There’s no such thing as a perfect website. Everyone has website problems, the challenge is understanding how to identify the 20% of your website problems that will deliver 80% of your results.
In this article, I’m going to share what I learned from my website redesign process.
Your website is the most critical component of your marketing efforts.
Your website is a 24/7 sales person. Its job is to attract prospects, assist customers, and communicate your competitive advantage. Customer experience is at the heart of an excellent website.
Lately, I’ve seen so many websites that don’t just have an outdated website design, they don’t do the basics that any business website should.
- The site is just plain ugly and hard to navigate
- They don’t have a. responsive website design. That means that I can’t read or navigate the website on a mobile phone.
- They don’t load quickly either on a laptop or a mobile device.
- The site’s content is confusing or filled with jargon.
- I can’t make a purchase without contacting the company.
These are just the basics that any user might notice. But how do you, as a business owner know if you have website problems?
You Have Website Problems if..
Here is a short list of a few things that might indicate that there’ something wrong with your website.
- Website traffic: you notice a drop in traffic.
- Mobile friendly website:
- Loading speed: Your website doesn’t load in less than a second either on mobile devices or on desktop.
- When you open your website on mobile, it loads slowly and the text is small and hard to read.
- Not converting the visitors you get.
In short, user experience is everything. And, anything that creates a confusing user experience and causes users to leave our website is going to create website problems.
How to Find Website Problems
Rather than just trusting your intuition, it’s best to “check the oil” of your website and peek under the hood.
The first place to start looking is everything that creates and influencers your user’s experience:
- Does it show up when I search on Google : When I search for a specific problem that your product or service solves, will your site show up?
- Does it load quickly: Do I see your site in less than 1 second on mobile and/or desktop.
- If I’m on a mobile device, can I see and read your website without needing a magnifying glass or enlarging the text.
- Does it look good: Is it following basic website design trends? If it looks out of date, I’m not sure you’re a credible business.
- Do I understand the copy and what the site is about does it have what I’m looking for? Is this the right company for me?
- Can I find my way around: Assuming your site shows up, can I find what I’m looking for such as products, services, prices, phone numbers, etc.
- Can I make a purchase without having to contact you? Is it easy to pay?
To that end, when you think about typical website problems, you’ll find that they revolve around 3 basic categories.
Strategy and Branding Website Problems
Your website is often the very first impression your prospects will have of your business. Take screenshots of competing websites, remove the name and see if your site clearly demonstrates your brand and benefit to your customers.
Another branding issue that causes website problems is having a complicated web address. Why? Because if your website address contains hyphens or an unexpected top level domain (such as .io, .ai, .info, etc) then your customers can easily forget or type it in incorrectly and lose traffic.
Your Site’s Content
Your content plays the biggest role in helping your customers find you online. This includes search engines, search engine rankings, google analytics, blog posts, product descriptions, pricing tables, etc.
The goal of your website is to generate website traffic.
Your content is what makes it possible for new customers to find your website. Poor copy content that doesn’t connect the customer problem to your solution also costs you web traffic.
Your entire website is content
You may not realize it, but everything on your website is content, not just blog posts.
Images are visual content. So make sure that you use high quality images that contain descriptions and descriptive alt tags. This will help in your search rankings.
Write content for a target audience.
Too many business websites write content that’s company centered. Write content for your target audience. Also make sure you include a mix of relevant keyword phrases that your customers might use as well as simple descriptive words. This will help you reach a huge audience.
Lack of call to action buttons
Every business website has ONE job — to attract leads and convert them to customers. Too many websites exhibit poor performance because they don’t have call to action buttons.
Make sure that each page has at least one relevant call to action button. Typical calls to action can include: schedule an appointment, purchase, learn more, download, etc.
No Website Metrics
Don’t forget to track basic website metrics, how many new visitors, how many returning visitors, the first page they visit and your most popular landing pages.
Technical and Organizational Website Problems
The technical aspects of your website revolve around user experience as it relates to speed, ease of navigation, and the ability of website visitors to find what they are looking for.
Outdated website design and technology means that your site is hard to read on mobile and isn’t mobile friendly.
Because modern websites are now designed to enhance user experience, developers often recommend that you use a mobile-first design. That means that you design your website first on mobile, then for larger screens. This assures that your website is easily read and navigated on mobile devices.
This assumes that your website’s user experience most closely matches your website visitor’s behavior.
Here is a list of technical website problems:
Slow loading time: When your website doesn’t load fast enough, visitors leave and look for a competitor
Bad Search Engine Optimization: Ignoring SEO, or using outdated techniques, can result in poor search engine rankings and less web traffic
Complicated navigation: If your website is hard to navigate, people will leave and find a competitor whose site is easy to use
Poorly written code: Poorly written code can make your website run slowly and cause errors that turn off potential customers
Lack of social sharing buttons: If you don’t have social sharing buttons, you’re missing out on potential customers and traffic
Lack of trust signals: If you don’t have trust signals, such as testimonials, customer reviews, or security badges, potential customers will be less likely to do business with you
Broken links: If you have broken links on your website, it gives visitors a bad experience and hurts your search engine ranking
Bad navigation makes it difficult for users to find what they are looking for. This makes for a confusing User Journey
Obligatory and difficult forms: If you have contact forms or opt in forms, don’t make them required, long, or confusing. This will reduce the number of leads you collect from your websit.
Tools You’ll Use to Solve Website Problems
For this, you’ll need to get familiar with Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Here’s what I’ve learned: the most reliable tools to diagnose Google issues are Google tools. The good news is that Google tools are free. The bad news is that they can be hard to read and understand.
Google Analytics will give you information about your visitors’ behavior on your site. Google Search Console will tell you about Google’s behavior on your site.
Believe it or not, 80% of your problems can be identified from a close look at these two tools.
I know you’re not a technical expert. I’m not either. But I’ve learned that there are certain things you HAVE to know, otherwise, you won’t get the help you need. Or worse, the help you find, will not actually fix your site.
Look for Trends on Google Analytics
The first place you want to go to is Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool offered by Google to help you analyze your website traffic.
You’ll find everything you need to know about Google Analytics on the “Google for Beginners” page.
Once you’ve set everything up, take a look at the traffic coming to your site and notice any trends up or down.
Google is constantly updating its algorithms with a focus on improving user experience. In other words, when someone asks a question or searches for something, they get the best answer to their question at the top of the Google search results.
You’ll want to pull a 6-month time frame of data so that you can see if there is a cycle or some type of change in your website visits.
Compare a recent time period to a past time period and note what changes there have been.
You can also check to see if your drop in traffic was due to a Google Update. You can see a history of Google Algorithm updates on Moz. If your drop in traffic matches closely to a recent Google update, you want to read up on what the update was and see what you need to do differently.
Check Google Search Console
Next, head over to Google Search Console. While Google Analytics is more user-focused, Google Search console reports on your site’s performance on the search engine.
Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search results.
What you can learn from Google Search Console:
- The queries and questions people ask where your site is a result.
- The pages that get the most impressions and clicks.
- Identify your lowest ranking pages.
- See how your site is indexed (how does Google see your site, and your pages)
- Find issues with your site on mobile
- Identify the pages that have the most backlinks (most authoritative)
If there’s something wrong with your website, you’ll most likely see evidence of it on Google Search Console.
There are many, many other ways that Google Search Console can give you a peek inside the performance of your website.
Unless you’re checking your analytics regularly, you may not notice that there’s a problem until you see some type of drop in your business. That’s why it’s a good idea to make checking these analytics regularly important.
What Causes Website Problems
If you build a house and let it sit there without maintaining it — things will ultimately wear out and break down. The same is true of your site.
If you aren’t updating your site and keeping it safe and secure, you could get hacked. Think of this as an “infestation”. Someone was able to break through a wall and infest your site with bad code. That means you’ll have to get a web developer to serve as an “exterminator” of sorts to clean all of that up.
A “bloated” WordPress theme or bad coding:
Some WordPress themes can be very “code” heavy. Developers call that “bloated” and it often impacts the speed of your site and the performance.
Many popular WordPress themes that come with a lot of layout options are considered bloated. This happens when you include all the layout options. You can minimize this bloat by eliminating or turning off any features that you don’t use.
Another contributor to bloat is large images. Images are a double-edged sword because today’s high-resolution screens require big, beautiful images. The good news is that there are tools like TinyPng that will help you reduce the size of your images without sacrificing sharpness.
Mobile Optimization: Not Mobile Friendly
I see a lot of small business websites that are not mobile-friendly. More and more people are accessing sites from their mobile devices. So it’s critical that your visitors can easily see and use your site on a mobile device. That means that if your site is a miniature version of what’s on a desktop — that’s not good enough.
You can test to see if your site is mobile-friendly on Google.
Google doesn’t see all your pages
With billions of websites and even more web pages, Google only has so much time and bandwidth to index all of them. So, every website is allocated a “crawl budget”. That means that Google only has so much time and bandwidth to spend on your website and may not see certain pages.
Learn More: How Do Search Engines Work
Too many plugins:
WordPress themes use plugins to add customized functionality to your website. The more plugins you have, the more “outside” influencer you’re adding to your website. Plugins that aren’t secure make your site vulnerable to security breaches and hackers. They can also slow your site down and mess with your website performance. Nine times out of ten, if you’re having a problem on your site – it’s a plugin.
Bad web hosting:
Think of your website host as the “apartment” where your website lives. And, like most apartments, they might be nice — or not so nice.
You want to give your website the nicest home that you can afford. Here are a few tips on choosing a host:
- Look for a “medium” sized host. Some hosting companies get too big and you end up paying more money for less service and support.
- Make sure they get good ratings for customer service.
- Avoid private hosting services.
Read More: Web Hosting Fundamentals
Don’t Abdicate Responsibility For Your Site
If there is anything I’ve learned as I go through the process of fixing my site, it’s that you, as the business owner, have to know and understand the channels that drive customers to your business.
Sure, you can and should ask for help. But you have to know enough about the basics of website functionality so that you can LEAD the effort.
Take the time to read and research what trusted sources say about what you are experiencing.
Talk to numerous technical experts such as website developers, technical SEO professionals as well as content SEO practitioners. Like most things, you’ll find that many issues overlap. The process can become overwhelming, but if you don’t care to know what’s wrong with your website, how can you expect others to help you fix it?