5 Ways for Improving the Speed of Your Website

Jessica Kane takes over our blog this month to discuss page speed. Thanks Jessica!

In our world today, everything moves fast, from same-day delivery to instant updates. With extremely high expectations of customers, you do not even have 10 seconds to convince visitors to stay while your website loads. No one wants to spend time waiting for a page when they can just press the back button and go to another site.

The competition is getting fiercer each day and users are demanding for websites to be lightning fast. According to stats, the average load speed of retail sites is more than seven seconds when the ideal load time is three seconds at most. The few second differential costs retailers to lose billions. In fact, a delay of one second in page response can easily lead to seven percent sales reduction.

Page speed has even more implications aside from the loss of revenue and poor user experience. Your website’s slow loading also affects your Google rankings. It’s no longer a matter of wanting to improve your site’s speed; it is a need. The good news is that you can improve your website’s loading times in many ways. The top five ways are listed below:

Start optimizing your database.

Not all sites have databases, but you use one if you have a blog, e-commerce store, or any website with dynamic features, such as internal search. You utilize the database to store information, and unfortunately, it can impact the way your page loads.

One of the best techniques in optimizing your database is to add an index, which can significantly boost your page speed. When indexed, the database can locate information quicker, so it does not have to scan numerous records. Instead, it can narrow down the available data up to at least a few hundred, which aids in returning the data to the page faster than ever.

Reduce HTTP requests.

When the browser fetches a page, picture, or file from a web server, it is a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) request. Yahoo has disclosed that these requests take up to 80% of your site’s load time. Browsers typically limit requests from four to eight connections at the same time for every domain. The more HTTP requests that you have to load for your page, the longer it will take for your site to retrieve each of them. As a result, your load time increases.

To fix this problem, you have several tactics to choose from in decreasing the HTTP requests, including:

Lowering the number of images on your website
Combining multiple JavaScript or CSS files, so they load as one larger file instead
Utilize queries for loading what you only need, such as certain images or a specific script for mobile users
Uniting images that frequently appear on your site using one sprite sheet

You do not have to perform all the methods above but following at least one or two of them can dramatically decrease the time for loading each page.

Reduce the size of your images.

Some sites, including retail, require images, which are helpful in enticing customers to engage with the content and make a purchase. More than 60% of your site’s page weight though comes from the images you have uploaded. While removing them can increase the speed of your website, most of the photos may be necessary for e-commerce, for instance.

You do not have to get rid of the photos because making sure they are appropriately sized can help significantly. A few ways will allow you to accomplish this goal, including using new formats, such as JPEG XR and WebP. These formats allow you to lessen the weight of the images by up to 50%. The best part is that the methods below lower image size without sacrificing their quality:

Use an image editor and reduce the actual size before uploading.
As with above, taking your commonly used images and combining them into CSS sprites minimizes HTTP requests required for downloading the page.
The container property’s max width should not exceed 90% of the boundary width

You can also set the images to auto resize to the maximum width (100%) and have the height set to auto.

Use CDNs

Many of your site’s users are not close to your web server. You can try to spread your content across different servers in various geographic locations, which can reduce the distance but it is too complicated. You need a viable option to implement, which comes in the form of a content delivery network or CDN.

CDNs are a group of web servers that are situated across varying locations. They help in delivering content more efficiently to the users. CDNs are frequently used for files that do not need editing (static content) once they are uploaded.

Companies usually have their own CDN, but most businesses benefit from a CDN provider. If these service providers are out of your budget and perhaps unnecessary, you can still use CND sites that have a library of CSS and JavaScript files and frameworks. These websites can facilitate hosting specific data, so you do not have to host them on your own server. As a result, your load times are much speedier than ever.

Enable caching.

When users visit your site, the elements on your page are stored in their hard drive’s temporary storage or cache. The next time they go to your site, the browser loads the page faster because it does not have to perform another HTTP request as before.

Up to 60% of your site’s visitors have an empty cache. When you enable browser caching, the first page they see will be much quicker because the elements will be stored in their hard drive. Make sure this functionality is activated on your site for improved user experience.

The primary reason why you own a site is to gain traffic and of course, make money. The flashy images and eye-catching buttons may seem trendy, but they can be detrimental. If they cause your visitors to wait more than 10 seconds, you need to optimize your site, so it runs as efficiently as possible.


Jessica Kane is a writer for Every USB, where you can create your very own custom usb drive for your brand or company.

What is AMP and does your website need it?

Jessica Kane takes over our blog this month to discuss AMP. Thanks Jessica!

The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project allows web developers to create smooth, fast-loading web pages. Created by Google in 2015, the original goal of AMP was to improve the experience of browsing the web on a mobile phone. Today, most users interact with AMP through Google search results, although Facebook has also developed a similar platform, known as Instant Articles.

The 3 Components of AMP Pages

AMP can be broken down into three core components: AMP HTML, AMP JS, and AMP Cache.

AMP HTML is basically the normal HTML programming language used by web developers all over the world with a few changes. Namely, AMP HTML adds some restrictions to traditional HTML in an effort to provide a more reliable performance. Additionally, AMP HTML also has its own unique features such as AMP-specific tags that enable unsupported features in browsers.

Much like AMP HTML, the goal of AMP JS is to improve the performance and speed of mobile web browsing. Specifically, AMP JS is focused on rendering web pages as quickly as possible. One of the key areas of optimization for AMJ pages is that AMP JS forces everything on the page to load asynchronously, which means one part of the page that is loading slowly will not slow down other aspects of the page.

Finally, AMP Cache is another key ingredient of the AMP platform that serves cached versions of AMP pages. AMP Cache improves loading speeds and reliability by serving cached versions of web pages that have been pre-validated to load properly to site visitors.

Who Uses AMP?

Due to the heavy use of AMP in Google Search, AMP was able to obtain 7 percent of all traffic to top publishers in the United States by early 2017, roughly a year after the project was officially launched. By May 2017, 900,000 different web domains were publishing AMP pages. The growth of AMP took another major leap in the summer of 2017 when Twitter started to link to AMP pages from their mobile apps.

Any third party is able to integrate in to the AMP platform as long as they comply with the protocol specifications. For example, 30 analytics companies and 120 advertising companies have participated in the AMP Project, building their own features along the way.

AMP has been so successful that even some of Google’s key competitors, such as Bing and Baidu, now link to AMP pages. Other major websites that link to AMP pages include Reddit, LinkedIn, WordPress, Tumblr, eBay, and Pinterest.

One of the key reasons for the massive adoption of AMP by the online publishing world (in addition to fast loading times) is that these types of pages also cut down on the amount of data people use when they’re not connected to a Wi-Fi router. By cutting away a lot of the junk, such as pop-ups, that are associated with the desktop browsing experience, web developers are able to also lower the literal cost of loading a page in terms of the effect on site visitors’ monthly mobile phone bill.

Does Your Website Need AMP?

At this point, AMP has become the way in which web browsing works best on mobile devices. Google has indicated that AMP pages sourced from Google Search results will load in less than one second. Third party reviews from CNBC and Gizmodo have also found large improvements in loading times when compared to traditional web pages.

To give users a user-friendly browsing experience on their mobile devices, especially when they’re visiting a website for the first time, implementing AMP is basically a requirement these days. With AMP, anyone who has their own website for business or personal reasons can be sure no one is going to change their mind about viewing a site while waiting for it to load.


Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who focuses on personal finance and other money matters. She currently writes for Checkworks.com, where you can get personal checks and business checks.

Top Web Design Trends for 2019

Let’s be honest, web design trends are moving much faster than most people would like but at the same time, the world is a much more beautiful place with some of the latest tends out there. It’s true, automation is slowly improving the online world and with unique illustrations and more detail, websites in general are a lot easier on the eye.

But what can we expect in the upcoming year in terms of web design trends?

Let’s take a closer look at the facts and some of the most effective web design trends for 2019:

Top Web Design Trends for 2019


Mobile First and Everything Else Second

Web design is changing at lightening pace and even the word “responsive” can seem a little outdated. Now, that’s not to say responsive no longer matters but simply top point out that websites need to be far more than just responsive to stay relevant and efficient in 2019.

On the other hand, progressive advancement and graceful degradation sound a little more contemporary or up-to-date. More importantly, the comparison between these two give reason for thought in the same way that responsive design did just a few years ago.

As you know, responsive web design simply means that a website will fit the screen and change according to various devices. Needless to say, this improves and simplifies the user experience.

Progressive advancement refers to a process in which the website is designed for lower browsers in a very basic form and then improved upon to make the site more advanced for tablets and PC. Meanwhile, graceful degradation starts by creating an advanced version of the website on desktop and then simplifying this experience for browsers with a lower capability.

However, the problem with graceful degradation is that designers are severely restricted when they start work on the mobile version. After all, they are now stripping down a superior design and creating a simpler version which merely resembles the original without the same functions.

For this reason, mobile first is the way forward in 2019 and the best option for web designers who want to create the ultimate mobile experience and then go about upgrading this even further for desktop.

Chatbots for Interaction and Discreet CTA’s

If you’re like me, you think that artificial intelligence is highly effective and if you listen to Elon Musk, you might even think it’s about to take over the world. Whether AI takes over the world or not, chatbots will be highly important to web design in the upcoming year.

You see, there is now an entire industry dedicated to chatbots and experts predict a market value of $1.3 billion just five years from now. In fact, most major companies and websites are already using chatbots from Facebook and Ebay to a deep black hole called Amazon.

But why are chatbots so important for web design?

Chatbots improve and increase user engagement. If designed the right way, these chatbots are highly effective at retaining customers and providing valuable information without delay. That is to say, conventional customer service is unable to match the speed of chatbots and as long as the information is accurate, most customers care more about receiving this data rather than how it came about.

As if that’s not enough, chatbots are thought to be less intrusive than a standard call-to-action (CTA). After all, most people are tired of the same old prompts to register, signup or buy now and more likely to interact with a useful chatbot through which they can find the most relevant information.

Long Form Content and the Slow Death of Sidebars

When Google released the Medic Update this year, it showed a clear preference for websites with long form content. Interestingly, long form content was often the most confusing and infuriating to read! However, times have changed and as the speed of internet continues to increase, it’s much easier to publish this type of content without it appearing like a slow and cluttered mess.

At the same time, web design can certainly enhance the experience and one way to do this is by using wide pages with less clutter on the screen. Yes, this includes the beloved sidebar and as we move to mobile first, we might be witnessing the slow death of the sidebar completely.

As you know, search rankings are essential for every website and so the importance of simplicity needs to be respected going forward. With this in mind, imagery and infographics are certain to become even more important for long form content and essential for containing a ten-page article within just two or three pages.

Although long form content is usually the product of a writer, web designers will need to respect this trend in 2019 and keep things simplified – especially when it comes to a blog.

Typography for Increased Personality

You might be familiar with Buzzfeed or Mashable and the large typography they use between images. There was a time when large letters and elegant font would have been unacceptable for most websites but opinion has clearly shifted and custom typography is on the rise.

You see, at a time when content is everywhere and saturation is high, typography is now one of the quickest ways to make a web page stand out. It’s true, you need interesting content to capture the reader’s attention but custom fonts can bring even more personality to the words and create a much stronger bond with readers in the process. As if that’s not enough, contrasting fonts can be used for headings and sub-headings and we all know how much Google likes to see a clear and structured set of headings.

In case you might be asking yourself, the likes of Buzzfeed or Mashable are not great examples of this process but for a little inspiration, click here or here or for something more retro – here!

Custom Illustrations for Story-Driven Content

Just a few years ago, Instagram Stories amassed more than 100 million users within a month and more than 300 million monthly users just a few years later. It was the start of a meteoric rise for the platform and pretty much the end of Snapchat. In fact, recent studies show that 45% of professional marketers are now utilizing Instagram as part of the content marketing plan.

But why am I telling you this?

Well, story-driven content was the most successful marketing tactic last year and there’s every reason to suggest this trend will continue. More specifically, an image is worth a thousand words and custom illustrations are the perfect tool for storytelling.

With this in mind, you should see that web design with integrated custom illustrations is far more likely to increase engagement. What’s more, custom illustrations tend to increase dwell time which is highly important for search rankings. In other words, the longer an online user stays on a certain page, the higher Google will rank this page in search results.

At the same time, custom illustrations just look better and while they tend to be more memorable than text, they are often more accurate when it comes to portraying a certain message or identity for the website.

Either way, custom illustrations are already popular and this trend is sure to continue in 2019.

As you can see, web design trends continue to change and there is now a clear preference for function over form. In other words, websites and procedures might look really nice but without the right functionality, they serve as little more than negligent distractions to the average online user.

Function Over Form: Development Vs. Design

The terms web development and web design are often confused and thought to be one and the same thing. The roles that are involved in each of the niches are often thought to be composed of similar elements. Although, it is true that some factors have to be considered by both the parties in order to reach a consensus since web development and web design are both interdependent. The fact remains that both of these two lines of work that are crucial to the formation of a website are actually starkly distinctive from each other. When it comes to the roles associated with web development vs. web design, both differ from each other on various grounds.

What is Web Design?

Think of web designers as artists that help in building a story or an idea into something that can be presented in a visually appealing aspect. They help build a layout for a website that achieves the client’s vision regarding the user experience of the website. A web designer is a person who is responsible for how a website looks and feels. A web designer does a job that is similar to an architect building a plan before starting construction on your house. The web designer is the person who draws out the initial layout of the website (just like the plans of an architect) before a web developer can input his efforts to develop (similar to the construction of the house) the website.

The role of a web designer is not as easy as it seems. They have to create the initial impression that you would have when you visit a website and, along with it, integrate the elements of user experience in order to create an environment which appears to be welcoming. They have to transform an idea into a design that can be used while also serving the purpose of being a great user interface. They also have the task of creating a site that catches the attention of the user. If the website fails to adopt a well-knit design strategy before the beginning of the project, then it is sure to fail. In today’s day and age a web designer enjoys the same respect as a web developer because it has been realized that great coding would be futile if the user experience that complements it is not done properly.

The elements of typography, colors, design, aesthetics, textures, unity, branding, user experience, user interaction, and emphasis all come under the purview of a good web design. All of the visual elements that are capable of making a website look great while also serving the goals of the client, whether that is lead capture, promotion of an event, or ecommerce. Web designing applications include programs like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Mockplus, and UXPin can be used to help build up the user experience of a website.

What is Web Development?

Web developers are those people who are capable of transforming the design aspects of a webpage into a live and functional website that is actually capable of working. Different kinds of software tools and web languages that are used for programming and coding are utilized by web developers in order to create a functional website.

Even web developers are divided further into two consecutive sub-categories. These two categories are namely back-end developers and front-end developers.

Front-end developers are those people who have some knowledge in both the fields of developing and designing. They are the connection between a back-end developer and a web designer. A front-end developer is responsible for building up the interface of the website and making the website interactive in order to connect the layout at the user’s end along with the back-end servers of the website. The most important programming languages that are used by front-end developers include HTML, CSS/SCSS, and JavaScript (JQuery, React, Angular, and Vue being the most popular libraries and frameworks).

Back-end developers, on the other hand, are those developers who are responsible for controlling the requests and the server data of the website. Most websites which consist of dynamic data as part of their database require services on the back-end. If a website is designed to serve the purpose of storing user information and making said information available at a later stage, creating and managing a back-end database is intrinsic. Database connections are required in order to manage such queries and back-end developers take help of programs like ASP.NET and PHP in order to write these kinds of database queries in MySQL, SQL, MongoDB, or other database languages.

Function over form: Web Development vs. Web Design

When you talk about form of an object, it basically refers to how the object looks, or what visual features it possesses. In the world involving the intricacies of building a website this aspect refers to the web designing department. On the other hand, function of an object refers to the purpose that the object aims to serve. In the world of websites, web development is the department that best describes this term.

In the words of the famous American architect Louis Sullivan, “Whether it be the sweeping eagle in his flight, or the open apple-blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, the branching oak, the winding stream at its base, the drifting clouds, over all the coursing sun, form ever follows function, and this is the law. Where function does not change, form does not change…It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law.”

What these words try to mean is that whatever be the entity, it is always the functionality of that entity which decides how the entity shall be formed. Modernism has impacted these philosophies and therefore led to the conception that it is the functionality of an object which decides how it should look. Even in the world of building a website, this notion holds true whereby it is the function of a website that decides how a website should look like or how it should be formed.

It is true that designing, in most scenarios, involves designing the website first before the developing is started. However, every time a web designer designs a website, he/she has to keep in mind the function that the web page is being designed to serve. A web designer must keep in mind the basic interactive experience that the web page must provide and the features that need to be highlighted in order to allow the users to do a particular task on the webpage. Therefore, it is without doubt that a web designer must always design a web page depending upon the factors that are most important to its functionality and thereby shape the webpage to look a particular way that best serves these functionalities. The web developer simply tweaks the web page at the end of the designing process to enable the functionalities that the web page has been designed to serve in the initial place. Hence the function is always considered before the form and the entire webpage is designed based on that, only to be programmed later to activate those functionalities. Therefore it can be easily concluded that in the debate of web development vs. web design, function always triumphs over form. This is especially true when you look at the goals of the client and the user interaction on that website. If a website has not been coded and optimized for SEO will not rank and will not draw visitors to it. If a website has not been optimized for user interaction, then the visitors who do come to the site will not give information or buy your product.

Many times designers use client sites to pad their design portfolios and win design awards, but this does not benefit the client at all. A pretty website will not generate as many leads or sales as a fully-functioning, optimized, and user-friendly site.

Why Should Your E-commerce Site Be Optimized?

When was the last time you reviewed and optimized your e-commerce site? If it’s been more than a year or two, it’s probably time to check in and tune up your site. All the work that you do to bring traffic to your site is wasted if people find its appearance dated or don’t have a good experience. You want people to glide effortlessly through your sales funnel, not meander or get lost in loops that don’t lead them where you want them to go.

Your brand has probably evolved since you built your site, and you want to embed your current branding deep in every corner of your website — including the product pages and shopping cart. But even if your brand hasn’t evolved much since you last optimized your site, the internet probably has. Your customers are comparing their experience on your site to their experience on e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Wayfair, and they have high expectations that can’t be met by technology from three years ago.

Check out this infographic on e-commerce optimization for a quick overview of the importance of optimization. The graphic covers a range of topics from how to tell if your site needs optimization to which optimizations are most commonly needed. It also discusses building optimization into your business model and includes a concise list of items to review on your site. If you’re looking for more detailed information, download this free e-commerce optimization whitepaper from CopyPress.

You can also learn more about Sales Funnels here – https://funnelengine.com/sales-funnel-examples

Louisville Physical Medicine

Dr. Louie Williams came to Design Web for digital marketing and a website for his physical medicine practice. He was establishing a new business and needed assistance with a new website, social media, email, and Google Maps. We were able to wrap everything up in a nice package and delivered a fantastic product that patients could use to find his office and register for treatment.

PATH Coalition of KY

PATH (People Against Trafficking Humans) Coalition of KY needed help with their digital marketing, so they came to Design Web to get launched on the internet. We were able to not only put together a great site, but also other print marketing materials as well. The website was able to give all of the relevant information needed for their non-profit while maintaining the look and feel of their brand. We also helped them put together custom email addresses for everyone in their organization. They now have a presence on the web that showcases the great cause they represent.

Intrepid Leadership Group

Kurt with Intrepid Leadership Group teaches leadership, strategic planning, inspiration, ethics, and team building with Veterans and Special Operators. He needed a way for students to not only register for his classes, but also get information about his courses. We were able to put together a website that promoted his business to businessmen, teens, and other team-building groups. Intrepid Leadership Group now has a website that captures leads and promotes the great work that they do.

Safai Logan Street Market

The folks at Safai Coffee are opening a brand new market in Shelby Park in Louisville, KY. They came to us with a need for a landing page to direct people to while they work on opening their market. We put together a great landing page for them that is helping connect them with vendors and other people who need information about the market. The site is full of movement and green colors to reflect the “green” sustainable nature of the market. We love this website and the concepts behind the market!

El Caporal

This was a delicious rebranding and redesign project!! Fabian with El Caporal, The Ville Taqueria, and Del Blanco Cheese came to us with a need for a website update for his authentic Mexican reastaurant. We were able to put together a bright, colorful website with full interactive menu that matched his design ideas exactly. Our affordable website options are perfect for small businesses, new restaurants, and more! Call us today to get a quote for your business website.