Five common website performance issues and the four ways to solve them

If your customers are online, then you have to operate there too – and do it well.

Of course, a huge part of making customers click and convert is having an online presence that works on all counts, which can be quickly stopped by website performance issues.

These can majorly impact user experience and ultimately, your business’s success – so to help you solve them quickly while performing technical SEO, we’ve pulled together this practical guide.

But first – how do I know what a performance issue is?

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Understanding website performance issues

You might not think it at first glance, but inconsistent performance across devices and browsers, slow loading times, unoptimised content, and unresponsive pages are all examples of pretty major website performance issues.

The culprits? More often than not, they are internal problems, stemming from things like inefficient code, heavy elements on a page, and even server problems.

Of course, searching each of these to find the root issue can take time. It can be a combination of one or more problems, which can make it hard to know where to start – especially if your business or clients are keen to find out what’s wrong.

First, we need to identify the places where performance is being impacted.

Identifying – and targeting – five common performance problems

To actively address issues, find the root causes by conducting a thorough performance review and technical audit. This might include hiring a technical SEO agency to help or enlisting tools such as:

These can help you see your overall metrics and spot-check what needs improvement, such as the following key issues.

1. Indexing and crawlability

Crawlers will be unable to understand your site if you have poor indexing setups. For example, if a developer has blocked the entire website when they do maintenance, this will negatively impact a crawler’s ability to understand your architecture, internal linking, and authority over time.

Essentially, if you accidentally stop an entire category or section from being indexed, then that part of the website simply won’t perform.

2. Duplicate content

Duplicate content is an easy mistake to make – but can have huge consequences. If your website contains high levels of repeated content, then the website will struggle to rank the correct pages. Why? It’ll be battling itself to see what should rank – and more often than not, it’ll lead to tanking rankings across the board.

3. Incorrect tracking

This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you’ll know about it. Whether something has been pushed live in GTM that changes your configuration, or a site migration has resulted in duplicate tracking codes being in place, incorrect tracking can have a huge knock-on effect.

4. Keyword targeting

Although Google is getting smarter at understanding the logic behind certain terms, incorrect keyword targeting can result in cannibalisation, as well as user confusion. Don’t be tempted to stuff your web pages with random content just because it includes a keyword with sufficient search volume. Instead, you can use a ranking report overlaid with a GA export to identify areas where keyword targeting may not be optimal.

5. User Experience (UX)

To really understand whether you have a UX problem – which can often be a case of style over substance – utilise tools like heatmaps. From here, you can turn these into A/B tests for you to analyse, before tweaking and retesting to see if the user experience improves.

Four ways to solve website performance

Once you’ve pinned down the problem, it’s time to actively solve it. From optimising website assets to using automation to make things simpler, we’ve collated some of our go-to’s.

1. Improve your assets

It’s not enough to just throw multimedia on your site. Optimising them takes a minute but can solve a myriad of issues, by compressing images, minifying CSS and JavaScript files, and leveraging browser caching to reduce the amount of time your site takes to load.

2. Boost server performance

Servers, at their best, can improve your website’s speed and overall responsiveness. To get the most from your server, consider upgrading to a faster hosting provider or optimising your current configuration. You can also use content delivery networks (CDNs) to send website content across multiple servers globally, reducing latency and improving load times for your users – wherever they might be in the world.

3. Implement best practices

For any website to perform sustainably, adopting best practices is essential. That means staying abreast and ahead of any industry trends, following web performance guidelines from market leaders like Google or W3C, and regularly auditing your website to ensure it’s meeting and matching these agile standards.

4. Leverage automation

Sometimes it’s about working smarter, not harder. Automation can streamline the process of identifying and resolving performance issues, thanks to monitoring and alerting systems.

These can actively sport performance anomalies in real-time, alongside other build tools and continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) pipelines to automate performance optimisations. This can help you ensure that your website performance stays consistent across development cycles.

Still stuck? Talk to the experts.

If you’re facing a tricky case, or just need an expert opinion, then turn to Embryo. Our technical SEOs are on hand to provide specialised help, conduct in-depth performance assessments and implement advanced optimisations built specifically for your bespoke website.

But whether you go solo or enlist the help of an agency, it’s important to remember that website performance is a constant job. To make sure your website stays relevant, and useful, and works in a rapidly changing landscape, technical SEO and performance checks are the key.

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