A common question that many business owners ask is “why is my website not performing”. There are many reasons why this may be the case. In this article, we will discuss what you can do if your website isn’t performing as well as you’d like it to.
Your website is a business investment. You may have invested good money to create a great looking website. You could be spending money on Google AdWords, Facebook, search engine optimisation and traffic from other sources.
But it still may not be performing as you would like it to.
If you suspect that your website isn’t performing, you first need to define what website performance is for you.
It is useful to think about your website in terms of website conversion.
Website conversion is a percentage of visitors that take the desired action.
What action should the visitors of your website take? That depends entirely on your goals:
- Would you like to get more calls from your website visitors?
- Would you like your website visitors to opt-in to forms on your website and get on your email list?
- Do you want your visitors to find coupons and specials you have on your website and show them in person when they visit your business?
The first step in making a website that isn’t performing to actually perform as you would like it to is deciding what exactly you want to happen.
The second step is to measure where you currently are in terms of stats and numbers. To see in-depth traffic stats, make sure Google Analytics (GA) is installed. Look at the amount of traffic, pages per session, average session duration, bounce rate, audience location, traffic source, most/least popular pages in GA to understand what your visitors are doing, which pages they visit, where visitors are from, and what they are interested in on your site.
Just looking at these numbers may cause you to have an “ah-ha” moment that will help you transform your website that isn’t performing.
Below you will find a website performance checklist that will help you optimise your website conversion and find out why your website may not be performing well enough.
Reason #1 Why Your Website Isn’t Performing: Poor web page design
Poor webpage design is one of the obvious reasons for why your website isn’t performing. Specifically, the items that you may be missing are the following:
Poor layout and navigation
Is your website easy to navigate? Are the fonts easy to read? What about menus, font size, page background colours, heading/sub-heading usage, images? If you are not sure, ask a few of your friends to take a look at your website. Find someone who hasn’t seen your website before. Let them visit the website in your presence and see what and how they do. Bringing a few pairs of fresh eyes may help you spot why your website isn’t performing and what is going on with it.
One of the most important things you need to understand about the internet is that when browsing the internet people are usually not looking just at your website. They are checking several websites at a time. In addition to this, they may be listening to the music or watching TV and at the same time looking up information about your business.
If all you do on your website is talk about yourself, you won’t get decent website conversion. You need to tell people what to do.
How do you do that? Simple!
Next to your phone number write “Call us”
Next to your email write “email us here”
Think about all the pages of your website and think about the visitors that come to these pages. What would be the ideal step for a visitor? Turn this step into a call to action… for example “call us to learn more,” “email to schedule an appointment,” “visit our store during our business hours” and so on.
Information and contact details are not easy to find.
Are your contact details and other vital information about your business easy to find, or did you get really excited and started sharing details about your business and products without realising that people need to be able to find the most basic information about you quickly? The attention span of website visitors today is very short. If visitors can’t find what they want in a few seconds, they will most likely bounce off and look elsewhere to find the information they are after. This may be one of the reasons why your website isn’t performing.
Reason #2 Why Your Website Isn’t Performing: Website is slow
According to Kissmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. Not only that, but search engines also measure and track webpage load stats to determine how high you will rank.
Do you know how quickly your website pages load? And if you think you do, when was the last time you checked?
Below is a website speed checklist that can help you identify if your website speed is the reason why your website isn’t performing.
Website speed checklist:
- Use tools like gtmetrix, pingdom, Google Page Speed Insights to analyse issues
- Use good hosting. Sometimes the issue why your website doesn’t load quickly enough has nothing do you with you. There is a reason some hosting services are dirt cheap: the quality of hosting they provide may also be extremely low. Are you using a really cheap hosting provider? This may be exactly the reason why your website isn’t performing.
- Use a caching plugin. Cache is a temporary place to store data. WordPress caching plugins save HTML files and upload them from the cache instead of WordPress. This significantly decreases the loading time of your website.
- Use a CDN like CloudFlare. CDN stands for content delivery network. A CDN is a system of servers that deliver content based on the geographic location of the user, a content server and the origin of a webpage.
- Optimise image sizes. Sometimes you may be experiencing problems with website conversion and website performance because your images are too big and they load too slowly. In this case optimising image size may be the solution to why your website isn’t performing.
Reason #3 Why Your Website Isn’t Performing: No basic SEO
When you type a search into Google or any other search engine, you get two kinds of results: sponsored (paid) and organic (free).
In order to get on the paid list of results, you need to use Google AdWords or a similar advertising platform. This can work well to get your website shown to many people, but can also be very expensive if not done correctly.
However, you can get listed in the organic section for free.
Here’s how this works: Google and other search engines send robots to scan websites. They are looking for a number of things, such as loading speed, the amount of information on the website, content quality, and relevance of the information to page titles and so on.
Search engine optimisation or SEO is the process of optimising your website to tell the search engines what your website is about, so that it has the best chance to show in the free results of search engine results.
SEO is a huge topic, but below is an SEO checklist to help you get your site ranking higher in the search engines.
Basic Website Performance SEO Checklist
- Use appropriate keywords for your industry, niche, and location. Use Google Keyword Planner to find out what keywords are relevant to your website. With the Google Keyword Planner, you can also use the websites of your competition to see what keywords they optimise their websites for.
Having a list of keywords is the first step in using basic SEO to help in case your website isn’t performing.
- Optimise your meta titles and descriptions (this is what can appear in Google search results, so make it appeal to your target audience), and web page content
Use the keywords you gathered in the previous step to create enticing page titles, meta titles, and descriptions. The rule of thumb is very simple: do not try to be fancy. Imagine as if you are talking to your customers and prospects directly. That’s what the pages of your website should be doing: they should be using the exact language your customers are using when it comes to your business.
When you are creating meta titles, descriptions or webpage content, , use your keywords, but make it sound natural. Make it appear that you are talking directly to your customers. This helps to build tru and is important to improve website performance and website conversions, as well as improve your SEO.
- Use headings & sub-headings on the pages of your website to make it easy to read, and to make it clear to search engines what the web pages are about
- Add fresh relevant content regularly. Google and other search engines love fresh content. They assume that a popular business always has something new to offer its customers and uses its website to inform the world about the news. Having a blog and regularly updating it is one of the best ways to add fresh content.
- Image alt tags. An alt tag is an image attribute. So far search engines can’t tell the contents of images and video. This is why they use text descriptions to describe the images. Any time you use an image, create an Alt tag with a relevant description (including a keyword) of the image. Doing so will help visitors who for some reason can’t load the images. Search engines will also be able to tell better what your pages are about. This will help in higher rankings for your pages.
- Get backlinks to your site
How do you know if a restaurant is any good? Most likely you would look at the number of positive online reviews, or possibly cars on the parking lot. If there are a lot of good reviews or cars parked outside, and a lot of people, the place must be good. Or maybe several friends have told you that you absolutely need to try a new eatery that has opened in your town.
Truth is, that’s how we think about virtually all businesses and products: we want to know who else has used them and what their experience was.
Google and other search engines use the same technique, it’s just that instead of word-of-mouth they are looking for websites that link back to you.
Along with other items on this checklist, having a lot of good quality relevant backlinks can help you get a website that isn’t performing to the top of Google.
- Ensure internal & external links work
On its website Google says that #1 out of ten things they know to be true is “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” Because of this Google doesn’t just index your website once. Google’s robots scan your website periodically to ascertain how quickly it loads, if the information your website provides is still relevant, if all the links work, as well as many other factors.
Google considers broken links to be a major problem. Your visitors may also get annoyed and frustrated when clicking on a link and getting nowhere. This is why you need to make sure that all the links on your website are functional and direct where they are supposed to.
- Use Google Webmaster Tools to help find issues
Google Search Console, also known as Google Webmaster Tools, is a free tool for webmasters, created by Google. It allows for a check of website’s indexing status. It can also help you optimise your website’s visibility. If your website isn’t performing, using Google Search Console is one of the smartest things you can do: the Console will show you your website through Google’s eyes.
Reason #4 Why Your Website Isn’t Performing: It is not mobile responsive
According to a report from comScore, Internet traffic from smartphones and tablets surpassed traffic from desktop computers in 2014. This means that having a mobile responsive website today is not optional; it is something you absolutely must do.
Google will now penalise your site in rankings if it is not mobile responsive.
If your website is not mobile responsive, your visitors will not have a good user experience. And because one of the main factors that Google and the other search engines aim to provide is a good user experience, if your website is not mobile responsive, then you will be penalised, and so you will be effectively sending traffic to your competition.
Click here for more information about why it is important to ensure your website is mobile friendly.
Reason #5 Why Your Website Isn’t Performing: Irrelevant and/or duplicate content
As we discussed earlier in this article, one of the main priorities of Google and the other search engines is to provide a good user experience. If your content is old or irrelevant, it’s likely you will not rank highly on Google.
If you do rank for irrelevant keywords, then visitors may land on your page, but will most probably bounce off because they will see that the information they have found is not relevant to them.
Having duplicate content is another issue that Google may penalise you for, because it also may lead to a frustrating user experience.
Duplicate pages are pages on your website that appear several times or appear on other websites as well as yours. Duplicate content provides no value to the user and can cause confusion for the search engines, hence why it is frowned upon by the search engines.
A good tool to use to find duplicate content on your own site is http://siteliner.com. Use this to identify duplicate content and address it.
Another tool you can use to find duplicate content is http://www.copyscape.com. This can help in finding duplicate content issues between your site and others.
Get started today to fix your website performance issues
Here we have given you 5 reasons why your website may not perform as well as you’d like it to. While its current performance may be disappointing, improving it is completely in your hands. It may also be a sign that you need to revisit your online strategy and start paying more attention to your website and its maintenance.
Get started today and implement the points in the checklist above to help improve your website performance, and forget about the “why is my website not performing” problem forever!
Of course, if you need a hand with your SEO, we specialise in local small business website SEO, so drop us a line to see how we can help you if your website isn’t performing.