The 7 top website mistakes we see on client websites
At Black Lab Digital, we help many clients evolve their digital space; for some clients, this means starting their journey. While with others we inherit a website, some are very old and are indeed ready for a refresh, and some are more modern but seem to arrive with a long list of ailments, sometimes the client is aware of and others that they have no idea about. Over the years we have discovered website after website with the same mistakes cropping up.
Often when onboarding a new client, we will carry out a digital audit on their website. This audit covers all elements of their websites; it can also be extended to their digital advertising and social activity. When reviewing just the website, we delve into the depths of the site. From the user journey to how it is built and the performance of the site.
Once complete, the output is a document that provides a list of actions and forms the basis of a discussion to develop effective next steps. We regularly carry out digital reviews for clients; this means that we get to delve into a variety of websites of varying quality.
We’re routinely surprised at the fundamental website mistakes that we find, so we have compiled a list of the top website mistakes. We have noticed a pattern of problems across a variety of sites. These stumbling blocks impact the use and performance of websites, but the good news is that most can easily be resolved or avoided in the first place by clients. Based on these points, we’ve compiled the top 7 things that site admins can fix on their site with limited or no technical knowledge. These elements can not only improve user experience on the site but also aid in rankings on search engines, while not a magic bullet they can certainly help.
7 common problems on client websites
- Images not optimised – every website has images; ideally, these images need to be made suitable for the web. Raw pictures, taken on a camera, are far too detailed for the needs of a website. The resolution and physical file size need to be adjusted to make them suitable. From a camera, an image could be 4-10mb in size; these need compressing to make them as small as possible without a loss of visual quality on-screen. Most images can be compressed to somewhere in the region of 74kb-300kb depending on the location of the image.
- None existent or poorly optimised metadata – metadata describes webpages to users and search engines. This information can be tailored to specifically represent the content on a page allowing users and search engines to understand the content of the page.
- Poor quality of photography – images can be a powerful tool to communicate a message; our experience is that many client’s do not invest in good stock imagery or create their own images. The result is inadequate images, sometimes utilising old imagery that is not suitable for the web. With a bit of practice and a smartphone, most clients can achieve good results without engaging a photographer.
- Google Analytics not installed – while not directly going to affect the user experience or the performance of the site, this powerful and free tool will help you understand how people are using your site. Analysis of this data will allow ongoing optimisation of the site, tailoring it to users, increasing the relevancy of the experience. Google have a great guide to setting up Google Analytics on your website.
- Out of date software – many sites we deal with are built on WordPress; this open-source software has regular updates released to help guard against hacking threats. Keeping this up to date ensures your website is not left open to attack. Non-technical users can easily action this. However, it is something we’d always suggest doing in conjunction with a developer as the updates can impact your site layout and functionality. This is the reason why we offer monthly maintenance contracts to our clients.
- No Alt-Tags – these simple lines of text can be added to images and are used to describe the images to search engines, they also are used by screen readers that help those with visual impairments understand the content of a web page. Taking a matter of seconds to add to images, they’re a quick-win that any admin can action.
- Too much information – we’ve observed that some client’s try to squeeze too much information onto the site or input it into the wrong place. We always recommend remembering that the site should give enough information to peak interest a sate the users needs but leave them wanting more, meaning they want to get into contact. This is more applicable if your site is designed to generate leads as opposed to an ecommerce site, but you have a short timeframe to engage users and don’t want to over face or bore them.
All of the above common website mistakes can easily be adjusted on most sites by the admin; these simple changes will help not only improve the site but also aid in the optimisation for search engines. However, we understand that as a business owner or marketing manager, you might not have the time to implement these adjustments and possibly want more detailed work undertaking.
At Black Lab, we’re well placed to support a variety of tasks on existing websites. If you feel you could benefit from some simple changes or wider-ranging work, then feel free to get in touch.