5 Website Issues That Are Affecting Performance And Traffic + How To Solve Them

Web Design
5 Website Issues That Are Affecting Performance And Traffic + How To Solve Them
Article by Maria Martin
Last Updated: January 05, 2022

According to a recent study, 32% of buyers would walk away from a brand they support after a single bad experience.

This can have a devastating effect on revenue generation as well as conversion rates, which depend on the steady influx of new and returning visitors.

By identifying and solving the website issues that are repelling said visitors, you’ll be able to maintain your website traffic and prevent this outcome. And we’re going to tell you exactly how to do it.

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5 Website Issues That Are Affecting Your Website’s Performance & How To Fix Them

The website issues that follow are the most common culprits of any site’s poor performance.

Along with the description of each issue, we also provide several actionable tips on how to solve them. 

1. Your Website Is Too Slow

Poor page load speed can cause a visitor to drop off a website they deem is taking too long to load. Most users today won’t wait any longer than three seconds for a page to load, and this time is shrinking constantly.

According to one study, 38% of visitors bounce when your site takes five seconds to load. And 70% of customers admit that site speed impacts their purchasing decisions.

Poor page loading speed can have SEO repercussions, too, as three of the top four SEO user experience signals are page speed dependent.

There are numerous factors that could lead to website pages loading slow, including:

  • Massive, unoptimized images
  • Too many visual features like videos
  • Add-ins and plugins
  • Excessive bits of code
  • JavaScript website issues

How to perform website speed optimization

  • Optimize your images: Check the file size of your images before uploading them to the website. You can use file compression and image optimization tools that many programs like Adobe Photoshop have, to keep your image sizes in check.
  • Reduce the use of multimedia to a bare minimum: Even though elements like videos can add value to visitor engagement, try to use them as little as possible. Embedding existing video code instead of uploading a video directly to your server helps speed up the website, but be careful not to overdo the embedding.
  • Minify your code: Try to reduce the number of PHP and CSS files your pages use. Minifying the CSS and JavaScript files will limit the number of files users will have to download in order to load your website.
  • Use gZIP compression: This handy tool wraps up all your web objects such as images, CSS and JS files in a single container that is sent to a requesting browser, which reduces the website size significantly.
bounce rate in percentage
[Source: SolarWinds]

2. You Have Poor Mobile Optimization

The majority of users spend more time browsing the internet on a mobile device, compared to a  laptop or desktop. More than half of all internet traffic is now happening on smartphones and tablets.

A website that is well-optimized for mobile devices is a positive signal for Google to rank the website better.

A website that responds to the size of a browser is essential for good website performance. Without this feature, you risk poor website performance and negative user experience.

How to fix it: 

  • Make your website mobile-friendly: The best way to make your website mobile-friendly is to use responsive design when creating it. However, if you already have a website that isn’t responsive, you can optimize the existing website for smartphone use in the following ways:
    • Avoid using Flash, which is becoming obsolete and will not be used from December 2020
    • Make your button sizes large enough for mobile screens
    • Use larger font sizes
    • Make information easier to find for your users
    • Compress your images and CSS
  • Create a mobile-first website: A new trend in web design is to create a  website to be mobile-first, which is the practice of designing a website for mobile before designing it for desktop. This has two benefits: the website is fully optimized for mobile devices and, for that reason, its desktop loading speeds are much faster as well.

3. You Have A Bad Server/Hosting Plan

A bad hosting service can compromise the performance and security of your website.

Hosting servers can have weaknesses like any other computer: they may have poor defense systems, low memory and storage capacities or they may be just plain unreliable.

Depending on the hosting pricing plan you choose, a server where you host your website can be shared with many other websites, which is potentially grievous: your website’s files can be infected with malware from poorly attended websites and may suffer from limited server space.

Keep in mind that a website with a particularly large database, like an eCommerce site, will not perform well on these shared servers.

How to fix it: 

  • When possible, choose a dedicated server for your website: Having a dedicated server for your website means you are not sharing it with any other website - it is all dedicated to you. This comes with the benefit of being able to configure this server exactly to your website’s architectural needs, without having to compromise.
  • Choose a plan that matches your needs: Most hosting servers have several tiers or pricing plans for different kinds of hosting. They differ in how many websites can share each server, the capacity/size of the server and whether backup and security services are included. While choosing a plan that provides more server space and numerous other hosting services is pricier, it may give you peace of mind.
  • Know the three key performance factors of your server: When choosing your hosting partner and plan, consider these performance factors:
    • Server Response Time – Look for independent data on Time to First Byte (TTFB), which is the measure of how long it takes the server to respond to a request. 
    • Equipment – Solid State Drives (SSDs) are much faster than mechanical drives. 
    • Accounts Per Server – If it’s shared hosting, an overcrowded server can reduce performance. 

4. Your Website Has Too Many Widgets And Plugins 

Websites that run on CMS platforms like WordPress or Joomla and some eCommerce websites that use software like Shopify or Magento often have many widgets and plugins installed.

While these plugins provide additional capabilities to websites, they can also compromise your website’s performance by slowing it down and even creating severe code collisions that may lead to some website functions not working properly.

How to fix it:

  • Use only the plugins you really need: Sometimes it can be too enticing to try out plugins that promise to give your website another dimension. However, try to fight the urge to install them unless they are absolutely necessary for the functioning of your website.
  • Keep your plugins updated: It is important to regularly download updates for the plugins you are using. If you don’t update them, they become prone to security website issues and hacker attacks. 
  • Download plugins only from official and reliable sources: There are plenty of third-party plugin providers but not all of them are genuine or honest. Download plugins only from reliable, official sources that are endorsed by your website’s platform and have good user reviews. 

5. Your Website Suffers From Subpar Coding And Resulting Glitches

Huge blocks of code don’t necessarily mean a website will perform well. Robust code may only perform disproportionately minor functions.

Poorly coded websites load slowly and could have glitches such as slow buffering, non-loading elements and “shaky” text or images.

If your website is using a third-party theme or template, the universal code within may not be adjusted to your website’s specific needs and may need tweaking in order to optimize it for the best performance. 

How to fix it:

  • Have an experienced programmer or developer remove unnecessary elements from your code: Getting rid of line breaks, extra spaces and other formatting data not required for the functioning of the website can significantly boost your website experience.
  • Use tools that refine the code: In order to clean up and streamline your website’s code, you can use tools like Designmodo, HTML Cleaner, ProCSSor, Dirty Markup, W3C and Validator.
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5 Reasons Why Users Leave Your Website

Your website should be a revenue opportunity for your business. However, a website packed with design and coding mistakes can become a liability instead of a business asset.

Make sure you aren’t driving away your visitors, prospects and high-value leads by repeating these costly mistakes that corrupt the user experience. 

Reason #1: Complicated User Journey

21% of buyers abandon their purchases because the checkout processes are complex or take too long. 

In fact, 77% of B2B buyers claim that their latest purchase was complex or difficult.

One of the main causes of the complicated user journey is being forced to make an account in order to buy something.

Another factor that makes the user journey overly complicated and unfavorable for users is a non-optimized conversion funnel that doesn’t give users what they need at each stage of their journey.

How to fix it:

  • Map your user journey properly: This is too complex of a process to be covered here in its entirety, but creating a successful mapping journey requires knowing your audience, which channels you are using besides your website and understanding how to create value propositions for your services and products. 
  • Do not require account creation: Allow guest logins and completion of the entire user journey without requiring users to create an account.
  • Lose the excessive content: The following advice is especially valuable for eCommerce and B2B websites. Having excessive, needless content in the form of graphic elements and even superfluous copy can sidetrack the user from their original buying intent. To keep their focus and interest, keep all of these to a minimum and try to provide only what’s valuable to your users.
  • Keep your design streamlined and minimal: In general, plenty of white space and clean design can help visitors focus on content that really matters to them. If they feel that they are overwhelmed by the layout of the website, they will likely leave.
The number of B2B buyers who claim their latest purchases were complex or difficult
[Source: Gartner]

Reason #2: You Are Targeting The Wrong Audience

If your visitors are turning away from your website as soon as they land on it and you keep experiencing very low conversion rates on top of that, it may be because the wrong audience is coming to your website.

Your website’s copy and content may be sending the wrong signals and hinting at content that is of no interest to your high-value prospects. 

Or, alternatively, the high-value prospects may not be coming to your website at all because you are not providing enough evidence that what you offer is important to them.

Poor copy that doesn’t communicate your value propositions and unique identifiers will not reach the audience that is most interested in what you have to offer.

How to fix it:

  • Know your demographic: It goes without saying that before creating a website - and even before starting your own business - you need to establish who your target audience is through market and demographic research. Target audiences and their habits tend to change over time, so new research is needed every now and then in order to know who to communicate your offers to.
  • Create your user persona: To take your understanding of your target audience a step further, create user or buyer personas. This is the fictitious presentation of an ideal customer composed of the most common traits, interests, pain points and other qualities of your wider customer base.
  • Segment your audience: Segmenting your audience into different groups according to their common traits such as interests, location, age or gender can help you streamline your advertising and adjust it to each specific segment.
  • Align your content, meta descriptions and title tags with your audience’s interests: Just like your advertising campaigns, your blog and copy content must be aligned with your audience’s interests and pain points. Write content, title tags and meta descriptions that reflect their needs and precisely communicate that you have solutions for them on your website.

Reason #3: You Lack Fresh Content

While attractive design, fast loading and mobile optimization are important factors for retaining your audience, it is your content that they are there for, first and foremost.

If your website isn’t updated with new and relevant content on a regular basis, you are pushing your visitors away. When they see there is nothing new for them to read, website visitors may start returning less often.

How to fix it:

  • Have a blog section and update it regularly: Blogging is a useful tool for achieving your business objective for various reasons:
    • Blog articles give your business a sense of credibility and authority
    • Relevant blog articles can help capture prospects and leads and educate your audience
    • Blog section boosts audience engagement and improves your page dwell times

Reason #4: Your Navigation Is Too Complicated

Websites with poor and confusing navigation can intimidate visitors who expect to navigate the website intuitively and effortlessly.

If they cannot easily decipher their next step in a matter of a second or if they don’t know where they are on a website, they are going to leave. 

Good website navigation always provides a path to take the user directly to the information that they are looking for. This path should be quick, convenient and understandable. Visitors should be able to land on your site and quickly identify how to move around your website.

How to fix it:

  • Create a main menu with as few items as possible: Have one single navigation menu that is easy to access and clearly defined. Make sure that your menu is responsive and provides desktop, mobile and tablet users alike with effortless navigation.
  • Use breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs are like little guideposts that tell visitors exactly where they are on a site. They are a very useful method of orientating. 
  • Use a progress bar on eCommerce websites: If a purchase process on your website takes several steps, it might be very helpful for your visitors to have a progress bar that tells them exactly how deep they are in the said process and how many steps remain until the purchase is complete. 
  • Use calls-to-action to guide visitors through the site: CTA buttons can also be helpful with website navigation. Positioning them strategically all throughout the website can create a good flow for users who are interested in specific content or solutions.

Reason #5: You Force Registration & Have Pop-Ups That Load Immediately

Before asking your visitors to provide their information to you, you should provide them with something of value that can alleviate their pain points or give the solutions they seek. Don’t force your users to sign up, register or do any sort of action beforehand.

Also, be very strategic about the way you use pop-ups. Pop-ups that appear as soon as users land on a page and block the content that visitors have come to see in the first place can frustrate your readers and make them want to leave.

How to fix it:

  • Don’t be pushy: Provide useful content and information to your visitors first. They will want to stay connected and sign up for your mailing list if they find value in your content. Providing value first will grow your traffic and leads organically. 
  • Opt for exit-intent pop-ups: Not only are these much less irritating than those that appear as soon as visitors land on a page, but you can also use them to display special offers that may entice visitors to stay longer on your site and even convert.

How Solving Technical Website Issues Affects SEO

Updating and fixing the technical website issues that you have control over can have a direct or indirect impact on your site’s indexation and search rankings.

Solving security website issues, restructuring your navigation, improving your page load speed, optimizing for mobile devices, minifying your code and creating valuable content are all factors that can retain and grow your audience.

These factors can also send signals to Google that your website deserves a better ranking because a lot of users go to your site and stay there.

5 Bonus Tips On Reducing High Bounce Rates

Bounce rate is a website metric that shows the percentage of users that leave your website as soon as they land on any of its pages.

High bounce rates for a web page suggests that visitors were unable to find what they were looking for or were not compelled to explore the website any further.

Here are several tips on how you can reduce bounce rates:

  • Use videos to engage your audience: Research shows that 53% of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support and that video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year. This type of content is highly engaging and will grab your audience’s attention more than text does. Videos next to a call-to-action can educate your prospects and entice them to click on a CTA button to learn more about your solutions. Using videos has another positive side-effect: they effectively prolong the time the user spends on your website, known as the page dwell time.
  • Place strategic calls-to-action on every page: Using call-to-actions abundantly, but also strategically, can lead to greater revenue generation as well as reduction of bounce rates. CTAs on a blog article page could be linked to other relevant pages on your websites don’t have to push visitors to complete a conversion - they can push them to additional information, which is a great way to reduce bounce rates.
  • Create gated content: Creating gated content such as in-depth reports and case studies can motivate your visitors to submit their email addresses and keep exploring your website. This places more content in front of them to keep them engaged and adds them to your subscriber list so you can continue to advertise to them.
  • Show credibility: Showcase your client testimonials, positive reviews, awards, endorsements, quality scores and affiliations to demonstrate your credibility right off the bat. Even before they assess your products or services or the quality of your content, many visitors look for evidence of your reliability and industry credibility.
  • Always strive to provide excellent user experience: We have already covered numerous user experience touchpoints that need improving in order to retain your visitors. Think in terms of how easy and pleasing it is for a user to interact with your website. Observe how your users behave and what influences their decisions in order to shape the experience of your website.

Takeaways On Website Issues

To reiterate, some of the most common website issues that affect  performance are:

  • Slow loading speed
  • Poor mobile optimization
  • Bad hosting service
  • Too many plugins
  • Bad coding

The most common reasons why visitors leave a website, other than its poor performance resulting from the above, are mainly associated with poor user experience.

Poor user experience can be caused by:

  • Complicated user journey
  • Lack of fresh content
  • Complicated navigation
  • Forced registration and unsolicited pop-ups
  • Targeting the wrong audience

Using the fixes we have recommended for all of these website issues should vastly improve both performance and visitor retention.

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