16 Februar 2014

The TOP10 errors in websites

According to the latest study by the domain administration office "DENIC" in 2013, approximately 15.6 million .de domains are registered in Germany and more and more people are mobile and stationary in their browsers. It is therefore important for website operators to keep track of the essentials in such a wide variety of systems. We all make mistakes and even the best among us are not safe from them. The good learn from their mistakes, while others tend to repeat mistakes. We from the internet agency BROWSERWERK from Wiesbaden have summarized the ten most frequently occurring errors in the creation and administration of websites on the basis of our daily work for you. A website is the figurehead of a company and ideally small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) win new customers via the Internet as a marketing channel.

1. Expired software versions

Since a website on the Internet is accessible to everyone and many systems are widespread, there is a great danger of becoming a victim of an online attack. Expired software versions of installed programs can lead to an unnecessary attack surface for hackers who use automated scripts to scan the Internet for such vulnerabilities and exploit them to send spam mails from their server or perform other illegal activities. After all, you as an operator can be held responsible for the state of your website.

2. Wrong headings & meaningless texts

Imagine: a search engine visits your site and tries to classify it in a certain category and finds the welcome text "Welcome to our site" as the first heading. Are these keywords a potential customer would be looking for? Probably not. The same applies to many texts placed on company websites. So try to place a healthy combination of important keywords on your pages and write your texts for online, not print. Above all, remember that your users shouldn't miss out. If you follow these simple tips, you have a good chance of being found via search engines and acquiring customers in the future.

3. Unreadable page structure in the address bar of the browser

The so-called "URL structure" of a website is often underestimated. This not only helps the search engine to classify the just scanned page to a certain topic. Also the user can remember this better.
Here it happens frequently that the address line on subpages displays cryptic terms such as "search" or "search": "www.browserwerk.de/index.php?x2D3dsf94" . The address on subpages should always be readable by machine and human alike. Example: "www.browserwerk.de/meine-unterseite". Such a problem can usually be solved by installing an additional component (plugin) or by manually adjusting the source code.

4. Lack of analysis of visitors

Where do my users come from, how long do they stay on my site and what is the proportion of mobile users? Many website operators don't even know how easy and informative it can be to learn more about their visitors. There are different (among them some free) helpers on the net, which enable us to find out many interesting details about the duration of the visit, the location and the keyword and thus offer an ideal chance to prepare content optimally for a certain target group. In many cases you can see very clearly why a visitor does not stay long on a website.

5. Bad operability

There are certain habits which have become established over time on the Internet. For example, when a user clicks on a company logo placed at the top, he assumes that he will be taken to the company's homepage or that certain elements behave as usual on other pages. Whether a visitor really finds what he is looking for is determined by the structure and usability. Especially for entrepreneurs it is important that the corresponding contents such as services or products are found by the searcher and that, if possible, a direct strategy for contacting or selling exists.

6. Wrong or missing image descriptions

Search engines can do a lot, but you can't (yet) do one thing: recognize images and evaluate their content. Although it is possible to upload an image to Google and search for exact copies, Google cannot recognize any text or shapes on images in general.  Also in terms of accessibility, users with output devices other than screens should be given the opportunity to understand the content.  So add keywords and descriptions to your images so that they can be found more easily, because a visitor can also access your website via image search.

7. No direct contact and no request for action

The so-called "call to action" principle, i.e. the request to the user to take an action such as a call, sending an e-mail or an order, plays an important role in customer acquisition and sales on the Internet. Among other things, the focus here is on the habits of the user, such as the general reading of information from left to right or the targeted insertion of design elements & buttons which are to be clicked. It is important that the user does not have to search long for the information needed for the contact, but you manage to connect in a simple way.

8. Mobile optimization

Many companies are now well aware that smartphones and tablets are not just a fad. Many users are on the move and don't want long charging times or tiny texts on their devices. They want a site adapted to their needs, because otherwise they will get their offers at another place on the net. A study commissioned by TNS Infratest in 2013 shows that approximately 40% of Germans are currently on the move on the mobile Internet: "A significant increase over the previous year can be seen here (2012: 27 percent). Even according to cautious estimates, this market will continue to develop strongly and play an increasingly important role. However, companies and private website operators are equally often online with non-optimized content and thus miss the opportunity to be noticed by potential interested parties on the move.

9. Slow loading times

The faster a page loads, the more content the user will be ready to view. Unnecessary files like superfluous Javascripts & CSS files should be removed and images should not be too large. Here a compromise between quality and loading time should arise, which can be worked with on any screen resolution and the visitor does not have to wait too long for the display of the new contents.

10. Scalability of the platform

You can never be sure which requirements will be placed on your website in the future, which is why you should place value on a stable and flexible system right from the start. Large and widespread "content management systems" with long-term support, such as TYPO3, are ideal for this. Almost every system has its own set of extensions and updates. The support of the systems has to be in the foreground even after the creation of the website and does not require much time or even manual programming measures, which repeatedly drive up the costs of IT projects.

Even if these optimization measures are partly complex, it is still necessary to pay attention to certain things when creating online content in the long run. A company can grow with and through the Internet and it is up to you to recognize and use this potential as an entrepreneur.

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