Keep It Simple, Stupid

The KISS principle is a golden oldie. Keeping your website as simple as possible with a minimum of third-party dependencies is good for privacy but also affects speed, security, and usability also.

KISS for Privacy

Outside services such as Google Fonts, CRM integrations, social media embeds, email marketing signup forms, iframe/javascript embeds, payment integrations, lead capture methods, chatbots, marketing statistics… everything has its cost.

If it’s free, the cost is your data. Even if it’s paid, the integrations will come with their own advertising and statistic cookies meaning your visitors are being tracked on your website. Google Chrome (Firefox and Safari have already done it) is phasing out third-party cookies at the end of 2024, so it’s a good idea to test your site, simplify, and start cutting down dependencies on outside services.

KISS for Speed

Every call a website makes to an outside server or site slows down the site. With reputable third parties such as YouTube, this may not be an issue, but signup forms hosted elsewhere are notorious for slowing down page load as they load JavaScript and CSS for the forms.

Reduce your website footprint by removing outside integrations and embeds, and speed-test the changes, and you’ll see a huge difference.

These integrations break quite regularly too, which can delay loading of your own site until the third-party servers are working properly again.

KISS for Security

Cookies aren’t the only thing to worry about. Any malware or security issues on the origin site affect your website too. Third-party dependencies also have holes.

Do you trust every developer who has ever worked on your site including every plugin and theme developer? And then do you trust all the developers that made that signup form hosted elsewhere and all of their website devs?

That’s a lot of trust. Also, we devs are human, mistakes and bugs happen, so it’s not just about malicious intent.

Keep it simple and you won’t have to worry so much.

KISS for Usability

The more complicated the system, the more it will break, it’s a fact.

If it’s broken, your site isn’t usable.

Here are a few examples we’ve run into recently:

A few months ago we added slides to some of our landing pages. We used a good service and embedded the slides on the pages. A few weeks later when doing other work on the landing pages, it appeared that the embed had stopped working, and was showing an error. Their support told us that it’d be around 4 days before our data would be migrated and the embeds were usable again. This was a paid service and quite reputable.

One customer had a course signup form embedded from an outside provider (one of the big ones). Their signup form had stopped working and no one knew how long it had been out of commission because it looked OK, but didn’t send the data. Very few companies can test every single page and form on their site daily, resulting in broken tools and lost revenue.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this has given you some food for thought when thinking about how your site could be simpler. We fix a lot of broken sites and have developed WP-Ensure so our customers never need to think about it. Happy cleaning!

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

Author Info: Lisa Karvonen

Lissu is a full-stack developer who started working in WordPress in 2003. Since then she has coded plugins, themes and applications for companies and organizations in both WordPress and Multisite as well as other PHP/MySQL applications.

She started developing the WP-Ensure platform in 2017 as a response to customer site attacks and has been steadily improving and growing the company and platform since then.

She's originally from Scotland but lives in Finland with her husband, son, two dogs, two cats and a reef tank.

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