How to fix the 10 Most Common Website Mistakes
Websites, there are literally millions of them. But when it comes to the most common mistakes on websites there are 10 that we see all the time and your site probably has at least one of them.
But the good thing is that they can all be fixed and we’re going to show you how.
No SSL Certificate/Not Secure
Whether you have an e-commerce site or not, your site must be secure. An unsecured site is a problem for two reasons.
Firstly, some internet providers and browsers will block access to your site if it’s unsecured. Secondly, being un-secure is a big red flag to search engines such as Google and it can affect your ranking position.
To check if your site is secure look to see if there’s a padlock next to your website address in the URL bar. If there is you’re secure, if not then you’ll see ‘Not Secure’.
This means that you don’t have an active SSL certificate on yours. To fix this you’ll need to get in touch with your hosting provider and get one activated.
Or, you can swap to a plan from our sister company, The Green Hosting Co., where you get an SSL certificate and lots more benefits as standard.
For more tips on securing your website check out our article ‘How to Secure Your Website in 7 Easy Steps.’
Having a responsive site is vital for both user experience and search engine optimisation. But we won’t dive into the detail here as we’ve covered it previously in our article ‘What is a Responsive Website and Why Do You Need One?’. Feel free to go and give that one a quick read.
To check if your site is responsive open it on your desktop and then drag the window in from the left or right. Does the content respond and adapt to the new dimensions? If it does you need to check that the content is legible, that nothing overlaps and that the content stays within the width of the viewing window. You shouldn’t have to scroll left or right to view it all.
If it doesn’t, or you have any of the issues mentioned above then you need to speak to a web developer to fix the responsiveness of your website.
No Clear Calls to Action (C.T.As)
Let’s be honest, you don’t want people to visit your site, read a bit of your content and then disappear. You want them to take action, and if you don’t make it easy for them to take action they won’t.
Whether you want them to sign up for your newsletter (*cough*, here’s a link to sign up for ours), sign up for a course, book a consultation or buy a product you need to make it really clear and easy for the user to take that action.
Take some time to go through your site and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Are there obvious and clear ways for them to take action without having to read everything on the page?
If not, add some.
Broken links aren’t good for user experience or for SEO. But thanks to Ahref’s free broken link checker, it’s super simple to see if you have any on your site. Enter your domain and then if it finds any you can edit your site to fix or remove the link.
Wide Line Lengths
Our brains struggle to get to the end of a long line and then scan back to the start of the next line quickly. This means that the copy on your site should sit within narrow text containers.
We often see text running the full width of a website page when in truth it should be half that (ideally 70-ish characters per line).
Think about a book or a newspaper, the columns and pages are generally very narrow, and that’s for a reason.
If you have long line lengths on your website adjust the container width that they sit in, or speak to your developer to make the changes for you.
Bad Visual Content Hierarchy
We’re all in a rush. It’s a sad fact about our modern society and one that you need to be conscious of with your website.
When a user lands on your site they want to quickly and easily flow through your content, digest the top-line information at a glance and decide if they want to stay and read more. And they do that by following the visual hierarchy of your content.
If you have a poor hierarchy it’s difficult for a user to navigate through your content and they are very unlikely to hang around and take the time to try to work it all out.
Now, this issue isn’t a simple issue to fix, but it is one of the most important things to get right on your website. It’s also not a simple topic to summarise so we recommend checking out this article by Adobe which explains the key principles of visual hierarchy.
And if you’d like a professional eye to analyse the visual hierarchy of your site feel free to request one of our free website audits.
Content Isn’t Customer First
When your visitor arrives on your site they don’t want to hear all about you, they want to hear about what can do for them. About how your product or service makes their life easier, solves their problems or brings them pleasure.
Quite often we see business talking in facts and not benefits. Yes, your business may have been trading for a long time, but what does that mean to the visitor? Yes, your product may have lots of features, but what do they do for the person that buys it?
Go through your site and analyse the content to see if it talks to your audience. Does it answer the questions they will have about your product or service?
You want your customer to be able to find out everything they need to know to make a buying decision. Nowadays it’s very rare that people will email or pick up the phone to ask you directly. Instead, they’ll head to a competitor’s site and get the answers from them, and we’re sure you don’t want that.
No Lead Capture/Lead Magnets
How many times have you visited a site for the first time and made a purchase, or committed to something? We’d hazard a guess that it’s a very rare occurrence, and your audience is no different.
Meaning you need to capture your website visitors’ details on that first visit. Enabling you to keep communicating with them while they go through their buyer journey.
The way to do that is through a lead capture/lead magnet. This is a process where you offer the visitor something for free in exchange for their email address.
If you don’t have anything like this on your site you need to create something and we’ve written a whole article on lead magnets to help you.
Images Aren’t Optimised for Web
Whether you have shots from a professional photographer, a stock image site, or some snapped on your phone, they’ll need to be optimised for the web.
Because they are more than likely way too large a file size for the web.
We regularly see sites built with images that are 2Mb, 3Mb, 4Mb, and even 10Mb+. This is MASSIVE and it’s a massive problem for a number of reasons.
Large images take time to download, especially if you’re on mobile data, which means they will slow down the loading speed of your site. And for every second it takes to load your page you lose 7% of your visitors.
Slow sites are also penalised by search engines which means large file sizes can impact your SEO.
And last but not least, large files are one of the biggest drivers of website carbon emissions which means they play a big part in increasing your sites digital carbon footprint.
So, make sure you optimise your images for the web. If you’re not sure how, check out our article ‘How to Optimise Website Images’ for some tips and tricks.
Automated Meta Titles & Meta Descriptions
A 2019 study by BrightEdge found that 68% of all trackable website traffic came from search engines, with 53% organic and 15% paid. Meaning it’s incredibly important to ensure that your result on a search engine is as strong as possible.
Which is where meta titles and meta descriptions come into play.
To see what your meta descriptions and meta titles are head to Google and type in site:www.yourdomain.com. You will then get a page showing the meta information it displays for your website.
Take some time to consider them from the perspective of your audience. If you saw that information would it make you want to click to go through to your site? If not, head into the back end of your website and change them to something that will.
Written by Kayleigh Nicolaou
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