Your website might be silently screaming for help, and you might not even know it.
Ignoring health checks for your website is like neglecting your physical well-being – it might seem fine on the surface, but beneath, issues can fester, potentially leading to catastrophic outcomes.
Here, we’ll explore some of the benefits of a web site health check on your website:
- Safeguard your online reputation
- Improves your SEO and elevate your search engine rankings
- Boosts user engagement resulting in more traffic, conversions and sales
- More useful, relevant and informative content for your readers
In the following sections, we’ll discuss essential metrics to monitor, security vulnerabilities, content issues, user feedback, and the optimization of slow-loading pages.
Take a look at this statistic to see how much is at stake, most visitors will only view a single page on your website and then “bounce”, perhaps never to return.
Let’s dive into the red flags you need to know about – and how to fix them!
Table of Contents for Web Site Health Check
- Sign 1: Slow Page Load Times
- Sign 2: High Bounce Rate
- Sign 3: Declining Organic Traffic
- Sign 4: Outdated Content
- Sign 5: Mobile Compatibility Issues
- Sign 6: Broken Links
- Sign 7: Security Vulnerabilities
- Sign 8: Low Conversion Rates
- Sign 9: High Cart Abandonment Rates (for e-commerce sites)
- Sign 10: Negative User Feedback
- Final Thoughts on Web Site Health Check
Sign 1: Slow Page Load Times
Slow loading pages are annoying to users. Your typical visitor will wait a few seconds for a page to load and then think about going somewhere else. Even if they don’t leave your site, they now have a negative opinion about your site because you made them wait.
Ensure a positive visitor experience by optimizing your site’s loading speed.
It’s easy to say speed up your website but how do you actually do that?
Here are some actionable steps you can take to speed up your website. While these steps are for a WordPress website, they can be adapted for other website platforms too:
- Choose a fast, lightweight theme that loads quickly (Recommended: GeneratePress)
- Each plugin you add to your site reduces the speed – use as few as possible
- Compress, crop and scale images for faster loading. Use a plugin (Recommended: Imagify)
- Use an optimizer plugin to make technical improvements for you (Recommended: SiteGround Optimizer)
- Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) if your website caters to an international audience
There are various online tools to help you check the speed of your website.
Sign 2: High Bounce Rate
The bounce rate indicates how many of your visitor sessions are single page. In other words, how many visitors, viewed a page, didn’t like what they saw and “bounced” or left your site.
You want the bounce rate to be as low as possible.
What can cause high bounce rates?
- The type of website: blogs typically have 65-90% bounce rates while E-Commerce sites are lower
- Low quality content
- Slow websites
- Poor layout (complicated layout, difficult to read font etc)
- Poor readability – the content is overly dense or complicated to read or understand
- Not mobile friendly
And so on. The task, if you have a high bounce rate, is to find out why.
Sign 3: Declining Organic Traffic
Track your website visits with the help of analytics software. Many of these tools are absolutely free and offer the essential metrics you require. And the best part? You can always level up to access more advanced stats and features down the road.
If you’re unsure which analytics tool to go for, I’d personally recommend giving Clicky a try. It’s user-friendly and can be up and running in just a matter of minutes.
Let’s dive into the world of organic traffic. Check out how much of it is flowing to your website. Take a peek at the trend – is it on a gentle uphill or a concerning downhill slide? If it’s heading south, you’ve got yourself a puzzle.
Now, let’s unpack a few potential reasons for that downward trend in organic traffic:
- Not Enough Fresh Content: Are you keeping your website updated with fresh, engaging content?
- Keyword Rankings Taking a Dip: Have you noticed your content’s keywords slipping in the rankings?
- Google’s Algorithm Changes: Keep an eye out for those Google algorithm updates that might be affecting your rankings.
- Website Changes: Any recent adjustments to your website, like layout, speed, navigation, theme, or plugins?
- Staying in Tune with Trends: Are you keeping pace with the latest trends in your niche or industry?
These are just a few potential culprits that could be causing the decline in organic traffic over time. Dive into the metrics to unravel the mystery.
Sign 4: Outdated Content
As we mentioned earlier, staying in the loop with trends in your niche is crucial. Every niche has new popular topics while other topics are declining or becoming unpopular.
To keep your audience engaged, it’s vital to stay informed about the latest happenings and trends. Your readers are hungry for insights on what’s next in your niche.
Now, here’s a little tip for you: Periodically, take a look at your existing content, especially those pieces that are seeing a dip in traffic. See if you can give them a refresh. Update outdated sections and replace them with the latest, most relevant information.
Sign 5: Mobile Compatibility Issues
Almost half of all online traffic is from mobile devices (Source: Statista, US 2023). In addition, Google uses the mobile version of your website when crawling and indexing your site.
Your site needs to look and function perfectly on smartphones and other mobile devices. So, how can you ensure this?
Actionable steps to ensure your website looks and functions correctly on mobile devices:
- Choose a mobile-friendly theme
- Pick a fast, lightweight theme so your website loads quickly
- Minimize the number of plugins on your website (speeds up your website)
- Ensure plenty of space around links and buttons (mobile users use their fingers for clicking)
- Lower connection speeds for mobile devices so don’t use large images
Sign 6: Broken Links
Visitors perceive broken links as a sign of neglect. It’s like a house having broken windows – it’s not a good sign.
Over time, links tend to break, a phenomenon aptly called link-rot. This can occur when websites reorganize content, relocating or deleting pages. Some websites may even vanish altogether, leaving you with dead links.
The solution to broken links it to monitor your content using an SEO tool. These handy tools check for broken links and a host of other SEO issues for you.
Now, here’s the practical advice: Unless you have loads of free time, it’s wise to automate the process of checking for broken links and other SEO issues. Find an SEO tool that suits your needs and set it up to do the work for you.
Sign 7: Security Vulnerabilities
Think of an insecure website like leaving the front door of your house wide open. It’s an open invitation for any opportunistic individual to stroll in and help themselves to your belongings. Hackers often use automated scripts to randomly seek out vulnerable websites to exploit. Any vulnerabilities found on your website could result in a compromised site and your reputation ruined.
So, what can you do to protect your website from hackers and ransomware gangs? Here are some practical steps to harden your site’s defenses:
- Choose a good quality hosting provider – avoid overly cheap providers (Recommended: SiteGround)
- Invest in a high quality theme from a reputable company with good reviews
- Use a security plugin to harden your website
- Use 2FA (two factor authentication) on your login page
- Schedule daily backups of your website (good hosting providers should offer this feature)
- Set up your software to be automatically updated
Neglecting web server security can be a fatal mistake. Once your website is hacked it can be impossible to restore your reputation with customers or clients.
SiteGround Security is a free plugin for WordPress that can help secure your website.
Sign 8: Low Conversion Rates
If your website or blog is used to acquire new customers or leads then a low conversion rate is a big problem.
A conversion represents the percentage of visitors who take an action you desire. For example, a conversion might involve:
- Making a purchase on your website
- Subscribing to your newsletter
- Using the contact form to inquire about your products or services
- Downloading a free PDF or E-Book
- Or any other action you’ve defined
You can configure your analytics tool to keep track of these conversion rates for you. This is a critical metric for your business, so if you notice a low conversion rate, it’s essential to dig into the reasons why.
Common reasons for low conversion rates:
- Poor user experience – slow website, difficult to read, poor layout or navigation
- No social proof – visitors don’t trust you, add customer reviews or testimonials
- No clear Call-To-Action (CTA) – ask the visitor for one thing, don’t confuse them with multiple asks
- Traffic is not from your target audience – ensure your keywords are focused on your potential customers
- Not mobile-friendly – half your traffic will be from mobile devices
By addressing these issues, you can improve your website’s conversion rate and ultimately drive more leads and sales for your business.
Sign 9: High Cart Abandonment Rates (for e-commerce sites)
Cart abandonment is a common problem in e-commerce, and there are several factors that contribute to it.
Here are some of the most common reasons for cart abandonment:
- Unexpected Costs: Additional costs such as taxes, shipping, and other fees
- Forced Account Creation: Requiring an account before making a purchase is a barrier to conversion.
- Complicated Checkout Process: A long or confusing checkout process is frustrating to visitors
- Slow or Expensive Shipping: Slow or expensive shipping can be a significant turn-off for visitors
- Technical Issues: Technical issues such as website errors, slow loading times, or payment processing problems
- Buyer’s Remorse: Visitors may add items to their cart on a whim without actual purchase intent
- Inadequate or Ambiguous Returns and Refund Policies: Inadequate or ambiguous returns and refund policies.
- Concerns About Payment Security: Visitors may have concerns about payment security
Seek customer feedback through a survey to improve the checkout process. Consider offering incentives, like a voucher, to encourage participation.
Sign 10: Negative User Feedback
Pay attention to negative user feedback. It’s a valuable source of insights into the issues and frustrations your visitors encounter on your website.
Review comments on your site and social media platforms for insights. Actively seek feedback to enhance your offerings and content.
Additionally, as mentioned earlier, think about adding a customer survey form on your site to gather valuable user feedback.
Final Thoughts on Web Site Health Check
Thanks for reading! Here is recap of the web site health check: 10 signs to look out for:
- Slow loading web pages
- Bounce rate is high (visitors who visit one page then leave)
- Organic traffic is declining
- Outdated or irrelevant content
- Mobile usability issues
- Link-rot (broken links – internal or external)
- Security issues on your website
- Traffic not converting to leads/customers
- Shopping cart is abandoned too often
- User feedback is negative
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