfect to help you learn more about using Divi and how to update your own website. The quality of the documentation videos by Elegant Themes is excellent and is organised into categories to help you find what you’re looking for quickly.

We hope you enjoy using this new feature and find it useful.

To learn more about how it works, please watch the walkthrough video below.

If you are interested in getting a Divi website, feel free to send us a message on our website.

Enjoy!

Divi Training Plugin Walkthrough

You can check out the video via youtube here

Simplifying the art of Project Management

Simplifying the art of Project Management

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?

Team Collaboration

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.

Self Hosting

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.

Add-Ons

SlackXeroStripe 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.

The Verdict

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?

Understanding your Website Investment

Understanding your Website Investment

When we get enquiries for a website build we are often asked – how much will a website cost?

I found this a question that cannot be answered. Why? We need more information.

What does the website do?

What are you online goals?

Then – even with this information it seems like everyone expects a website to cost $500.00 – I need to tell you, that good websites do not cost $500.00, they are much more expensive than that but you need to remember why you get a good website.

This video will help to describe how we understand the actual worth of a website so you, as a client, can work towards reaching real goals.

Check it out on youtube and we will follow up with some tips on setting Goals inside Google Analytics to start to calculate the value of your website and what value it brings back into your business.

 

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