Finding and Fixing Flaws With Your Website
Just like a parent to their child, you might think your website is perfect. You’ve spent days or weeks on end designing it, building it, finding the perfect images to accompany engaging copy, and working late nights to finish it. You’ve invested so much time and energy into it, and now it’s time to sit back and relax. Just put up a new blog post regularly, and it’s smooth sailing.
Except, just like any child who paints the wall with glue or has their action figures take a swimming trip in the toilet, your site isn’t perfect. It has flaws: some major ones you just aren’t noticing, others small enough most people would miss, and maybe even a few you don’t even know could exist. Whether your site is brand new, with that new website smell, or several years old, here are some ways to find and fix flaws with your website.
Get a Second Pair of Eyes on the Website
When you spend hours staring at the same page it becomes easy to miss huge mistakes. It’s like when you are writing and completely miss putting an entire word in a sentence, and then when reading it over, your mind fills it in without you noticing. The same mistakes happen in things like web design, writing page copy, and more.
Getting another person to scour your website can go a long way to catching these kinds of mistakes. This could be a friend of yours, a co-worker or employee, another website designer or even all of the above.
The more people examining your website with the intent of catching mistakes and flaws, the better your website will become. One person might correct your grammar, while another might find your dead links, and a third can give advice on improving your website’s flow.
Check Every Nook and Cranny
You can’t rely on others though to find every mistake you’ve made, especially if your website is massive. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get deep into cleaning up your website. You’ll need to search every page for mistakes.
As good as any place to start, pour over your site for dead links, both internal and outbound links. Dead links are terrible for both the user experience and SEO, so make sure they don’t exist on your site. Either use a tool to scan through your site or personally check every link to make sure they all work.
Another common aspect of a site that sometimes falls to the wayside is your different meta page tags and the meta description. If you have no idea what a meta tag is, it’s likely you’re missing out on a big part of your website’s technical SEO.
On every page make sure you have relevant information for the:
- Title tag.
- Meta keyword attribute.
- Meta description.
- Meta robots attribute.
Out of Date Information
If you’ve had your website for a long time, it’s quite possible some of your information is old. Maybe you’ve moved to a new location, or hired new employees, or have an article titled “Best Tips for 2015.” Out of date information in any form isn’t doing your website and business any favors.
Search through your pages, like your “Contact Us” or “About Us” sections, for old information and refresh it with the right stuff. A list of employees can be helpful to give your company a personable feel, but if the employee a customer is talking to isn’t listed on the website, it seems lazy.
This can also include out-of-date content on your website’s blog. Maybe you have an article that gives advice that’s still relevant today but is labeled years past like the above example. The fact that it says “2015” makes the reader not care for the advice because it seems old. Update the year to be current. On the flip side, if you are giving advice on the website that is out of date, either rewrite it to be accurate or put a label on the article telling them it is old and redirecting them to more current content. Either way, having more accurate and well written content can only help your SEO.
When You Have Major Website Problems
Not every flaw is easily identifiable. Things like dead links or incorrect grammar are easy to spot and easier to fix. But some flaws aren’t like that. Maybe you made a design choice that was good but not the best one you could make. Perhaps your site takes too long because your homepage is extremely complicated and media heavy. You might not even know exactly what the problem is, but you know something is wrong because you’re bleeding sales.
The first place to start in this scenario is your analytics. Does any of your data trend negatively? Are bounce rates on a specific page rising? Are people not following your website’s flow the way you intended them to? Put on your critical thinking cap and try to identify exactly what your problem is.
Overhauling Your Website’s Design
As the years pass, your website is going to fall behind is the design game. How consumers want to interact with websites change constantly, and if you don’t keep up, you’ll lose them. Just imagine if you had to use a website that looks like it’s from the 1990s. The same will be true of your website in two decades, too.
If it’s been a few years since you built or last redesigned the site, and you’ve notice falling traffic, consider an overhaul. During this, maybe reconsider your business/website branding, including things like logos and color schemes. The colors your branding uses plays a major part in how people view your business.
Another piece to consider is how your website performs on mobile devices. Innovative and user-friendly mobile interfaces can take a lot of burden off of mobile users and make them more likely to stay on your website.
A/B Testing Big Changes
Maybe you don’t need to redo the whole site, but you do need some drastic changes. How can you know that the change you’re making is the right one? A/B test major changes to your website and see if your new approach is the best way. That way, if it flops, you can go back to the drawing board and come up with a new solution.
Make Fixing Mistakes A Regular Process
As your website grows over the years, you are going to make more mistakes. You might have even made more mistakes the last time you went through trying to fix mistakes. Instead of making fixing the site a massive project that happens once a year, try to make it a regular process of fixing your website. Find a good middle ground; whether you work on it weekly or monthly, just make sure you do it regularly. Especially if you find that you make a lot of little mistakes. That way, your website is consistently improving, which will in turn lead to more visitors, more customers, and better SEO.