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Google Lighthouse Breakdown and what it all really means

Why Google Lighthouse Scores Matter and How Hand-Coded Websites Outperform Page Builders

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In today's digital world, a business's online presence is as important, if not more, than its physical one. As a small business owner, ensuring your website performs at its best is crucial to keeping your potential customers engaged and ensuring your website ranks well on search engines. But how can you gauge the quality of your website's performance and user experience? Enter Google Lighthouse.

What are Google Lighthouse Scores?

Google Lighthouse is an automated, open-source tool developed by Google to aid developers in analyzing and improving the performance, accessibility, and overall health of their web pages. Lighthouse produces a report which scores a page on a range of metrics, including:

Performance: This measures how quickly your site loads and becomes interactive.

Accessibility: Assesses how easy it is for all users, including those with disabilities, to navigate your site.

Best Practices: Checks if your website uses up-to-date web development practices.

SEO: Determines how optimized your site is for search engines.

Progressive Web App (PWA): Indicates if your site can offer a smooth user experience even when offline.

These scores, given out of 100, provide a snapshot of your website's overall health and performance.

The Impact of Lighthouse Scores on Google Search Rankings

While Google has a myriad of factors that determine how they rank pages in their search results, performance metrics play an undeniably important role. Here's why:

User Experience: Google’s ultimate goal is to serve its users with the best possible content that matches their query. If a website offers a poor experience due to slow load times, inaccessible content, or bad practices, it's less likely to be recommended by Google.

Mobile Optimization: With more users browsing on mobile devices, Google places significant importance on mobile-friendly sites. Lighthouse scores can help pinpoint areas of improvement for mobile optimization.

SEO: A higher SEO score in Lighthouse typically indicates that a website is well-structured and contains the necessary elements for search engines to understand its content.

For small business owners, this translates to a simple truth: Better Lighthouse scores often lead to better visibility on Google.

Page Builders vs. Hand-Coded Websites

Many small business owners, in the quest for a quick and cost-effective website solution, turn to page builders. These are platforms or tools that allow users to create a website using pre-built blocks, widgets, and templates. While they're undoubtedly convenient, they come with a trade-off: often bloated code, less efficient loading strategies, and limited optimization capabilities.

Some potential pitfalls of page builders include:

Redundant Code: Page builders need to cater to a wide array of design possibilities, leading to excessive code that may not be used by your specific website.

Limited Customization: While page builders offer a range of design options, they can be restrictive when trying to implement advanced or unique features.

Slower Performance: The excess code and scripts from page builders can result in slower page load times, negatively impacting the user experience and SEO.

In contrast, hand-coded websites are meticulously designed from the ground up. Every line of code has a purpose, ensuring optimal performance, improved loading times, and a seamless user experience.

The benefits of hand-coded sites include:

Tailored Design & Functionality: Without the constraints of templates, your website can be uniquely tailored to your business needs.

Optimized Performance: Clean, minimal code ensures that the website is lightning-fast and responsive.

Better Lighthouse Scores: As discussed, better scores can lead to improved visibility on Google, driving more traffic to your site.

In Conclusion

For small business owners, the website is often the first impression potential customers have of their business. Ensuring it performs well, ranks high on search engines, and offers an unparalleled user experience is paramount.

While page builders might seem like a tempting quick fix, the long-term advantages of a hand-coded website are undeniable.

Reach out today for a free no commitment consultation.