How well designed are Tasmanian business websites?

September 7, 2019

We analysed the websites of a handful of small business in Tasmania to see how they stacked up across good design metrics.

Case Study Overview:

Some recent down time sitting at the Hobart airport provided a great opportunity to run through a case study we've wanted to do for a while.

We analysed thirty small business websites in Tasmania to see how well they performed across a range of key factors and metrics.

These included:

  • website speed on mobile devices;
  • website speed on desktop computers;
  • basic search engine optimisation;
  • SSL security;
  • up to date content;
  • easy to find contact and social media information; and
  • mobile/tablet responsiveness.

We used a handful of small business directories to define the industries (including hair dressers, restaurants, cafes, insurance brokers, landscapers and architects) and where possible, used the first two websites we could find.

We only used Tasmanian based business.

For example, if a website was a chain or franchise, we didn't use it - focussing instead on primary businesses with a custom website to give a proper indication.

It's important to note that this was an in-house study only, done for our interest and not intended for any other reason. However, the case study produced some interesting results which we wanted to share to benefit all Tasmanian businesses and their online presence.

If you're after a summary on what we found, jump to the end of this blog post.

If you want to know more about the case study and what you can do, read on...

47 out of 100 image for mobile speed

1. Tasmanian businesses don't rank so well for mobile speeds

What we learnt:

We used Google's Page Speed Insights tool to analyse each of the websites.

It uses a range of factors to measure each website including when the first text or image is ready and how long it takes to load all the content.

The average of the thirty websites - a score of 47/100 for mobile devices (100 - best, 0 - worst).

The best measured was 94, and the lowest was a staggering 5.

It's important to note that some of the factors are tough to influence, even from a website developers point of view.

However the primary issue that the tool flagged for most websites is something that can certainly be fixed...

How to improve:

Of all the improvements, optimising images was by far the number one area of improvement for most websites.

This means reducing the file size of an image to a more appropriate number.

Simply put, if an image only needs to be, say, the size of an A5 piece of paper on your computer screen - but the file is actually the size of an A1, then there's a lot of unnecessary size and in turn, an increase in loading time.

You can head to our blog post on how we optimise images using Photoshop and ImgOptim. However if you're after a quick and dirty way - resize big images to a smaller size (i.e. lower than 1000px) using your favourite image tool (Preview, Photo Editor, Photoshop) and then run it through

70 out of 100 image for mobile speed

2. Desktop speeds were better however still suffered the same issue

What we learnt:

Overall, Tasmanian small business websites ranked better for desktop speed ratings - averaging 70/100.

The best was 99, and the lowest was 25.

These numbers suggest that, despite the increase of mobile device use, design for computers is still perhaps the focus for website developers.

How to improve:

Much like above, optimising images for file size was the common factor to improve page speeds for desktop computers.

image showing B- rating for SEO

3. Search engine optimisation (SEO) was okay, but commonly lacked two areas

What we learnt:

We used SEO Quake's on page diagnosis tool to grade the websites - with "A" ticking all the boxes in terms of page title, meta description, use of headings, use of alt images and a general overview. A grade of "D" lacked all of these areas.

Of the websites we analysed, the average rating was a B-.

This suggests that most websites had a basic level of good SEO implemented, particularly optimised page titles. However, most websites often lacked two areas.

How to improve:

The two areas were providing alt descriptions for images and a meta description.

While page titles and headings are important, and commonly used, around 50% of the website didn't have a meta description set.

Not having a meta description - the description that appears below the page title on search engines - isn't detrimental to a website, however could help improve rankings.

Alt descriptions are a label of what an image on a website represents, say for example the image doesn't load or someone can't see the image from an accessibility point of view.

You can add alt image descriptions in most website editors, including Webflow. Alternatively contact your website developer on how to do this.

Alt descriptions are important, can help tell search engines that your website is coherent and can improve search results.

50% ssl security graphic

4. Only half the websites had SSL security

What we learnt:

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the little lock symbol that appears when you visit a website, suggesting a secure connection between your browser and the server a website sits on.

Only 50% of the websites visited had SSL security.

Nowadays, SSL is the standard for a website - and aside from the security benefits, search engines can penalise a site that dosen't have SSL enabled.

How to improve:

Visit your website domain and look around the URL bar (where the address is in your browser) for the lock symbol, or lack of.

Browsers often highlight this symbol when it is active, or provide a flag when it's not.

If you don't have SSL security enabled, you can contact your website developer about activating this. If you need help around this or want some more information, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

40% websites with no recent content

5. Many websites lacked recent content

What we learnt:

We checked each website for signs of recent content, including up to date menus, blog posts or information - but if nothing else, checked the date often listed at the bottom of a website.

60% of websites had some sign of up to date content (within 12 months), however only three had very new (within two months) signs of visible updates.

Some websites don't need constantly new content, however across the range of industries measured, most could improve.

How to improve:

Firstly, ensure the dates across your website are relevant - some displayed 2012 as the date in the footer.

Visitors often look for up to date content - such as the latest menu offerings, upcoming functions etc. Make sure these are relevant and up to date.

Search engines also often look for, and promote, websites that have been updated recently - so you can also do a tidy up of any out of date content.

66 percent for social media information

6. Social media presence was strong

What we learnt:

Using the homepage of each website, we looked for immediately and easy to find social media links. This could include icons or direct links to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

66% offered this, suggesting the importance of social media these days.

A handful had no links on the homepage, despite being able to find them on social media.

How to improve:

Visit your website and look at it objectively from a visitors point of view - can you easily find social media information?

This is not to suggest plastering social media links and icons over your website, however if social media is important to your business, consider placing these cleverly in a menu or footer.

40% for contact information

7. It was relatively hard to immediately find contact information

What we learnt:

Times are changing, and as above, social media is a common way of contacting a business.

We rated each website on how easy it was to find a phone number, email or as last result - contact us page - on a website.

Only 40% had a phone number or email immediately present on visiting the homepage. Most websites had an easy to find contact us page, which is a good option however and where I'd look if I wanted to contact someone.

Four websites, from our perspective, had no immediately available contact information or an easy to find contact page.

How to improve:

Much like above, head to your website through the lens of a visitor. Is a phone number, email or the link to a contact page evident?

Placing a phone number or email in the header may not be appropriate for all businesses, but think about if this is available in the footer or somewhere else.

If you're a contact-reliant business, consider making your contact page, information or a form more evident for visitors to find.

17% had no mobile or tablet view

8. Most websites had a mobile or tablet view

What we learnt:

We used Google's Mobile Friendly Test tool on all the websites, most of which passed.

16.67% however came back with no mobile or tablet view, an essential for websites today.

The tool passes websites if there is a responsive view, however we did note that - whilst it worked on a mobile - 10 of the website's 'mobile views' weren't actually properly optimised.

How to improve:

Having your website legible on a mobile and tablet is a must in 2019.

You can use the tool to test your website, or jump onto your phone or tablet and enter your URL to check your own website

Wrapping things up

Generally, the Tasmanian small business websites we tested did well across the metrics.

However there were a consistent list of things that could be done to improve the performance of a website.

Here's the list of 7 ways you can improve your website:

  1. Optimise image files sizes
  2. Provide meta and alt image descriptions
  3. Enable SSL security
  4. Ensure content is up to date
  5. Add new content
  6. Check social and contact information is present
  7. Ensure mobile and tablet responsiveness

As always, each website is individual and have different requirements - but we hope the above information helps.

Running through the list based on the evidence, it's great to know that Wakeford Digital and the Webflow platform can tick all of these boxes easily and we're looking to continually improve each website across these areas.

Is your website performing like you need it to?

If you'd like anymore information or to discuss your website project - don't hesitate to get in touch with Wakeford Digital.

- Dom

infographic for ways tassie businesses can improve website
profile image of dominic standing on timber board walk on bruny island looking
by Dominic Anastasio
Owner and Creative Director Wakeford Digital

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