Most of Vireo Productions’ clients already have a website but they want a new one because they’re not happy with their current site. The common website problems we see tend to fall into a few categories:
- Unresponsive to different screen sizes
- Unclear target audience
- Unorganized content layout
- Poor readability and legibility
- Long load times
How to fix an unresponsive website
Essentially, a responsive website is one that changes its shape to fit different screen sizes. If your website doesn’t look good on a phone or tablet, it’s a big problem: Having a responsive website is really important these days because so many people use mobile devices to get online.
Install a new theme: If you’re on WordPress, you might be able to install a new theme that is mobile-friendly. Your content should transfer over to the new theme with some tweaking. But this doesn’t work for all platforms — some website platforms are currently not responsive, such as Wix.
Set up a mobile version: Responsive websites are the industry standard today, but separate mobile versions were the industry standard a few years ago, so you still seem them. Sometimes, a separate mobile website is the best choice, but it will depend on your specific situation.
Hire a web developer: If you have a custom-designed website, a web developer might be able to go into the code and make the appropriate changes, but it will depend on well-written the code was in the first place.
Start from scratch: In the end, it might simply be easier to start again. See our article about website essentials to help you get it right the second time!
How to fix an unclear target audience
The target audience is the people your website is for. Having an unclear target audience hurts your website’s messaging. You want the content to speak to the visitor like it was written for them.
It’s not for “everyone”: Many business owners like to think that “everyone” is their target audience, but that simply isn’t true. Just like there are certain people who frequent your business, there are certain people who frequent your website. So who is that person visiting your website?
Use personas: Create a persona to define the typical customer. This person is an imaginary user who will be visiting the site, and they get pretty detailed!
What is your goal?: Figure out the goal or purpose of your website. What do you want visitors to do? How will you convert your visitor into a paying customer, newsletter subscriber, or social media follower?
Hire a marketer: Marketing professionals are all about the target audiences. They have experience creating materials targeted toward specific groups.
How to fix unorganized content layout
A really small site might never have this problem — some sites only ever have straightforward information like about, location, and contact. But many business owners need more from their website — Vireo Productions included! If you have a lot of content on your website, you need to make sure visitors can find the information they’re looking for.
Keep it stupid simple: Make sure you have a clear message. This also goes back to knowing who your visitors are, and what type of information they want. (See unclear target audience above!)
Draw a flowchart: Clarify your message by drawing a flowchart or making a list of everything on the site. At Vireo, we like to make a list with all the pages and content to be included on the site, but do whatever works best for you. The goal is to see everything in one place so you can review it.
Trim it down: If unorganized content is your problem, it may be that you have too much information. Websites are all about minimalism. You want to say more with fewer words. When we trim down website copy, we pull all of the copy onto a fresh document, all in one place, and look at it objectively to see what can be left out. Print it out if that helps!
Hire an editor: Editors do this kind of work for a living, so if this is your problem, but you’re struggling to make the necessary changes yourself, considering hiring someone to do it for you.
How to fix poor readability and legibility
Readability and legibility comes down to being able to read the words on a website. A lot of the decisions designers make when they’re building a website have to do with colour and font choices — and not just because colours and fonts make a website look pretty. The wrong fonts and the wrong colours can ruin a visitor’s experience.
Pick easy to read fonts: There are thousands of fonts out there, and some of them are easier to read than others. One of our favourite resources is Typewolf; check them out for some basic guides for choosing fonts.
Don’t use too many: Not only will too many fonts make your website look messy, but it can also cause problems with load times (see below). Aim to use around three fonts at maximum.
Choose the right colour: Font colours and background colours go hand in hand when creating good readability and legibility. A light font on a light background will be difficult to read. One quick trick to fix this problem is to try using a font with a drop shadow, or adding a darker box behind the words.
Consider text alignment: Justified text looks nice, but it also creates odds spaces between words, making it hard to read. Left-aligned text is the easiest to read. Centered text and right-aligned text are sometimes used as design choices, and that’s okay, just don’t over do it.
Hire a designer: Fonts can set the tone for your website, and with so many too choose from, you want to ensure you’re making the right choice. Designers are font nerds. They’ll have great suggestions.
How to fix long load times
Load times refer to the time it takes from clicking on a link to everything on the website loading. Surprisingly, you’re at risk of losing visitors to your website if it takes longer than ONE SECOND for your website to load. Google Developers PageSpeed Insights gives you a general gauge for how fast your site is working, but take the result with a grain of salt — even Google itself doesn’t get 100/100.
Make file sizes smaller: Optimize your images and videos before you upload them to your site. The smaller the images or videos, the quicker it will take them to load. Data plan phones are paying to look at your website!
Choose fewer fonts: Each font you use on your website needs to load to appear, kind of like an image or a video. The fewer elements there are to load, the faster the site will load.
Reduce plug-ins: Plug-ins are useful, allowing you to obtain specific functionalities with your website without having to write a new program. But they are one of the the biggest culprits when it comes to long load times. Delete the plug-ins you’re not using, and make sure the ones you are using are doing the right job.
Get better hosting: Some of the cheapest kinds of hosting group your website together on one server with other websites, and if one of the other sites is having troubles, so will yours.
Hire a developer: Fixing long load times is one of the most technical of all of these topics, and a lot of different things might be affecting your load time. It might be worth the price to call a developer to help with this fix.