The importance of website speed

Website Speed Tips

There are two key reasons why website speed is important:

  1. Google uses website loading speeds in its page-ranking algorithms.
  2. Nearly half of all users abandon a web page that takes more than three seconds to load.

So, if you want your customers to find you via search engines in the first instance, and stay long enough when they do to make a purchase, you need a fast-loading website. Most experts recommend that website loading speed should be below two seconds.

Here’s how to get your website working faster.

Test your website speed

First things first, find out how fast (or slow) your website already is using any one of a number of free website speed testing tools. We like Pingdom and Google Developers.

It never hurts to check out the competition, so why not see how your main rivals’ sites are performing too, and aim to be better than all of them?

Speed Test

Optimise images

Page speed is directly related to how much demand is placed on your server, thus loading images – particularly large, high-resolution ones – will significantly slow your website down. Make all the images you use as small as possible without sacrificing quality, ideally below 70kb.

There are lots of free tools that let you compress images; we like TinyPNG.


Cache pages

Enabling caching can help reduce your website response times, as your site will only have to create the content once instead of every time the page is visited. If your hosting service provider doesn’t provide server-side caching, there are numerous software add-ons and configurations available that’ll let you do this. We use PHP to enable output buffering, more can be found on this here.

Improve and optimise coding

Writing code efficiently helps to reduce the file sizes, thereby improving your website speed. Use shorthand coding wherever possible, utilise all the coding space available (ie delete extra spaces, indentations and line spaces), and minify CSS code and JavaScript (Google recommends minifying all JavaScript files over 4096 bytes).

Use a content distribution network (CDN)

A CDN typically reduces the distance that data needs to travel to the end users, thereby improving website speed.

CDNs are quick and easy to implement, with many taking only a few minutes to set up. We’ve experimented with the Amazon AWS Platform which is easy to setup but offers a host of advanced features.


Having a website that looks great and functions well is important, but you mustn’t overlook the importance of website speed. A fast-performing website provides a better experience for your users and, crucially, improves your search engine ranking.

What makes a successful ecommerce website?

What makes a successful ecommerce websiteAll online businesses that directly sell their products or services online need a great ecommerce platform; it’s essential to their ongoing success. It’s important that the website makes it as easy and convenient as possible for visitors to buy online.

In this blog we discuss some of our recommended features to help you increase your online sales by improving your visitor experience.

So which features should you consider for your ecommerce website?

Simple navigation
No one likes walking up and down the aisles of a shop unable to find what they’re looking for. Customers of an online store are the same – but with an even shorter attention span. A good ecommerce site must enable a shopper to find want they’re looking for quickly and easily. There are no hard and fast rules as to what makes a simple navigation system, but it’s generally agreed that the less clutter, the better – ie remove the less important destinations from the main navigation and place in drop down menus or the site footer.

An obvious ‘help’ function
Even more frustrating than not being able to find what you’re looking for is not being able to find anyone to ask for help. Make sure that your ecommerce platform includes a clear link to help – whether that be a list of FAQs, live chat, or a phone number.

Special offers and promotions
You only have a few seconds to grab a shopper’s attention and keep them on your site; special offers and promotions are a great way of doing this. Everyone likes to think they’re getting a bargain, so whatever your offer – free shipping, discounts, or a gift with every purchase – make it stand out on your home page.

Complete product information
Don’t leave your customers with any questions about what they’re buying. The more information you provide about a product, the more they’ll feel they can trust you (and the better experience they’ll have as they won’t be searching around for more detail). Always include a list of the product features and the full specification, including measurements where possible.

Appearance is key. Include multiple photos of your product from different angles (ideally the full 360 degrees), and enable customers to zoom into specific areas, so they know exactly what they’re getting.

Customer reviews
Reviews are key to building trust. Not only do they provide more information about the product, they also give an insight into the level of customer service that your company provides. Don’t be afraid of bad reviews – responding to them quickly and effectively shows that you care what your customers think of you.

Alternate product adverts
Amazon is legendary when it comes to cross-selling, and there’s no reason why your ecommerce site shouldn’t take a similar approach. Make sure you strike a balance between encouraging your customers to look at other products and being too pushy – what you don’t want to do is put them off completing the transaction they’re already committed to.

A ‘recently viewed products’ feature
Ideally, every visit to your website will end with a sale. Realistically, many shoppers will navigate away from your page and come back at a later date. Adding a ‘recently viewed products’ feature gives your customers a more enjoyable shopping experience when they return, as they’ll easily be able to find the items that interested them previously, encouraging engagement and, crucially, conversion.

What’s New categories
Hopefully your website will attract a loyal customer base, with most shoppers making repeat visits. Keep them interested by adding a prominent ‘what’s new’ category so they can get excited about recent additions to your range.

Easy-to-use check out
You’ve got visitors to your site and you’ve got them interested in buying one of your products; don’t fall at the last hurdle by making it difficult to complete the transaction. Keep this page as simple as possible – both in terms of the information you collect and the information you display. Help your customer to focus on the task in hand by taking away the navigation and leaving them with only the essentials (your logo, the form to fill out, and a next button), the fewer distractions, the better.

Secure online payments
Absolutely crucial to customer trust – and your credibility as an online retailer – is the ability to take secure online payments through your ecommerce platform. This is not an area where you can afford to cut corners.

Ultimately, your ecommerce platform is your shop window, your catalogue, your staff, and your reputation. It needs to be captivating, easy to use, convenient, informative and secure. There are lots of good off-the-shelf ecommerce platforms available such as Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento, but bear in mind that they can be difficult to modify to your exact requirements. If yours isn’t an off-the-shelf business, if you want to stand out from your competitors, and if you want to deliver first-class customer service, it may be worth investing in a bespoke ecommerce platform like Kick Commerce – a custom built application which can be tailored to your business’ specific needs. Your ecommerce website is a great opportunity to establish yourself as a leader of good user experiences – don’t waste it.

Benefits Of Email Marketing

With its potential to achieve direct focus on your brand, product or service to your target market email marketing is considered one of the most efficient online marketing tools available today and should be an important consideration for any marketing team.

Email marketing makes use of e-mail to deliver information, data and any other information for a certain business to their audience thus successfully transmitting what the business wants their target-market to learn without having to spend large numbers in regards to marketing strategies. For businesses that are looking for a powerful way to communicate whilst keeping down costs, Email marketing could be the key.

Email Marketing Types
Most businesses utilise email marketing in 2 distinct ways, direct sales or informative news. Both methods should use an opt-in list of quality email contacts.
Sales emails provide your business the ability to introduce related items of purchased products to the customer or up sell to the customer by offering other details such as extra benefits for which a customer might be interested to take up.
Another way to do it is through direct email marketing. Direct email marketing contains the delivering of product information straight to the client. This can be a catalog or a special offer that might be unique or not to the intended recipient. Your business should make use of your subscribers’ opt-in record or even buy a list, we’ve listed a few places you can buy email lists.

Selectabase –
Experian –
Creditsafe –

Email marketing your businesses to talk about or show your latest products and promotions more quickly than using other traditional marketing techniques. Unlike twitter, Facebook and linkedIn you are able to put your message directly in front of your audience without them having to look for you. Following are some benefits of e-mail marketing when it is done in a proper way;

1. Easily target big audiences
Using the help of email marketing, you can now send your message to a bigger group with just a single mouse click. This is of more advantage for conveying any breaking news to a bigger number of customers quickly. It gives you the chance to work with your potential customers, getting their attention and helping them to do more with your updates.

2. Follow up sales
If a customer purchases an item from your website you can send them details about other relevant items to those they have bought. In the same way, it can be used for services associated to the products they have purchased. This kind of marketing is known as ‘Up-Sell’ and is very useful for commerce websites.

3. Eliminates distance barriers
Through email, companies who are working from different countries can also exchange their message more conveniently. These days, the moment you clicked send, your message is delivered instantly to the mailbox of the recipient. In the past, the process of delivering or getting letters takes times or perhaps weeks. This result is useless delay in decision-making process. Instead, e-mails instantly communicate the essential information to any member regardless of any hurdle.

4. Get feedback
One of the most significant things that any business would need to have is direct feedback from their clients. E-mail surveys allow the consumer to voice their true views and emotions about the company’s service or products. By linking up with a service such as survey monkey you can get important customer feedback allowing you to improve your products or enhance your services.

5. Communicate more often
Email marketing is a faster and more efficient ways to communicate your target audience. Once your platform has been setup you can quickly send emails monthly, weekly or even daily.

6. Track conversations
All popular email software allows you to track opens, bounces, forwards, un-subscribes and click throughs. This allows you to communicate with the people you know to be interested in your communications.

What Software to use
We’ve tried a number of email software packages over the years. You need to consider deliverability and ease of use over cost. Deliverability is of the upmost importance, if your emails land in someones spam or junk box there’s absolutely no point sending the email in the 1st place.

We recommend the following packages.
Mail chimp –
iContact –
Constant Contact –

Email Design
Your emails need to stand out, your customer will receive so many sales emails on a daily basis, why are they going to read yours over other peoples? You need to create a subject line that’s going to create interest and make a design that gives impact, draws attention and makes people want to read what you have to say.

The Conclusion
In conclusion, an email campaign is among the most powerful tools available in your online marketing strategy. Do not waste the chance and try to make the most of every message.

Google mobile friendly update, scare mongering and user experience

It’s been over a month since Google launched it’s much publicised “Mobile search update”. In this post we reflect on the update and provide some cold hard facts that cut through the nonsense and scare mongering.

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 2.20.01 AM

April 21st’s mobile-friendly update boosts mobile search rankings for pages that are legible and usable on mobile devices.



On the lead up to the launch of Google’s mobile search change, I’d bet my kids that you would have received numerous emails from unscrupulous web companies using various scare tactics to attempt to win your business. I received so many calls off the back of this spam from a wide range of our customers. These blanket spam emails were sent out regardless if a website was mobile ready or not.

Although some of the points made in these emails were partly true they all followed the same general undertone… “If you don’t have a mobile ready website your website will drop from Google”.



On the 21st of April 2015, Google updated their search to include a new algorithm to weight mobile optimised web pages higher than pages designed for only desktop browsers. This wasn’t a surprise, in fact Google had made suggestions and announcements a long time before the update. However on the day Google confirmed exactly what this all meant.

Google said the update does the following:

  • Affects only search rankings on mobile devices
  • Affects search results in all languages globally
  • Applies to individual pages, not entire websites

Google also made a change to their algorithms information web page to include a new section for mobile. The new mobile paragraph simply says:
“Includes improvements designed specifically for mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones.”



Here’s three things to consider when digesting this information.

1. Mobile Online Search – Mobile optimised websites should only receive better rankings when searching from a mobile device. Common sense really, this means if someone searches from a desktop they will see no difference.

2. Scare Mongering – The majority of marketing emails sent out by other agencies have given the impression that your website will completely drop out of Google if you don’t update your website immediately. This just isn’t true, Google have a habit of making big changes but making big changes over time. Research is showing that mobile websites are having a nominal improvement across various searches. There is definitely a difference, but not as big or severe as you may have been led to believe. However beware as Google will be sure to turn this setting up over the coming year or years.

3. Are Your Competitors Ready – With so many companies stuck in the same boat you probably have more time than you think. If you check, a lot of your competitors probably aren’t mobile ready either. This gives you some added time to get your site updated to take advantage when Google increase their weighting in the mobile algorithm.

4. Pages Not Entire Sites – Currently the new algorithm ranks individual pages and not entire websites based on their mobile readiness. This means a quick fix could be put in place for your most important content pages.



So should you have a mobile ready website? Yes without doubt you should!

But not because you’re going to drop out of Google and never receive a web lead again. You should have a mobile website because it’s what your visitors want and need. Some business sectors are now seeing 80% of their visitors browsing using a mobile device. Not giving a dedicated mobile website will give a terrible user experience to your customer they will likely get frustrated and move on.

So our conclusion and advice is, don’t get a mobile website because Google tells you to. Get one because your visitors do!

Take a look at one of our recent responsive websites:

We hope you’ve found this blog post interesting. For more information about mobile websites please get in touch with us at Kick, we’re alway happy to help.

responsiveIf you would like to check how mobile optimised your website is take a look at Google mobile friendly testing too:


Getting involved in Digital

Over the last 15 years I’ve been a web designer, web developer, digital account manager and owner of a digital company. I truly love what I do and couldn’t think of anything I would like to do more than what I do. I love working with our clients to innovate and create to fulfil their digital marketing needs.

A career in digital is just so much fun. Below we’ve put together our top 5 reasons why we love it:

1. Our industry is forever moving forward, progressing and evolving.

2. What we do is really creative, even when writing code you have to be creative.

3. We’re crazy about making great user experiences. We’ve got a real passion for user interaction and user experience. How people interact with what we create is integral to what we do. The real challenge is how to improve what is already good to make it great.

4. Working with fun people. My day is made up of communicating with both clients and colleague. Collaborating and discussing ideas about what we creating.

5. Career choice. Once in the digital industry you will understand there are so many different career paths and sub roles.

If you’re interested in getting involved in digital you will be interested in these 2 exciting trainee roles we have at Kick.
– Trainee / Apprentice Web Developer
– Online Marketing Trainee

Trainee / Apprentice Web Developer

Location: Maidstone, Kent
Date Posted: 29th April 2015

This is an exciting opportunity to work for Kick Interactive, a fast past digital agency based in Maidstone. Kick pride themselves on providing innovative, bespoke solutions that get our clients noticed. Kick have a wide and diverse assortment of clients that all benefit from our expert knowledge and passion for user interface design and user experience. Kick build both standard brochure websites, mobile apps, bespoke solutions and back-end management systems.

Typical clients include nationwide builders merchants and large-scale independent estate agents, governing bodies and local authorities. Kick are always working on a number of bespoke interesting projects.

As a Trainee / Apprentice developer you will be responsible for:
– Listening and Learning from our experienced developers.
– Working with our team of developers on projects.
– Supporting the team by testing and bug fixing.
– Making changes and fixes to existing websites.
– Working with clients to achieve our joint goals.
– Working with the team to develop our own web products.

The ideal candidate should be passionate about web development and user experience.

To be considered for this position you must:
– Have a degree in IT/Computing/development or equivalent work experience.
– Have a sound knowledge of PHP, Javascript, HTML5 +CSS3.
– Enjoy working with happy friendly people.

A basic knowledge in any of the following would be beneficial:
– Javascript
– Node
– JQuery

If you are looking for a position where your potential can really shine, then this is the position for you.

To apply please send your cv’s to Ref: Trainee Dev

Online Marketing Trainee

Location: Maidstone, Kent
Date Posted: 29th April 2015

This is an exciting opportunity to work for Kick Interactive, a fast past digital agency based in Maidstone. Kick pride themselves on providing innovative, bespoke solutions that get our clients noticed. Kick have a wide and diverse assortment of clients that all benefit from our expert knowledge and passion for user interface design and user experience. Kick build both standard brochure websites, mobile apps, bespoke solutions and back-end management systems.

Typical clients include nationwide builders merchants and large-scale independent estate agents, governing bodies and local authorities. Kick are always working on a number of bespoke interesting projects.

As an Online Marketing Trainee you will be responsible for:
– Continually learning and researching SEO and Online Marketing techniques.
– Marketing Kick Interactive via Blogs and Social Media.
– Learning and following instructions from our experienced team.
– Working to project time-lines and specifications.
– Working with clients to achieve our joint goals.
– Writing online content such as Blogs, Press Releases and Website Copy.
– Assisting in the management of projects and customer queries.

We are looking for someone who enjoys responsibility and is keen to learn about online marketing and SEO..

To be considered for this position you must:
– Have a degree or equivalent work experience.
– Have excellent writing / english skills.
– Have an understanding of twitter, Facebook.
– Have a keen interest in website and online marketing.
– Enjoy working with happy friendly people.

If you are looking for a position where your potential can really shine, then this is the position for you.


To apply please send your cv’s to Ref: Online Marketing Trainee