Celebrating 27 years with a site update

We’re celebrating our 27th year with a new site design! As always we’re still writing code! Site speed is becoming more of a metric for websites, and it’s super important for both SEO and for your visitors.

Our last major site redesign was four years ago, and like many sites over the years this has become bogged down with updates, tweaks, and fixes. As always, it’s your own house that suffers! Our site was slow on a desktop, and painfully slow to use on a mobile. With the new site, we’re currently achieving near perfect results for both mobile and desktop on Google Pagespeed.

We’ve made a lot of changes to how the site works to massively speed things up, and remove a lot of unnecessary code, whilst still keeping a similar style. There is always a balance between functionality and site speed; and with the demands of quick page loading there are some sacrifices that have to be made.

We happily and publicly use WordPress for this and some of our sites; as it’s a very popular and easy-to-extend CMS system. With the latest WordPress updates to blocks and the Gutenburg editor, we have been able to completely move away from page editors such as Divi, Elementor, WPBakery, Visual Composer, and similar. Whilst these make it very easy to create a good-looking site, they massively increase the page load time. Often these include huge CSS files for all the different layouts and styles, and increase the page size, number of scripts to fetch, time to render, and even how sluggish the page feels.

Thankfully for a small site like ours, we only relied on these page builders for a limited number of pages such as the homepage, but for some sites this may be a never-ending manual task for their content editor, particularly where multiple page builders have been used. Whilst we’re not a design or content team, we would absolutely recommend arranging a good theme and design first, and work through all the content on a development site, before launching.

We’ve also taken the difficult to decision to remove most of the contact forms and lead generation from our homepage. These are particularly heavy, especially when combined with recaptcha and other anti-spam techniques. Given that most of our customers contact us using our form or email address, the site speed is far more important than having a form on every page.

It is always a difficult balance between site functionality and speed, and a lot of it relies on good content; any sane SEO agency will make the same recommendations. If you are looking for advice on your site speed, caching, or if you need custom code developed, then just let us know!