Have you recently had a website developed that left you feeling a little underwhelmed in the areas performance and user engagement? You would not be alone and it usually because of a little untold secret that haunts the web industry. Just like a tradesman might cut corners when building a house to save time and money, so will most web agencies. This is ultimately to achieve one common goal... to maximise profits and bring home the bacon.
There are many resources that can be purchased on the Internet to help speed up the development of websites. SevenDev is a big fan of most of these, however pre-made WordPress themes is one category that pushes our buttons the wrong way. What if I told you that the website you paid thousands of dollars for is actually based off a WordPress theme that your developer bought for $50 on an online marketplace? You might be a little annoyed and rightly so. This is how a lot of web design agencies operate.
The problem isn't that fact that these developers have used a pre-made theme. The time they would have spent designing, making alterations, adding content and consulting with you would justify the price they charge. The bigger issue is that that many of the these pre-made themes are poorly coded or have code bloat. This means they try and do too many things to cater to a larger audience of potential buyers. As a result, you get a website with a lot of functionality you probably don't need and this could potentially slow down your website and clutter your WordPress dashboard.
What is the best solution?
A dedicated product that is built specifically for your business needs is always going to be the best solution. This way you don't get features and functionality that you don't need. You also get a website that is far easier to manage and most often will perform better. Making sure you go with a reputable developer with decent experience will also make a significant difference. There are many ways to build a website but an experienced developer will know how build one the correct way. There is no point having a website that looks amazing but takes over 7 seconds to load. By then you would have lost most of your audience.
In regards to performance there are number of elements that determine how well your web pages will perform. These are page size, number of request and the web hosting provider you choose.
Page size refers to physical size of all files that need to be downloaded to the visitors browser. As a common rule, smaller the better, but on average you should try and keep it under 1MB. This includes all files, scripts, fonts and images. 1MB doesn't sound very big and it's not when comparing to files stored on your computer but web pages need to be as small as possible so they load unbelievable quick. We live in a busy world where people don't like waiting for much and that includes web pages.
Number of requests refers to the total number of files that need to be downloaded for your web page to operate and display correctly. A visitor to your site will not be able to use the currently viewed web page until all these files are loaded in the web browser. Once again the smaller the number the better. If the homepage of your website makes 64 requests it means it must connect to the hosting server 64 times to download each individual resource. Larger the number of connections results in longer download time.
If you would like to learn more about page speed, we did a article on how to make your website faster. You can read it here: https://www.sevendev.com.au/why-your-website-runs-slow-and-how-to-fix-it/
Search engines really care about your web page size, number of requests and load time, and if you aren't meeting their strict standards this will hinder your organic search ranking. A lot of pre-made themes fail in this area because they score very poorly. Below is a performance test of a popular pre-made theme that many web agencies use for client websites. As you can tell, it doesn't score well and this will have consequences for your business.
Now lets compare those results with a custom built website with speed and functionality in mind. Yes, we are referring to our own SevenDev website.
How does SevenDev do things differently?
You knew there was a sales pitch coming eventually and here it is 🙂 . At SevenDev we believe your website should be unique and built to be the best solution possible. It may not be the fastest way to build a site but it is safest when considering future updates, expandability and performance. Some people may say our services are on the pricier side but you are investing in quality and security. Have you noticed how quick the SevenDev website loads? Well, we build our clients websites using the exact same technologies and techniques.
We get it, the web can be a very confusing place with so many people telling you different things. At the end of the day to ensure you get a well built site in exchange for your money you need to do research and talk to other business owners who have had websites built. Ask questions and learn from their experiences. Most web agencies are going to tell you that they are the best fit for your business but when an agency is referred by a previous client, that is when you know you are probably in capable hands.