Here’s the second installment in our “Building a Beach Body Website” series.
Check out the intro here.
Before you begin a fitness regime, you typically spend some time thinking about your flaws. Is your belly too flabby? Are your legs like jelly? Or are things so bad you don’t know where to begin? Knowing your flaws in an essential step in the process of becoming a better you.
With a website, you want to take a similar approach. Before you do anything else, spend some examining the site. You don’t need to run speed calculations or look at fancy analytics quite yet. Instead just sit down with your website and ask yourself a number of basic questions.
Does it feel fast?
While web site speed can be measured, it’s also a subjective experience. If a news site doesn’t load in two seconds, you might give up and look elsewhere, but you’ll probably be more forgiving for a site selling something that you really want to buy. When you think about your site speed, you need to consider the whole site, not just the front page.
Does your site appear to load slowly, but then speeds up once you start browsing the site? Or do you encounter bottlenecks in unexpected places, like your shopping cart, your site archives, or even your contact page?
When your measuring your site speed, you might try it out on a few computers and mobile devices. If you’re running a Linux system, ask your friend if you can try it on their Mac. If you do all your mobile browsing with an iPhone, try using your co-worker’s Android phone to see how your site works. While you can find ways to quantify this information, the experience of visiting your site from different environments will give you a feel for how your website functions.
Are the links working?
While web sites appear static, they are often structured like trees, with some branches growing out of control, while others die off from neglect. Although a poorly maintained website doesn’t look bad at first, broken links can cause you to lose visitors and customers who decide that a broken link is a symbol of a larger problem with your web site.
For external links, such as links to images, the problem is a little trickier, as you might need to manually find the lost image, and upload it to your own site. Fixing broken links can be time-consuming, but it’s a necessary step if you want to make your site look and function better.
Are you getting overwhelmed?
As the person responsible for your web site, you probably know how your website performs on a daily basis. If your customers complain about your site being down, or just slow, on a regular basis, you know that your site just isn’t up to snuff when it comes to basic operating capacity. Because you often run tests when things are good, it’s often difficult to know you need to fix your site until it’s too late.
But, if you know from experience that your site has trouble sometimes, you can start working on fixes to your problems. By identifying your site’s problem areas, you can begin addressing the things that keep it from functioning as quickly, smoothly, and efficiently as possible.
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