When was the last time you checked for any website mistakes?
Over the last few months we’ve done website audits for over 50 businesses and we saw a lot of common issues.
Here are 17 possible issues with your website you could solve pretty easily:
1. Doesn’t pass the 5 second test
When someone lands on your website you only have a few seconds to capture their attention.
Within the first 5 seconds, can a visitor figure out where they are, what they can do on your site, and why they should do it?
It’s important that you communicate these things ‘above the fold’ or the area of your website that users see without scrolling down the page. This is typically your hero image and accompanying content.
I’ve been studying the Storybrand framework recently which helps you understand how storytelling can fit into your website. One of the things that this framework promotes is having a clear tagline on your website that sets the scene and is so simple that anyone can understand.
We’re in the middle of changing our tagline as a result of this!!
Your tagline should indicate what you do and how your customers’ lives will be different after they buy from you.
Then you need a very clear call to action.
Here’s an example:
The tagline in the example above addresses the company’s value proposition and is followed by one main action they want people to take.
This way, visitors to the website don’t have to scroll down to look for information on what the company offers and what they can do next.
2. Analytics and/or Google Search Console not setup
Without the analytics set up you can get a good idea of your performance by counting the cash you collect through your website.
… most websites are not cash machines so whatever money you are generating you can improve.
Your analytics tells the story of how your website is performing and not having analytics set up is like not bothering to do accounts for your business!!
Everyone hates doing accounts but we know it’s essential.
Similarly, without Google Search Console set up, you won’t be able to track and measure your site’s search traffic and performance or uncover any issues with your website pages.
Google Search Console is a report that Google shares with you on how your website is doing. Surely you want to see this?
So, make sure to do the proper setup of your website analytics. This article can help:
3. Not enough focus on conversion optimization
Conversion rate optimisation is a practice of getting the highest possible number of people visiting your site to take the action you want them to take.
CRO is a very complex field as there are many things that impact visitors’ decision making, from visual hierarchy and content layout, to copy and the way you use CTAs on your website.
Here we’re going to shed light on some of the most common issues with conversion optimisation.
Not making your primary call to action obvious
Your primary call to action is what you really want people to do. For example ‘Buy now,’ ‘Enquire now’ etc.
You want your primary CTA to clearly stand out and ideally it will be visible in the same place across your website pages. Normally this is the top right of a website:
Not giving people a secondary call to action
Not everyone is ready to buy now. In the example above the business wants everyone to ‘Try Canary’ but if they are not ready to sign up yet they can download the pricing.
A secondary CTA gives you an opportunity to build the relationship with website visitors over email and nurture them until they are ready to buy.
Do you provide a primary and secondary call to action? And is there a clear distinction between them?
Not analyzing your conversion statistics
It’s rare to find a company that can tell you what the conversion rates are on their website.
And this is one of the most important things to know! If you run an online shop you are more likely to know these stats but it’s just as important for every other business.
So you need to set up your goals and funnels to measure your conversion rate and figure out where people are dropping off on their path to conversion and why.
Here’s some useful links to help you with goals and funnel setup:
4. Website Mistake: SEO issues that are easily resolved
When was the last time you did a review of your SEO to identify some basic issues that need fixing? For example:
- Missing, duplicate or invalid SEO titles, meta descriptions, and alt tags. Every page on your website should have a unique and descriptive title and description that Google can ‘read’ to help it index your pages correctly. Likewise, you need to have alt tags for images describing what the images are about. Most SEO tools now let you analyze your website for issues with meta tags and these are easy fixes that can bring you tangible SEO gains.
- Broken links on your site. Broken links negatively impact user experience on your site but they also damage your SEO rankings. In our experience, a surprisingly small number of website owners are willing to spend their time to do link analysis and fix or remove broken links. With tools like Ahrefs, you can find broken internal and external backlinks on your site in a matter of minutes.
- Pages missing on your site. This issue most commonly happens after a website redesign when you don’t put correct redirects in place. So if you are deleting old pages you need to redirect them to appropriate new pages that provide related content. If you don’t do this, users will end up on 404 pages which is a frustrating experience for them. In addition, Google doesn’t index pages that return a 404 status.
5. Inconsistent branding
Visual identity is a big part of your overall brand and it includes a logo, colour palettes, typefaces, icon’s, style of pictures, etc. All of these elements need to be used consistently throughout your website since a strong and consistent visual identity will go a long way in communicating your brand to your audience.
So what are some of the most common visual brand identity issues we find on websites?
- Different styles of images used throughout the website
- Inconsistent use of logo e.g. using two different versions of the logo
- No consistency in the use of colors
- Different graphics styles from page to page, etc.
These issues create an impression that very little attention was given to the development of the brand’s visual identity. Not to mention the effect they have on the overall visual appeal of the website. So, make sure the core elements of your site’s visual identity are used consistently and get help from a designer to fix any issues that you identify.
Check out this detailed guide on building visual identity from Canva:
6. No pixel tracking setup
Tracking pixels are a very useful tool for building audiences that are more receptive to your marketing message. If you ever felt like a company is ‘following you’ around the Web with their ads, then this was a tracking pixel at work!
A tracking pixel is an HTML code snippet which is loaded when a user visits your website or specific pages on your site. It enables you to build an audience that has already shown some interest in your company and your product so that you can target them with relevant ads.
This is important because ad campaigns targeted towards these audiences typically have higher conversion rates than those targeting a brand new audience.
So, for example, by inserting a Facebook pixel in your website you can build a custom audience and use it to remarket to people who already took a specific action on your site.
Apart from advertising purposes, tracking pixels are also used for analytics i.e. you’ll want to have Google Analytics tag on your website to track user behavior. Although this may seem too technical, setting up tracking pixels with Google Tag Manager is actually quite easy to do.
Check out this step by step guide on how to use GTM to set up tracking pixels on your website:
7. Website not secure
Although Google has been penalizing unsecure websites for quite some time now, many businesses still don’t have an SSL Secure Website. It even shows all non-SSL websites as “Not Secure”.
So, why is this important? A HTTPS designation on the URL shows visitors that your website has been verified as authentic. It also gives them assurance that you’re encrypting any data they submit to your site. And if you’re selling anything on your website, you are required to have encryption!
A secure website is a must if you want to have a professional web presence and establish credibility with visitors. If you still don’t have an SSL certificate and you were worried about additional costs, now you can get it for free from sites like Let’s Encrypt.
8. Poor website copy
Good website copy helps your visitors make a decision to take an action on your site e.g. contact you, make a purchase, etc. It plays a huge role in driving conversion by speaking to the needs and interests of your target audience at different stages of their journey. Plus, great website copy also communicates your brand and its values.
It’s not easy to create compelling copy and that’s why professional copywriters are employed to do it. They know how to develop brand voice and tone and how to use it consistently; they also know when and how to use different persuasive copywriting techniques to drive visitors to purchase.
When was the last time you reviewed your website copy? And how do you know your copy solid, anyway? Here are some signs that you are doing a good job in this area:
- The tone and style of writing is consistent throughout your website
- You communicate your value proposition clearly and it’s evident to visitors from the moment they land on your site
- You’ve tested your headlines and CTAs and the ones you have now resonate most with your visitors
- The copy on each page of your website is easy to scan – you’re using short paragraphs, bullets, and headings to increase readability
- The copy is focused on the benefits to your target customers and they’re the hero of the story. So, you’re using more of ‘you’ and ‘your’ in the text that ‘we’ and ‘our,’ etc.
- You provide content for visitors of different levels of knowledge about your business and your product – you have copy that engages people who’re visiting your site for the first time to learn more, but you also have copy targeted at those who are closer to the decision to buy from you.
- The copy is written with SEO in mind i.e. you’re using keywords naturally in the text and linking internally to other relevant pages on your site.
9. No clear blogging strategy
Running a blog and updating it regularly with content around your target keywords and topics that are valuable to your potential customers will help rank your pages and drive more relevant traffic.
With so much talk about the importance of content, you’d think that in 2020 most businesses with an online presence would have a clear blogging strategy. But unfortunately that is not the case.
Typically, websites have issues with publishing frequency (quantity of content) or with writing about topics relevant to their target audience (quality of content).
According to a research from HubSpot, the more often you publish new blog posts the more leads you’ll get. However, how often you should publish on your blog will depend on many factors, including your target audience, your budget, competition for the keywords you’re targeting, and more.
Quality will always beat quantity, so it’s better to focus on writing two long-form, quality blog posts per month than to publish low quality posts two times a week.
Another issue that we see a lot is inability to measure results from blogging and answering questions like:
- Is our blog content driving visitors further down the marketing funnel?
- How often does the content we publish results in conversion?
- Which content format is most successful in terms of engagement, time spent, etc?
10. Poor website performance (speed)
The speed of your website is becoming more and more important, not just because it impacts user experience but also because it’s one of Google’s ranking factors. If it takes more than 3 seconds to load, your website is considered too slow.
Have you checked the speed of your website recently? This is quite easy to do with a tool such as GTMetrix. You just need to enter your website URL and the tool will show you performance details such as the time it takes for the page to fully load and the average page speed score.
You’ll also get recommendations for improving your website speed. Here are some of the most common issues that affect the speed of a website:
- A large number of unoptimized, high-resolution images can significantly slow down your website. Before you upload images to your website you need to resize and compress them. When it comes to image size, anything above 1MB is too big.
- Not using a CDN service can have a negative impact on site speed. A content distribution network ensures that your website is accessed from the closest hosting center to the visitor.
- Choosing the right web hosting service is key to maintaining a high-performance website. It’s not the same if you’re using shared or dedicated hosting. Shared hosting is the cheapest option but since there are many websites using resources of a single server, this often translates to slower load time. With dedicated hosting you’ll have control of your own dedicated server and resources.
- Website errors that need to be resolve
11. No backups in place
This is the most important thing on your list. If you don’t have backups of your website and your website gets hacked what happens?
I arrived in one day and my site was in Russian.
I was using Flywheel as my hosting provider so I clicked a button and restored my website. I was up and running again in minutes.
The only way to make sure you have a good backup in place is to ask your Agency to load up your website on a different website using the backup!
Check out 7 WordPress backup solutions compared from WPBeginner.
12. No good email sequences after signup
The majority of visitors to your website will not be ready to buy so you need to capture their details (typically with an email) and convince them to buy with follow up emails. There are 3 types of emails you should be sending:
Content – You want to share relevant content to demonstrate your expertise and convince your subscribers that your product is the best solution for a problem/need they have. When the time is right, they’ll buy from you as opposed to someone else.
Relationship – These are the types of emails that will help make a personal connection between you and your subscribers. Using video is a great way to connect with them personally. For example, you could create a video which gives them some practical content but the video also lets them know you are friendly, fun to deal with etc. There’s a face behind all this content.
Promotional – This is where you send a direct promotion. We’d love you to become a customer and here’s how you do it. A good salesperson will always tell you that you need to ask for the sale. Are you asking for the sale?
13. Social media feeds on your website
Embedding Facebook and Twitter feeds on your website is just bad.
If you are a tourism brand you could make the argument of putting those beautiful pictures from Instagram on your website but it’s still going to slow down your website.
Plus, this type of content can distract your visitors from taking more important actions on your site or visiting your other pages.
14. Complicated navigation
Website navigation is one of the key elements of user experience design. If visitors can’t quickly and easily find what they’re looking for, they’ll abandon your site and look for solutions elsewhere. So how do you know if your website has issues with navigation?
Here are some of the typical problems with website navigation:
- The navigation menu isn’t placed in a familiar location
- Navigation options are not logical to users
- There are too many items in your menu
- It is difficult to find the information that helps users make a decision
- You’re relying too much on drop down menus
- You’re using hamburger as a secondary navigation menu
Visitors should be able to move around your site with ease, finding what they’re looking for without putting too much thought into it. Review your website navigation to make sure you’re not making any of the above mistakes.
15. Poor content layout
The typical user scans through your website and stops at what draws their attention. They don’t read all your content. Your job is to try to get them to read what is important and what helps them make a decision.
Here are some content layout tips:
- Use shorter paragraphs with maximum four lines of text
- Use enticing headings to break up the text
- Enrich the content with strong, relevant imagery and/or video to capture visitor attention
- Avoid clutter – people love whitespace as it helps them focus.
By following the above tips you’ll make content easier to read for visitors and get them to stop and pay attention to the important information and offers on your site.
16. Confusing visual hierarchy
Visual hierarchy entails arranging and organizing website elements so that visitors naturally gravitate toward the most important elements first. It starts with placing key messages above the fold or the part of your website users can see without scrolling.
Certain elements of your website are more important than others (e.g. forms, calls to action, value proposition, etc.), and you want those to get more attention than the less important parts by using ‘tools’ like positioning, size, color, contrast and shape.
The issues we often encounter when reviewing websites in relation to visual hierarchy include:
- Not following typical page scanning patterns. Readers tend to scan pages based on particular patterns, like F shaped or Z shaped patterns. Designers tend to rely on these patterns if they want audiences to notice elements on a web page in a particular order.
- Not leveraging color to drive attention to calls to action. Quite often we see websites that use brand colors for their CTAs, making them blend in. This is a bad practice as you want to pull the visitors eye toward CTAs by using color and contrast.
- Not adjusting the size of website elements to show their importance.
- Poor alignment of elements on the page. The alignment of website photos, texts, buttons, and graphics is extremely important if you want to achieve visual hierarchy that ‘flows’ naturally.
Check out this great post on Visual Hierarchy from Interaction Design Foundation.
17. Not optimized for mobile
Mobile is becoming increasingly important and a lot of sites are already getting more mobile traffic than desktop traffic. So it’s very important that you provide a great mobile experience.
Mobile optimization takes into consideration not only design, but also site structure, page speed, and more to provide the best possible experience to mobile visitors. However, many websites aren’t doing a good job at this.
Here are some typical issues with website mobile optimization and how to avoid them:
- Slow load time on mobile. To help get your mobile website load as fast or even faster than on desktop, make sure to optimize images, use mobile-optimized caching, and periodically check with Google if your website is mobile friendly.
- Design not optimized for mobile user experience. Are buttons on your website optimized for mobile? This includes using click-to-call buttons, making sure buttons are ‘finger friendly’ and placing your primary CTA above the mobile fold. And how about navigation? Can mobile users easily find and use your navigation menu on mobile? And most importantly, are actions (e.g. login. form completion, payment, etc) easy to complete on mobile?
Here’s a useful checklist for making your website mobile friendly.
The points mentioned in this article are some of the most common website mistakes that we see businesses make on their websites. The good news is that all of these issues are relatively easy to fix, but you need to spot them first!
This means you need to take time to periodically review your website for content, design, conversion, and usability issues to ensure you’re getting maximum results.