Common Problems for Business Website Owners and How to Fix Them
IF YOU’RE RUNNING AN eCOMMERCE SITE ON WORDPRESS THEN HERE ARE SOME PRO-TIPS FOR YOU
Running a business website can be a bit of headache as over 85% business website owners admit that they have little or no idea on how to keep their website running smoothly and their range of products up to date. Many admit not even knowing what to ask for from their web designers or whether they’re making a difference when they do, do some work.
In this article, we’ll cover some tips for business website owners on ways to keep your site up to date, secure and ranking well on Google. Caveat, this is only a high level guide and not a deep dive user manual for fixing web issues as that would require volumes of details beyond the scope of this article.
BEFORE UNDERTAKING FIXES IT’S GOOD TO KNOW WHAT YOUR FIXING FIRST AND HOW TO MAKE NECESSARY PREPARATIONS
Step 1: Before you make any changes on your website to your website, it’s crucial to back everything up. Contact your hosting provider if you’re not sure what the backup and restore process is for your site. Make sure you have account access to both you’re hosting provider account and your wordpress site. The administrator address for wordpress is usually https://yoursite.com/wp-admin.
Step 2: If you plan on updating your products (prices, descriptions, photos etc) then it’s important to find up to date spreadsheets and imagery which you can used to update you online shop. It’s a very common problem where prices need to be updated, products need to be added or retired but there’s no spreadsheet. If this is the case, manual pre-work is recommended before handing off the task to €75-100 an hour web developer.
Step 3: Baseline where you are now. By that I mean it’s important to look at what your business internet footprint is now and compare it to your top competitors and what your goals are. Do your products rank highly on Google search results for your target market, do you have historical metrics on site visitors and conversions? Is your facebook and instagram follower base growing or static. How’s your site speed and mobile responsiveness.
Online success is very much tied to looking at your business strategically. What does success look like to you and are you willing to pay for it and if so how much.
Step 4: Keyword research. When it comes to addressing issues like not ranking well on Google, so much of it relates to keyword research. Google keyword planner and tools like SpyFu are very useful to gathering terms people are using to find products and services like yours. Google Auto-Suggest feature also gives strong clues as to how customers are searching for products and services.
Step 5: Check for errors. Depending on your comfort levels, this may be something you can do yourself or need external support with.Why are errors important? well errors can affect site speed, cause functions like email, backups and payments to fail and even cause Google to ignore content on your site.
Where do I check for errors? If your using WooCommerce, you can view failed payments in the orders screen on the backend. You will need to look at reason codes and possible chase up with the card acquirer to see if there’s an API key problem or other issue causing failed transactions.
Google search console reports on indexing issues, mobile usability and pages not found type errors. Often error messages are sent by WordPress itself to the administrator email address for your site. It’s important to check that inbox for errors. You can also use online tools like Pingdom or GTMetrix to run reports on your site for errors and slowness.
REMEMBER TO BACKUP YOUR SITE BEFORE FIXING ANYTHING.
Step 1: Look at product categories and tags in your eCommerce plugin. Many, many times developers skip out on uploading thumbnail images and SEO descriptions for categories and tags. Google heavily favours sites that have filled out details on categories and tags. Make sure the’re entered as much as possible.
Step 2: Ensure that product fields such as cross sells, up sells, prices, SKU numbers, stock levels (if your using that feature) are filled out and enable ratings field as Google likes to see that. WooCommerce for example has a standard set of fields with placeholders for featured images and product gallery images. Taking the time to fill out everyting really makes a difference when competing against other business in your market.
Step 3: When working to fix failed payments, much of the time is spent in the payment plugin settings area. Each payment plugin like Paypal, Stripe or merchant service brand has an area where test keys and production keys are entered for payment processing. Many times re-entering key credentials will solve the issue.
Step 4: Use your research keywords to enter them in pages and posts on your site. If your using Yoast Premium for example, there will be a space to enter 5 keyword phrases for each page/post. Yoast will also advise on actions to take to improve SEO. Yoast has a series of tutorials on SEO and I would recommend Neil Patel’s Youtube Videos on the topic.
Step 5: Updates. It’s very common that that updates fall behind within WordPress, here are some things you can do. Ensure that auto-updates are enabled for each plugin. Ensure that your theme is also updated. You can see many of these items from the WordPress Dashboard. If your using a firewall plugin like WordFence, you may want to manually refresh rules from time to time as well. You should also keep track of SSL certificate and domain hosting expirations. You definitely don’t want your site going offline or getting a big red X in the address bar
Step 6: Security Features. Related to step 5 are some security features that you should consider carefully to keep your site secure. Enable 2FA (two factor authentication) on wordpress administrator accounts. Enable Recapcha v3 on contact forms.
Step 6: Training and Succession Planning. Things move quickly in business and so do people. It’s very common that internal web admins move on and original developers are no longer available. Websites should be included business contingency planning whether your a big or small company. One person leaving shouldnt knock out a business, more than one person should receive basic training and procedures like the steps above should be documented as run book for managing your business website.
We post articles all the time on every aspect of building and maintaining a business website. Why not visit our other articles at Article Section or call us at 042 9331684 for a free consultation and analysis of your current business site.