Dr Webs Consultation Corner - Browser Caching

Could Browser Caching make a difference to your website conversions - in all honesty the answer is probably a very simple yes !!

“My website is really slow and takes ages to load on my mobile.”, “Our clients SEO is being penalised by their PageSpeed results, can you take a look and recommend what can be done?”

In my last article we looked at how the hosting and speed of your webserver, or the server your rent via your web developer can affect your site visitors experience. Not only is this inconvenient to your visitors, even to the point that they click away, but also because it can and will effect your google rankings. We know how hard it is to get looked on favourably by the big ‘G’ at the best of times. However cool your website is, it will have a major impact on your online presence if it runs slow. Let’s take a look at another way to speed things up.

We can use something called browser caching to speed up how your webpage is presented to your visitors. This is something that your developer needs to setup and configure on your website but the Cache itself is actually located on you local machine, laptop, tablet or phone.

So what is a cache? We’ll let’s look at another type of cache that you may be more familiar with. When the great explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott set out to the South pole he left piles of fuel and food along the way in preparation for the return journey. This way he didn’t have to carry supplies all the way to the pole and then drag them all the way back. As we know it didn’t quite all go to plan but that is another story as they say.

In the case of your web browser the cache is actually a store, in a similar way to Scott’s, that is there when you come back. So if you think about it, when you visit a website there is usually a high proportion of the pages that don’t change very often, if at all. Lets take the logo as an instance. Every time you go to the same website and every time your visit various pages the logo remains the same. If we keep that logo file on our local machine we don’t have to download it every time we visit a page. If we expand that concept a little further and include CSS files, HTML Files, Images, Backgrounds and JavaScript files it becomes apparent quite quickly that we can get away with downloading very little when we are a returning visitor to a site.

When your browser visits a page it will compare it’s cache with the page content and if it is the same age there is no need to download it.

Essentially what we are doing is reducing the amount of time we wait for content to download, which is the slowest part of building your webpage, by simply not downloading it if we already have it.

If you want to test how effective browser caching can be simply go to a favourite webpage, one with nice content and plenty of images, and see how long it takes to load. Then clear your browser cache and see how long it takes when you visit it again.

It’s a pretty simple thing for your web developer to setup if they haven’t already done so and can make a major difference to you site visitors experience.

Next time we will have a look at something that can also have a major impact on your site speed when we ask “Where is your server located?”

If you want to find out more about how we may be able to make your website perform better and faster, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Remember, if you have a question just fire it at me and I will write about it in a plain English way that will help you to understand how your website should be adding to your business not detracting from it.

Image Credit to The Natural History Museum – https://www.nhm.ac.uk/natureplus/community/[email protected]=blog.html


Dr Webs Consultation Corner - Slow Servers

“More website visitors are lost through slow performance than any other reason...”

“My website is really slow and takes ages to load on my mobile.”, “Our clients SEO is being penalised by their PageSpeed results, can you take a look and recommend what can be done?”

These are questions that I get asked every day so I thought I would share some answers as well as give my LinkedIn connections the chance to ask their own. If you have questions about your website then comment below or PM me and I’ll give you an answer.

One of the most common complains is slow websites. Not only is this inconvenient to your visitors, even to the point that they click away, but also because it can and will effect your google rankings. We know how hard it is to get looked on favourably by the big ‘G’ at the best of times. However cool your website is, it will have a major impact on your online presence if it runs slow.

How Fast ??

A slow website can be down to many things and the best place to start is by typing your website address into PageSpeed Insights. This is a Google tool for developers but it will give you a quick idea of how your website stands up to what Google are looking for in a website, at least from a performance point of view. I wouldn’t expect any website owner to be able to fix things from here but it will allow you to start a conversation that may lead to getting a much faster, better built and higher ranking website. It is not my intention to make you into a web developer, but if things are not looking too rosy on your report then you can have that conversation rather than remaining in the dark.

It used to be that people complained about the speed of their internet connection, but more often than not these days, connection speed is not an issue. Even mobile phones over 4G can achieve speeds up to 60Mbps, that only a few years ago would have been appreciated over a broadband connection. This means that increasingly the speed of your webserver is coming into play.

Many web servers are hosted on shared servers. This means that there could be several websites running on the same server and fighting for the same resources. Some of them can be quite old or badly maintained, all adding to potential issues.

We prefer to have our clients servers hosted on individual virtual servers which means we can manage the resources to ensure they run as efficiently as possible. It also means that there is no chance of another website which may become broken, impacting on your site.

We are currently in the process of migrating many of our client servers to be hosted by AWS (Amazon Web Services) as part of their ongoing maintenance contract, because we believe that that is the best place for them to be hosted to get the best from their investment. It is always our aim to ensure that your website receives a continual investment and helps your business to prosper.

If you want to find out more about how we may be able to make your website perform better and faster, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Remember, if you have a question just fire it at me and I will write about it in a plain English fashion that will help you to understand how your website should be adding to your business.


No such thing as a free lunch!

No such thing as a free lunch!

No such thing as a free lunch, well that’s not necessarily true as was demonstrated the other day. In fact it was free training and a free lunch.

I’d taken the opportunity to attend a day long seminar entitled “Getting to grips with Google”. It was yet another event in a long list that have been run by innovative business support programme, Digital Enterprise – under their Digital Knowledge Exchange umbrella. The programme is funded by the European Union (European Union Regional Development Fund), Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and the nine local Councils, which make up the Leeds City Region.

Buckets full of Google info..

Image courtesy of Digital Knowledge Exchange.

Empower your Customers.

As a business we are very much about empowerment. We work closely with our clients to understand their businesses, their aims and build them solutions that increase their revenue and grow their presence in the market place. We also get them as involved as possible with their digital presence, after all it is a tool for their business and something that benefits their business as part of their marketing and sales strategy. To this end we would encourage any business owner/manager to look at some of the offering from Digital Enterprise as we do our own clients.

Empowerment is about getting your clients to buy in to what you do.

Missed opportunities.

In my opinion, not enough businesses are making use of initiatives such as this to make sure that they are getting the most from digital technologies.  First of all you need to check if you are a qualifying business, but in a nutshell you need to be an SME who meets the following criteria:

  • Businesses based in the Leeds City Region
  • Employing fewer than 250 employees
  • With turnover below €50 million p/a (approximately £43 million)
  • With a balance sheet total below €43 million (approximately £37 million), and
  • Firms which have received less than €200k (£185,000) of State Aid in the last 3 years

It’s easy enough to do and takes only a minute or two. If you qualify, then you are open to benefiting from some of the following

  • A Digital Growth Voucher – a hugely popular grant worth between £2-10,000 to help eligible businesses who operate in a business to business (B2B) environment to invest in digital technology to achieve business growth and digital transformation –see here for more details.. The next phase of this scheme will open in October 2018.
  • A Connectivity Voucher – to help eligible businesses to upgrade their digital connection – worth between £500 to £1,000 – see here for more info.
  • Free to attend workshops, masterclasses, digital conferences, mentoring support and digital audits via their Digital Knowledge Exchange service – see here for more info.

Don't miss the bus.

Anyway, back to that free lunch.

Anyway, back to the free lunch. More specifically the access to knowledge days through the Digital Knowledge Exchange, opens up a raft of seminars presented by experts in a number of fields. At this particular event we had the pleasure of listening to the Digital Knowledge Exchange legend that is Pascal Fintoni. Starting with a review of Google plans for the future followed by hand fulls of tips on Google products and online marketing this proved that these events are a no brainer when it comes to extending your knowledge of the online world.

If you are an in house marketing manager, owner or manager, these events are invaluable for you. Or if you are in online marketing or Website Design & Build, why not encourage your clients to go along. They will either come back more knowledgeable, more appreciative of the work you do or with a long list of things for them and you to do. Either way it is a win win situation.

A dedicated team.

Finally, the Digital Knowledge Exchange Team are a dream to work with. Your success is their success, so get yourself and your clients involved and don’t miss out on this Free Lunch. In fact have a look at their menu  of events that will whet your appetite.

“Ain't no such thing as a free lunch"

- Milton Friedman