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Nonprofit Radio for November 6, 2023: Your Website Performance


Charles LehositYour Website Performance

The first of its kind, 2023 Nonprofit Website Performance Report reveals startlingly disappointing performance across nonprofit websites. RKD Group’s Charles Lehosit explains the shortcomings and how to make the advances needed, so your site’s vital signs improve.


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And welcome to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I am your aptly named host and the pod father of your favorite Hebdomadal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. I’d be thrown into Primo Dinia if you pained me with the idea that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate with what’s coming? Hey, Tony, your website performance. The first of its kind 2023 nonprofit website performance report reveals startlingly disappointing performance across nonprofit websites. RKD groups. Charles Laos. It explained the shortcomings and how to make the advances needed. So your site’s vital signs improve on Tony’s take two. Thank you were sponsored by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity. This giving season donor box, the fast flexible and friendly fundraising platform for nonprofits donor box dot org. Here is your website performance. It’s a pleasure to welcome Charles Laust to nonprofit radio. He has been described as an entrepreneur solutions, architect, strategist, technologist, and futurist. He’s got a lot of people describing him. Uh It’s uh it’s, it’s admirable just that you got that many people thinking about what you are as Vice president for technology at RKD Group. Charles develops solutions that answer nonprofits business needs. He’s a leading expert in application development, email marketing, lead generation, mobile development website development. We’re gonna talk a lot about mobile versus website and artificial intelligence. He’s on linkedin and the company is at RKD group dot com. Welcome to nonprofit radio, Charles. Thanks Tony. Nice being here. Nice to meet you. I’m glad you are. I’m glad you are. Thank you. We are talking about the 2023 nonprofit website performance report. Uh I’m sure you believe that this report was, is important. We needed it, right? I’m not gonna ask you, you know, but what, why, why should we be paying attention to uh the speed with which websites load? So um two things, one organic traffic is such an important source for uh traffic to your website and ultimately for your online revenue, right? There’s probably no nonprofit on earth would like to say, yeah, I, I’m fine to give up some, not some organic traffic from search. And so because of organic searches, like uh critical role in that valuable traffic. A lot of nonprofits are paying for um SEO or uh to optimize their website. And so this is um this is a, a critical uh component in that optimization and it’s something that nonprofits that are paying for SEO should doubly pay attention to because um you know, the it’s very easy to wipe out your seo investment. If you are, you know, you pay for seo and, and optimize a page, it’s, it’s not frozen in time as updates are made to that page, as updates are made to your site, you’re making impacts that are uh impacting your, your core web vitals. That’s some jargon. And uh and ultimately your, your page speed uh scores. All right. Well, we got a few things there. Now. What’s the jargon? You said, You said it so fast, I didn’t even catch it. So, uh Google, Google has coined the term core web vitals, core web vitals. CWVS. Of course, it’s common knowledge. You CWVS, it’s like EKG, you need an annual EKG. Uh you, you gotta watch your CWVS exactly a little bit, uh more frequently than annually. But, um, not every day, not every day. We do have some people that just obsess and I love you all that obsess over it just don’t obsess over it every day. Uh So core web vitals describe um the end user experience with your website and it’s completely defined by Google. And if we think about like Google has a pattern of doing this, right. Google has told us over the years that security matters. And if you don’t have an SSL certificate, if your website doesn’t have http S support in it, uh then that’s gonna impact your ability to rank and be found in search results. If your website doesn’t support, um, mobile, uh then that’s gonna impact your ability to be uh to rank in search results. I remember though, I remember those being issues that we, we have to pay attention to mobile now because whatever it was, 85% of users are opening page, we websites on mobile. So now we have to be mobile optimized. That was like that was like the uh there was a cry for a year or so, you know, um accessibility was another one. Exactly. Stability is important. Um And I remember the HTTP S too, the uh S we all got to get a HTTP S. All right, this is the, this is the uh it’s the, it’s the, that’s the banner call for the year. Now, we all gotta be secure sites. I remember these things. Exactly. So Google’s definitely ratcheted up like, you know, think of like security is important. No one’s gonna argue against that, you know, mobile optimized is, is, you know, in accessibilities board, no one’s gonna uh argue that but you think of the stairway of complexity and now it’s almost like they’re saying you got to leap three or four steps on this next one because they’ve really combined. Um There’s more than one metric and, and the core web viles where security was really binary is you either have, you know, an SSL certificate or you don’t, you are secure, you’re not and, and mobile optimized, you could argue is the exact same way. And so core web vitals are, um, are definitely uh more complex uh metrics for, for really all organizations. All right. So it’s, it’s, it’s more technical. We’re, we’re, we’re refining. I’m not sure, you know, uh a, a to me, accessibility is a big thing. Security. Very big thing. Mobile optimized. Very big thing. Um I, I mean, these are important. I’m not saying I’m not saying the report is frivolous but uh I wouldn’t have you on if I thought it was frivolous subject. You know, we I’d be talking to someone else naturally. So and so you would be too right now. So, so, so, so I’m not saying that, but we’re like, we’re, we’re getting uh more degrees of refinement. So maybe more precise, precise degrees of refinement of the, the our our internet experience experience. Google is trying to define what a good user experience is and that’s, it’s so hard, right? And so what Google is trying to say is that a good user experience starts with, how quickly does your content load, how quickly is the most amount of content available? And, and when your content is available, uh does it shift around? So when someone starts to, to read something on your page, does the content jump to another area and they have to go look for it uh like an Easter egg? And so that’s, that describes uh at a high level, the core web vitals and, and Google is really trying to say this is what um this is what makes up a good user experience. OK? And just make it explicit for us why Google gets this credibility? I mean, how, how much of search is still done on, on Google versus the, the, the, the alternatives? Yeah, like all of it. No, not all of it. It was like 99% and then 1% for bing and, and, and, you know, I think a lot of people in the search business are paying attention to A I agents and what they’re possibly doing to Google’s business. But the reality is that um Google search, Amazon search uh being searched. These are, these are um this is where people go to seek information, get questions answered still today. And so Google dominates that space and so that allows them and has allowed them for years to dictate the terms to say, you know, hey, if you want, this is what you need to do to um you know, be found by Google’s users, right? So what Google wants to do what they want to avoid is for, for you. Whenever you’re searching for something and you go to a result that Google’s put in front of you, they don’t want you to go to that result and then have such a poor experience that you come right back and you then maybe give up on Google and go somewhere else, go to Facebook or go, go somewhere else. And so um Google is, is uh you know, letting people know by these metrics, the folks that are, that have better co of violence that have better, they are performing better. They will uh outrank you if it’s one for one, you know, if you have the same similar content and um you think about like cancer research, so similar content, similar like health related articles, uh the article that has better core rev vitals is going to uh uh should outrank the, the, the other. OK. All right. Thank. Just wanna make this uh make it explicit why, why this is important. Um And clearly, there’s some Google self-interest too. They don’t want people to get results that they’re not satisfied with. Uh because you know, that’ll, that’ll hurt their, that’ll hurt their own, ranking, their own, their own experience. Uh People’s experience with them, I should say, yeah, and they have to provide value so they can provide more advertising. OK. Yes, we’re very concerned about their, their bottom line. All right. So these core web values, is that what is that the uh the multiple factors that are measured uh in the, in the report, these are the core web values. That’s absolutely right. Like overall, OK. So cool. Let’s start with uh just following your report. Uh Le let’s, let’s first tell folks uh cause I may forget later. So you have a lackluster host. I’m sorry about that. I may forget later to tell folks where to get the report. So where can they get the full report? Oh, gosh. Um So, well, it’s at the RKD group dot com group. This is our 2023 nonprofit website performance report. And if you Google uh nonprofit website performance report will, would be the first result. Um And yeah, we also have a blog post that I wrote um called Website Performance Matters and you’re probably failing at it. Um very cheeky there. Sorry. And that links to the this research um which is, you know, freely available for, for everyone, right? And the research also links to the blog post. We’re gonna talk about both because the blog post has the uh the what to do about the poor performance that you are uh that odds are you are experiencing? All right. So it just gave away a little bit, but let’s get into the details of the first uh core value, you know, vital, core value, we core web vitals, they are like vital signs, right? Your blood, you have to measure your uh your oxygen saturation, your blood pressure, your heart rate and your overall performance of your website. Exactly what, what is, what, what is overall performance? So it’s a, a cumulative score that’s based off of a lot of jargon. Um So let’s, let’s, let’s mention the jargon names and then we can unpack those, but the cumulative score is based off of first contentful paint. That’s 10% of your score speed index. That’s another 10% of your score. Largest contentful paint that’s 25% of your score. Total blocking time, 30% of your score and then cumulative layout shift, that’s 25% of your score. Hopefully that we’re gonna talk about some of these, the the content, especially the content full. Uh One the first, the largest we’re gonna, we’re gonna break these down. So not to worry uh Charles is not in jargon jail because uh we’re go, we’re gonna, we are gonna define these and talk about them. It’s time for a break. Are you looking to maximize your fundraising efforts and impact this giving season? Donor Box’s online donation platform is designed to help you reach your fundraising goals from customizable donation forms to far-reaching easy share, crowd funding and peer to peer options. Plus seamless in-person giving with donor box live kios. Donor Box makes giving simple and fast for your donors and moves the needle on your mission, visit donor box dot org and let donor box help you help others. Now, back to your website performance. So overall performance is a, is a an amalgam of the fact that the uh the vitals that you just mentioned, I love, this is vital signs. You know, it’s the health, it’s the health of your, you know, just like the health of your body is based on your weight and body mass index and like blood pressure, etcetera. The uh the vital signs of your website. All right, same thing. Uh Overall performance. Uh I, I’ll, I’ll leave the headline for you. How are we doing overall performance? So, overall performance, um you know, 80% of nonprofits are, are failing um at their core web vitals. And I, I think many are many more are paying attention this year than ever before. Uh But I think many are still, this is an area that’s new to them and, and where they need some uh some help with awareness and education here. And um you know, to kind of develop like new habits, new good habits, as you mentioned. Uh how do you keep your healthy, bo your body healthy, you know, the same, same kind of starts. So applied to your, your website uh when it comes to adding, adding new content, what are you eating? What are you putting into your website? Well, is that new image uh optimized for the web or is it, you know, a giant five megabyte file, that type of thing? OK. And now for each of these vital signs, uh they’re evaluated in mobile, you evaluated them. You, you, you, you did, you do the study or you just uh were you actually doing the, the, you were 2000 websites that you evaluated? Did, did you actually do the work? Did you actually do the work? Put the, put them in uh both um I came up with the, the concept and um I do a lot of this work uh for individual uh nonprofits like our, our clients at RKD. And so, um, you know, we started with, uh I think a list of uh 3000 nonprofits and uh that got whittled down a bit, but we had a, a really good representation of uh the industry and the different sectors uh within our industry. And uh so, absolutely. Um uh I was, you know, part of this part of this study. Um It’s, and you’re right, there is a, a desktop version of these scores and a mobile version of these scores. If you’re paying attention, you know, your desktop scores are a lot more forgiving, they’re probably a lot better than your bubble scores and your mobile scores. You probably wish uh you could ignore this. But what, yeah, we’re gonna talk about each, each of these factors, as I said. But why is it that overall mobile uh uh performance on, on mobile devices is much poorer than on desktop devices. Why is that? So, um it is, is primarily the, the amount of content that we’re putting into our, our pages, right? And so uh think of, think of anyone’s home page and there’s uh almost no end to what people feel like I need to. This is the f front page uh o of our, our online experience of our user experience. And so there’s so much there and we often want it to be interactive and so maybe we want video to it. And so video on desktop is more forgiving because most people have a broadband connection, video on mobile. Uh you know, Google will judge you over like a four G connection. And uh and so it’s less forgiving to have all of this like really heavy interactive experiences and content on on mobile. And so I, I think that’s a good spot to say like achieving 100 isn’t the end goal here. Um You know, we wanna have positive scores, we have good scores so that we rank well. But um sacrificing what you need to communicate, a message shouldn’t be the goal. Uh Meaning like here, here is a uh uh a dark page with light text, here’s a, a light page with dark text and that’s it like that’s, we’re not, no one’s arguing that we go there to that extreme. Although that would, you would score really well. Well, that was, yeah, but that was back in uh dial up and uh DS L days when, before, before we had images and everything was text and, and page load speeds were like 30 seconds. Yeah. And so um and, and some of the mobile scores are still impacted by um that like a four G connection uh time. And so we know we know that’s not everyone on mobile. And so we just have to be aware of that’s, that’s part of uh what, how Google is kind of ranking and judging our, our mobile scores and the report breaks it down by uh by sector. You have probably eight or so uh sectors for each of these vital signs. We’re not gonna go into them. Folks can get that kind of detail if it’s, you know, arts and culture versus education, etcetera versus human services, et cetera. But um we’re, we’re, we’re doing poorly in mobile. Uh I mean, the, the percentage of yeah across the board, right? It doesn’t matter what your sector. Um the um the the percentages of pages that either failed or were poor were poor or needed improvement is very much higher than the ones that were made it good. Unfortunately. Un un un very true. OK. And uh and desktop uh much different desktop scores, it’s across all sectors. It does. And, and one of the reasons for that is Google doesn’t put the same threshold of four G on desktop like it does on mobile. And, and so it’s easier to, to score higher on on desktop. And part of the reason that is also if we think about like where do we often start when we’re designing? So many are still starting from desktop and then thinking well, this all of this will just kind of scale for mobile but it’s mm it’s still quite a bit uh for mobile there. And it’s, it’s why, you know, if we, we think about what might it take to score better in mobile. It’s gonna probably take a lot more folks starting with a mobile design and scaling that up. Interesting. Ok. Ok. Uh ok. So let’s move to our, our next vital sign. 1st, 1st I I, the layman’s term is first piece of content. That’s exactly right. Yeah, but you have a fancy, you have a fancy term. What was it? So, first, contentful paint, first, contentful paint. It’s contentful or contentful. It’s, I guess it’s got to be contentful. It, it is, it’s paint 1st, 1st contentful paint. Exactly. Why don’t they just call it first piece of content? You know, why do these mit engineers need to need to complicate things? All right, it’s the first piece of content that loads on your site, right? That so it could be a text block or it could be an image or it could be, I don’t know your header or what, what? Right, any of those things could be first. And so this is really, um this me metric measures the first point in which the user can see anything, anything. And the first paint, um a, a fast first paint should happen in, you know, 1.8 seconds or less, which today sounds reasonable. But um you know, we start adding doodads and video and we start looking at it maybe a three second first paint and then all of a sudden you’ve got a lower score right over three was poor, isn’t it? Exactly. Exactly. Uh Right. So, between 1.8 and three was uh needs improvement and then over three was poor. Where did we get? So, attention deficit that three seconds is a, is, is a long time. Um That’s a, that’s a, maybe that’s a, uh when, when did we, when did we, uh when did the goldfish beat us on our attention? On an attention span? Right. That’s a metaphysical question. Uh Maybe more for a neuroscientist or something. So, uh but all right. So three seconds is poor for the first piece. And then we’re not talking about the whole, we haven’t gotten to the whole site yet. This is for all the content we’re talking about the first piece longer than three seconds poor. Exactly all the largest, the largest pain is probably a natural place to go next, right? So I just want, I just want to make clear that we’re uniformly bad. 1st, 1st piece uniformly bad on mobile, uniformly better at desktop. It’s so much easier to score better on desktop, right? OK. Yeah. Largest go ahead. Largest paint will be um the, the point at which the largest content is loaded. So that, that, you know, maybe just dropping content f and just call it first paint, largest paint in your head at work. So largest paint would be, when is the majority of your content available for the your end user, your visitor, your, your prospective donor or supporter. And this is you know, shockingly fast, right? This needs to be shockingly fast. So you think about if a good score is 1.8 seconds or less for first paint, a fast largest paint is still uh 2.5 seconds or less. And so it, it the majority of your content cannot uh take too long to follow the first part of your content. And in Google size, right? So still under we’re under three seconds, 2.5, 2.5 seconds. Yeah. And you know, there’s a lot of studies in the ecommerce world that, that show that the cost of doing business. If your ecommerce site, you know, if you could shave a second off of your ecommerce site, what that normally does to, uh to um revenue and conversion rate and, and we don’t like to think of donors and, and nonprofit constituents in the same way, but they’re the same people, the same people that are shopping on Amazon are on your web, right? Amazon and its ilk have raised the bar for, for all websites. People expect that kind of seamless performance uh experience uh because they get it from Amazon. So, so they’re ticked off when they don’t get it from your nonprofit. Exactly. But which is not really fair if Amazon can do it. Why can’t you? Well, uh, ok, because Amazon has, I don’t know, trillion dollar research budgets and tens of thousands of engineers and you don’t. But, uh everybody’s, let’s face it. Everybody is not that, uh, not that forgiving when they evaluate, uh, their experience with your nonprofit. Uh, I, I see that even, especially among, I’m thinking about board members who have their own businesses. Uh, they’re a lot more forgiving of their own businesses than they are of the nonprofit board that they sit on. Um. All right. All right. So, let’s, let’s take a break from, we’re gonna get to the next one after largest content, but uh folks can evaluate their own websites. Oh, yeah, the same, the same way you did, right? With the 2000 that you put in, where, where do, where do people go to evaluate their own site and, and have it measured quickly? Yeah, great question. So, um in Google, Google Page Speed Insights, uh the URL is page speed dot web dot dev, um you don’t have to remember that if you just Google Page speed insights, this page speed one word insights would be the second word. Uh This should be the first result for you and then put in your URL and, and keep in mind when you put in that URL, that’s just one page. You’re testing, you’re not testing your whole site. And so, um just keep in mind like in, in probably when you’ve got people giving you opinions on this, um like a board member, uh they might, if they took a peek at your scores, it’s probably just your home page, which is probably the most content heavy page and, and you have, you hopefully know your top landing pages that drive, uh, you know, your most valuable traffic and this, that and the other. So, uh, don’t just look at your home page, don’t just look at a donation form, take a look at your top landing pages and see how you’re doing, um, overall. Ok. Right. So that perfect sense. Yeah. Right. If you just put in your dot org and, and there, right. It’s just a home page, but you can drill down to those top pages that are, are that, that get the most hits that are most important to you and put those URL S in. And I did, I went to the tool. It’s very simple. It’s just like a Google, it’s just like Google search, just put a URL in and, and click and you’ll get scores on all these uh in all these factors, the vital signs, I don’t know what it’s called, but all the vital signs will be evaluated for your, for whatever URL you put in. I like that. I’m gonna just start calling it vital signs as well, like like respirations and and blood pressure. All right. Um Next one is our speed index score. What is this vital measuring speed index, how quickly your content um is visibly populated? So, uh this is just ultimately, how quickly does everything load? I know this sounds like it should already be captured uh in first paint and largest paint. It’s a separate metric for whatever reason in Google’s world and a fast speed index should be, um you know, 3.4 seconds or less. This is the whole page though. This is the whole page. Initially, we were measuring first piece of content, largest piece of content. Uh This is the entire page. This is the whole page. And do you think about the progression from 1st, 1st paint in 1.8 seconds or less? Largest paint? 2.5 seconds or less? And now the whole page in 3.4 seconds, it’s a, it’s not, you know, you’re talking about hundreds of a second milliseconds. It’s not a lot of time in between these things happening. All right. So 3.4. So the, the for the whole page, you’re letting you go over three seconds, but not, you can’t have 3.5 over 3.4 is needs improvement. Right. Exactly. And what was poor? What, what above what score is or above? What time was poor for the, the speed index score? Oh, gosh, let me actually look at the report on that one. Ok. I just, uh uh I’m just amazed by the lack of a lack of attention or lack of patience that we all have. I’m not, it’s not like I’m saying, I wait, I’m willing to wait 30 seconds for a page to load. And so a poor is together. But no, you’re actually right. A poor score is, um, so needs improvement is, um, sorry, I was actually reading the wrong thing. Um, it should be, uh, over four seconds for Needs for, uh, oh, so it gives you four seconds for the, it gives you four seconds. Yeah, for, for or for poor. Oh, over, wait, over four is poor. Ok. That’s not a lot of time for an entire page. Four seconds. And, and there’s so there’s research that sh that, that if people have to wait too long, they will, they’ll just go away. So um yes. And so what Google, you know what Google is saying is they’re seeing is like you click on a link and you come back or maybe you clicked on what a lot of people probably talk, you click on four links and you know, you’re, you know, you, you aren’t engaging with them or you’re not engaging with them long enough. So that Google goes like, ok, um you spent so many seconds here and it wasn’t enough, you know, this is quick, quick tangent, you know, but in, in Google Analytics four, there is a metric called an engaged session. And the default Google has deemed the default time for an engaged session is 10 seconds. And I, I think that most seconds that’s engaged, I think is engaged. I thought like 30 minutes is engaged. No, no, I think, and I think most of us would actually go like 10 seconds is, um, somebody just kind of window shopping. It’s just kind of like, what, where’s your phone number? What, where’s your address? Like 10 seconds is, and so in Facebook and Google’s world 10 seconds or more as an engaged session. Uh, but I think for a nonprofit that’s trying to make meaningful connections, uh You know, your metric should be, um, a minute, you know, it’s come on, I mean, I, I think Google needs more baby boomers. Uh, and, and, and great generation because we would say like 20 minutes is an engaged session. All right. Exactly. All right. Anyway, that engaging with a person anyway. But even a website, uh, 10 seconds. All right. Uh, yeah, a minute. It just doesn’t seem like a lot of time. I don’t, I mean, you’re reading things, I mean, videos, I understand videos are supposed to be 90 seconds or less. Um, all right. What a world we’re living in to flush it out like this. I mean, I’m, we’re all living it every single day but to talk about, to talk about these speeds, it’s, uh, it’s almost surreal that II I, it’s, yeah, it’s surreal. It’s hard to, hard to imagine it being true now for, uh, our nonprofit friends out there and, you know, when you’re ready you can change your, you can customize your definition of an engaged session and so your engaged session doesn’t have to be Google’s, um, you know, 12th definition you in the future, you can change it to be 30 seconds to a minute, 20 minutes, you can do that. But if you have Google Analytics for off the shelf with that, uh, default setting, it’s 10 seconds. Ok. All right. But it’s changeable. All right. At least, at least the thing is forgiving uh to by human, by, at least by my human standards anyway. All right. Um Let’s deal with accessibility. We’re, we’re doing, this is a good one. We’re doing, we’re doing, we’ve improved over the past many years and this one is the, the best of all the scores that we talked about. All the vital signs that we’ve talked about so far. I agree with you. I agree with you. We’ve in our physical uh locations. We are, have made our physical locations more accessible and inclusive. Uh It’s important that we make our online um content more accessible. Charles is Charles is showing the thickness of his glass. Charles has bad, bad eyes. All right. And so uh I’m not the only one and so we um Google is, is definitely made accessibility um a factor. And so um this is not a hard one to get, right? And you want to get this right? Is it actually 100% overlaps with Seo. So, you know, the alt text on an image. Well, that’s part of accessibility and that also is needed for Seo your good, good page headlines, good page titles. Uh good uh contrast so that people can read. So we’re not doing uh Tony. Let me, let me hear your thoughts on um gray font on a like really light gray font on a white page. That, that, that sounds terrible. I mean, 61 I would be, I would be squinting. Why does this have to be so hard to read? So, yeah, that um contrast is uh important and because it makes it easier to read. And so Google just has seen from people that um where things are, are hard to read. Um whether or not accessible for uh folks, they, they leave and they don’t come back. All right. Uh Th those are the vital signs that uh that I’d like to cover because I want to spend the rest of our time talking about what to do about these issues that you will have discovered when you go to page speed insights uh tool that, that Google tool. Um All right. So you have some advice about uh what, how to prioritize because you know, we, we wanna, we wanna have a good experience for our users. We also want to rank high as high as possible in Google search results. So how do, how do we approach the, the uh the remedy to, to what we, we are likely to discover because we’re all doing so poorly, especially especially in mobile. So um the, I guess I would say step zero is make sure that this is a priority for your whole team. Um You know, if you have a, a partner, uh it’s like an seo specialist or an agency that’s working with you, it can’t just be a priority for them because if you have different team members or even different teams that are creating content, uploading content, uh updating content on your website. Um You know, your, your website is rarely a static set and forget it thing. It’s, it’s um always being updated and touched. And so any investment that you make, um really, you have to have uh step zero b everyone on your team, everyone with your organization that touches the website has to be um you know, following um your own guidelines for uh your healthy vitals uh to have your, you know, healthy and positive vital signs once you’ve got that cause that’s really gonna be whether or not, hey, you know, I spent so much money I invested in, in improving this. And is it going to be the just as good as it was when the investment was delivered, the work was delivered or is it, is it eroded? We would, we really want to avoid uh wasting that investment. So, uh once you’re past steps here, I recommend that you do an audit of your website tags. And so these used to be um hard coded pixels. You know, people used to put a Facebook pixel and a Google pixel and every other pixel like hard coded into their site and we were taught. All right. That’s not the best way to do it. We have moved all of our tags to a tag manager, like Google tag manager or TLI m most nonprofits are using uh Google tag manager, so we’ll stick with that. And so that’s a good thing. Google tag manager makes it easier to control like where a pixel loads where, where an advertising tag loads or doesn’t load. Um What uh I think too many people do is they add tags and then they, but they’re not actually going back and saying what shouldn’t be here anymore. And so, uh here’s a, here’s a little question for the audience is uh how many of you out there uh have Google Analytics three tags still uh loading and your tag manager um As Google Analytics three isn’t capturing, isn’t collecting data for you anymore. And I bet, I bet it’s more than zero. So the tags and this is a, here’s a, here’s another uh neat trick to try. They call it a trick. It’s not, it’s not a trick if you have the ability to have a, like a staging environment for your site. And I hope that you all do. So if you mean, if you have a developer environment where you can make changes and it doesn’t, it doesn’t impact um the your, your site visitors experience do your page speed insights with no tags, like no tags on your, your staging side and see and then, then take a look at what the uh the same uh page speed score is with your production site with the tags on. That’s the cost of all of the, you know, conversion tracking your digital analytics. Um That’s the cost of, of, of that. And I’m not arguing like we, we need that knowledge, We need that information, but there’s a cost to it. There’s an expense and it’s going to impact your, uh, your vital signs. Uh, it’s gonna ultimately impact the, um, the page, uh, the page speed as the time to load the page will be like, do you have 200 tags, 300 tags and tag manager? And it’s all of those are loading. And so, um, it’s good for you to see the total cost of those. So you can know. Well, how often do I need? Can I, can, I just do spring cleaning once a year? Do I needed to have a program where we are looking at, um, retiring tags and removing tags every quarter? Um, it’s probably not, it doesn’t need to be that frequent as every quarter. But if, um, you’re not looking at it at least once a year, chances are, you’ve got like dozens of tags that could be, um, retired and removed and, and that are adding to your, that are lowering your score. It’s time for Tony’s take two. Thank you, Kate and thank you for listening to nonprofit radio. I am grateful that you support the show that you’re listening to the show and I understand you might not listen every week, right? You might see a topic doesn’t work for you, but overall you’re subscribing and listening. And I am grateful I’m channeling you. I’m thinking about what topics interest you, guests, interest you, even while I’m talking to a guest, the questions that you would wanna ask. So I’m doing what I can to encourage you to listen and, and I’m, I’m, I’m glad that you’re there. I guess that’s all to say. I don’t take our listeners for granted. I’m grateful that you’re listening and I’m working hard along with Kate each week to uh keep you alone. We want you listening. So, thank you. Thanks for being with us. And that is Tonys Take two Kate. Thank you so much, nonprofit family for sticking with us and for staying with the pod father at Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Thank you. All right. Yes, absolutely. Grateful for our listeners. Well, we’ve got Buku but loads more time now, back to your website performance with Charles Laos are tags getting added incrementally as, as content updates. Is that what happens to me? I thought tags were were, well, I had a misunderstanding about tags. Uh I, I thought they were just to describe o overarching, you know what the page is about. Oh no, no, no, that’s so there’s a tag in like wordpress can describe uh the content or the like, you know, describe maybe an image. Are we talking about page? Are we talking about page level or talking uh talking about um uh the the page level? But it’s not in the not in like your content management system, this would be uh like a Facebook pixel so that um your, so that Facebook can know whether or not this person converted on a Facebook ad or Google Google level where Google can know this person converted on a Google ad or, and that type of thing. So all of that, those are all pixels and tags that end up getting loaded on your site. And so those, you know, we, they were originally called a pixel, which sounds like a really innocuous thing, but really anymore, they’re a bit a piece of code that can load or pixels. And so it’s a bit of javascript that can load more code and, um, and it ultimately impact the, uh, the, the how fast or how not fast your sites. OK. OK. That’s for our, for our listeners and for me that that’s sufficient level of detail on tags. Pay attention to your tags, audit them. Sounds like semi annual, you know, twi twice a year or somebody should be paying attention to them at least once a year. I would, I would say at least once a year if you have, uh, you know, under 100 tags, if you have like, uh like 300 tags or more, then this should be a semi annual uh routine for you all. Ok. Excellent. Thank you. Uh, sliders. You’re concerned about sliders. Now, sliders is that these are these images that when you open them, I guess they’re mostly on a home page. But no, they could be other pages too. That’s true. I mostly see them home pages though. The, the, the images slides and there’s five or six dots for you to know how many, how many images there are gonna be or you can select them. Is that a slider? That’s exactly right. That’s a slider. These things. Uh They’re not so they’re not, they’re not so vogue anymore. They’re not um they’re a little out, they’re out there. I still see them around. I didn’t know people have a hard time letting go of their sliders. Right. OK. Why, why are they not as popular as they were like, what, three years ago or just or so? Was it in four years ago? Yeah, you’re right. No, they, they were the standard um three or four years ago for sure what happened, what happened to sliders. So, user experience experts and Google folks like Google have really been steering us away from um sliders where you have one space that has five messages, seven messages and it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, when you’re talking about that that main hero spot on your home page that first loads. There’s I I completely understand why you wanna have. Well, here’s message one and here’s message two. Totally understand why. Uh That is the um that’s gonna result in the, the, the biggest loss in in your health, your uh health vitals, your core web vitals. Um especially if you have, you know, 357 images. It’s not the text that loads in it. It’s the, the images because all of those images load on your site uh in the slider. And so it’s adding to the overall weight of the site. And um kind of a AAA good little sidebar on sliders is the um not enough nonprofits are optimizing the images for the web. And so, you know, it’s, it’s uh very common to see a one like every image to be one megabyte or larger. And so then, all right, you’ve got three images that’s three megabytes, five images, five megabytes and you’re talking about over a four second load time on mobile for sure. And so um here’s a little, a little secret for anybody. It’s free, tiny PNG, tiny PNG. Um you drop drag and drop your images into tiny PNG and they will, it’s a free service and it will uh give you an optimized version. So uh if you’re working in, I don’t know Photoshop, you’re playing around with how much compression should I do or don’t do, don’t do that just drag and drop your images to tiny PNG and um and use that free service to make sure the images on your site are optimized for the web. Cool. Well, I love free resources, tiny PNG dot com. Yep, that’s it. All right. All right. So sliders. So I get for, for, for folks that never implemented sliders when they were popular when they were vogue. So now you’re ahead, you, you, you, you’re so far behind, you’re ahead. You didn’t, you never did the sliders. Now, you’re, now you’re ahead. So it was, it was valuable. So it was worth it to not to not be, not be uh cutting edge. Now, that sounds like my approach to fashion. So yes, that is uh behind your head. That’s exactly right. You’re waiting for bell bottoms to come back. I am too. I know I am. I, I’m waiting to take out my bell bottom suits again. Um All right, sliders not so popular. Not a good idea. Uh The technology changes, I guess because they were, they were the seem to be the standard for website design for, for uh I don’t know how for how long, but I’m thinking like four or five years ago, they were, they were very popular. Lots of, lots of sites converted to the big, big bulky slider files. It was innovative at the, at the, when they first came out, it was innovative because like my, my, it solved the problem. My problem was I need to highlight more than one thing. OK. Yeah. All right. Uh What else? Uh We talk image optimization. I know that’s I snuck in there. Um tiny P NGA really great resource, tiny PNG for wordpress users has a wordpress plug in. Um They have a paid service and tiny PNG also um will let you put in a URL for your, you know, like similar to page speed inside. You can put in your um the page URL and it’ll analyze all of the images on that page and it’ll let you know um where you can do better and then it will offer you a download to have all of those images uh fully optimized. It’s I mean, oh my gosh, what a what a valuable free service. It’s, yeah, we love it. We love it. All right, tiny PNG dot com. Um You have something to say about light boxes, light boxes. So these are pop ups. These are moguls we’re going to call it but you can see but you lightbox, you can see through it, right? Light box where it’s semi uh semi transparent, semi opaque. These also had their moment. Uh I think, I think lightboxes came before sliders, I think. Yeah. Well, the definitely the, like the advertising pop up, that kind of I think introduced this idea of like, hey, why do I do that on my own side? Like I’m not, I I’m trying to say this is what I want you to focus on right now. This is the most important thing for you. So yeah, join our newsletter, sign our petition. OK. Light boxes are, are they, are they out like sliders or they’re, they’re just, you need to be judicious about their use or what we need to be really judicious. Google has um really judicious to the point of don’t use them if you are. All right, Charles trying to nail you down. All right, you don’t have to be so definitive. But if you’re in a competitive market, if so, if you’re um if you’re a food bank use them, you’re, if you’re a food bank, you’re probably not competing with another food bank in your immediate area, use them. Uh If you’re in a competitive market, let’s say, let’s call it cancer research for it to be easy. You could, you could say disaster relief. Uh If you’re in a competitive market. Um Google has said uh light boxes are no on mobile, light boxes are no mobile. So if you are using lightboxes and mobile, that’s a problem. Uh And, and Google is saying that uh translates to a poor user experience. And so lightboxes, that means if you’re, if you’re in that space where you have more competitive peers, we’re not, we might not be saying that you directly compete with them, but there’s a lot of uh competing options. Um then uh lightboxes, you should focus on lightboxes on desktop only that if you’re in a space where you’re the only one focusing on animal welfare in uh Lawrence, Kansas, you’re fine to do cause then you’re not really competing for ranking and um uh animal shelters in, in Lawrence, Kansas. And so you find to use light boxes on bubble and desktop, just know, ultimately, there is a cost to that in, in your core web vitals, but it’s um black boxes and mobile for competitive uh markets really, really risky to your organic search traffic. Help me understand lightboxes versus pop ups. Are they, are they now the same when you’re, when you’re saying light boxes do you, are you including pop ups? No, I I was distinguishing but, you know, again, you know, lackluster host. Uh I don’t work in tech, I work in planned giving fundraising. So to me, a light box was, was a pop up that you could see through and a pop up was a pop up. That was um ok. Couldn’t see. 00 OK. I was talking about a pop up. That was so my, my, my definition of a pop up was more of the, the lightbox that was um opaque. But I guess because I think, you know, you know, the definition. So let’s describe it as um if it’s a pop up and it doesn’t block any of the background behind it. I mean, it, I mean, it doesn’t have any shroud then uh Google is OK with that. If it, if you have a, a pop up that has, or, or a light box, it has a shroud, meaning it’s semi opaque, it’s semi transparent but it blocks content in the background or your access to it. Then uh that’s what Google is saying. That’s a nil on mobile if you’re in a competitive market. OK. All right. And clearly, uh my definition and my understanding is outdated. Don’t be surprised. Uh So pop up, pop up is what we, we refer to them as pop ups. I mean, I’m sorry, we refer to them as light boxes. That’s what, sorry, I’m sorry. All right. Light boxes, light boxes, stop saying pop ups. That’s the last time I’m gonna use that word, the light boxes. All right now, you know, I’m not following this the way you are. Um What, what else should we focus on Charles you got in there in order to make sure your content loads the fastest you should be using what’s called a CD N which is uh a content distribution network. Um You really wanna seek hosting solutions that are integrated with the CD N so that you don’t have to try and solve for this separate. But um you know, so a hosting solution for those of you on wordpress uh WP engine has uh a built in CD N for you and you should take advantage of that for anyone. Uh That needs a separate solution, cloud flare, cloud flare has a really great uh and, and really, really cost effective CD N for you um to help um essentially deliver your content faster. So um the concept this, what this used to describe is that your server might be in California and your site visitor might be in DC. And so the CD N will host images and on their servers closer to DC. So that, that request doesn’t have to go all the way to California to go get the content to go all the way back to DC. And so instead um us clo uh a CD M like cloud flare might have uh your images on your site posted in uh like uh North Virginia data center. So that it’s um that site visitor had accesses your, your site content, faster CD N, faster content CD N content distribution network. Yep. OK. OK. And then you have some advice specifically for WordPress since WordPress is such a popular hosting uh creation platform, WordPress. Um So many nonprofits are on WordPress and uh really, so many websites are on wordpress. And so if you’re on WordPress, um you should really be on WP engine as your uh web host unless you’re doing something. Um There’s a, there’s a few people that maybe W pigeon is w pigeon isn’t the best option for. But the most part, if your website is um um gosh, how, how do I qualify this for you? I under under 10,000 pages WP engine is a really great option for you. Under 5000 pages WPN is a really great option for you. WPNWPWP one. You wanna make sure you want to ask your tch and consultant or if you’re on like you have one Go Daddy hosting, this is not something you want to stay on. Go Daddy hosting for your site. You wanna eventually go OK? If I’m that some of the things that you would do to optimize your health scores or optimize your core of vitals, you can’t do without a proper host. So WP Engine is a proper host for wordpress sites. Uh Go Daddy, sorry, go Daddy. Not so much for you. Um Within WP engine, there is uh an option called uh WP Engines Advanced Network that um is like a, a easy button for uh page performance and page speed. And so uh if you’re on WP Engine, it’s, you’re probably not using that yet. And so definitely uh ask um your website partner, your uh internal technical folks to about the advanced network. The, the next thing for wordpress would be Gutenberg. Uh Gutenberg has been out for a number of years now. Gutenberg uh is the, this is funny to, to say it’s the native editor in wordpress. So meaning like when you, when you are on wordpress, when you are editing content, the native editor that ships would wordpress is Gutenberg. Well, it wasn’t the first editor that ship would wordpress. And so over the years, people worked with their favorite editor that came with so many bells and whistles to make it, make it easier to edit content. Well, those legacy editors um are load the content loads slower than content and Gober and so um people have actually um there was a, a button to defer like I don’t wanna use Gutenberg and I’m gonna, there’s actually a plug in, they would use to Defer uh Gutenberg and push that back. And uh definitely, if you’re, if you’re building a, a new site in 2024 in wordpress, it should be in Gutenberg. It is uh your se your seo um uh consultant or partner will uh will love you for that and so will your pay speed scores? OK. It’s all about the vitals. All right, Gutenberg, go to the original, go to the original printing press, use the Gutenberg. Here you go. We’ve come full circle with uh with technology there, right? All right. You have one more. I got Auto for WordPress, WordPress develop sites. Yeah. So this is again an easy button. And so auto optimize will um gosh, you wish you had this for your own uh life where your body would just sort of exercise itself and would avoid um any kind of bad eating habits. But auto optimize is uh does a lot to advance and improve your page speed scores. Um It’ll also improve your uh images and um also um make your, your, your sight load a lot faster. It is um going to be a lot less expensive to test out auto optimize and see. Did it break anything? Is it, did it, did it improve anything than to uh you know, hire a really expensive uh consultant to do all this work by hand. So definitely um consider if you’re on wordpress, test these things, test these things in a staging or development environment, meaning not in a live environment where we might break something for a site visitor or a donor. And so when we test these things in the staging environment, we can say, oh, this doesn’t break anything and it gave us a 30% improvement to our scores or 50% improvement to our scores. We’ve seen some really drastic um improvements to scores with auto optimized and it’s, it feels like in some ways it’s the easy button for uh wordpress sites, Charles. We’re gonna leave it there. All right. So the, the uh the report is 2023 nonprofit website performance report. You’ll find it at RKD group dot com or just search that report name. Uh And I think, you know, uh to the uh you, you, you’re looking at your own scores like bone density and A one C and cholesterol and triglycerides and uh total cholesterol and uh high density and low density lipoproteins. You gotta look at uh you know, you gotta look at your, at your first piece of content, largest content, your speed index scores. These are all vitals, vitals. Are you looking at your own health, health metrics every day? Right. So, is there a parallel? I mean, uh, well, a little more often, I mean, we hopefully you’re doing a uh primary care physician visit once a year and eyes and uh, dentists should be twice a year. So some of these things are a couple of times a year, right? Some things we obsess over, like you might obsess over blood pressure more than triglycerides. But we’re, we’re, it’s all, it’s all in a balance, right? Is that a fair analogy? It is. I think if you’re obsessing over it daily, that’s an unhealthy obsession. And, and I think if you develop good habits, like you would with, uh, your own, uh, diet and exercise routines then for your website, um, like that priority zero or step zero, I talked about then, um, then you shouldn’t be surprised when you are looking at your core. We vitals, uh, quarterly or semi annually. Um, I would look at it more than once a year, but I wouldn’t look at it every single day. That’s just, uh, when you see a change, uh, on any given day. Yyy, you know, it’s, it’s, I, I think that is, uh, uh, a distraction. All right, Charles Lajos, he’s on linkedin RKD Group is at RKD group dot com. Charles, thank you very much loved it. It was a pleasure. Thank you. Next week, it’ll be one from the archive. If you missed any part of this weeks show, I beseech you to find it at Tony Martignetti dot com were sponsored by donor box. Outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity. This giving season donor box, the fast flexible and friendly fundraising platform for nonprofits donor box dot org. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. I’m your associate producer, Kate Martignetti. The show’s social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guide and this music is by Scott Stein. Thank you for that affirmation. Scotty be with us next week for nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.