In the digital age, a business’s website is among its most valuable marketing assets. It’s what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refines, and it is the primary portal for organic lead generation and acquisition. It’s many visitors’ first contact with a brand, which will inform their brand awareness – positive or negative.
Finally, it’s a primary conversion driver, nudging buyers along the customer journey and ultimately enticing them to convert. For these and other reasons, it’s crucial to identify website shortcomings and address them early before they inflict severe damage. So, to help you do so, let us explore six warning signs that your website is not performing well.
6 Warning Signs of a Bad Website:
Let’s explore warning signs of a underperforming website you should keep an eye on. The first three signs will span across your customer acquisition process, while the other three will delve into specifics. Should they apply to you, we will offer some suggestions for all 6 signs. So, let’s begin.
1. Low Traffic
Perhaps the easiest warning sign to identify is a simple dip in traffic. However, this may not necessarily mean the fault lies with your website, so let us explore this matter with caution.
First, you must rule out other possibilities to ensure the loss in traffic is not due to other reasons:
- Check your Search Console to ensure you have not received a manual penalty.
- Examine your analytics to check if seasonal fluctuation is normal for your website or industry.
- Research your keywords to determine if emerging competition is stealing your traffic, rather than you simply losing it.
Then, you may begin to address the primary SEO factors that affect traffic. Namely, loading speeds, responsiveness, and security.
- Trim down your images and cull obsolete plugins. Google/SOASTA research has found that slow loading speeds directly correlate with higher bounce rates. What’s more, slow websites get lower SEO scores, and thus less traffic, as they offer a lesser UX. So, you may begin by optimizing and compressing your images to under 100kB, while also culling obsolete and secondary plugins.
- Leverage browser caching. Second, in line with Web Core Vitals, you may begin to leverage browser caching for both faster loading speeds and better responsiveness. Should you be getting warnings about this from WordPress, don’t worry – this is a common caching issue you may easily fix through plugins or manually in code.
- Bolster your security. Finally, security will play a pivotal role across your entire customer journey, and raw traffic generation is no different. Simply consider that Chrome, the most prominent browser today, warns users when they visit unsecured websites. This warning can stifle your lead generation, so you will need to address such issues early.
2. Low Lead Acquisition
Having touched on lead acquisition a few times already, we may now properly focus on this phase.
A robust technical foundation and solid SEO may allow your website to generate traffic, but it may still ultimately underperform. In that case, your analytics may show that it attracts visitors effectively but fails to convert them into leads. In turn, your website is not performing well regarding conversions, as it can’t nurture enough leads.
To address this, you may consider such solutions as the following:
- Revisit your content strategy. First, consider how closely your content matches the user search intent. If new visitors do not find satisfactory answers to their queries, they will naturally not become leads. We suggest thorough search intent research, and offers a very interesting case study of it in action.
- Examine your copy. Then, you may consult your analytics to deduce if your copy doesn’t meet your audiences’ expectations. Heat maps, for example, may reveal your copy fails to entice visitors to scroll down to your forms and CTAs. There, even subtle elements such as tone and use of industry jargon play a substantial role in audience perceptions.
- Engage in Landing Page Optimization (LPO). Finally, you may carefully examine your landing pages and engage in LPO. Landing pages offer one of the most effective lead generation tools by definition. So, from de-cluttering their layouts to refining their copy and CTAs, landing pages can afford nothing short of perfection.
3. Low Conversions
Another telltale warning sign that your website is not performing well lies, of course, in conversion rates.
Your analytics may suggest you are both attracting audiences and engaging them successfully, but are not effectively converting them. This is a fairly common problem that Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) specifically addresses, as it’s fundamental to securing revenue. What’s more, even the slightest boosts to conversion rates will immediately translate into better Return on Investment (ROI).
You may begin your CRO efforts with such practices as the following:
- Optimize your CTAs. CTAs spearhead conversions, so you must optimize them first and foremost. First, consider color, shape, size, and copy; your CTA must be immediately visible, highly readable, and compelling. Then consider placement; Joshua Turk argues your CTA placement should match its complexity, with the simplest ones at the top and the most complex ones at the bottom. Finally, consider inciting urgency through countdown timers, and limit your CTAs to one per page – unless your analytics disagree.
- Use social proof. Then, as with most marketing endeavors, you may leverage social proof across your landing pages and converting pages alike. Consider reviews and testimonials, and even case studies if you can build content around them. Users value social proof highly, as it offers them reassurance in their choice.
- A/B test diligently. Finally, CRO strongly suggests adjusting one element at a time, and conducting thorough A/B tests to reach safe conclusions. Indeed, personal hunches and initial results may obscure your adjustments’ actual effectiveness. Especially given that every audience differs, A/B testing offers the safest way to optimize your website correctly.
See Also: How to Improve eCommerce Conversion Rate
4. High Cart Abandonment
General customer acquisition phases aside, there are also other, more specific warning signs that your website is not performing well. The first one, closely tied to conversion rates and mainly affecting eCommerce sites, is cart abandonment rates. This factor remains notoriously significant, and you will very likely encounter it to some degree.
To properly gauge and address cart abandonment, you may start with the following:
- Contextualize it. First, you must contextualize your cart abandonment rate. Natural rates vary by industry, country, device, and more. For example, Statista found that, in 2020, the automotive industry had a massive 96.88% rate, while insurance had 67.92%. Similarly, Barilliance identified sizeable differences among different countries and devices. Thus, you will first need to take such factors into account before acting on yours.
- Minimize hidden costs. Next, carefully consider hidden costs during checkout. Sleeknote found that high hidden costs were the primary reason for cart abandonment. To address this, you may disclose shipping, taxes, customs, and other expenses upfront.
- Shorten the checkout process. Finally, the same research found that requiring an account was the second most common reason for cart abandonment. In turn, an equally time-consuming checkout process was the third. Here, you may begin by allowing for purchases without the need for signups and logins to hasten the process. Then, you may reduce your form elements and fields until you strike the golden balance that best serves your website.
5. No or Little Social Media Shares
Another, more subtle clue that your website is not performing well comes with little social media shares (activity). Certainly, your website might not be offering a great UI/UX if people aren’t talking much about you or your brand.
Now, this subject does align more closely with social media marketing than it does with SEO. What’s more, social signals are not SEO ranking factors, as John Mueller has said. However, social media do serve to gauge your website’s and strategies’ effectiveness, as he also continued to say. What’s more, the two synergize as regards lead acquisition and engagement, and this synergy deserves your attention.
Here, you may consider the following:
- Use social media insights. Initially, you may cross-reference your website analytics and social media audience analytics. Such tools as Facebook’s Audience Insights can provide more data for you to take into account, helping you craft better buyer personas. In turn, your insights can help you optimize both your website and social media activities, linking the two into a cohesive whole.
- Employ social listening. Next, social listening will allow you to track unbranded mentions and discussions that concern your brand and service or product. You may also expand its scope to include valuable terms you may wish to monitor. In either case, social listening will provide additional insights for you to use and act on.
- Ask for feedback directly. Finally, social media audiences will often share feedback very willingly. You may thus ask them for feedback directly, via quizzes, surveys, and other content. At the same time, you will be producing engaging content that will help your profiles foster relationships.
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6. Negative Feedback
Finally, on the subject of feedback, negative feedback is among the clearest signs that your website is not performing well. It may come organically or as a response to your feedback requests. In all cases, however, negative feedback can offer excellent insights and reveal opportunities.
In this regard, you may:
- Process it. First and foremost, remember that most negative feedback doesn’t intend to insult or demean. Rather, it reflects a dissatisfied visitor’s or customer’s experience. You may thus begin by treating it as such instead of letting it discourage or offend you. Even mean-spirited feedback can prove to be constructive if you process it properly.
- Respond to it. Then, remember to respond to it timely and professionally. If you fail to do so, you may start receiving less feedback as you project an image of indifference to it. Responding to it may win back a potential customer and earn you trust with others in the process.
- Act on it. Finally, remember to act on the feedback you get. You may not do so for every piece of feedback, of course, but you should address recurring patterns and demonstrable website shortcomings. This is the primary purpose of your efforts thus far, after all.
3 Proactive Website Monitoring Best Practices
But first, let us briefly touch on three best practices as regards proactive measures. Adhering to these practices will help you pick up on the signs of bad (underperforming) website and fix them.
1. Conduct Regular Checkups and Maintenance
First, it is crucial that you conduct regular checkups and keep your website properly maintained. Marketing, SEO, and User Experience (UX) aside, monitoring your website’s technical health is fundamental – as Technical SEO also holds. A robust website will perform much better than an outdated, poorly maintained one.
2. Bolster Your Website’s Security
As you do, it is imperative that you bolster your website’s security. Doing so will both help deter malicious actors who may attack your website and help incite more trust from your visitors. Steps toward this goal include opting for HTTPS certificates, installing security plugins, reviewing your firewalls, and others.
3. Keep an Eye on Your Analytics
Finally, it is just as vital to continuously monitor your web analytics, even if your website performed very well in the past. Changes to search algorithms, user behavior trends, Google penalties, and other factors may diminish its effectiveness. Google Analytics, heat maps, and any other analytics tools you use will offer tremendous help toward identifying such issues early.
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To summarize, there are plenty of warning signs that your website is underperforming well across your customer acquisition process. Low traffic, low lead acquisition, and low conversions may all hint at oversights, weak content, and poor UX. More specific metrics, such as cart abandonment rates, low social media activity, and negative feedback may also do so. In all cases, you should first pinpoint the exact problem and contextualize your metrics, and then act swiftly in response. It will surely help you elimiate the warning signs of a bad website.