Website’s are no longer a luxury for small business, they are an absolute necessity. Due to lack of time, focus or knowledge, several small businesses often rush the development and maintenance process which may lead to many “website fails” occurring. In this article we are going to explore the top 6 website fails your business is likely making.
1. Not mobile responsive or mobile friendly
Having a responsive website could almost be certainly deemed ‘compulsory’ for any business online. But it’s no longer as simple as having a mobile responsive website, it’s also about having a mobile FRIENDLY website. That is, the experience you provide your visitor via their device. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is just one example of how you can improve user experience on mobile devices. By activating AMP on core pages, the speed in which it is delivered to the device is accelerated significantly. Depending on the contenet that you are delivering to your visitor, it may be worthwhile going one step further and creating mobile-dedicated pages and/or sites. For example – think a bout when you go to Facebook on your desktop versus your mobile. On your desktop you most likely to to www.facebook.com, but have you ever noticed that on your mobile (if you are using a browser and not the app) you will go to m.facebook.com? This is a mobile-specific site developed by Facebook to ensure the best possible experience for mobile users.
Think of your website in terms of a newspaper – you want the most critical information up front and centre – by customer requirement, not yours. With this in mind, it may be that many elements that you have on the desktop version of your website really aren’t important or necessary for the mobile version. Several WordPress themes and page builders allow you to determine which rows/sections/elements are visible for each Small Device, Medium Device and Desktop. No matter what website or page you are creating, make sure you test your site across multiple devices to ensure its functionality is as intended.
2. Site Speed
The speed of your site is critical for two reasons:
- Slow speed = annoyed visitor = disappointment
- It impacts your SEO
The ideal loading speed for pages is three seconds or less.
There are multiple ways to check the speed and performance of your website including gtmetrix.com and Google’s PageSpeed Insights, both of which are free tools. Google’s tool does have the benefit of seeing results for each mobile and desktop separately allowing you to make improvements by device. The benefit of using tools such as this is the ability to run a test, make improvements on your site, then run a new test and compare the performance. If you want to get a bit more sophisticated, Google’s Lighthouse developer tool is a good way to go.
Here are a few of key elements of your website that will affect your website speed:
- Image size – look at compression tools such as WP Smush (Pro) and Imagify. Both offer free and paid versions.
- Hosting – your hosting is absolutely critical when it comes to site speed. Keep this in mind when comparing hosts, and don’t just look at the price.
- Plugins – these can have a significant impact on your page and site loading times. Make sure to remove redundant plugins and keep others updated.
3. Where’s your call to action?
Does your website look positively amazing, gorgeous and deliver all the information that you think your visitors need? Great! BUT – does it have a call to action? That is, do you have on each and every page of your website a prompt for your visitor to take action. For example – “Subscribe to our newsletter”, “Contact us now for a free consultation”, “Buy today and get 10% off”. These are known as a call to action (CTA) and are critical to engaging your visitors.
If you already have a CTA on your website – is it working? Are you getting leads/sales/enquiries? If not – it’s probably time to look at what your CTA is and how you can improve it.
4. The dreaded ‘404 error’
How many times have you visited a page on a website only to be faced with an error page. Whether it is a 404 error or ‘this page does not exist’, more often than not you are disappointed and end up going elsewhere.
Why do 404 errors occur? Most often because you have deleted a page or adjusted it’s URL without telling the website the updated link or an alternate page to direct traffic to. Unfortunately this is a very easy mistake to make, but they can be resolved very quickly (yay!). Here are a couple of options:
- Install the “Broken Links” plugin to your website, enable notifications, and keep an eye on your inbox for when an error pops up. This plugin also allows you to update broken links (both internal and external) all within the plugin, or you can go to the individual page to make the adjustments yourself. Please be mindful with this plugin as on installation it automatically includes a line of code which will change the font on a broken link on your LIVE site – eg. www.brokenlink.com will become
www.brokenlink.comuntil you fix it. You can override this setting though!
- Install the “Redirection” plugin to your website. When you change the URL on certain page, or delete a page, go to this plugin and make sure you add a redirection between the old and new URLs.
- Upgrade to Yoast SEO Premium – this plugin automatically detects when you have deleted a page and will prompt you for a new URL to direct traffic to. It will also detect when you have updated the URL on a page and automatically create a redirect between the old and new URLs. This is just one benefit of the premium version of the plugin though – make sure you check out the full feature list if you are interested in boosting your SEO efforts.
5. Cluttered design
Let’s face it – we are all time poor. Having a sales page that is full of extraneous information up front and centre is unlikely to secure a scale. Think “KISS” – keep it simple stupid. Whilst I don’t want to sound rude, the bottom line is you want to simplify your messages so that they can be read in 30 seconds flat. Here is a great example from DAN –
6. You’ve gone too heavy on the jargon
Regardless of your industry, if you are deeply immersed in it then the likelihood is that you take it for granted just how much you know about it. Marketers are terrible when it comes to acronyms, there are a gazillion and one that we throw about willy nilly – DM (direct mail), eDM (electronic direct mail), B2B (business to business), B2C (business to consumer), CMS (content management system), CPC (cost per click), PPC (pay per click), CRM (customer relationship management), and then you get into “web speak” – HTML, CSS, RSS, JS, the list goes on and on and on…. I still remember my first week in the Repco Marketing department with about 100 different acronyms thrown at me, all of which I had no idea what they were. These were mostly acronyms that had been given to internal processes, but some were also for external agencies. The team were so familiar with these that they didn’t even think to explain them, instead I had to speak up and remind them that they were talking absolute jargon to me. No matter what you are writing about, you need to remember WHO you are writing for. Keep your customer in mind so that you can deliver the message that they need to read and here.
Be clear, simple and concise.
A final word…
Now that we have given you a few pointers, and some great tools to help address them, start preparing your ‘to do’ list for fixing up your website. Take each day at a time and progress through your list as you can. Make sure to prioritise the tasks that you have and get the fundamentals in place, then work on improving and growing your website as you can! If you need any help or advice, just sing out 🙂