Our Founder – Taz Lake – recently joined the Business RadioX broadcast to discuss Brightmill’s website analysis services and how they help companies improve.


We’ve heard a lot about web optimization, where do you fit in?

Web optimization seems to be discussed a lot in terms of SEO.  We often get the response “so you do SEO” when in fact it is a small part of what we do. We have identified 7 macro-level forces that we use to help orient conversations.

  • Security
  • Speed & Performance
  • Marketing & Content
  • Quality
  • Accessibility & Compliance
  • Usability
  • Technology Management

You talk about 7 forces and the comprehensive nature of website analysis, there is a lot there, do customers get overwhelmed? Do they ever just want you to look at one thing?

Oftentimes we will get approached on a topic of interest, for example speed or security. If it is a burning issue, like a compromised website, we can help them address it. If they come to us with a request like needing to reduce page load times by 1 second, we’ll usually recommend a comprehensive check to start. There are too many factors to help with speed, but to ignore the old technology they may be running.

You can’t solve everything at once. So taking a particular perspective is certainly fine. However, we do try to prioritize our recommendations, so they know what is most important.

We often find that customers don’t even know they have a problem. So that’s why we term it a health check. It is like going to the doctor for a full workup because you don’t feel well. You don’t know why, you may even be scared by it, but you know you must do it because it is the right and responsible thing to do. Ignoring the problem impacts too many people.

Don’t the website builders, agencies, software companies, hosting vendors do all this already?

Many do a great job, but remember for each of them, their scope is often limited. They can’t be expected to be perfect. But guess what, the downstream customer of their customer does. When someone visits that site, it needs to be essentially flawless.  If they hit a 404 or a page that won’t load, well, good luck getting them to come back. One study by American Express showed service failures like that cause customers to exit greater than 70% of the time.  Imagine you have a home builder and all the subcontractors, would you sign off on everything without an inspection? Would you never do any maintenance to your house?  Too many assumptions are made about what is covered and what is not.

Aren’t there tools that do what you do?

Yes, there are so many tools it is a bit overwhelming.  Most of the tools our there help you focus on a particular area, for example the team over at another great Atlanta company, Rigor, focuses a lot on speed and performance with their tools.

The real concern I have is the false sense of security some tools provide. I won’t name the tool, because I don’t like it, but it is widely used by marketing. It’s only security check is to test whether SSL is enabled on a site or not – If so it gives you a green check for all web security. That is both laughable and dangerous at the same time.

What are some KPIs or success factors leaders can attach to your services?

A lot of what we do relates directly to customer experience, brand perception and Martech/Ad spending. Even though much of what we are highlighting is technical in nature, customers will notice if you aren’t pulling the right levers.  One example would be losing brand equity due to actual or perceived security issues.  Another would be conversion rate loss and customer satisfaction due to speed and performance.

Are there any surprising trends in websites you can share?

Many PHP Installations are at end of life and no longer patched for security and site owners are unaware.  There should be a considerable uptick in re-platforms and upgrades in 2018.  Security issues continue to rise despite awareness due to complexity, numerous 3rd party dependencies, a large WordPress landscape with thousands of plugins, and attacks on different network layers. Less surprising is that 60% of Commerce traffic is on mobile and rising – but still many sites don’t test properly for mobile compliance.