Last week in the blog of MADI, we talked about 10 awesome (and free!) HubSpot resources for Inbound Marketing, including CRM tools, e-books and guides, and even an Academy with certified courses. Today, I wanted to zoom in on one of the resources that we previously mentioned, but this time in detail: the HubSpot Website Grader. It is one of the best tools for obtaining a valuable overview over your website’s performance, and it is completely free – so let’s hop right into it!
The main elements of the Hubspot Website Grader
To get a better idea of the main components of the HubSpot Website Grader, I decided to test the performance of my personal blog on Digital Marketing. Let’s see the results:
Not bad! However, there is one key factor worth mentioning: because my website is based on WordPress.com instead of WordPress.org, the majority of pre-determined templates are already optimized for maximum performance. So, I haven’t contributed much here. But this is not necessarily all good – because it’s a closed ecosystem, it is very limited, and doesn’t have the same freedom and functionalities that a WordPress.org provides. If you are confused about the difference between both, I invite you to read this article: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
Now, back to the topic! Here are the main indicators that HubSpot Website Grader uses to determine the performance of your website:
With a maximum score of 30 points, this component refers to website optimization in terms of page size, page requests, page redirects, compression and page speed – which all translate into how fast your website is loading its content. In 2010, Google announced that page speed was a ranking factor for Search Engine Optimization, and your website is expected to load in less than 3 seconds. In fact, for every additional second of loading delay, the abandonment rate goes up by 5.8%
What are some of the ways you can improve your Performance component?
- Reduce the page size of your website by resizing and compressing your images, eliminating unnecessary custom fonts, and removing redundant data through a process called minification.
- Reduce page requests – every time a person visits your website, the server is required to send the files containing the website’s content to that person’s browser. These are called HTTP requests, and the more requests a website makes, the slower it becomes. To reduce them, remove unnecessary images, reduce the file size for remaining images, and combines CSS files together.
- Page Speed – optimizing the page speed of your website includes image optimization, browser caching, and file compression, among other factors that should be taken into account.
- Browser caching – every time you visit a website, your browser saves data such as images and HTML in order to improve your experience for the next time you visit. When you return, it takes less time for the page to load because a cache version of it has already been saved. Browser caching speeds up your website, so make sure to have it activated.
- Page redirects – the so-called 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. They usually slow down the loading cycle, so try to avoid them if possible.
With a maximum score of 30 points, Mobile refers to making your website mobile-friendly in order to capture valuable traffic and generate more revenue. In 2015, Google officially announced that mobile search has surpassed desktop search – so companies that don’t have their web optimized for smartphones and tables are missing out on many benefits.
What are some of the ways you can improve your Mobile component?
- Responsive – a responsive website doesn’t need to be adapted manually to each smart device that exists out there. In fact, responsive design only requires you to have one website that is coded to adapt automatically to any device that the user is browsing with.
- Viewport – a viewport allows you to control the width and scale of the webpage on different device types. If you use WordPress.com, it is automatically configured for better optimization, so you won’t have to worry about it.
The Search Engine Optimization component in HubSpot Website Grader has a maximum score of 30 points, and it refers to the best practices that you need to apply to make your website easily discoverable and navigable. Some of them include the correct selection and placement of business-specific keywords, and the definition of page titles, meta descriptions, and headings, among others.
What are some of the ways you can improve your SEO component?
- Keywords – do a proper research on the keywords that you want to position with, and make sure to place them in key locations such as page titles, meta descriptions, and H1 and H2 headings. You should include them in your URLs and image alt attributes as well.
- Sitemaps – sitemaps are a great way to improve the navigation of users on your website. They represent a file of code located on your web server, and list all the relevant URLs in your website’s infrastructure.
Another important component that indicates the optimum performance of your website is security. For HubSpot Website Grader, it represents a maximum of 10 points overall, and it refers to the SSL certificate that protect websites from cyber attacks. If your site doesn’t have an SSL certificate, you do not look trustworthy neither to Google nor users.
To learn more about these certificates and HubSpot Website Grader, I recommend you to read Hubspot’s guide to SSL.
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below!