Your website has a huge impact on your brand and your revenue. After all, it’s your most important salesperson.
But just like many salespeople, it’s likely that your website sucks. I can just hear you thinking…
“My website looks great! Mine doesn’t suck!”
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you are most likely wrong. I know this because 95% of people we work with have terrible websites, even when they look awesome.
In fact, awesome looking websites often suck the most! This is because you, like most business owners, tend to judge a website by how it looks, not how it performs.
Just like when you judge a book by its cover, when you judge a website purely on aesthetics you miss the most important stuff. The things that count.
Here’s why your website sucks and how to fix it.
Technical SEO Issues
Your web designer doesn’t care about on page SEO.
They know you judge the quality of their work based on whether or not the site matches the design concept.
They know you aren’t looking under the hood at how the page and content are structured. And they don’t really care.
So, you got a nice looking website but wasn’t built to rank or convert. What’s the point of that?
If you want to rank and convert web traffic to sales, you need to fix these on page errors and issues.
1. You Have Boring Page Titles
Page titles are really important for SEO and rankings but also for encouraging visitors to come to your site.
Page titles should include the keywords your page is targetting. But they don’t need to be boring! They must be enticing.
You’ve probably heard the term ‘click-bait’. It’s used to describe well-written page titles that make you WANT TO CLICK.
Do your page titles encourage people to click? Or are they dull?
Here are some great articles on writing great pages titles that convert:
- Step By Step Guide To Writing Powerful Headlines (Neil Patel)
- 5 Characteristics of High Converting Headlines
- 6 Simple Steps to Writing High Converting Headlines
- How to Write Killer Blog Titles
2. You Have Missing & Duplicate Meta Descriptions
Missing and duplicate meta descriptions are the most common SEO problems we encounter.
Thankfully, this is easy to fix and it can have a huge impact on your traffic. Not because they impact your rankings but because they impact click-through rates (CTRs).
Meta descriptions are the text you see below a search result on Google. If you haven’t written them, Google writes them for you, and they are not usually very good.
Meta descriptions should be around 300 characters in length (Google increased the length they will display in December 2017) and:
- be written with the reader in mind
- be engaging, not boring!
- give the reader a reason to click and visit your website
- contain the keywords found in your page title.
They should also be unique! You should never ever have duplicate meta descriptions.
Thankfully, most Content Management Systems have great tools for helping you write meta descriptions. We use Yoast SEO for WordPress.
3. You Don’t Have Alt Image Attributes
Alt image attributes are another example of under the hood optimisations that your website designer doesn’t care about. Every image should have an alt image tag!
What’s an ‘alt image attribute’ you may ask?
It’s simply a piece of code associated with images on your website that help Google and other search engines understand the content of your website and individual pages.
Most websites are missing alt image tags. Thankfully, it’s usually an easy fix in most content management systems (CMS) like WordPress.
And it can really help boost your rankings.
It’s really easy to add ‘alt attributes’ to image in WordPress. All you need to do:
- Open your Media browser
- Select the image
- Update the ‘Alt Text’ field!
4. Your Website Is Slow
Your website is almost certainly slow. You probably can’t tell, but Google can and it impacts your rankings, traffic and conversion rates.
It impacts your rankings because Google cares about user experience.
When your website loads slowly, visitors get bored and leave your site. This is called “bouncing”.
Slow websites have higher bounce rates than faster websites. When users bounce, they don’t view your services or buy your products.
Research by section.io found that the bounce rate increases as page speed goes up. Just check out this table that shows how the bounce rate increases from 9.6% on average for websites that load in 2 seconds to 32.3% for websites that load in 7 seconds!
Website speed also impacts e-commerce cart abandonment rates. Slower websites have higher abandonment rates.
Online giant Amazon found that for every 100 milliseconds slower their sites loads, their sales dropped by 1%. 100 milliseconds is almost indiscernible to you the website owner, but it has a big impact on sales.
Lots of research supports this, including a study that found a 1-second delay in page load time reduces conversion rates by 7%.
You can’t afford to give people any reason not to click the purchase button.
Just like a sales rep who turns up late and unprepared for a meeting, you shouldn’t expect your customers to wait for your slow website.
Your website should load in 2 seconds.
How To Tell If Your Website Is Slow
Thankfully, there are tons of free online tools available that will tell you just how well it performs and what you can do about it.
Here are our 2 favourite free tools to check your website’s speed and performance.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a great tool to work out just how well your website is structured technically.
PageSpeed Insights checks to see if a particular page has applied common performance best practices. It provides a score ranging from 0 to 100 points for both Mobile and Desktop experiences.
Based on the page’s score, you get detailed feedback on what you need to do to speed it up.
GTMetrix hooks into both the Google Pagespeed Insights and YSlow APIs and allows you to measure your site’s performance from various locations around the world.
The free plan is pretty decent and allows you to track a bunch of sites. You can upgrade to paid plans to monitor more sites and access their API.
How To Speed Up Your Website
There are tons of articles on the web about how to speed up your website.
Instead of regurgitating more the same, here are some links to further reading:
- Common Performance Best Practices by Google
- 34 Best Practice Rules by YSlow
- 10 Ways to Speed Up Your Website by CrazyEgg
- 15 Tips to Speed Up Your Website by Moz
You’ll notice that most of these articles pretty much say the same things. This is good! It means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Find Out How Your Website Can Generate More Business
I hope I’ve given you some insight into why your website sucks and isn’t meeting your expectations, and what you can do about it.
Of course, it’s hard to do this well if it’s not your core responsibility (running your business should be).
More from Paper Planes
When Apple sell their products, they don’t just list the specifications of each new device and ask you to buy it.Read More →