6 Ways to Make Your Website Faster, More Flexible

Many of us have experience with sites that can be slow to make changes on things as simple as title tags. This slowness causes more problems than you may even realize, and will be one major factor in the future of SEO and all of your e-commerce success.

Why it’s Important to be Fast

When I first started as a content manager many years ago, I greatly underestimated how much our web site was going to change. I asked for budget for a project, and my colleague and I were pretty sure that we would be set for a long time. Of course, now I realize a million changes were set to come.

The e-commerce and SEO landscape is always changing. Reacting to those changes is a significant competitive advantage.

How quickly did you get your Like button or Google Analytics’ new asynchronous tracking? How soon were you ready for the iPad? How quickly are you able to get A/B tests live, and how long after do you implement the winning pages?

Think about affiliates, for example. You may have affiliates that have driven significant revenue to your site because some of them can be so quick to adapt to new SEO, PPC, and other strategies. Or, consider the online-only competitors that came out of nowhere because they had better sites than the established leaders.

Long term, spending money on projects that will allow you to change your site quicker is a great investment. Your cart is going to be better? Great — but for how long? By the time you get it live, it’s out of date. Best practices are always changing, and quicker now than ever.

Where to Improve

  • CMS flexibility: Want to be faster without IT help? Have a powerful CMS, custom to what you do, giving more writers, editors, merchandisers, and designers access to what they need.
  • Platform and module flexibility: Ask yourself what happens in six months when you don’t like everything about a platform anymore. Can you add and customize modules? Should you buy or build solutions?
  • Team: No matter the architecture choices you’ve made, someone is going to have to actually make the updates. Is your team dedicated to the website? Or do they have other duties slowing them down?
  • Budget: Team and budget seem to be part of a seesaw in some ways. If you don’t have much of a team, you should at least have some budget to outsource, or vice versa.
  • Red tape: Does it take 20 signatures to change the alt text on an image? Teams need to be allowed to be able to make decisions on their own.
  • Testing: As you make more changes, you can expect errors and copy mistakes. You should be able to fix them faster conversely. Budget for keeping up with regular testing across many browsers and devices to help catch them faster.

You still need great content, good copywriting, good marketing ideas, and more to have a successful site. But everything you want to do with your online presence can be made better when you are fast and nimble. A fast, flexible site is more forgiving of bad decisions when good ones can be rolled out soon.

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