Does your Website Make the Grade in 2020?

Some time ago (like 12 years ago) we created the first website grader. The goal was simple: help everyone with a website to evaluate their effectiveness to attract an audience of interested and relevant buyers.

We founded HubSpot in 2006 and founded Website Grader in 2008 because we felt that the inbound method – building meaningful, lasting relationships with potential customers and clients – wasn’t just a more effective way to build a business, but also the correct Way to start a business. And we knew how important it is for people to use their websites to attract visitors and connect with customers to grow.

How strong is your website? Rate it with HubSpot's free website grader.

Fast forward to 2020, and websites are much more than just attracting visitors.

Your website is a sales representative who offers potential customers the features and prices of your offer. And help them book a meeting to learn more.

Your website is part of your customer service team and answers questions about your products and services via a knowledge base or a chatbot.

Your website is a member of your HR team and shares information about your corporate culture and vacancies.

The list goes on …

To put it bluntly, your website is really damn important! Today, 86% of people find your business online (Small Business Trends). Your website is your first impression, your main spokesman, your inbound sales team around the clock … you understand what it is about. It is one of the most important assets for your company.

No wonder companies invest so much in their websites. In a newer one HubSpot research study63% of marketers said they would update their website this year.

Website upgrades can include the following:

  • performance: Page speed, loading time, page requests, page size and more.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): Page index, meta descriptions, content plugins and descriptive link text.
  • Design: Responsive design, readable font size and typing goals.
  • safety: HTTPS and secure Javascript libraries.

Since 2008, we’ve rated over 1 million unique websites based on the four factors mentioned above. Are they actually getting better with all these investments? Do companies focus on the right website upgrades? For example, websites offer better security for their visitors. Do they offer faster loading speeds for quick access? What about mobile accessibility and SEO best practices?

Let’s take a look at the average performance in 2015 compared to this year to see what has changed.

Website performance data (2015 vs. 2020)

HubSpot website performance data

source HubSpot research in 2015: Data from over 1 million unique websites rated. 2020: New data from over 250,000 unique websites rated.

What surprises me most about this data is that technological improvements over the past five years have not resulted in the same improvement in website performance. The overall grade average has only improved by 16% in five years, and performance has actually decreased by 17%. The average website rating in 2020 is D + (67 out of 100). My mother would not be happy if I came home with this grade.

We also found that only 3.8% of the sites had a total score of 90 or more. If your website scores over 90 points, pat yourself on the back. Here are the percentile ranges from our data:

  • 80 Total score: 82nd percentile
  • 85 Total points: 91st percentile
  • 90 Total score: 96th percentile

Here are some of my observations of the individual benchmark scores:

Website performance has declined over the past five years.

Websites should load faster in 2020 than in 2015. However, the opposite is true. Performance was the only benchmark metric to decline in five years. It includes tests for page size, page requirements, page speed, and five additional tests that provide a holistic performance assessment. Websites are slower today than in 2015.

This is a risk to businesses: 40% of visitors leave your site if it takes longer than three seconds to load (Think with Google).

For every second your website needs to load, people leave your company. Good performance should be a priority in improving your website. How does your website perform??

Search engine optimization is the biggest winner.

In a 2020 survey, we found that 64% of marketers are actively investing in search engine optimization (SEO) and expanding their organic presence (HubSpot research).

Marketing professionals are interested in SEO, and this has led to significant progress in the SEO benchmark since 2015 – a 52% improvement. Search engine optimization is important in order to be found online. It’s good that so many websites follow SEO best practices to help them discover their business. How does your SEO compare??

Security had the second largest win, but the overall average falls short of expectations.

Our security benchmark shows that websites have improved their security by 46.2% in five years. This is a nice win, but there is still a lot of room for improvement – the average score for 2020 is only 3.8 out of 10 points.

Security is essential on your website to protect customer data. If your website is not secure, your visitors can lose confidence in your company, especially when shopping on your website. We’ve noticed that 85% of people don’t visit a website if it’s not secure (HubSpot research).

In addition, security improves recognizability. Starting in 2019, Google prioritized the display of websites with HTTPS in the search results (The next web, 2015). Website Grader verifies that your website uses HTTPS and has secure JavaScript libraries.

These two security factors are crucial for a safe experience for your visitors. How does the security of your website compare??

Websites optimized for mobile devices have been slightly improved.

In the mid-2010s, every website seemed to be responsive – that is, investing in the design of mobile-first websites. It made sense.

Wherever I looked, people were sitting on their phones with their heads down, reading the latest Facebook post, or watching the latest viral YouTube video. And things haven’t changed much. Well, they did, but now people are scrolling through Instagram or browsing the latest TikTok dance challenge.

Responsive was not just a trend – today, mobile devices without tablets have generated around half of all website traffic worldwide (StatCounter, 2020). How do websites stack up on small screens?

We noticed that our benchmark average for mobile design improved 8% in five years. Nowadays, average websites with mobile design score 21.6 out of 30 points. A big improvement, although I would like to see this number continue to grow.

A Google study found that 59% of shoppers surveyed said that mobile shopping is important when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from (Think with Google, 2019).

This is a big part of the people who look at your website on their cell phones to decide whether to buy from you or not. Mobile design not only affects people’s experience with your website, but also social media posts and your search engine rankings.

Check your review for mobile design on Website grader.

What do we do now?

Our goal with the original website grader was to help anyone with a website – developer, marketer, or entrepreneur – quickly evaluate the performance of their website. We have received good feedback from our users, but we are constantly growing and evolving.

So we asked ourselves how we can improve website graders.

Our users’ comments shared a thread. They rated their website. They saw where their websites came up short. But we stopped teaching them how to improve:

  • “”Learn more about solving website problems“”
  • “”Instructions on how to get better performance and SEO to increase our score“”
  • “”How about explanations and guidelines for beginners?“”

Presentation of the new website grader

You talked We heard. Not only have we updated Website Grader’s rating system and basic technology to get a more accurate rating, we also created a five-hour video course to help you improve your grade. Everything is free.

As of today, you can find the website optimization course in Website Grader.

One last question: how did perform?

Historically, HubSpot’s score was not the best. We have an average of 70-80 on website graders. Years of marketing updates had slowed things down over time. We have worked hard Improving the design and performance of over the past five years for our visitors and customers.

Supported by HubSpot CMS HubOur website now scores 100 out of 100 on website graders – no kidding. I am very proud of that.

Run your site Website grader. And let me know that you did it!

Improve your website with effective technical search engine optimization. Start by performing this audit.

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