ThreadEx: Website SEO Performance
Performance is everything for a website, only with good user-experience comes SEO and social media growth. Read how we worked alongside a startup in Bristol to achieve better website SEO performance.
"Give your clothes a new lease of life by trading them on our revolutionary new mobile platform called ThreadEx." - https://threadex.co.uk/
ThreadEx is a new platform based in Bristol built to help clothing brand enthusiasts network together and exchange their favourite clothing. This is a sustainable fashion startup that's grown over the last 12 months and we've had the pleasure of not only getting to know the co-founders but also working alongside them with their online presence.
The ThreadEx Team
The team is made of Rob Wood, James Cory, and Zack Reed, the main players in ThreadEx. Rob is the active CEO and developer of the app while James is the head of marketing and security. Zack Reed spends his time creating high-quality designs for the app.
We have the pleasure of meeting up with Rob and James recently. These two kindly presented to us their pitch for ThreadEx and we were impressed with the level of detail they have already gone to - you can tell they have dedicated their free time to powering this start-up, it shows!
Rob is completing a Degree Apprenticeship in Digital Technology Solutions and is in his second year. He's in charge of the programming and design of the app and general management.
James is a Forensics Computing and Cyber Security Undergraduate. He is all things security and is in charge of spreading the word about ThreadEx.
Zack is a Multimedia Designer, connecting people to creative enterprise. Zack is in charge of designing our visual elements that appear in the app and on our social media channels.
ThreadEx want to prepare for a marketing campaign to rapidly expand their community. They selected a beautiful bootstrap theme that very closely matches their brand design and showcases their app with stunning visuals. However, it did suffer some major performance issues that we commonly see with these theme downloads.
Most of the theme's issues came down to very outdated libraries and bulky assets. Outdated libraries can leave the website visitor vulnerable and also hinder user experience when browsing a website. We also saw some worrying code that really showed the theme's age that we'd not often expect to see in production in 2020.
Our expectation was to put their accessibility and best practices score to a solid 100 and aim to upgrade their performance nearer the 70-80 grade.
Typically, we recommend a website to be running nearer 90/100 for performance to match modern website expectations a user has. If a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load on mobile, you're in trouble as Google did a study that 53% of visitors drop off if a page takes longer than 3 seconds!
Our expectations were lower than normal as the theme did have over 20 outdated libraries (more than 20 is a lot) and we weren't sure how well we could handle these without ruining the theme's design.
We should not have worried! We managed to do all the following in an afternoon:
- We managed to remove all of the outdated libraries and exchange them to use a modern package manager that allows you to easily upgrade libraries when updates become available.
- Lazy loading - a neat idea: you only download images on a webpage when they're within view of the user. So don't load a high resolution in the footer if the user never scrolled there!
- We added a build script using Webpack - this means all assets get compressed in realtime during development and production.
- We added PurgeCSS - this clever technology scrapes the website and removes any unused assets automatically.
- We spent a few hours applying best practice and industry standards within the code. The pay-off for this was huge and now allows ThreadEx to apply new features to the website at a much faster pace than before.
- Accessibility - the website now includes features that really do assist screen-readers and other accessibility tech
Those are the main highlights - there are some more boring but critical amends we also made that all contributed to the final release we published for ThreadEx the same day.
ThreadEx had nothing to worry about! We managed to set their average performance score between 85 and 95 on our averaged tests. The report above was our mean average overall, testing on a mobile device.
The main point to note was the accessibility. This score was capped to 97 - Google's reporting service recommends changing brand colours so visually impaired users can more easily read the content. We have passed this on, but with this test, we sometimes turn a blind eye as it's hyper-sensitive!
Both ThreadEx and us are really happy with the end result here - with the theme as it was, we expected it to be a bigger challenge which just goes to show using modern strategies can make all the difference even for old builds!