Expert view: 4 developer terms every website owner should know

InsightFeatures Fri 10th Sep 2021 by Katrina Bell

Expert view: 4 developer terms every website owner should know

Expert view: 4 developer terms every website owner should know

Feature by Katrina Bell | Fri 10th Sep 2021

Katrina founded boutique digital agency Aardvark Multimedia in 2003, and has been a B2B journalist for over 25 years. She was the author of the Web Dr column for Essential Kitchen & Bathroom Business magazine focussing on online marketing strategies for KBB businesses. More

Talking about your website shouldn’t need the presence of a translator to help you decipher what on earth's going on. Our web expert Katrina Bell reveals four simple terms to add to your lexicon that will help you get a handle on developments.

If your website’s development meetings are the bane of your life, perhaps even making you feel a little out of your depth when faced with designers with years of expertise, adding these four terms to your vocabulary is the answer. Not only is this knowledge empowering for you, but your relationship with your team will be enriched, more productive and focussed on making your website or app what your offering deserves. Also, don't forget that this is the terminology a potential new recruit to your business should be able to explain to you in detail.

In order of importance...

1. Dwell time – arguably the most important one, but especially if you invest in Google Ads to get your brand at the top of the Google SERPs (search engine results pages). This is one dataset you should have on your Must Know/Must Watch list to harvest from your analytics. 

Dwell time is how long a user spends on your site when they come directly from a search engine results page, but then click back to the SERPs. The longer a user spends on your site the better, as it means your site meets two important criteria – the search engine results reflect your content sufficiently well that your visitor doesn’t immediately know they are in the wrong place, and that your content has met their quality expectations. Anything less than two minutes before they hit the back button is a problem. 

Bounce rate is intrinsically different – that just refers to a user that only looks at one page and bounces away, be that closing the window or going to another site. 

Google is unhelpfully bashful about how much dwell time affects your page ranking, but the fact that this algorithm is fed back to its Brain Team, who oversee much of Google’s research agenda, means it’s a fair guess to imagine they take this factor very seriously. 

2. Even if you pay for search engine advertising, you also need to know the quality and quantity of your Organic Traffic – in other words, visitors who arrive at your site not from an advertisement. Direct traffic is anything not from a referring website. That’s not to say you shouldn't also be asking about all the other kinds of traffic – email, paid search and referral, to name just three. 

What is interesting about Organic Traffic is that it puts up a mirror to your brand’s visibility – how did that visitor know to click on your link? Do you have an amazing web address? Has your Facebook activity increased your marque’s awareness? Google Analytics is the first place to weed out where those visits are coming from, and it's a short learning curve to understand how to read the different sources. 

3. Google’s Page Speed Insights (PSI) are designed to help you make your website faster and more efficient – to up your Page Speed Score. It can also show how long your page takes to load versus how long the first byte hits a user’s screen. If there is a big lag between the two, you know your developer needs to get down to some serious debugging. Look for a score over 80. Visit to start the conversation. 

You may not feel prepared at first to dig too deep into the results, which hold such gems as First Contentful Paint and Cumulative Layout Shift, but such a tool will focus your goals in the future. Usefully, you can also see your score on mobile and desktop devices. Pair that with your traffic analysis, and you are primed for a meaningful discussion on results. 

4. Like it or not, with the proliferation of artificial intelligent home automation devices, or Brenda as it is known in my house, many of us are now being taught via these little Nozy Noras how to navigate the world with voice commands. And websites are next. It’s not too late to ask how your website can migrate to a text/voice process to be ready for the changeover. 

Voice Search Optimisation starts at the search engines and ends on your own website’s search capabilities – both will have to accommodate a more vernacular type of keywords, accents, accessibility issues such as speech impediments and the general habit of humans to mutter. The Internet is poised to become a more humanised space, which will bring its own stumbling blocks. 

Now go forth and wow that designer or developer with your newfound nous!

Tags: insight, features, web expert, web developer, code

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