Website Problems and Issues You Might Face

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First, this is not a list of ways to fix all website problems. When I wrote this post, there were 8.626 free themes and 58.667 free plugins listed on the WordPress website. There are many premium themes and plugins too. Each theme or plugin might encounter many unique problems. This post gives you a general idea of how to avoid those problems in the first place.

There are several type of website problems.

  • IT and technical problems (hosting, SSL certification, security, configuration, and software problems).
  • Website user problems. You broke your website because you didn’t know how to update and maintain it.
  • Niche problems, terrible choice of niche, or you want to target everyone with a credit card.
  • Content problems, poor messaging, SEO, and link building problems.
Website problems faced by small service businesses.
If you keep it simple you’ll have fewer website problems. Image by: wocintechchat via Unsplash

First, we’ll tackle IT website problems.

By IT and technical problems, I mean things to do with your web hosting provider, the WordPress theme, and the plugins you built your site from, and mistakes you might make while adding content to your pages that could break the underlying code of your website.

For instance, if you have a legacy website from years ago, your website might not work well on smaller screens, such as mobile phones. Another common problem is that your SSL security certificate might be out of date. The speed your site loads is also very important. And you should make sure your site doesn’t have any broken links or images that don’t display.

You can fix all these problems and more by using good hosting and an excellent quality modern WordPress theme. Training sites like WP101 (or a free alternative) are a great way to get a good basic understanding of how WordPress works.

Good quality hosting.

For excellent quality web hosting that’s reasonably priced, I recommend the SiteGround Grow Big hosting package. If you run multiple websites or have a lot of traffic (over 25.000 visitors per month) get the Go Geek package. SiteGround provide great customer support too, so if you get stuck configuring your hosting or setting up your SSL certificate or email, they can help.

Recommended WordPress themes.

Changing themes is not as simple as some theme shops would have you believe. So if you do change theme, take your time and choose wisely. I highly recommend the combination of GeneratePress and GenerateBlocks. They provide all the customization options most small service businesses need at a reasonable price. If you’re willing to have fewer customization options, the Genesis Sample theme and Genesis Blocks plugin are free, easy to use, and well respected.

Website content problems.

  • Make it clear who you help and how.
  • Answer all the questions customers ask before buying.
  • Make those answers easy to find.

There is an old saying in marketing circles, content is king. Unfortunately, few service business owners have any idea what content to put on their website. It’s tempting to try big yourself up by talking about you and your business. But the sad fact is your customer doesn’t care about you or your business. They care about what’s in it for me.

Customer problems and their jobs to be done.

Your customer has one big thing on their mind, and it’s not you or your business. It’s I’ve got a problem that I can’t put off any longer. I need someone I can trust to fix that problem and I want them to do the job right.

The content on your website should convince your customers that.

  • You understand the situation your customer is in.
  • You’ve seen this problem many times before.
  • Solving this problem, for people just like them, is what you do.
  • Then show them examples of your work that prove you can do the job.

They also want to know you will allow them to explain their specific situation. You will listen carefully to what they have to say without interrupting. And only then will you diagnose the problem and recommend a solution.

Design your website to display your wares, convince the reader you can solve their problem, allay their fears, and encourage them to contact you.

You need a niche; your customer is not everybody.

If you spoke to a builder who told you he builds anything from garden sheds to tower blocks, would you employ him to build your tower block? Your website must accurately target the customers you really want to win. You must define your niche. You don’t have time to talk to everybody, so only target prospects who could turn into customers.

With a new business, it pays to be more general with your target market until you know for sure which customers you can help. But once you know your target market, be clear and honest about who that is.

Free content writing checklists and guides.

The best introduction to writing content for small service business websites is Gill Andrews‘ free guides and checklists. If you follow these, you’ll be ahead of most of your competitors.

Website images.

Show images that give the reader a virtual experience of dealing with you and your business.

If there’s an end product such as a fitted kitchen or redecorated living room, show photos. If you deliver an intangible service such as training. Show photos of a training session. Or even better, make a video of a training session.

The important point is to help the prospective customer understand what they’ll get, and what the process will be like, if they deal with you.

If you deal face to face with customers, show them photos of the staff they’ll be dealing with. If you have a sign written van, show them, so they’ll know what to look out for when you arrive.

But!

Always get permission before using any photos on your website.

Every image and every photo must serve a purpose. Resist the temptation to jazz up your web pages with beautiful but irrelevant images.

When a reader sees an image, their mind immediately tries to work out what information that image bares in relation to their problem. If the image does not help them understand your message and is a filler or fluff image, you’ve used up some of the limited amount of attention they will give your offer.

A service business can almost always find enough images that are relevant and useful to the prospective customer. You don’t need to use filler or fluff images. So don’t.

SEO and Google.

There are two key parts to search engine optimisation.

  • The content on your web page.
  • Inbound links from respected sites in your industry.

The first problem is optimising the text and images on your web pages. You can do this by using a SEO free plugin. Yoast SEO is the most popular option.

Yoast SEO is like a virtual assistant that prompts you to add the right text in the right places to tell Google what search string you want that page to rank for. Examples of a search strings are plumber in Bradford, or electrician in Leeds, etc.

First you type your keywords in a box, then Yoast SEO gives you a list of suggestions. Yoast might tell you to add your keywords in the post title. Add your keywords in the first paragraph of your page text, etc.

When you’ve correctly optimised your webpage for Google, Yoast SEO displays a green light and you know you’ve done a good job.

Inbound links are much harder to get. First, you need to make a website that respected websites in your industry would want to link to. Then ask them if they’ll link to you. This usually happens over a long period. The more well established your site becomes, and the more useful your content is, the more chance you have that people will link to you.

Google finds these inbound links and uses them to work out if your website is useful and trustworthy.

Google mission statement is: to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

If Google thinks your website is useful and trustworthy, it will list you when someone searches for the pages you’ve optimised for, such as plumber in Bradford.

Start with the basics.

Your website content grows over time. Start with the must have information.

  • Who you are and what you do.
  • Who you help and why they need you.
  • How they contact you.

Then gradually add pages to your site that answer the questions your customers always ask before employing you.

Eventually your site will become the go to resource for your customers. And hopefully your business will be on the up. 

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