The East Village is one of the iconic neighborhoods in New York City that has seen radical transformations over the years. It's hard to imagine now, but if you know any of the local history, few tell the story quite as well as the Umbrella House on Avenue C.
In the late 1980-90s, many buildings in Alphabet City were abandoned. They were occupied by urban squatters, determined to keep some of the neighborhood alive. This house was a home for dozens of people, who lived without utilities and a leaking ceiling. So, the residents got creative and used umbrellas to keep out the elements during repairs. Giuliani tried to kick them out in the mid 90s and lost. Today, the building is a relatively affordable Co-Op oasis among the high-priced gentrified condos, townhouses, and apartments.
The rising rents put a significant added strain on local businesses, which is a key marketing challenge when facing gentrification.
All that diversity creates a unique targeting challenge. With so much choice packed into such a small area, the key to success in the East Village is how to stand out. Your website is key to do that.
If you didn’t build your own site, you’re likely using a content management system (CMS) that your web builder chose. If he or she didn’t educate you on the pros and cons, you may be in for a big surprise in your webpages’ performance and search engine rankings.
The technical definition for a content management system (CMS) is “is a computer software program used to manage the creation and modification of digital content.”
In other words, it is a system that allows the content to be stored separately from the code that builds the page. The user enters the code through a program called an interface, e.g. WordPress, and the interface saves that as the page data. The browser takes the files from both locations and renders the page.
However, while simple and easy, it creates a problem. To make this easier to understand, I use a simple metaphor of an architect, contractor, and warehouse. The user is the architect, the contractor is the browser, and all the design code sits in the warehouse
In this metaphor, we are going to use a prefabricated home. There are a general set of blueprints, but lots of options for flooring, tiles, etc. Think of this as your theme.
The architect now selects specific options within a house, for example, flooring, tile, window type, etc. But, these specifications aren’t given to the contractor (browser) until he or she shows up to build the house.
The contractor knows he or she is building a home, but other than that, it’s left open. Therefore, they have to bring all the labor and materials they might use, even if they aren’t needed in this specific build.
Once at the site, the contract reads the blueprints and then has to sort through and organize their materials first before the job can start.
As you can see there is a lot of wasted time and materials that put a burden on the contractor. This is why a theme will never be as fast as a custom build.
All that diversity creates a unique targeting challenge. Who is the right target to pick? With so much choice packed into such a small area, the key to success in the East Village is how to stand out.
A custom built website is created by web designers. These designers create code only for the features you use to get the results you want. Therefore, there is no excess code.
If your developer helps you set up your tracking codes and other third party integrations, then you can minimize any issues those create.
The beauty of a custom build is there is no trade-off between speed and quality. When you factor in the lost revenue from bounces and poor conversion that a slower site creates, the investment generally pays for itself.
Without taking any action, your performance on mobile will likely fall in the 20s to 40s on Google Pagespeed Insights.
WordPress is the dominant market player. Therefore, we will touch on some of the common plug-in for this CMS.
Most of the plug-ins, save W3 total cache, are simple. Most are not free if you want to get the maximum benefit. They do produce a measurable difference in speed, but do not expect to get above 50-60.
Accelerated Mobile Pages was introduced by Google in and around 2016. AMP is a stripped down version of HMTL which has fewer features, which makes it very fast. But, now you need to manage two sites versus one. Plus, you lose consistency between mobile and desktop
Since you are changing the theme itself, this requires a significant amount of coding knowledge to do it right. This usually requires hiring a developer.
A good developer can usually clean up the theme enough that you can reach custom speeds. The cost is generally equal to higher than a customer build depending on the work required.
If you want lightning fast speed, skip the CMS. We recommend a custom build.