How to Improve Your Website | M is Good

Reasons Why Your Visitors Are Leaving Without Engaging

There are a million reasons why your website could just be plain bad. It’s impossible to cover every possible reason in one blog post, so I will cover the top 5 reasons why your visitors are leaving your website without engaging with your product or service and how to improve it.

This is from over 20 years of experience as an agency and as designers, developers, SEO specialists, social media managers, copywriters, and digital marketers.

We’ve literally seen it all and we are here to save you a lot of time, headaches, and more importantly: money.

Reason 1 - Your Website Is Built On the Wrong Software (Hint: Use WordPress or Shopify)

Stay away from Wix, Squarespace, Webflow, Joomla, Drupal, and any other shiny object and go with the top used websites platforms:

For us, it’s two main ones: WordPress for organizations/non-profits/services and Shopify for product based/e-commerce businesses.

As we mentioned before, we’ve been in business for a couple of decades now and have seen it all, from Drupal or Joomla website NIGHTMARES to websites that have had to be completely redone after a company paid another agency to build a dysfunctional site that we had to rebuild from scratch.

There are some stats that say that over 40% of all websites on the Internet are currently on WordPress and there is a reason why: utility and customizations. WordPress can literally do it all:

  1. Do you have a non-profit that needs to take donations and take email subscribers: Done.
  2. Do you want a store that sells digital courses OR physical products? Personally, we would recommend Shopify first, but WordPress could work with the WooCommerce add-on.
  3. Do you want an affiliate blog where you can earn royalties on all affiliate products listed in your blog posts/podcast episodes/videos? WordPress can do that.
  4. Do you have a simple service-based business in a small town? WordPress.
  5. Do you want to just run a Reddit-like forum for a video game or other online community with logins, registrations, account pages, and more? WordPress is the answer.
  6. Do you have an online paid course behind a paywall with free lead magnet giveaways to generate email subscribers that get outfitted into a fully automated email marketing funnel? WordPress can do it (with some plugins and connections to email marketing like MailChimp or Constant Contact).
  7. We have done it all on WordPress AND it’s free to download WordPress as is! You will have to pay for premium plugins or themes but the main software itself and most basic themes/plugins are free so you could get started with little cost just into hosting and your domain, if necessary.

Over the last few years (really since 2015 or 2016), Shopify started to come onto the e-Commerce scene as dropshipping became the new passive income “thing” that gurus were touting on YouTube and social media. Shopify offered entrepreneurs a simple out-of-the-box solution that seamlessly worked with the major sales channels, shipping software/distributors, and even payment processors.

Shopify also released their own point of sale (P.O.S.) physical add-on that you could connect to your tablet or phone and accept in-person payments for your products if you were selling your products at a convention, an in-person event, or even in your very own brick-and-mortar store.

As of 2022, M is Good recommends almost all of our product-based customers go to Shopify if possible and WordPress for everyone else.

Reason 2 - Your Website Is Doesn’t Work Well On All Devices or Browsers - It’s Not Responsive

If your website doesn’t look as good as it does on a desktop as it does on a mobile phone or tablet, you are NEVER going to reach the right audience.

As part of the web design and development process at M is Good, we literally have a Q/A phase (or quality assurance phase) where we do responsiveness testing on the three/four main platforms:

  • Mobile Responsiveness

(which is any device from 600 to 560 pixels wide or less) – As of July 1, 2019, Google announced that all new sites would automatically be indexed as mobile-first. This effectively meant that your website would look like the mobile version to Google when it decided what content to analyze for SEO keywords, and which KPIs to look at for user engagement. Later on that year, they gradually switched all existing websites over to this as well in the Google Search Console (https://search.google.com). So if your website looks amazing on desktop but doesn’t work on mobile, then as far as Google is concerned: your website is broken and it will not help your SEO and organic traffic.

  • Tablet Responsiveness

(any device between the top end of the mobile breakpoint and the bottom end of the desktop breakpoint – different platforms and themes use different breakpoints for this specific platform) – This is probably the least important of the three device types and we usually see less than 10% of all traffic from actual tablet devices to our websites but that can still be a large amount of untapped potential if your website doesn’t work correctly on tablets. Usually, a website will transfer down to a tablet a lot better than it well from desktop to mobile, since the change is less drastic in terms of how many pixels are on the screen at once, but it’s still something to take into consideration when checking the responsiveness of your site experience.

  • Desktop

(any device usually from 960px or 1,000px or higher) – This used to be the go-to device type to check when building websites and honestly, by habit we still start out with the desktop first when designing or building and build downward (keeping in mind that mobile is still more important) but we don’t remove any important content or aspect from the website that works on desktop but doesn’t show on mobile. You will still get 40%-50% of your traffic to desktops so make sure your website works well on desktops and tablets.

  • Really Wide Wide Desktop/Smart TVs

– Keep in mind that with Mac computers and larger smart TVs, our device widths can sometimes get up to 2,000-4,000 pixels wide when designing your full-width rows or background images. Usually, we max out the content width at 1,200 pixels wide but the full-width backgrounds or images always go to the edge and we have extra breakpoints for extra-large devices (which should honestly be a 4th device type)

If you think you are done with your responsiveness testing, we have only just begun…

After you finish the device Q/A testing, now you can move on to browser website testing. This means you have to test your website on the top browsers such as Safari (Mac/Apple), Chrome (Google/Windows/Mac), Edge/Internet Explorer (Windows), or Firefox. You may ask why you would have to test your site on all these different browsers if the Internet works the same on all browsers and the reason is, it, unfortunately, doesn’t.

Behind the scenes of your WordPress site, you have your code, which is usually PHP-generated HTML, Javascript (or JQuery), and CSS. If you use Shopify, your code is usually generated via their specific code called Liquid which also generates HTML, Javascript/JQuery, and CSS for the end-user BUT some browsers don’t use the same commands in CSS or HTML, especially if you start getting into older versions of those browsers (which older computers still use).

So it’s important to use an up-to-date theme on WordPress or Shopify since most mainstream, community-supported themes work on all major browsers and take into account these previous version code changes have redundant code built-in to fix any potential errors.

Even then, to be on the safe side, we use a service called BrowserStack (https://www.browserstack.com) which allows you to simulate any browser or device that you want from your computer so you can do all the responsiveness Q/A without needing a bunch of different devices/computers/browsers on hand.

Reason 3 - Your Website (and by extension your business) Looks Unprofessional

There is a reason companies pay ten’s of thousands of dollars (some even hundreds of thousands) for website re-designs / development. You don’t have to pay that much but you should spend some money to get a professional designer to layout the look and feel of your site so that you get that polished, professional brand online.

A professional designer understands spacing, white space, padding, font pairings, color theory, and other up-to-date design theory/rules that most of us don’t have time to learn or keep up with.

You would be surprised how much a difference the right amount of padding (or white space) between elements on the screen and the edge of objects does to make your site look more professional.

Throw on top that you shouldn’t use more than 2 or 3 font types for your site and that all your headings and body fonts should follow a brand guide (or set rules for when to use what) and you have a lot to worry about that could easily be handed off to a designer. If you can find an agency that can then implement that design and develop the site on WordPress or Shopify then you are set.

Sometimes, hiring a different designer than your developer can lead to issues and blame game when things don’t turn out as expected because some designers don’t understand the limitations of certain web development platforms and most web developers don’t have that keen eye for detail that designers have. So having a company that can do both and set the right expectations and timelines is HUGELY important so that you get what you pay for.

Make sure that you understand who will be handling the upkeep of the website after they build it because if they use a CMS (content management system) other than WordPress or Shopify OR if they use a custom-coded theme that only they know how to update then you may be left alone when it comes time to change or update something. Also, if it’s custom-coded it will take another developer some time (and thus more money from your end) to de-engineer their code or figure out how it works.

That’s why if possible, you want to make sure they build your site on WordPress or Shopify on a theme that is top-rated and used by a majority of those communities so that you know anyone else could come to make changes if necessary. Getting some sort of training from your developer is also important so that you can make small text or image changes without getting charged exorbitant hourly rates for something that could take you 10 minutes to do at home.

Reason 4 - Your Website Is SLOW (Tips on How to Speed Up Your Website)

If your website isn’t loading within 3 seconds to ALL visitors you have a speed problem. There were a few different studies that show why speed load time is so important.

  1. Unbounce stated that 70% of users stated that website speed load time affected their intent to buy from a business online.
  2. Backlinko.com also analyzed over 5 million websites to see what the average load time was and it turned out to be a little under 3 seconds. Also, and more importantly, Backlinko found that page 1 results have an average load time of 1.65 seconds! That is almost half of the amount of time that most people expect is a good load time.

In today’s quick-moving world, with quicker online internet speeds, and overall; shorter attention spans, it’s more important than ever that your website is optimized to load as fast as possible. If not, you stand to lose out on a large majority of potential page 1 keyword rankings from search engines, but worse yet, the traffic that you are generating may be leaving with a negative impression of your business due to their slow experience with your site.

Luckily, there are a BUNCH of things you can do to improve your website speed. Again, it starts with which software you use and we believe that WordPress has the right themes and plugins to allow you to load your site in under 1.5 seconds (if you implement all the correct speed optimizations).

Get a Good Hosting Provider

If you use WordPress, you want to make sure you have a good hosting provider (we use Liquidweb and a dedicated server for each of our client’s websites). If you go with GoDaddy or Bluehost and get their cheapest plan, your website will be put on a server with thousands of other sites and only be given a slim percentage of the total possible resources of that server (based on the rate you pay for hosting).

Security Comes First

You want to make sure your website is loading of HTTPS (and has an SSL Certificate) which improves load time AND improves your website security. It’s pretty much a requirement now since any website NOT loading on HTTPS will show up with a red not secure warning whenever a visitor lands on your site on some Chrome browsers! So you may be losing out a majority of your traffic just from this one mistake.

Free SSL / CDN / Security / Speed Upgrade?

You don’t have to spend $100s of dollars a year on an SSL certificate though! We have a quick easy trick for you to get a free SSL Certificate + more speed improvements:

We recommend you use a free service called Cloudflare (https://cloudflare.com), which is a Cloud Delivery Network, or CDN and they offer a bunch of security protections for your site, such as a FREE SSL certificate, a firewall, bot protection, and speed optimizations such as minifying (or loading) your code faster.

The main improvement of a Cloud-Delivery Network is that Cloudflare will automatically save your website code and pages on their servers all across the world so that when a brand new user visits your site, it loads from a server closer to their location (rather than from your main hosting provider’s server location). A CDN also helps with browser caching which means repeat visitors will already have your site saved on their computer so that when they come back to your site, it doesn’t have to load from scratch, but will instead already have some of your files on their computer and just load the remainder from their cloud network which really gives you a speed boost.

You also want to make sure you use a caching plugin on WordPress itself such as W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache and make sure the settings are set up correctly (here are some free guides for both W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache).

What About Shopify?

If you use Shopify, you don’t have to worry about your hosting, a CDN, the SSL certificate, or a caching plugin since Shopify does all of this out of the box as part of your monthly payment for their software which is huge for business owners who don’t have time to worry about all of this and just want to sell their products online.

Website Code Size & Image Compressions

The last main thing I want to mention is how big your website is. This includes all the code and most importantly, the size of your images!

If you have a HUGE 1MB or greater images on your homepage, your website will almost never load faster than 3 seconds just because it takes longer to download this amount of data online. If you can, optimize your images and just JPGs at 70% optimization or compression (this means they will compress down to 70% of their total file size WITHOUT losing any quality) and only use PNGs when really necessary since these are usually larger.

Once you think you are at a good spot, use a free service such as Pingdom Page Speed Test or GT Metrix Page Speed Test to see how fast your website loads online.

Reason 5 - You have no visitors - How to Improve Your SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Lastly, if you have no visitors, it’s impossible for even the best-looking website to generate any leads or sales.

Are You Saying I Have To Pay To Promote My Business After Investing All That Money Into Making A Cool Looking Website?

I know it’s hard for a business owner to manage the budget for making your entire website look and feel amazing and then you go to launch the website and you end up with almost no traffic.

Compare it to a real-world, in-person business. For example, a car dealership or a real-estate business.

You put a bunch of money into buying the land, the material, the builders and contractors, the permits, and the project managers just to get your business or home up and your doors open. Then if it’s a brick and mortar business, you need to actually buy your inventory or stock your shelves but even then you still have 0 actual customers in the door to see your beautiful building and awesome products. NOW you have to market your business to let people KNOW that you are open and that you are located at that specific spot so people come by and check it out. It’s the exact same game online. When you compare it or lay it out this way it makes more sense why.
Three letters (or three words) – Search Engine Optimization…

SEO usually requires an entire blog post on its own since it’s so expansive and can get really complicated really fast. So I will leave you a link to our blog post covering some of the top SEO changes to the search engine landscape that you can implement to stay up-to-date.

Basically, you want to start with an SEO Site Audit via a free service such as Link Assistant’s SEO Spy Glass (or their many other free tools), or paid service such as AHREFs.com or SEMRush.com and fix any technical errors first and then any secondary warnings (if possible).

Your load time has a huge impact on your SEO as mentioned earlier so that is the second thing to look into and will usually get mentioned as part of your SEO Site Audit. Since this blog post has covered 1 of the three pillars of SEO extensively – user experience, we will move on to your next two pillars of SEO – content or keyword focus AND backlinks.

Content or keyword focus is basically the words, titles, paragraphs, links, and images that you use on your website. It helps give context to what your website is about and what your main pages are talking about. Google will use this content and context to decipher which keywords your website should rank for.

Then, Google will see if your website has a high authority online which is just looking at how many mentions you, your business, and your website have online. Any link back to your site counts as a backlink (we won’t get into no-follow vs follow links in this blog post just know that there are different types of backlinks and some count more than others). You want to get many big, authoritative websites to mention your site or business since that means you have more authority which in turn will help you rank higher for the keywords you already rank for.

So What Do You Do Now?

We hope this long blog post has helped cover the 5 main reasons why your website may not be converting the visitors you are getting or having low traffic from the get-go.

There is enough content and suggestions in this blog post to take up an entire year of optimizations so you have two paths ahead of you:

  1. You take the time and diligence to dive deep into each of the subjects covered in this blog post and teach yourself how to excel in each one and make a plan of action. Start implementing 3-5 small things from these 5 main steps each month and over time you will see the difference. It will require you to design your own website, become your own copywriter, and then find a good drag-and-drop builder OR learn some code to develop that design.
  2. The second path, if you are too busy to implement or learn about all of this on your own, is to set up a free consultation with an agency that has been doing this day in and day out for over 20 years now and MAKING IT WORK.

Once you click the Let’s Chat button below, our account managers will reach out and chat about your business, your goals, the KPIs (key performance indicators) that matter, and how to get to where you want to be in a real-world and timely fashion within a realistic budget.

M is Good does a lot for our clients and we have been able to rank for some seriously impressive keywords just by following the fundamentals and sticking to what we’ve learned over the last 20 years. So if you are ready to take the next step, click Let’s Chat.

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