MOT your charity website: part 1 – PageSpeed, security patching and broken links
For part one explores three key areas of website maintenance: Google PageSpeed, security patching and broken links
You wouldn’t forget to MOT your car, but it’s easy to leave your website running, unchecked, with sub-optimal performance that may be dramatically affecting online donations and engagement with supporters. Luckily, Pedalo Web Design is on hand with a series of blogs to help you check your website and ensure it’s functioning at its best.
For part one, they’re exploring three key areas of website maintenance: Google PageSpeed, security patching and broken links.
Google PageSpeed is a collection of tools designed to identify how quickly your web pages are displayed to users. You will be given separate scores for desktop and mobile – of between 0 and 100 points and either ‘good’, ‘needs work’, or ‘poor’. Your site speed is important as users may give up if pages take too long to load and it’s also an important component of Google search ranking – websites with better page speeds appear higher up in searches.
Our top three tips to improve your page speed are: compress images, using Photoshop, an online photo editor (such as Pixlr) or a plugin, so that images load faster; enable caching, which allows web browsers to ‘remember’ items so that they don’t have to find everything from scratch each time your site is loaded; and activate AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to ensure your mobile pages can be load as quickly as possible.
A security patch is a small piece of software which fixes any vulnerabilities, bugs or other problems on your website which could pose a security threat. Without security patching, any ‘holes’ in your site can be exploited, enabling hackers to access supporters’ data, send out spam, or make changes to your site, with potentially severe consequences for your charity’s reputation and finances.
To keep your site safe and ‘patched’ against hacking, make sure your software is up to date and apply automatic updates to keep it this way. You should also ensure all your devices have adequate security and anti-virus protection, encrypt your site data using HTTPS (rather than HTTP), and use strong passwords to access your site.
A broken link is a link to a webpage that doesn’t work. If a user types in or clicks on the link, they will be directed to a 404 error page. Links may be broken for a variety of reasons, including the URL being mistyped, the webpage no longer being online, or the linked page having restricted access. They disadvantage your site by leaving users frustrated and more likely to exit without engaging fully, and also negatively affect search engine rankings.
To reduce broken links on your website, use a link checker (such as this one) and then go to the relevant pages and update or remove any broken links.
If you change the URLs for your content, make sure to set-up 301 redirects, which will automatically redirect anyone who clicks on the old link to the new page. When creating pages for specific events or campaigns, use simple URLs so they’re easier for users to type in – for example, charity.com/donate is better than charity.com/G6xfe0U_gi817.
Finally, make sure you have a great 404 error page which informs the user that the page they tried to find is not available and provides options to help them reach other content quickly and easily.
Pedalo will be back with more charity website tips in the new year.