This article will outline a few tips to optimise your Sporty site, so that you can get the most out of it.
Let's break down site optimisation into four key areas:
- User Experience (UX)
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Speed - How to make your site faster
Minimise your widget usage.
The less widgets you have on your page, the faster the page will load. You can reduce the number of widgets you have on your page by:
- Condensing page text into one text widget. Don't use separate text widgets for headings or paragraphs - condense them into one widget where you can
- Don't display excessive amounts of imagery on a page. For general pictures, refer them to the Gallery page where viewers can see your images. Images can drastically improve the visuals of your site in the form of headings, buttons, banners etc, but use them liberally and optimise them if you can (see Optimising Your Images below)
- Don't place too much content on one page. More often than not, users will only be looking for small pieces of information on pages. By breaking your content down and using use of subpages, the user can find what they are looking for without having to download a lot of content all at once. For example for a Competitions page, rather than listing the details of all competitions on one page, try creating a subpages under Competitions for each competition
Optimise your images.
Many people today have access to high quality digital cameras, and camera technology in smartphones is rapidly improving, meaning that people are uploading very large, high quality images to their sites.
Note: This section may contain information that might be a little technical. If you know someone who's a whizz with Photoshop or Paint.net, get them to lend you a hand!
You can drastically improve the speed of your site by optimising your images. In image optimisation, there are two key factors:
Dimensions: Making an image the correct dimensions for the widget size will optimise the images' quality and file size. This article shows the widths of the widgets on a Sporty page:
Resolution: The most common computer monitor resolution is 72 pixels per inch. Most cameras and smartphones produce images at a much greater resolution than this, which results in a bit of "overkill". By reducing the image to 72 pixels per inch you can retain the on-screen quality while reducing the file size - and therefore the load time!
In order to alter your images you will need image editing software. Popular image editors include Photoshop, Paint.net (free) and Pixlr (free).
Organisation - Make your site easy to manage
Keep your images and documents organised by creating folders in the image manager and the document manager.
Using folders will make your images and documents easier to find, so that you can use it when needed in the future (rather than uploading a duplicate copy). Remember, many pages can reference one document/image - you don't need to upload it for each page displaying it.
User Experience - Making your site a breeze to view
While you may create your site however you like, it's best to adhere to a few 'best practices' when setting up your site, in order to make it easier to navigate and view, and read.
Try implementing the following:
Use a logical page structure.
Sites with well organised pages are much more pleasurable to browse than ones that don't. Make use of subpages to group your pages into meaningful categories. Always have an About and Contact page at the top level - users have come to expect these, so if you don't, your site will seem ill-formed.
Don't repeat yourself.
Having duplicate content can be hard to keep track of, especially if it needs to be updated often. Where you can, only have specific content on one page. Where it may be applicable to other pages, just provide a link to that page (E.g. "For more information on X please view the X page"). Otherwise known as the DRY (don't repeat yourself) approach, it will keep your site lean and organised.
Don't make excessive use of fonts and colours.
In most situations, less is more. Create an elegant, clean looking site by using a single font or a font-pair (one font for headings paired with another for text). Too many fonts can distract users trying to read your content.
Colour can greatly improve the look of your site. It's a good idea to choose colours which match your school or club's logo to give a consistent feel. Try and use colours which complement each other (try Google-ing "colour schemes" or "colour swatches" to find good sets of matching colours).
Some colours appear very bright on the screen and may be distracting to viewers. As a general rule, go for bold colours, but not super bright colours such as #00ff00.
Be conservative with moving parts.
Moving media, such as animated GIFS or the scrolling text widget must be used carefully to avoid distracting the user. Ideally, these should be placed on pages where there is not too much readable content, such as the homepage.
Use good quality images.
Images truly can make a site look stunning, but bad quality pixelated images can destroy an otherwise beautiful site. Get a hold of a good quality camera and take some snaps. Remember to optimise them so that they don't slow down the page too much (see Optimise your Images above).
SEO - Making your site easy to Google
Sites on the Sporty platform generally rank well in searches through Google and other search engines. However, there are some tips and tricks you can use to optimise your site. This is called 'Search Engine Optimisation' (SEO). See: SEO Guide.