If your website isn't living up to its highest potential, look no further than this comprehensive guide to website improvement.
We'll walk you step-by-step through the process of finding weak points, identifying website issues and learning how to fix them to make your website a successful lead generation asset.
Without further ado, let's talk about improving your website.
Table of Contents
- What Are The Most Common Website Issues?
- How To Fix Common Issues And Improve Your Website
- 3 Steps To Measure Your Website Performance To Identify Key Areas For Improvement
- To Upgrade Or Revamp: How Indepth Should Your Web Improvement Be?
- 4 Steps To Improving Your Website
- Decide Between Responsive Or Mobile-First Design
- Website Improvement For Best Small Business Websites
- Upgrading An eCommerce Website: Key Areas To Focus On
- Upgrading An App Landing Page: Key Areas To Focus On
- Upgrading A Tech Website: Key Areas To Focus On
- Website Improvement Takeaways
What Are The Most Common Website Issues?
Some of the most common website issues include:
- Unclear copy that doesn’t resonate with your target audience
- Dated visual design and/or inconsistent branding
- Pages that are too cluttered and destructive
- Not attracting the right audience for your products or service
- Not enough information about your products or services
- Pages loading too slow on both desktop and mobile devices
- Contact details not visible enough or outdated
- Confusing and complicated navigation throughout the website
Now, let’s see what you can do to fix some of these issues and upgrade your website performance.
How To Fix Common Issues And Improve Your Website
Once you know what problems you might face during the website improvement process, you can follow these tips for fixing them and upgrading your website performance:
- Define your audience and convey the right message: Your website copy should speak directly to your ideal customers. Explain the benefits they might gain from your products or services, including how your product or service is going to help them solve a specific problem. Build authority and trust by showcasing previous results and encourage visitors to take action using CTAs.
- Focus on attracting qualified leads: Once you have your visitor’s attention, make sure to provide additional information, including special offers, testimonials, reports, case studies, reviews or anything else that suits your business. For example, if you run a B2B company and you have comprehensive resources like white papers and special reports, put them up front, make them easily downloadable and preferably free. This can help encourage people to learn more about your business and, ultimately, decide to partner with you.
- Showcase your products and services the right way: Write highly informative product descriptions by focusing on the benefits your products provide to your customers. Consider having dedicated product pages where customers can learn more, see photos, watch videos and read customer reviews. Remember that nearly 95% of online shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase while 72% of consumers don't take any action at all until they have read reviews. For B2B companies, the number of buyers who are more likely to purchase a product after reading trusted reviews goes up to 92%.
- Keep your website layout clean and clear: If your pages are overcrowded with too many intrusive ads, pop-ups or many different CTAs on a single page, you need to declutter. Consider removing pop-ups, reducing the number of CTAs, preventing videos from auto-playing to avoid distraction and keeping the number of banners on the page at a minimum.
- Align your brand’s visual identity with web design: Everyone who enters your site should immediately connect it to your brand. To represent your brand, use the exact same colors on the website as you use for your logo, business cards, memos and marketing materials. The goal is to create a website with your brand’s look and feel.
- Optimize every page on your site: On-page search engine optimization (SEO) can play an important role in improving your website performance. A few ways you can improve is to provide a keyword-related title tag and meta description for every page, short and sweet URLs, well-integrated internal links, multimedia content and optimized images with descriptive alt texts to make the content more accessible and boost the page loading speed. If you’re not sure which website issues to address, look through reports and tools in the Google Search Console to find potential problems.
- Make sure your pages load fast on all devices: If you notice that your pages are loading slowly, you can check the speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. By simply running the URL through this tool, you’ll get a full speed performance report for every device, along with a list of clear suggestions on how to improve the speed. You should aim for a PageSpeed score of 90 out of 100, or above, which means that your page is loading in one second or faster.
- Keep your contact details visible: Consider putting your email address and phone number in both the header and the footer of the website. Create a separate Contact page with a contact form, a physical address if you have one, a map to your office location(s) and additional details that apply to your business. Keep the Contact page simple and clutter-free as it should serve the sole purpose of helping website visitors get in touch with you with minimal effort.
- Make the navigation simple and logical: Your website visitors and potential customers should always know exactly where they are on your website. Your main website navigation should be simple to follow. It should guide users through your website, page by page, while the secondary navigation, or the breadcrumb trail, should inform users where they are at each moment.
3 Steps To Measure Your Website Performance To Identify Key Areas For Improvement
In order to refine your website's usability and functionality, you need to gather information from as many resources as possible and define potential problems.
Here are several steps you can take to quickly gain insights and optimize your website for better results:
Step #1: Find And Fix Issues Using Free Website Performance Tools
The simplest way to define website issues and get clear suggestions on how to fix them is by running your website URL through a web performance tool.
The majority of these tools are free and easily accessible online. Some of the highly robust ones include Lighthouse, WebPageTest, GTmetrix, Pingdom and Dotcom-Monitor.
You can use these automated tools to analyze the functionality and enhance the overall quality of your website.
By auditing for speed, performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, SEO and more, these tools generate reports with detailed charts and suggested fixes for website improvement.
This is a quick way of identifying the root cause and implementing the right solution for each of the website issues you come across.
Pro tip: Run your web pages through several different tools to compare results and make sure you identify every problem.
Step #2: Test User Experience By Talking To Your Audience
If you are not quite sure whether people are satisfied with your website, ask them!
The answers you get will help you decide whether you can implement small changes or if you need a completely redesigned website.
You can arrange in-person gatherings, one-on-one meetings or focus groups.
If you already have a cohort of existing customers, you can also try a survey. If not, you can rely on usability testing tools and platforms that specialize in user interviews.
Questions you should ask your existing or prospective customers might include:
- Can you easily find the right information on the website?]
- Do you understand everything on the site?
- Is there enough information about our products or services?
- How do you feel while browsing the site?
- What makes your visit enjoyable and which points make you frustrated? Why?
- Are pages loading fast enough? If not, which are the slowest? Is that a deal-breaker?
This list isn’t exhaustive, of course.
You should adjust questions to fit your unique business and website issues.
Pro tip: You don't have to engage a large team of researchers and interview hundreds of people. Talking to 10-15 visitors/customers can help give you enough insight to move forward and improve.
Step #3: Go Through Your Website Analytics Inside And Out
Use Google Analytics or any other analytics tool to track website traffic, visitor behavior, popular content and conversions. You can also segment your audience to know exactly which reference points lead customers to your pages.
Depending on your experience with analytics tools, you can go through several basic reports or you could dive deeper in.
Basic coverage of your visitors’ demographics and behaviors include:
- Number of visitors per day, week, month or a selected time frame
- Pages people have visited (including landing pages and exit pages)
- An average time people spent on your website per session
- Bounce rate (percentage of visitors that leave after visiting only one page)
- Visitors’ geographical location, their age and other demographic information\
- The device they are visiting from (desktop or mobile)
- Real-time overview and the specifics of every visit
Once you cover the basics, you can check other analytics reports to learn more about your audience.
If you want to use Google Analytics for tracking conversion rates, you can set clear goals for the website, separate pages or a specific campaign, then measure the impact within the Conversion reports.
Pro tip: If you are not familiar with Google Analytics, take the time to learn the ins and outs of this tool. Once you know what to look for, it can give you truly valuable insights for your website improvement.
To Upgrade Or Revamp: How Indepth Should Your Web Improvement Be?
Your business website allows you to be visible on the internet, it leads customers toward your products or services and it helps your brand stand out.
If it’s not driving the desired results, there are a few quick fixes and small upgrades you can make to help boost the performance.
Some of the quick upgrades include:
- Updating design features to create a professional look consistent with your brand
- Clearing the page layout to provide visitors with a clutter-free experience
- Simplifying website navigation to decrease bounce rate
- Cutting down the number of widgets and plugins on your website to speed up the page loading time
- Enlarging button sizes and using larger fonts to make your website more mobile-friendly
- Refining the website copy to convey clear messages that resonate within your audience
- Adding calls to action (CTAs) to every page to avoid confusing visitors about the action you want them to take next
- Making your contact details easy to find, preferably displayed in the website header or footer, in addition to the Contact page
On the other hand, if applying small fixes won’t solve the website issues you’re facing, you might consider a website makeover or a revamp.
A website revamp might include:
- A complete redesign in terms of changing the look and feel
- A redesign in terms of adding new functionalities and features to the existing site
- Rebuilding a website using the same platform or content management system (CMS)
- Building a new website from scratch using a different platform or CMS
So how do you know if you need a website revamp?
If you built your existing website five or more years ago, it might be a good time for a redesign to freshen up the look and align it with current web design trends.
Also, if your business has substantially grown over the past few years, you might want an upgraded website to better suit your broader business needs.
Or, perhaps your current website isn’t built on the principles of responsive design that automatically adjusts page layout to every screen size. In that case, this could be the perfect moment to build a mobile-friendly website.
Besides responsive design, you could opt for a mobile-first design and build a fast website that suits mobile devices first yet adjusts to desktop view as well.
Revamping your website doesn’t necessarily mean only web development. You could also do a complete content revision to change, update and upgrade the content published on your website.
This could mean adding separate product pages to better inform your customers or writing more compelling copy focused on benefits your customers could gain from your products or services.
4 Steps To Improving Your Website
If you find current website issues too hard to fix with a quick website improvement process or if the necessary upgrades require too many resources, perhaps a website redesign or building a completely new website might the best solution for you.
Once you opt for a website makeover, be sure to cover the essential steps like doing research, setting clear goals, creating a strong web strategy, choosing the right content management system (CMS) and making content plans.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these steps.
Step #1: Create A Web Strategy
Before you start thinking about the new visual design of your website, consider revisiting the results of your audience research.
Once you define your audience, you can start mapping out user journeys and conversion funnels.
The purpose of journey mapping is to visualize the way your customers will find your brand, interact with it and start using your products or services. It is a way of shifting your company’s perspective from inside-out to outside-in, as described in the Nielsen Norman Group article.
This helps you gather data, gain insights and find more opportunities for website improvement.
When you know your audience, including their needs and expectations, you’ll be able to make informed decisions on how to create an effective strategy for your new website.
The stages of the conversion funnel typically include:
- Awareness (the top of the funnel): When people visit your website for the first time and start being aware of your brand
- Engagement (the middle of the funnel): When customers interact with your brand, start considering your products or services and compare them to a competitor’s solutions
- Purchase (the bottom of the funnel): When visitors become paying customers and, eventually, loyal customers
The key is to build a website that is appealing to customers at every stage of the funnel. This means having engaging content, providing enough information at every point and encouraging visitors to become paying customers.
Step #2: Define Your Web Goals
To clearly define your web goals, you need to first specify your website purpose.
It could be to sell products in your online store, engage more active users for your SaaS project or grow your customer base for a subscription-based platform.
To set your website goals and measure the accomplishments you can use two popular frameworks:
- Setting SMART goals: Make sure that your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound. In other words, make your goals focused on a tangible outcome, specify how success would look and keep it within a reasonable time frame.
- Measuring with HEART: Google has developed the HEART framework to measure Happiness, Engagement, Adoption, Retention and Task Success in user experience. It’s a great tool for measuring outcomes, progress toward goal accomplishment and overall user satisfaction.
To make your web goals aligned with your business goals and your audience goals, start by answering these questions:
- What are your business goals?
- What are your website goals?
- How do they align with each other?
- What are your audience's goals?
- How do those align with your business goals and your website goals?
You can set both short-term and long-term goals, but make sure to have a clearly defined system for accomplishing them.
Step #3: Upgrade Your Content Plan
Content is one of the most important assets of your online presence, so it needs to address your audience’s pain points and answer all of their questions.
If you want to upgrade and improve the content on your website, you should start planning your new content as soon as possible.
For the content on your web pages, consider answering the following questions:
- Who are you talking to?
- How did they find this page (through a search query, social media ad, referral link, etc.)?
- What do you want them to do on the page?
- How might they feel at this moment?
- How do you want them to feel after reading your copy?
- What is the next step for them to take?
This will help you easily plan website copy, blog posts, social media stories and all other types of content in order to provide clear, useful and valuable content.
To better understand your audience, you can use The Double Diamond Approach, which consists of four phases:
- Discovering a broad range of customer problems
- Defining their specific problems
- Developing many potential solutions to various problems
- Delivering strong solutions to specific problems
Finding specific customer problems and resolving them through your content is a secure way to build a system for sustainable content production.
Step #4: Choose CMS And Website Integration Carefully
Once you have your website strategy in place, it’s time to choose the right CMS for your website and think about the functionalities, features, integrations and plugins to use.
Depending on your business type, size and industry, you could choose to simply redesign your existing WordPress website and boost its speed by reducing the number of plugins you use.
Or, if your eCommerce brand is quickly evolving, you might want to consider using WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento or any other CMS specialized for online stores.
The same goes for website integrations, third-party applications that could help you achieve much more specific tasks on your website and enhance your business performance.
Choosing the type of website integrations will also depend on your business needs.
For a restaurant website, you could choose to integrate OpenTable, for instance, and give your guests an opportunity to quickly reserve tables directly through your website.
If you organize events, you could use the Eventbrite integration to create event pages, manage guests and sell tickets within your website.
Or, you could choose the Mailchimp integration to sync your website with the email service provider, add a newsletter signup form to your site and grow your email list of potential customers.
Whichever integration or CMS you choose, just make sure that it fulfils your business needs and leaves enough room to grow your business in the years to come.
Decide Between Responsive Or Mobile-First Design
Responsive design is a web design standard. It automatically scales down every website element to adjust it to the screen size of the device your customers are visiting from.
By having a responsive desktop website, your pages are going to look exactly the same on every device. This is an excellent solution for websites that have a lot of content, such as news portals.
A mobile-first design means that your new website is going to be designed and developed for mobile devices first and adjusted to desktop screens.
The main advantage of this type of design is a simplified, reduced number of elements on the page, resembling a mobile app. It reduces development costs, provides excellent user experience and boosts page loading speed on all devices.
As previously mentioned, loading speed is one of the most important website issues you need to address.
As Google’s research shows, if the page loading time on a mobile device is between one and three seconds, the possibility of bounce increases by 32%. If the page loads within 10 seconds, the possibility of bounce increases by 123%.
The results of the latest MachMetrics study shows that the average page speed is 4.7 seconds on desktop and 11.4 seconds on mobile devices.
This means that having a mobile-first website could improve your chances of ranking among top-performing websites, by simply improving the speed and making your pages load fast on desktop, smartphone and tablet devices.
Website Improvement For Best Small Business Websites
Every business, no matter how big or small, needs to go through website improvement from time to time.
If you want your website to be profitable, it has to be attractive, functional and engaging. You need a top-notch website that outperforms competitors and drives qualified leads your way.
Some of the mutual features of successful small business sites are:
- Attractive headlines
- Clear and visible CTAs
- Engaging value proposition right up front
- Compelling product or service pages
- Simple navigation
Your small business website should be aligned with your brand style and industry trends.
To make sure your visitors enjoy their stay and encourage them to return, you need to provide an excellent user experience and publish content relevant to your audience.
Upgrading An eCommerce Website: Key Areas To Focus On
One of the most important areas for an eCommerce website is the checkout process. It is also relevant for membership-based sites, booking platforms, online reservation systems and similar website types.
To avoid abandoned carts and frustrated users, make sure that you make this process simple, understandable and accessible.
- Ask for necessary information only (if there is no need to know someone’s title, date of birth, gender or other specifics, simply don’t ask)
- Have example text pre-written in the form fields to make it immediately understandable
- Write error messages in a compassionate tone (there’s no need to blame users for making a mistake)
- Put all of the important information up front (for example, if you don’t ship outside of the US, make that information visible on every page — don’t make users go through the checkout process to inform them about the shipment at the very last step)
Remember that the checkout process could be the most important part of the user experience, especially when the purpose of your website is to sell products or services, monthly or annual subscriptions or online courses and webinars.
Once your customers and prospective leads get to the point of purchase, don’t frustrate them or make them angry with cluttered processes and too many form fields. Instead, help them get through the checkout process quickly and easily.
You can go through the best B2B and B2C web design of 2020 to identify more key areas for improvement.
Upgrading An App Landing Page: Key Areas To Focus On
If you have a mobile app connected to your business, you should definitely consider adding the app landing page to your website to promote it and increase the app download rate.
Landing pages can support your business goals, grow brand awareness, generate high-value leads and boost conversions with one clear CTA button.
Hosting a dedicated app landing page can help you:
- Increase online traffic
- Build greater brand visibility
- Generate more qualified leads
- Increase number of app downloads
- Build strong brand credibility
Upgrading A Tech Website: Key Areas To Focus On
To wow users with your tech business website you need to invest heavily in web design, especially considering that 73% of tech businesses already do that.
Unique website design can help you stand out in a highly saturated market.
The most important criteria for a successful tech company website include:
- Consistent branding
- Strong CTAs
- Mobile-first design
- User-friendly interface
- Clear positioning of design elements
- High-quality photography
Users expect tech websites to be clear and simple to navigate, so one of the best upgrades you can perform is to optimize website navigation to keep your menu concise, use breadcrumbs, keep contact info in the header, put sitemap and legal pages in the footer and add sticky “back to top” button to your pages.
Website Improvement Takeaways
For your business website to be successful, you need to tweak it from time to time to upgrade your website performance.
You can detect problematic issues by using online website performance tools, researching your audience more profoundly and tracking your website analytics reports.
Some of the quick upgrades may include:
- Clearing the page layout
- Simplifying website navigation
- Refining the website copy
- Adding clear CTA buttons
- Optimizing every page for higher search engine rankings
- Cutting down the number of widgets and plugins
- Improving your page loading speed
If small fixes won’t solve your website issues, you can opt for a website redesign or build a completely new website from scratch.
In case of a website makeover, you should:
- Create a web strategy from scratch
- Define short-term and long-term website goals
- Upgrade and improve your content plan
- Carefully choose CMS for your new website
- Decide on the type of website integrations to include
- Choose between responsive design and a mobile-first approach
- Align your business website with industry trends and best practices
By regularly improving your website, you can improve your online presence, build stronger connections with your customers, attract more qualified leads, increase conversion rates and boost revenue.