67 Actionable Checks

Scan Sitewide for Opportunities

Unearth Geographic and Device Issues

Bonus Custom Reports for Google Analytics

Consider Code, Server, Media, and Platform

Improve Rankings & Conversions



Checklist

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CMS & Direct Checks

Determine the content management system in use (if there is one) and enter the administration panel. ex. WordPress, Magento, Squarespace, etc.

If there isn't one, obtain FTP access.

If that's not possible, identify some of the most noteworthy pages and View Source on them.

IF THERE'S A CMS: Is The CMS Updated?

Find the 'updating' section in the administration panel. Is their site software running the latest version? If not, it's likely that the site is missing out on performance enhancements, in addition to being at major risk for security exploits.

IF THERE'S A CMS: Are The Plugins Updated?

Find the 'plugins' section in the administration panel. Are plugins being updated and maintained? Just like the software itself falling out of date, this leads to problems with performance, functionality, and security.

IF THERE'S A CMS: Are All Plugins Necessary?

If using a content management system (such as WordPress or Magento), are there unnecessary plugins? Thumb through each plugin in the administration panel of the site.

Identify any that aren't both in use and 100% necessary. Also, don't use a plugin where one or two lines of code could get the job done, without requiring WordPress or whatever system to inject a totally separate set of JavaScript/CSS/etc. as each plugin tends to do.

IF THERE'S A CMS: Are Plugins Selective?

If using a content management system, a plugin that may be of definite use is one that selectively renders plugins.

For example, don't load a full contact form plugin on pages without contact forms.

If using WordPress, we recommend installing and configuring Plugin Organizer for this task.

Are Scripts Selective?

If any JavaScripts are not called by a content management system and there are many, consider making them appear only on the pages that they are needed.

This can be coded into your site's headers and footers with simple IF statements. Alternatively, it can be done with Google Tag Manager, which has the added bonus of disguising your scripts from snooping competitors.

Are Stylesheets Selective?

Check your site code to see if it requests more than one stylesheet. If so, check to verify that all css files are necessary for the pages they are listed on. If not, consider using PHP IF statements so that a stylesheet is only requested if it is needed.

Are There Unused Scripts?

Use BuiltWith to see what tools are currently active on your site. Identify any that you are no longer using and remove them.

Are Image Sizes Optimized?

Scan your site using Screaming Frog, select "Images" from the filter in the "Internal" tab, and sort by "Size."

Images over 500kb can likely be resized without any visible loss in quality. If they aren't already, try saving them as jpegs. Use Photoshop or Gimp to re-export images with a reduced file size. If you have WordPress, use the EWWW Image Optimizer plugin to reduce image sizes.

Are Images Using The Right File Type?

Check your main pages, and elements that are reused across the site, to verify that images are using the correct file type. Specifically:

  • JPG: large photographs
  • GIF: icons or illustrations with low # of colors, or where transparency is needed
  • PNG: smaller, full color images, or where transparency is needed

Tinkering with Photoshop's export features and comparing the three will serve as an objective voice on what's best in terms of appearance vs. file size.

Are Colors And Gradients Used In Place Of Unnecessary Background Images?

Consider removing background images and replacing them with solid colors or gradients using CSS. See Colorzilla's CSS gradient generator.

If you are torn on this, we will run a Web Page Test scan later in the audit, allowing us to determine if background images are a significant barrier to page load speed.

Are Image Icons Replaced With Glyphs or Sprites?

Consider using glyphs over image icons, which are styled using HTML5 instead of old, heavy image formats. This is most commonly done using a library called Font Awesome or the Bootstrap Glyphicon library.

If you're unsure if one of these libraries is used, you can check the site using this site.

They look like this:

Font Awesome
Bootstrap Glyphicons

Alternatively, CSS image sprites will generally be faster than loading a lot of very small image files.

Are There Loading Animations?

Save the effects for PowerPoint. You'll be able to tell if this is a problem by simply navigating between pages and watching for a small wheel icon, fade, swish, or other effects.

These dramatically sacrifice UX for aesthetics. Study after study prove that users hate these but creative studios keep using them. Removing these are a very high priority performance fix.

PageSpeed Insights

Google PageSpeed Insights is currently the most popular site performance auditor, although it's one tool of many and far from comprehensive. Despite that, it gives some great information, so let's weigh in on each of these factors.

Begin by visiting this site, entering the site's address, and selecting the Desktop tab.

Run this on a few key page types as their results may vary.

"Defer unused CSS" Passed?

By default, a browser must download, parse, and process all external stylesheets that it encounters before it can display, or render, any content to a user's screen. It wouldn't make sense for a browser to attempt to display content before the stylesheets have been processed, because the stylesheets may contain rules that affect the styling of the page.

Each external stylesheet must be downloaded from the network. These extra network trips can significantly increase the time that users must wait before they see any content on their screens.

Remove unused rules from stylesheets to reduce unnecessary bytes consumed by network activity. Learn more here.

"Eliminate render-blocking resources" Passed?

Resources are blocking the first paint of your page. Consider delivering critical JS/CSS inline and deferring all non-critical JS/styles. Learn more.

"User Timing marks and measures" Passed?

Consider instrumenting your app with the User Timing API to measure your app's real-world performance during key user experiences. Learn more.

"Ensure text remains visible during webfont load" Passed?

Leverage the font-display CSS feature to ensure text is user-visible while webfonts are loading. Learn more.

"Serve static assets with an efficient cache policy" Passed?

A long cache lifetime can speed up repeat visits to your page. Learn more.

"Minimize main-thread work" Passed?

Consider reducing the time spent parsing, compiling and executing JS. You may find delivering smaller JS payloads helps with this.



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