Valet Podcast: Hear Mason James Discuss Website Health, GDPR, Gutenberg, and More

Website health, Europe’s GDPR law, Google’s Mobile First initiative, and the new WordPress Gutenberg editor. These are among the topics discussed by Valet co-founder and business development lead Mason James during a Valet podcast available here.

Valet podcast featuring Mason James is now available
Valet podcast interviews Mason James about what he thinks of website health, GDPR, Google’s Mobile First initiative, and the new WordPress editor, code-named Gutenberg.

First up in this new Valet podcast is some frank talk about website health—a big focus for Valet, Mason tells.

“Site health to us means a website that is performing optimally on all the things that it’s meant to do,” he says. “It’s operating at peak efficiency.”

To deliver a healthy website, Mason says Valet looks at many things. He explains that they include “the hosting platform, the application being served, the interface on the website, the content. How well is all of that working together to achieve that goal.”

He adds that “a specific metric like total page load time might not mean a lot to a client. “So we try to distill individual metrics into reference points that are relatable. [We report them] on a scale of zero to 100, with 100 being best.”

Valet’s Site Health Hierarchy Explained

A bit later in the Valet podcast, Mason describes Valet’s use of a hierarchy for measuring site health.

The hierarchy, he says, consists of five independent but interconnected sections stacked in the shape of a pyramid. The foundational layer of this pyramid is site security. The pinnacle is conversions. In between bottom and top are speed performance, usability, and traffic.

“The hierarchy gives us a way to put individual metrics in context of the entire stack,” he says. “It also gives us a way to prioritize the important tasks. For example, if the site is not secure…that potentially hurts you, your customers, and your brand. We want to correct this problem ahead of an A/B test for an ad spend.” The reason: security issues carry greater consequences than do an ad buy.

Mason mentions in this Valet podcast that too many site metrics exist for any one person to track. Or, at least, track them in a meaningful way that leads to actionable insights. “The site health hierarchy gives us a way to include all of those metrics,” he says.

Also, Mason hails the holistic nature of Valet’s site health approach. “Valet gives you a truly panoramic view of how your website is doing,” he says. “And it’s in context of the full stack.”

Coding stands tall among the things Valet looks at when it takes a deep dive into the performance of a website, Mason reveals.

“Valet is a company that loves infrastructure,” he says. “We assemble all of the pieces that need to come together for modern web development to be agile.”

Other Topics in This Valet Podcast

Mason did not stop there. He delved into other concerns of website owners. At one point, he touched on GDPR. You might remember GDPR as the controversial law that came out earlier this year in the European Union. GDPR proposed to rein in problems with data privacy and security for citizens of the EU.

Additionally, he talked about the new WordPress editor, Gutenberg. “It’s going to be a radical change for the interface you use every day for creating copy on the site,” Mason says. “And so with a change like this, it’s important to dive in, give it a try for yourself.”

Another topic Mason explores in this Valet podcast: Google’s Mobile First initiative. “Most WordPress users have some key advantages—one being a mobile-friendly theme,” he says. “By using [these] mobile-friendly themes, most WordPress sites should rank pretty well.”

And he referenced Amp as a tool to improve the mobile-specific experience for users at sites brimming with content.

In closing, Mason returned to site health. “We’re fairly opinionated that this is the right way to think about website health,” he asserts. “Folks are really excited to have a way to quantify these issues.”

Attention paid to site health will result in better website experiences for users and a better ROI for Valet clients, Mason insists.

The Valet podcast runs 30 minutes.

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