We rely on our websites to generate new customers and business; however, they don’t always perform this task as well as we would hope. In this post, we’ll look at some of the most common ways that websites underperform. From online visibility to user experience, here are nine website problems and how to avoid them.
1. Your site can’t be found by search engines
Most visitors will find your website through Google and other search engines. However, if a search engine cannot find your website, it is impossible for it to get listed in search results.
Search engines find websites by crawling the internet. They’ll discover the homepage and then follow the internal links, indexing each page, post and image they come across. If this doesn’t happen, it’s likely that your website is configured in a way blocks a search engine from following links. This can result in pages, sections and entire categories being hidden.
To find out if this happening on your website, register with Google Search Console and check for crawl errors. This will show you any problems search engines have in finding content on your site.
2. It’s not appearing in search results
Even if your website can be found by search engines, there’s no guarantee it will appear in search engine results. Well, not near the top, anyway. Over 90% of users will only search the first page of Google results and half of them will select a result from the top three listings. If your website is lingering on page two or lower, the chances of getting clicked on are dismally slim.
If you want your website to have more traffic, you’ll need to improve your search engine optimisation (SEO). SEO is a complex area covering everything from the way your site is configured to the keywords you include in your content. It also includes how well your site is linked to by other, high authority websites.
SEO can take a while to put into place and even longer to take effect. It’s also something that is constantly changing.
3. Your site is so slow that visitors leave
Have you ever landed on a website and left because it took ages to load? Most people do. If your website is slow it could be having a negative impact on the amount of time visitors stay on your site and on your conversions. A 2-second delay in loading can cause a website to have a 7% drop in sales.
Websites can be slow for a wide range of reasons. The most common are poor hosting and having pages that send too much information when loading (e.g. if you have lots of plugins or add-ons).
To test whether your site is loading slowly, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights. It’s a free, online tool that tells you how well your site loads on desktop and mobile devices. It also shows you what you should do to make it load faster.
4. It doesn’t display well on all devices
There has been a huge shift in how we search the internet in the last few years. Today, 66% of our browsing time is done on mobile devices, predominantly on smartphones. This means, if your website is not mobile-friendly, you could be losing up to 66% of your visitors.
To work on all devices, you need to have a responsive website. This is not as difficult to achieve as you may think. If you use WordPress, for example, it is just a matter of updating to a responsive theme. It can be done relatively quickly and for free.
To check if your site is mobile-friendly, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly test. Just type in your URL and press enter.
5. Visitors think your site is ugly
Beauty might only be skin deep but, on the internet, it counts. The majority of web visitors believe that the quality of your presentation reflects the quality of your products and services. If you have an attractive theme, well-curated images and content that is well laid out, then visitors are much more likely to stay on your website and buy from you.
Website designs are like cars, they look very modern when they are first launched but within a couple of years can begin to look tired and outdated. Keep checking on your competitors and take note when it’s time for an upgrade.
6. Things are hard to find
A good website enables people to find exactly what they are looking for quickly and easily. If they run out of patience, they’ll go somewhere else. Having a site which is easy to navigate is all part of giving a great user experience.
To achieve this, you need well-organised content and the menus and links in place to take users to the pages they want to find. In addition, features such as site search, breadcrumbs and related items can also be helpful. Make sure you regularly check for broken links too, as these can be very irritating.
7. The content is badly written
There are some amazing looking, well-designed websites that perform very badly because their written content is poor. Basic errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar not only suggest that your organisation is unprofessional, they also make some visitors suspect that the site is a scam.
Even when basic English isn’t an issue, many website owners over-focus on SEO and fill their content with so many keywords that it doesn’t make sense to the reader. Others publish content that is badly structured and this makes it incoherent to visitors and difficult to follow.
At the end of the day, no matter how visually stunning your website, it’s the writing that does the selling. The content has to be top quality.
8. It’s not secure
Security is absolutely essential if your website is to be a success. You can be no. 1 on Google, get thousands of visitors and have a fabulous website with brilliant content. However, if Google has put ‘Not secure’ next to your web address in the browser, no-one is going to buy from you.
To make your site secure and earn the green padlock icon from Google, you need to have an SSL certificate. This ensures that credit card details and personal information sent to your website during a transaction are safely encrypted and cannot be stolen from hackers.
9. Your site keeps disappearing
It’s annoying when you click on search result to find that the website is unavailable. It gives a very bad impression about the business too. Is the site unreliable? Does the company have problems? Has it gone out of business? Is it a scam site? And besides reputational damage, if a customer cannot reach your site, you’ll lose money.
This can happen if your web hosting is unreliable. Unfortunately, unless you monitor your site’s uptime, there is little chance that you’ll spot if this is happening. Downtime can happen very frequently but only for short periods, so it is easy to miss.
To ensure that you have a website that is always there for your customers, you need a host that will guarantee uptime levels of 99.95% and above. For VPS, dedicated server and cloud hosting, you want that figure to be 99.99% and above. If your host cannot provide this, it may be time to move to a more reliable provider.
From reading this post, you’ll now be aware of nine things that can have a significant impact on how well your website performs for your business. Hopefully, the points raised here will show you how to avoid them becoming problems for you.
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