17 Common Website Problems and How to Fix Them
Does Your Website Support Your Business?
If you’re in business, chances are you have a website. Your website should be working hard to attract visitors and convert those visitors into sales and inquiries. And it should be paying for itself.
But what if it isn’t?
Business owners typically have two main complaints when it comes to their websites. The first is that the website isn’t getting enough traffic. The second is that the website isn’t bringing in enough business through inquiries or sales.
When the pandemic hit, digitalizing goods and services went from optional to non-negotiable for small businesses. By 2023, it’s become apparent that having a barebones website is no longer enough to convert visitors and stand out from the competition.
A recent report shows that 83% of consumers say convenience is more important now than five years ago. Therefore, providing an easy and convenient online experience where your customers can self-serve is the key to online success.
In 2023, your website must be intuitive, contain high-quality images, and seamlessly guide your visitors through the customer journey to succeed online and stand out from your digital competitors.
Many business owners have websites that don’t work as well as they should. Common problems include:
- Low visitor numbers
- Not enough sales or inquiries
- Visitors leaving the site too quickly
- Abandoned shopping carts
These issues can have a variety of causes, but here are 17 of the most common website problems and what you can do to fix them.
How to Fix Common Website Problems
1. Slow Page Loading Speed
40% of consumers abandon a website if it doesn’t load in three seconds. Therefore, every page on your website should load quickly and flawlessly. Otherwise, you risk sending potential customers straight to your competitors.
How To Fix
Use a tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to check your site’s loading speed. After entering your domain, you’ll see your site’s overall score and recommended fixes to improve loading speed. If you’re unsure how to fix some of these issues, consider hiring a page speed optimization freelancer.
Otherwise, an easy first step you can take (if you haven’t already) is to reduce the size of your images and limit the number of fonts. Huge images and numerous fonts take much longer to load on different screen sizes and devices.
2. Not Optimized for Mobile
As of January 2023, 60.9% of all website traffic comes from people using mobile devices. This percentage is even higher for industries like restaurants and hospitality—so having a mobile-friendly website is a must.
A mobile-friendly website functions and looks just as good, if not better, than when viewed on a desktop. Therefore, prioritizing a mobile-first design can help lower your site’s bounce rate and, in turn, improve your local search rankings.
How To Fix
To check if your website is mobile-friendly, ensure your images, fonts, buttons, and navigation menu appear proportionally on different mobile screens. If you’re building or updating your website, choose a flexible, responsive layout that renders well on different devices and orientations.
3. Poor UI/UX Design
In addition to having a responsive website design, you also need to consider your pages’ usability and overall aesthetic—a.k.a; the user interface and user experience (UI/UX). A clean, uncluttered layout that uses your brand colors and high-quality images will help build awareness and trust with your customers.
One way to avoid a frustrating navigation experience is to ensure your customers can fully self-serve through your website. From finding information about your services to booking and leaving you a review, the ability to do so should be at the tip of their fingers.
How To Fix
Look for a website host or plugins that prioritize customer convenience. For example, a site that empowers visitors to self-serve from beginning to end of the customer journey is an excellent way to promote a good user experience.
4. No Clear Purpose
The first job of a website is to explain clearly and simply what the company does. This information reassures visitors and lets them know they’re in the right place.
You might think this should be obvious, but many companies get it wrong.
If a visitor arrives on your website, they should be able to understand what you do in five seconds or less. Otherwise, your visitors will abandon your site in favor of one of your competitors.
How to Fix:
Generally, your website should start by explaining what you do and who your clients are. You should be able to do this in a couple of sentences, using plain English that anyone can understand.
Make sure your website gives a cohesive first impression. Use simple, straightforward language and relevant images that represent your brand and help your visitors to understand what you do.
5. Not Meeting User Expectations
You and your target audience are disconnected if your website doesn’t deliver what your visitors expect to see.
Visitors use the information accompanying your link to helping them understand what your webpage is about before they decide to visit. For example, they’ll look at the page title and description on the Google results page.
If what they see when they reach your website differs from what potential customers expect, visitors might think they’re in the wrong place and leave.
How To Fix:
To avoid disappointing your visitors, you must ensure their experience is fluid and flows consistently — from the link they click to reach you to the landing page they arrive on.
If you’re running an online offer or promotion, have visitors click through to a dedicated landing page rather than just a website page.
6. Annoying Website Features
The last thing you want to do is annoy your potential customers, so take some time to think about the features on your website, how they present themselves and whether they’re necessary.
Common website irritations include:
- Pop-ups that appear on every page of the site
- Pop-ups you can’t close down without completing the sign-up
- Pop-ups with passive-aggressive opt-outs, like ‘No thanks, I already know everything.’
- Error 404 pages (Page not found)
- Intrusive advertising/chatbots
- Sign-up boxes with no option to close them
- Distracting carousels or animations
- Autoplay videos
Worse than just being irritating, all these things distract your visitors — taking their attention away from where it needs to be. And that’s if they decide to stay.
How To Fix:
Give your visitors a chance to get to know you and see what you’re about before you bombard them with sign-ups. Set these pop-ups to appear as they leave the site rather than when they arrive.
A broken link will send your visitors to an Error 404 page, telling them the page they’re looking for can’t be found.
You can check your site for broken links using a broken link checker.
If you’ve removed pages, ensure all links have also been removed or updated.
Carousels, animations, and videos
Carousels are the sliding panels you see at the top of some websites. If they are large and move quickly, you can still see them at the top of the screen when you scroll down — which can be distracting.
If you use carousels on your site, make sure they don’t change too frequently. Consider stopping the carousel after the first cycle. And add arrows so that visitors can scroll through them manually at their own pace.
The same with animations. Avoid continuous looping — let them play once or twice, then stop. Or, if you can control them when visitors scroll past them, so they’re not creating a distraction at the top of the screen.
Autoplay videos can be annoying — especially if they stall your site while loading or play unexpectedly with sound. Visitors should always have the option to watch your video or scroll past it.
If your visitors have difficulty finding their way around your website, they might give up before they’ve found what they were looking for.
Your website should make it easy for visitors to find their way around. And ideally, they should be able to access any page within three clicks.
Navigation usually works in two ways: a main navigation bar across the top, which links to all the main pages of your site, and signposts, like text links and buttons, which appear at crucial points on each page.
Your signposts should anticipate what visitors want to see at each stage of the customer journey and include a link that takes them to the relevant page.
For example, a customer journey might go from the home page to the relevant service page, to your portfolio, to your testimonials, and finally, to your contact page.
How To Fix:
Start by looking at your main navigation bar and ensure it contains links to all your website’s main pages.
Then go through each page, looking at the key points, usually at the end of each section. At each point, ask yourself, “what does my visitor need here?” and add the relevant signpost.
You can test your navigation by bringing in an outsider and asking them to navigate to specific website pages. See how quickly and efficiently they can do it. If it’s not quick and easy, ask them where they’re finding it difficult and try to improve it.
8. Poor SEO and Content
Although the content on your site doesn’t have to be highly sophisticated, you still want it to provide solutions for your visitors’ most common problems. Prioritizing SEO (search engine optimization) will help your website rank for the services you offer and increase the chance of people landing on your website.
How To Fix
Think about some of the main questions and concerns potential customers typically have for you. Whether it’s obtaining a quote, learning about your services, inquiring about your availability, or all of the above, make sure your site has these answers.
Focus on straightforward content that uses relevant keywords for your services. Please double-check that your NAP (name, address, and phone number) is prominent on your site and that it matches your local listings.
9. Not Indexed by Search Engines
If your website isn’t getting any visitors, it may be because it is new and not yet indexed by search engines.
A new website with a brand new domain could take up to six months to appear on Google.
If you have Google Search Console on your site — and you should have — you can start by checking to see if your site has been indexed. If it hasn’t, you can submit it to Google.
How To Fix:
If you want to check if your website pages are indexed, you can use the Google indexed pages checker in Google Search Console.
- Open your browser and log into Google Search Console.
- Enter the page’s URL in the search box and click enter.
- Google will then tell you if the URL is on Google. If your URL is on Google, you don’t need to do anything else here. You’ll have the option to submit your URL to Google if it isn’t.
You can wait a few days for Google to index the page or request indexing. But there’s no telling how long it will take.
Google Site Query is another easy way to check how many pages are indexed. Go to Google Search and enter site:yourdomain.com. For instance, if your website is ilovecats.com, you will enter sitse:ilovecats.com, and you’ll get a complete list of all the web pages Google indexed from your site.
10. Broken Pages and Links
Nothing is more frustrating than clicking on a link or image to land on a 404 error page. Not only is this discouraging to potential customers as it signals a lack of care, but Google also penalizes sites with too many broken links or redirects.
How To Fix
Periodically crawl your site for broken pages, links, and images. You can do this by logging into your Google Search Console or preferred website analytics tool and getting a report with any issues the crawl discovered. Then you can begin updating, removing, or redirecting any pages or links flagged on the report.
11. Too Much Clutter
Clutter on your homepage or throughout your site may not only impact your loading speed, but it’s a surefire way to overwhelm your visitors. Too many banner ads, photos, large chunks of text, and varying calls-to-action can be just as off-putting as a pushy salesperson.
How To Fix
Think about the most intuitive way to divide the content on your site and give each page a single purpose. Start with a clean homepage that leads your visitors to other pages like an about, services, contact, pricing, or gallery page.
Opt for three banner ads on each page with a clear call to action. These can include requesting a quote, signing up for your newsletter, or calling your business.
12. Ineffective Calls to Action
A call to action (CTA) is anything on your website that prompts your visitors to take action. The step could be anything from visiting another page to getting in touch with you.
But on some websites, the calls to action don’t work. There are several reasons for this, including:
- Buttons that don’t do anything
- Broken or incorrect links
- Unclear links or button text
- Contact forms that don’t send
- Buried, missing, or incorrect contact details.
How To Fix:
Your calls to action should be clear, conspicuous, and placed right where your customers can see them. If you can, use colored buttons that contrast with your background and make any text links obvious.
Make sure your links and buttons give visitors a clear expectation of what will happen when they’re clicked — and make sure they follow through. If you’re expecting visitors to sign up for something, be explicit about what they’ll be getting in return.
Make it easy for people to get in touch with you. For example, display your phone number prominently at the top of your website rather than burying it in the footer, where it’s harder for visitors to find.
Spare a thought for your mobile visitors. Ensure links and buttons are well-spaced to allow for a thumb press.
Check regularly that all your buttons, links, and forms are working correctly.
13. Hidden Basic Information
A great way to irritate your visitors is by making it hard to find your business’s basic information. Instead, details like your address, contact information, hours of operation, and services should be easily accessible at any point on your site.
How To Fix
Help your visitors contact you by including links to this information on your website’s homepage. It’s also a good idea to reiterate your contact information in your footer and link to it from your navigation bar so that your visitors can locate it at any point throughout your site.
14. Lack of Contact Information
If you’re offering a service, the main goal of your website is probably getting visitors to contact you. If they’re not contacting you, it may be a problem with how you’ve structured your contact information.
How To Fix:
Make it easy for visitors to contact you using your preferred contact method. For example, if you want them to call you, have your phone number displayed prominently at the top of your website.
Give visitors a range of contact options. These might include:
- A phone number if they need an immediate response
- A mobile number with the opportunity to text or WhatsApp you
- A contact form if they’d prefer to send their needs in writing
- An email address if they want to send you some additional files
- Social media links if they’re going to connect with you and get to know you better first
Check your contact form regularly. Sometimes contact and other forms stop working, and you may never know.
Make sure you have an accessible contact page, and that the contact details are up-to-date.
Make your contact form as short and easy to complete as possible. Remember, a contact form is only for making contact, and the customer hasn’t decided if they will work with you yet. So the minimum would be to ask for their name, message, and phone number or email address so you can follow up with them.
15. Lack of Human Element
A lack of human element, especially for a small business, can create a disconnect between you and your customers—even if they’re satisfied with your work.
Customers emotionally connected to a company will spend two and a half times more annually than with a company that does not seem to care about them. Your website is a great tool to help nurture an emotional connection to your brand and boost customer loyalty.
How To Fix
Adding human elements and touchpoints to your site can be pretty straightforward. Start with a concise yet honest story on your about page, a clear mission statement that speaks on your company ethics and values, photos of your team, and a page of customer testimonials.
Another good website feature to have is a live chat box. Live chat encourages visitors to reach out with any questions, makes them feel attended to, and helps foster good customer relationships.
16. Technical Issues
If you have unexplained low engagement on your website, your process may have a technical fault.
Technical faults can cause forms not to send and cause blips in the customer journey, resulting in low mailing list sign-ups and abandoned shopping carts.
How To Fix:
Technical faults can sometimes arise following an update to your web platform or browser.
If you have a web designer who also manages your domain, they may conduct routine tests for this sort of thing. But sometimes, the only way to find a technical fault is to test the processes routinely.
17. Security and Certification Issues
Finally, you want to ensure your site and customer information is safe and secure. Cyber attacks put your company, employees, and customers at risk and can damage the trust you’ve worked so hard to build toward your brand.
How To Fix
To ensure your website is secure, periodically update your copyright and check for updates available to any plugins, software, or business apps you use. Obtaining an SSL certificate will also help keep client information safe if they purchase or pay for services through your website.
As you can tell, long gone are the days when your website merely complemented your business. Instead, your site is your business’s first—and arguably most important—impression.
With these troubleshooting tips, you’ll be on your way to having a convenient, safe, and enjoyable website for your customers to use.
If your website isn’t working out the way you think it should, and none of this advice has helped, there may be a deeper problem. And you may be too close to it to work out what it is. We are here to help!
Our website audit and analysis give you a fresh, objective, and honest perspective on your website — from an award-winning team who knows and understands websites.
Your audit will provide insights, observations, and advice to help you improve your website and turn it into the powerhouse selling machine it should be — working 24/7 to benefit your business and make you more money.
Do You Need Help with Your Website?
Are you looking to redesign or update your website or online store for your business or product brand? Are you unsure how to overcome common website design challenges? Our team of WordPress experts will be happy to help you with this. But first, look at our portfolio and read our case studies.
Then, if you believe we are a good fit for your business web design needs, let’s talk! We offer a full range of consulting and design solutions for businesses and product brands.
Let’s talk if you are unsure how to fix common website problems and build a website to support your business objectives! Our team will listen to your concerns, evaluate your needs, and create a website design to keep you ahead of your online competitors.
Did You Eliminate Common Website Problems?
Did you have any common website problems on your website or online store? If so, how did you fix them? Did you run into any other website shortcomings? Or do you have recommendations we may have missed?
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For more content relevant to your business or product brand – check out the range of articles on our web design blog. (This one, explaining the importance of user experience in web design, is an excellent place to start!)
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