Is your website still not producing results despite your recent optimization and marketing efforts?

If so, there’s no need to feel singled out or defeated as we continue to come across many businesses experiencing the same thing.

In this article we will outline some small website fixes that could mean big results for your website. The best part is that most of these fixes should be relatively simple and inexpensive too.

Website Fixes

When Does a Website Need “Fixing”?

Before we dig into some website fixes that could get your site producing better results we want to make sure that your website needs fixing in the first place.

There are a lot of benchmarks and milestones that companies will use to dictate where to spend their time / money optimizing their website. These could consist of any or all of the following:

  • Traffic (total visitors and unique visitors)
  • Traffic by source (organic, social, referral and paid traffic)
  • Usability (bounce rate and page load time)
  • Engagement (bounce rate and average time on site)
  • Content (top landing pages and top exit pages)
  • Conversions (goals, events and transactions)

Despite all of these different ways to determine the “success” of your website though, there is really only one primary metric that should sway you when it comes to investing time / money into fixing your website

Revenue.

Is your website making you money?

If your website is not making you money, then it most likely needs attention. Increases in organic traffic, decreases in bounce rate and more social media shares are all nice to have, but if these milestones are not leading to more revenue, then they really just become vanity metrics.

So, no matter if your website’s purpose is to rack up page views to appease advertisers or go viral on social media channels to build brand awareness, if it’s not supporting and growing your business, then it needs some fixing.


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Common Website Fixes that You Should Already Know

We don’t want to assume that you’re already familiar with the most commonly overlooked website fixes so we are going to cover these first.

After you’ve had a chance to knock out these common mistakes, then you can address the lesser known fixes that may be holding your site back.

On-Page Optimization Mistakes

  1. Title Tags are too long, nondescript and repeated across multiple pages
  2. Meta Description is too long, uninteresting, not actionable and is duplicated or missing from multiple pages
  3. Image ALT attributes are missing entirely or stuffed with unnecessary, irrelevant keywords
TIP:
 Treat every single page and every important element (text, links, images, videos, tags, etc) on that page as if someone could only understand the page if it were read to them. Or, use a tool like SEO Browser to get a good idea of what your page looks like without all of the aesthetics (colors, fonts, images, etc). If it is clear and relevant without aesthetics, then you’re on the right path.

 

Usability Mistakes

  1. Flash is being used on the website to feature content and navigation options
  2. Mobile-friendly is ignored completely as visitors struggle to navigate or view your website on their different mobile devices
  3. Below the fold is where you have placed important content or calls to action – right where most may never see them
TIP:
 Let a 5th grader use your website on an iPad and watch how they interact with it. If they get frustrated or don’t click on or navigate to the things you had intended, then your website needs help. For more sophisticated feedback, use a service like YouEye to get useful comments and insights into the usability of your website.

 

Conversion Optimization Mistakes

  1. Navigation is too complicated, hard to find, has too many drop downs or just has too many options
  2. Calls to Action are nowhere to be found, not unique and not relevant to the target audience being driven to the site
  3. Contact Forms ask for too much information, require too many fields and don’t provide any privacy reassurances
TIP:
 If you want visitors to convert into leads or sales on your website, then you need to make the conversion process dead simple for them. Use a well structured website to consolidate navigation options, test enticing calls to action throughout your site and keep your contact forms limited to as few fields as possible.

Small Website Fixes You Probably Missed

If your website is free of the 9 common mistakes outlined above, then you should be getting some decent results.

If you’re still not getting the results your business needs, then your website may be guilty of some less known oversights.

The only good thing about these mistakes is that most, if not all, of them can be resolved relatively quickly and inexpensively to deliver some noticeable results in a short amount of time.

Small Website Changes, Big Results

Let’s take a look at some of the website elements that continue to get misused, abused or ignored….even after conversion rate optimization.

Social Media Icons

Just about every website you come across now has social media icons somewhere throughout the site. We’re not talking about social media action buttons that allow you to like, tweet or pin something on a web page, but rather the simple icons that link to a company’s social media accounts.

Misuse of Social Media Icons

 

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS?
Encouraging visitors that have already landed on your site to leave it to go to your social media page(s) makes no sense, especially if you have an e-commerce site. You probably spent money / time driving them there in the first place, so why encourage them to leave? Social media accounts should be used to drive traffic to your website / blog, not vice versa.

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
If you must have social media icons on your site, then keep them in your footer or on your ABOUT or CONTACT pages. Use social media action buttons instead on each page (e.g. Like, Share, Tweet, Pin, etc), but make sure to limit the options to only your 3-4 primary social networks.

 

“Thank You” Pages

Even though every website visitor is very valuable we continue to see websites that do not maximize each and every opportunity. One of the most common oversights we see is sites not using “thank you” pages to keep visitors engaged after they convert or purchase something.

No Thanks Page

 

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS?
If you have successfully driven someone to your site and even impressed them enough to convert, then there’s no reason why their online experience needs to end after the conversion. In these cases you could be missing out on opportunities for that new customer / lead to either share their experience with their networks or find something else that your company can help them with.

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Every single contact form and checkout step should be followed up by getting the visitor to a “thank you” page. This simple page should not only express your appreciation for their signup / purchase, but also encourage them to share their experience or even check out another, relevant section of your site / blog to keep them engaged.

 

Site Search

Is there anything more frustrating than trying to use a site’s search feature only to keep getting irrelevant results – or worse yet, no results at all? There are so many sites, especially e-commerce sites that are still guilty of this oversight.

Useless Site Search

 

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS?
This one should be pretty obvious. If you want to chase away visitors and prevent them from ever coming back again, then frustrate the hell out of them. Keeping a non-functional site search on your site (and in your header) is a surefire way to annoy anyone that tries to search your site.

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Again, simple. If your site’s search function doesn’t work very well, then don’t put it on your site…and especially don’t put it in your header. Spend the time to fix it, leave it off entirely or look into using something more reliable like Google’s Custom Search Engine.

 

Copyright Date

Quite possibly the easiest thing to fix seems to be the one most overlooked – a website’s copyright date (usually in the footer). Now, when it comes to importance, this oversight is low on the priority list, but for the discerning few visitors that do get confused / turned off by an “old” copyright date, this could chase someone away.

Old Copyright Date

 

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS?
As mentioned above, this is not a deal breaker, but some savvy, curious visitors do like to look at the copyright date to see how “new” it is. If a site’s copyright date is still showing 2008, then a visitor might think that the site has not been touched in awhile and it’s content is out of date.

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Easy fix here. Either keep your copyright date updated manually (shouldn’t take more than a minute to do so) or use some code to allow it to update to the most recent year on its own. Doing this will build trust and show your visitors that you care about the details of your site.

 

Contact and Location Information

Even if a business has not had the time or resources yet to make their website mobile-friendly, there is no excuse to ignore proper use of contact and location information. When we see this information either missing, incredibly hard to find or included as part of a big image we cringe because we know other users get frustrated as we do.

Misused Location Information

 

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS?
If your contact and location information can’t be found easily on your website, then you will chase away visitors. Even worse, when someone is viewing your site on their mobile device and they can’t find or can’t click on your phone number or address to open their phone or map applications, then you will most definitely lose that visitor to another local competitor.

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Make your phone number easy to find as many people still prefer to pick up the phone and talk to someone. And make your address easy to find, especially if you’re a local business, so that all users (mobile or desktop) can easily click the address or view your location on a Google map to find you easier. Lastly, never never never put any of this information in an image as you will be missing out on some great local search optimization opportunities.

 

404 Pages

If you have a growing site or one with a lot of content, then a link or two will break at some point. And even if you don’t your visitors will find a way to get to a page that doesn’t exist. Knowing these things we still see a lot of sites that don’t maximize their 404 pages or don’t even use them at all and just let visitors get to a default error page.

Bad 404 Page

 

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS?
By not optimizing your 404 page and getting a little creative with it, you could possibly lose the visitor that stumbled upon it in the first place. You’re also allowing any broken links to possibly hurt your SEO.

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Get creative with your 404 pages. Use them to showcase some of your company’s personality to make a visitor laugh / smile instead of getting frustrated. You should even include some relevant options on your 404 page that allows the visitor to search the site, go back to the previous page or go to a page that you recommend.

 

SSL Certificates

Improper use and management of SSL certificates is still a common, but often forgotten, problem of many websites. The funny thing is that most users don’t notice if a site is secure, but they will absolutely know when it is not secure as browsers are very good at warning users.

SSL Error Warning

 

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS?
Depending on the browser being used by a visitor, an expired SSL certificate can trigger a warning before the visitor even gets to the website. Not only do these warning messages prevent visitors from entering your site, but they can also keep that visitor from ever coming back to the site again.

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Stay on top of the expiration dates of your SSL certificates and be sure to renew them well ahead of their expiration dates. Also, make sure you’re using your SSL in the right place. We continue to see sites use SSL certificates that simply don’t need them. Not only is this an extra expense for your company, but it is another thing you have to manage for no reason.

 

Blog Post Dates

Ah, the good old published date. Having dates of when your blog posts were published can be a huge plus or a big mistake. Many websites continue to misuse the published on dates for their blog posts and are losing return visitors as a result.

Blog Post Dates Misuse

 

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS?
Similar to having an outdated copyright date, recent blog posts with dates from a year ago can turn visitors off. People want to find relevant, recent information….especially if they’re reading a blog. If a visitor sees that your most recent post was from over a year ago, especially if your business is centered around recent market activity and current events, then you will most likely lose that visitor forever.

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
You’ve got a few options here. The easiest one is to completely remove the blog post date from your blog. We actually recommend this as it keeps the date out of the search results as well. If this isn’t an option for you for some reason, then you might want to consider either turning your blog posts into evergreen content (without a date) or sprucing up old posts and republishing them so they will have a more recent date.

It’s the Little Things that Count

You won’t ever come across a perfect website. If you think you have, then please share it with us in the comments below

With that said, there are many things that require little to no investment or technical expertise that many websites still seem to forget about. Don’t let your website fall into that boat.

The 9 common mistakes and the 8 lesser known oversights are all things that you and your team could probably take care of in a couple days of work, if that.

Just knowing these things and giving them a little attention can very well lead to a better performing website – as we have seen in numerous cases where we have helped to fix these elements for some of our clients.

So now you’ve got a checklist of some low-hanging fruit to address to improve your website.

And if you don’t have any technical expertise or resources and need some help taking care of these things, then we would love to help.

Need a hand knocking out these fixes or even finding others that need attention?

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Vinny La Barbera

I’ve been working in online marketing since 2000 and have helped thousands of companies improve their online presence and grow their business through better web / mobile design, development and online marketing.Learn more about me or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn.

  • Chris Ward

    Some good points, Vinny.

    Another factor to include is spelling and grammar, which will be a big put off for people if not done correctly.

    • I completely agree. And I should have added that.

      Either way it’s a good reminder for me too as I have been guilty of those mistakes myself, even with how OCD I am.

      Thanks for the feedback and for checking out the article.

  • Julian Pereira

    Could you take a look at my website, http://www.JulianPereira.com and let me know what you think it needs? Thank you so much!

  • Evan VonDerheide

    Great write man. Just wanted to give you props. Let me know how to keep up with what you’ve got coming. Will subscribe and see what comes. Going through a development and release here shortly, would love you to tell me what my guys did wrong.

    Thanks

    Evan

    • Thanks Evan.

      We’d love to provide any useful input so keep us updated on your project.