If you hadn’t seen it, earlier this year we launched a free website grading tool to help businesses find out how good their website is, in just 7 seconds(ish). In building this tool we wanted to help business owners in particular to get a practical and a “as jargon free as possible” report. From which they could measure a number of signals and also use our tips on how to improve their score.
The response we had after launch was incredible – with things really kicking off when we hit the front page of Product Hunt as you can see by the spike in our analytics below.
Since we launched the free tool there have been 9783 reports generated. That’s a decent amount of data for us to analyse to get some initial findings and to provide a benchmark for anyone else using this tool. As well as that, we wanted to give a bit more of a breakdown in terms of the signals we rank, and why they are important for website and business owners.
So by the end of this post, and by running your own scan of your website you’ll be able to answer these two questions:
- How good is my website and where can I improve?
- How does my website shape up against everyone else?
In each website report we rank a number of signals and crunch a bunch of data in order to give you an actionable and informative report. We measure everything from the performance of your website through to how usable your site is on a mobile device.
We’ll dive into the detail for each statistic below but here you can see the average score against each signal we rank with the total website score being shown in the top left.
Each signal is weighted and then discombobulated to give a website it’s final total score. As you can see from above the average score of a website is 57 – so this is the benchmark that you should be looking to beat.
Now let’s quickly go through each signal, what it means, and what you can do to beat the competition.
Performance is essentially the measure of how fast your website will load for an end user or to perform a certain function. Imagine fine tuning a car to do 0-60 in as small a time as possible. That’s what you want to do for you website – to get a number of factors fine tuned so it will load as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
Why is this so important then? Well did you know that 47% of consumers expect your website to load within 2 seconds? And that 40% of them will abandon your website if it takes longer than 3 to load? In this instance time definitely equals money and having a poorly performing website is hitting your bottom line.
Some quick wins to make your website faster are to ensure that the page size isn’t too large so check what file size images, videos and other resources are adding up to. Another is to ensure that you’re not on some super cheap hosting plan. Whilst you might be viewing paying £5 / month as a savvy business decision this could be hurting you in lost revenue from a poorly performing website. This area is a bit more technical so your developer or host provider should be able to tell you more. What our report can do though it let you know the areas you need to look at and you’ll be sounding like a tech wizard in no time! The score to beat here is 63.
There are now more mobile devices than people in the world and the production rate is growing at a rate 5 times faster than the global population. This has had a knock on effect in which more people than ever browse the web with their phones than any other device. Making it essential that your website is super easy to use on these devices.
With this score we were pleasantly surprised at how good it was. If a website scores below 75 on its mobile score in our grader then it’s considered not very user friendly at all. So a big high five to everyone using our tool – you’ve got a really important part of your website strategy nailed.
Whilst our average users website is mobile friendly there is still a long way to go though – especially for SMEs. There will be countless websites that still aren’t optimised for mobile and if yours is one of these you’re losing out big time.
Apart from losing customers due to your website not being user friendly you’re also going to get less visits from search engines like Google. In April 2015, Google rolled out an update that downgraded websites who aren’t considered mobile friendly. Which means if it’s your non-optimised website vs your competitors super slick mobile-ready website – I’m afraid my friend that I’m putting money on the other guy to get found in search.
There’s not a huge amount of point having a website if people can’t find it. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of ensuring that your website can be found on search engines. So that if you’re a butcher based in Shrewsbury (holla hometown!) and potential customers type in “butchers Shrewsbury” – your website is going to pop up in those results.
The average score for SEO here is 37. Now there is a huge amount we could potentially cover here on how to improve this score and get above 37 but three tangible actions you can take to improve your score are:
- Ensure your website is mobile optimised – this is a big factor since last year as mentioned above
- Run your entire website over HTTPS / SSL. That’s the padlock at the top of this screen
- Get other websites to link to your website. This could be directories, press, bloggers etc
With every website that we build for our customers we deliver these first two points by default so that you can improve your chances of getting found by potential customers.
When we talk about security here we’re not talking about passwords (but you should definitely make sure your password isn’t one of these) but whether your website runs over HTTPS using an SSL certificate. If you’re not sure what that means its when you have a padlock in the address bar just like this page. It means that all data being transmitted via contact or payment forms is encrypted and can’t be read by anyone snooping on website traffic. Not surprisingly – not a huge number of websites run over HTTPS by default. Yet.
Now you might think that having a secure website is only for those that process payments but we’re here to tell you different. Not only should e-commerce stores make every page, including non-checkout pages, run over HTTPS you should do the same even if you’re simply showcasing information.
Why you ask? Well Google now counts this as a ranking signal for search. Meaning that having a secure website is a boost to your website appearing high up in search results.
Websites need to serve an objective for your business and usually that means sales. In order to generate enough sales you need to get enough traffic flowing in. The average score for traffic was 39. If you’re getting anywhere above 50 that’s pretty good for a small to mid-sized business and anything 70 is awesome.
Here we analysed a mix of signals from estimated rank of your website through to whether traffic was estimated to be growing. So essentially volume * acceleration = a pretty good traffic score.
There are tons of different ways to increase your traffic, from improving your SEO through to writing blog posts like this one. We’ve written a mega beginners guide to driving website traffic which you can read here. One of the main things you should do is install some kind of analytics software so that you can measure all of your efforts at generating traffic.
Social media should be an essential part in any strategy to make a successful website and to attract customers. It’s one of the most cost effective ways to promote your business and connect with customers while also being a helping hand in your SEO efforts. The average score we had was 21. It’s an ok start but at least that means there is a lot of potential for people to leverage these platforms for website success.
Here we measured the amount of times the URL was getting mentioned across different platforms. So even if your own customers aren’t talking about you – you should definitely mix in a little self-promotion whilst also sharing useful, funny or relevant content. I know us Brits can struggle with the whole “look at me and buy from me” self-promotion game sometimes but give it a go to improve this score.
Whilst large businesses can have whole teams dedicated to social media, as a solo founder or small team, it can be hard to justify or to find time to spend promoting yourself or sharing content on these platforms. However, if you can build a small social media habit, keep it consistent and build on it – you can not only build a community of people willing to listen to you, but also boost your website score on a number of fronts.
That’s a wrap!
Well that’s it for this quick-ish bit of analysis and I hope it’s provided some kind of insight for you. We’ll be diving into the data again at some point in the future and making sure to go a bit deeper than looking at average benchmarks. Until then though please feel free to run your own website report, share this on twitter, or tweet me with any thoughts.
Also, (shameless self-promotion alert) if you’re looking for a quick win on improving your website score around a number of the signals listed above, then we have some awesome pay monthly website plans that you might want to check out. We handle everything from the design, build, hosting, on-site SEO and much more all for a small affordable monthly fee. Check it out by clicking the link below.