These mistakes are guaranteed to result in your website’s failure.
Copyright: Antonio Guillem
There are many things you can do to optimize your website. At the same time, there are things you should avoid as they can contribute to the failure of your site. The following are five of the worst mistakes you can do as you build your real estate on the web.
1) Slow page loading speed
Slow page loading time is a killer. It is one of the critical reasons why visitors ditch websites. This is not a new observation, by the way. Internet users even from the time when Internet speeds weren’t as fast as they are at present are generally impatient and would easily flee from a web page that takes time to load.
According to Google, a web page should have a maximum loading time of 2 seconds and an ideal loading time of less than half a second. Anything higher will make it easy for visitors to choose other similar sites especially if they find alternatives that load considerably faster.
2) Not having a mobile-friendly website
Nowadays, failing to make a site compatible with mobile browsing is almost a crime. According to numbers from Statista, as of the third quarter of 2018 more than half, at 52.4%, of global website traffic comes from mobile devices. This is by no means a small number. It’s large enough to compel every website owner to ensure mobile-friendliness.
There are two ways to make sites more accessible for mobile users – one is by creating a mobile version of the site, and the other is by using responsive web design.
Creating a mobile version entails the creation of a new and separate website, which has its own URL. In this kind of setup, what most web developers do is to automatically redirect visitors to the mobile version of the site whenever they access it through a smartphone or tablet. They may also provide a link on the homepage to make it easy for visitors to go to the mobile site in case the automatic redirection fails. This method is no longer popularly used, though, as it takes more time, effort, and resources to build and maintain a separate mobile website.
The more common way of making a site mobile-friendly is by using responsive web design, an approach that makes a website automatically adjust its layout and the amount of content displayed according to the display size of the device used to access the site. This means that there is no more separate mobile website to create and maintain.
Not taking mobile-friendliness into account means foregoing page impressions or online sales from mobile visitors. Visitors find it inconvenient having to zoom in and out of a standard desktop page because the texts are not legible and the buttons or navigation links cannot be precisely tapped. This inconvenience would make them leave the site and go to competitors that can offer a better browsing experience.
3) Sparse, poor quality, and barely updated content
Content is still king. This is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. You need to pay attention to the quality of the content you post on your site. A website that contains poorly written articles, uninteresting videos, or uninspired photos and images is very unlikely to attract visitors, let alone subscribers. At the same time, if the content is not regularly updated, search engine crawlers will not be drawn to the site. Being unappealing to both humans and search engine bots is a deadly combination for a website.
Content is what brings visitors and converts them into returning visitors or subscribers. It’s only logical to come up with a content strategy. You have to identify a target audience and craft content that will draw their attention. It would help to have your content localized. If you can’t do this on your own, you can turn to professional website localization service providers to have the most contextually accurate translations for the texts on your site.
4) Unoptimized pages (aside from SEO)
What does it mean to have an optimized website? The following characteristics should be present.
- Intuitive navigation. It should be easy to go through pages of the website. The navigation buttons or links shouldn’t be difficult to find.
- Good layout and content arrangement. What is a good layout? It is basically one that is clutter-free and well-organized. The basic idea is having a navigation bar and some columns of content that are neatly arranged on the page. Carousels and large images should not be overused. More so, heavy animations and videos should be avoided as much as possible.
- No broken pages. All pages of a website should load as they are intended. There should be no 404, 403, 400, 410, 500, 510, and other website errors.
- No bugs in the website template code. Website codes and scripts should be free from defects or errors. Everything should be rendered correctly.
- Minimum use of plugins. Website plugins can adversely affect the performance of a website, so it is recommended minimizing plugin installation.
- Correct page titles, header tags, and metadata. These are mostly related to SEO, but they are also part of optimizing web pages for humans. These help in guiding navigation and identifying content.
- Optimized images. The images used in a website should have file sizes that match their perceived dimensions. For example, a post thumbnail in a blog should not have the same size as that of a full image embedded in a post. Images should be at 100% zoom and not compressed or overblown.
- Optimized URLs. It is advisable to add keyword strings to URLs instead of just having random letters and numbers in them.
An unoptimized website lacks many or all of the characteristics described above. It is a website that has several broken pages, a poor sense of navigation, numerous code errors, dysfunctional scripts, and an overall cluttered look and feel. All of these make a website unattractive not only to human visitors but also to search engine bots.
5) Not implementing search engine optimization or SEO
No, search engines are not passé. While many are already finding content online through social media and other means, search engine results still constitute the overwhelming majority of web traffic to websites. Their percentage is considerably higher than direct traffic (site visitors entering the URL of a page into the browser address bar), social media, referral URLs, and other traffic sources.
Taking these into account, it only makes sense spending time and effort for search engine optimization. Not doing SEO means abandoning the massive opportunities for attracting visitors or potential buyers who look for content or products to buy online through search engines. It means surrendering to competitors that employ SEO strategies.
Almost all successful websites share the traits of being fast, properly optimized, mobile-friendly, and filled with high-quality content. If you want to prevent your site from falling flat, take note of the points discussed above.
About the Author:
Sean Patrick Hopwood is a polyglot whose interests include technology, the Internet, education, and positive thinking. He is the President and CEO of Day Translations, Inc., a company serving international clients with a wide range of language services including translating, interpreting and website and app localization.