About Blogging Help

Blogging Help is a tutorial based site providing technical guides for building websites using step-by-step guides and offers expert advice on how to create fast, responsive, search engine friendly websites. Blogging Help offers guides built on years of experience in web hosting, website building and blogging.

Building Better Websites

Advice on how to build great websites

When building a site there are a number of key parts to a successful website, including:

  1. Provide visitors with accurate and relevant information
  2. Be fast; webpages should be optimized for fast load times
  3. Be responsive; working on both computers and smartphones
  4. Easy to update and keep secure
  5. Easily found by search engines
Domain + Hosting + Blogging Help - everything required to build a website

Make sure sites provide accurate and relevant content

Having great content is key to a successful website, from providing guides that help solve problems, clear descriptions of products or authentically connecting with followers, all of these are done through the content of a website. The Internet is a competitive place and expect to be judged on content, search engines monitor for how long a visitor stays on a site and the number one way to keep a visitor on a site is through making great content discoverable

Websites should be fast

Sites should be fast, the longer a page takes to load the higher the chance the visitor will go and find another web page to look at, search engines often check page load times to decide where to rank a page in their search results. Page load times are affected by a number of factors, this can be split into two causes: On-Page and Off-Page

On-Page issues that can affect load times:

  1. The size of the webpage – using high resolution images might look like a good idea, but they add to the page size, all images should be optimized and made as small as possible without affected image quality
  2. The number of requests on a webpage – the busier the page the longer it take to find all the information, having dynamic content can be useful but every action or plugin used on a page increases the time it takes to load
  3. What is being cached on the page – cache is where a part of a page (e.g images) are stored in an easy to access location, so when the page loads it doesn’t have to request an image but load it from cache (this helps fix #2 above) and this improves page load times

Off-Page issues that can affect load times:

  1. Server resources being maxed out – a website should have allocated resources, if these are being hit then more resources would need adding or finding out the cause of high resource usage and fixing the issue. This information would be provided by the hosting provider by asking: “Does the site have allocated resources and are these being maxed out?”
  2. Site resources not set correctly – websites that run PHP (e.g. WordPress) have a memory limit set, this is per process and can affect a site working correctly, a typical WordPress website would require between 128MB and 512MB depending on how many plugins and if the site is being used for eCommerce. Just increasing this won’t always improve page load times and finding how much is required is key. Also, setting this too high can slow down a site and cause server resources to be maxed out (see #1 above)
  3. High traffic, bot activity and denial of service attacks – if a website has a high amount of traffic this can cause a website to slow down, this can cause the server to run out of resource (as per #1) and can also slow down database requests. The easiest way to check for this issue is checking the bandwidth a site is using, if a site has high bandwidth usage without many unique visitors it can point to bot activity

Respond perfectly on desktops and smartphones

A website should work perfectly on both smartphones and computers, the majority of traffic comes through mobile browsers and many websites now have a mobile first approach for user experience. When building a site it is key to test how the site loads across smartphones, computers and tablets. This is commonly referred to as being ‘responsive’ based on how the site responds to different screen sizes and devices

Easy to update and keep secure

Making it easy to update a website helps keep it secure, when exploits are found they are often quickly patched by the software developers and making sure a site gets these updates is important. A site infected with malware could negatively impact visitors and a site can quickly lose credibility. Making a site easy to update is key and it is possible on many platforms to enable auto-updates, if this is enabled it is advisable to check the site is still functioning correctly on a regular basis.

Be found by search engines

Search engines offer an organic way for people to find the site, this works by search engines indexing a site and then regularly crawling it for new content. It is important not to block search engines from doing this if the site is to show up in search results. It is also important to provide high quality content who like to index accurate and relevant content. Knowing how to include the right keywords and meta-description on a web page helps search engines understand what the content is about and who will benefit from visiting the page.