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Site Speed a Factor for UX and SEO

As a species, we’ve become terribly impatient. We complain that our minute rice takes forever to cook, then burn our mouths eating it before it cools. Another case in point: people quickly leave websites they perceive to be slow.

slow site speed costs one percent in sales

Google found that an extra 500ms in search-page generation time dropped traffic by 20 percent. Performance affects sales as well. Back in 2008, Amazon calculated that every 100ms of latency cost them 1 percent in sales. Last year, racked up almost $178 billion in sales, so a 1 percent hit would hurt. If you’ve never thought about what your site speed might be costing you, now is the time to start.

Good usability indicates that a webpage should load in one second or less. Studies have shown that 57 percent will abandon a site that takes 3 seconds or more to load. And 80 percent of users who encounter a sluggish site don’t return. Almost half of those will talk about their negative experience with others.

There are hidden, but equally high costs of a slow website. It’s not just people who don’t stick around. Search engines won’t either. You work so hard (you do, right?) to optimize your sites for search engines (SEO). But because site speed is a key metric Google uses to rank your pages, all your SEO efforts could be for nothing if a slow web page lands you too far down the search-results page to be noticed. A slow website also results in search engines crawling fewer pages, which means some pages on your site might not be seen by Google at all.

Relative Speed Can Be Measured

You might be saying to yourself, “My website seems fast to me.” But remember, you’re on your desktop computer at work using your high-speed internet connection. Also, you’re going to be more forgiving of your website’s speed than someone just discovering your site. And as more and more people view websites on mobile devices, your experience at work will be very different than someone on an iPhone with a bad connection.

In order to take positive steps to increase your website’s performance, first determine your website’s relative speed. Google will help you. Go to its PageSpeed Insights, enter your URL, and in a matter of seconds it will analyze your site’s speed and optimization. It will even provide suggestions on how to fix any issues it finds. It’s a great resource. Try it out.

Simple Steps to Increase Your Site’s Speed

You can increase your site speed in any number of ways. In fact, sites with great performance rely on the cumulative effects of several techniques, each shaving off a little bit of load time. Without getting too technical, I’ll share some of of the top ones.

Compress Photos – Large photos on your site often lead to slow-loading pages. You can combat that by compressing them as much as possible when saving. And make sure that you’re saving your photos at the size you’ll be using them instead of relying on the browser to make them smaller.

Compress Everything Else – There are lots of files visitors don’t see that add to page load, like HTML, CSS and JavaScript. You can use a process called Gzip to reduce the size of these files. The smaller those files, the faster they travel across the internet and into a browser.

Write Clean Code – There are a million ways to code the same thing on a website. A good web developer will find a solution that uses as little code as possible, and never leaves in code that isn’t being used by the site. This leads to smaller file sizes and faster pages.

Minify Your Code – Minification is a word you ought to know. It’s the process of removing unnecessary data, like spaces, in order to make file sizes smaller. We always say that less is more. That can be especially true with code.

Leverage Browser Caching – Browsers don’t have to reload the entire page again when information has been cached from a previous visit. Set an optimal caching policy for your site so previously fetched responses can be reused, if possible.

Improve Server Response Time – Determine where you might have bottlenecks. Look into your content management system (CMS), your web framework, code libraries and more. Server response time ought to be under 200ms.

Visitors Won’t Wait, You Shouldn’t Either

Website performance doesn’t have to keep you up at night, but it should worry you enough to do something about it. It’s becoming increasingly important as our expectations about websites change. You should strive for continual improvement, taking small steps wherever you can in order to get your pages under that one-second mark. Because if you don’t, your visitors will leave for instant gratification elsewhere. Waiting is no longer an option.

This column originally ran in the May 24 issue of BlueSky News. 

Sonia Greteman in Ingram’s 50 Kansans You Should Know

When Sonia Greteman opened her advertising agency in 1989, computer design was new and women-owned agencies, rare. As president and creative director, she’s built Greteman Group into an internationally known aviation-specialty marketing firm. That niche grew out of growing up in the Air Capital – and being the daughter of Boeing Wichita’s chief photographer, Ken Greteman. She learned how to use a camera and print photos working in her dad’s freelance business.

Greteman always knew she would be in a creative industry and enjoys working alongside the agency’s 20-person team of designers, writers, brand managers and digital pros. GG’s diverse list of clients includes aircraft manufacturers, flight support, aftermarket services, fractional ownership, insurance, in-flight Wi-Fi, regional airlines and our state’s largest airport.

Greteman and her husband, sculptor Chris Brunner, enjoy high-level involvement in the Wichita art scene, particularly the Wichita Art Museum, WSU’s Ulrich Museum and the new Mark Arts. She serves on multidisciplinary teams like the one behind Eisenhower National Airport’s monumental aviation-history display, which she championed for almost a decade. She loves nothing more than working on the next big project and lives to create and move the needle for clients.

Greteman Group’s mantra: “Together, we help brands fly high.” It’s her approach to life, too. Lifting up others. Elevating her community. All benefit from her passion and commitment.

This article originally ran in Ingram’s May 2018 issue.

Marketers Prepare for GDPR

Personal data protections have marketers reaching for aspirin. Headaches mount as May 25 approaches. That’s the enforcement date for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This isn’t news for those in the EU, but many companies in the United States have yet to realize how this will impact their businesses and their data-collection processes.

GDPR expands previous data-protection laws. All companies that process data of any EU resident – regardless of whether that company is based in the EU – must comply. Because business today is increasingly global, the regulation affects most of us. If a company 1) collects or processes data of any EU resident, or 2) its activities relate to offering goods or services to EU citizens, regardless of whether payment is required, then it must comply with GDPR.


GDPR protects an individual’s personal information. This can include name, address, phone number, email, location and even IP address. Greater protection means that individuals have the right to know how their data is being collected, processed, stored, used and transferred.



Why should you care? A GDPR violation could impact your bottom line. Potential fines could be up to 4 percent of a company’s annual global revenue, or £20 million (almost $24 million), whichever is greater, and based on the severity of the infraction.


There are a number of requirements under GDPR. Before we go through these, I should mention that we are by no means providing legal advice, but highlights and examples to aid understanding. Please consult legal counsel to identify any areas of major concern.

You Need Permission
If you’re collecting personal data from EU residents, you must obtain and have proof of explicit consent. This means that people have to take affirmative action to check a box to be added to various email lists. Or if they fill out a contact form on your website and that information is stored in your customer-relationship-management (CMS) system as a record, they must check a box that prove they understand how their data will be stored.

Strict Privacy by Default
This one is primarily for social platforms such as Facebook or a search-engine conglomerate, such as Google. However, if you’re in the business to create software, apps or even forums, where users log in, engage and connect to the internet, you will need to make sure that strict privacy settings are the default, not a voluntary user choice.

Greater Control of Personal Data
Under GDPR, individuals have greater control over how their personal information is collected, stored, used and transferred. Moving forward, you will need to implement a process that allows a user to access his or her data and see where, why and how the data is processed. This includes the right to request a report and the ‘right to be forgotten,’ which essentially means that he or she can tell you to purge their data from your system.

For example, let’s say that you have a contact form on your website for lead generation. This contact form feeds into your CRM, like Marketo, and your sales team uses that data to reach out to the new prospect.

Based on this scenario, your contact form needs to include the following:

  • Country must be a required field. This enables you to sort data down the road.
  • Clear language stripped of legalese that indicates to users that filling out the contact form gives your team permission to reach out regarding their request.
  • A link to an updated Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions stating that you are collecting data through the website, you are processing data in a specific CMS, using it to respond to their requests, and how long you are storing the data.
  • A link or process to how an individual can check on data and requests to be forgotten.

Breach Notification
Organizations must report certain types of data breaches to individuals within 72 hours, unless the breach poses no threat or risk to the individual. This is one of the largest gray areas in GDPR, and we would recommend reviewing data-breach processes with your legal counsel.

Other Areas of Impact
If your company monitors sensitive personal information, monitors personal data on a large scale or is a public authority, you may be required to hire a data-protection officer. If you happen to market services to anyone under 16, you must obtain parental consent before storing any data. You can fine more information about GDPR regulations here.


Don’t let the looming GDPR deadline cause panic. Use this checklist to evaluate what you need to do and again, get in touch with your legal counsel to address your areas of specific concerns.

Perform an Audit
Assess what data you have, where it came from and how you share it. Once this is complete, determine what you need to do to comply. If you are using a third-party tool like a CRM software, find out how it plans to implement GDPR.

Update Your Privacy Policy
You know that seldom-clicked link in your website footer? Your privacy policy needs to be updated to include how you collect data, how it’s used, how it’s stored, and if you share this information with others.

Obtain Consent
Email Marketing: If you use email marketing but do not have proof of consent, you will need to send an opt-in email before May 25. Moving forward, use inbound marketing tactics and provide a checkbox for voluntary consent to join your email marketing list.

Google Analytics: If you collect user IDs, IP addresses, cookies or behavioral profiling, you will either need to anonymize the data before downloading and storing, or add an overlay to your website that asks for permission to use cookies.

Retargeting Ads and Tracking Pixels: If you are using retargeting pixels from a platform like LinkedIn or through a third-party media provider, you must obtain informed consent, similar to the cookie permission listed above.

Contact Forms: Before users submit any information through a contact form, get their explicit consent via a checkbox.


GDPR will take affect in a couple of weeks. If you haven’t taken action, do so quickly.

Here are some great resources:

An aviation-specific version of this column appeared in the May 10 issue of BlueSky News.

Economic Development Focus of Kansas Aviation Director

It’s not enough to have oversight of the state’s 138 public-use airports and 125 miles of airport runways. Not enough to tackle workforce development and pilot shortages. Not enough to make sense of shifting regulations and big data. At the monthly meeting of the Wichita Aero Club, new Kansas Department of Transportation Director of Aviation Bob Brock said his department must foster economic development.

He shared ideas about how that could be done and urged attendees to tell him openly and honestly what they thought. He encouraged the crowd of area aviation professionals to act as an ad hoc focus group.

kansas aviation director bob brock speaks to wichita aero club
New Kansas Department of Transportation Director of Aviation Bob Brock spoke to the Wichita Aero Club on April 27. Brock joined KDOT in 2016 as the state’s first director of unmanned aircraft systems. He reported to then KDOT Director of Aviation Merrill Atwater. Atwater left at the end of 2017 to assume the the role of chief operating officer at People to People International, an organization created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Atwater is the great-grandson of the late president. Photo courtesy of Visual Media Group.

Aviation Pride and Possibilities

Brock reminded us of Kansas aviation’s $20.6 billion economic impact through manufacturing, jobs and airports. What impresses him most: that our region manufactures three out of every four small aircraft. “That’s kind of a big, dang deal,” Brock said.

As the state’s previous (and its first) director of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), Brock focused on the changes drones are bringing to aviation. Twice as many drones are registered in Kansas as aircraft. Drone usage is growing exponentially, not linearly. Love them or hate them, aviation needs to make peace with UAS – and leverage the possibilities they present.

Brock hopes to see Kansas rank in the top 10 states for UAS integration benefits by 2025. These include 3,700 jobs and a $2.9 billion impact. He knows there will be challenges. Technology currently exceeds regulations, safety practices and aviation standards. Kansas needs skilled aviation workers, more public-private coordination, and innovation investment.

“Kansas helped create aviation as it is today and can do so again,” said Brock.

He provided multiple missions – from search and rescue to bridge inspections – that could be done faster, cheaper and more accurately with drones and their sensors than by humans and outmoded tools.

Driving Innovation Through Research and Training

Brock introduced the Kansas Aviation Training and Applied Research Academy (KATARA) that he’s envisioning. Currently, it’s a concept only. He shared enthusiasm for the state’s latest initiative for aviation workforce development and job creation. It would link 32 training organizations into a single standardized training network to meet the needs of the aviation industry.

When does Brock hope to launch KATARA?

“I want it yesterday,” he said, acknowledging the need to act quickly. “Other states are working on this.”

Time will tell who makes it happen first, but Kansas is home to an aviation community unlike any other. Stay tuned.

kansas aviation director bob brock speaks to wichita aero clubKDOT Director of Aviation Bob Brock served 22 years as an Air Force pilot and UAS squadron commander, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. His experience in unmanned aircraft systems includes postings in intelligence and special operations units utilizing drones. Photo courtesy of Visual Media Group.

This column originally appeared in the May 3 issue of BlueSky News.