Your website is your digital storefront, a reflection of your brand and the products or services you offer. Your website is a digital space that should not only represent your brand but also provides a seamless and user-friendly experience to your visitors.
However, even the most well-crafted websites are not immune to common errors that can disrupt user experience and hinder performance. These website errors can range from broken links and missing images to slow loading times and server issues. That’s why understanding and resolving these common website errors is essential to ensure that your website is running smoothly!
In this blog post, we explore some of the most common website errors, their impact on user experience, and the strategies and techniques to address these issues effectively.
What Are Web Errors & How Do They Affect Your Website?
Put simply, website errors refer to anything that affects the usability and experience on a website. These errors can manifest in various ways and can significantly impact your website’s functionality and user experience, such as broken links, malfunctioning buttons, missing images, and more.
Studies have shown that a majority of online consumers are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience. This means that even the “smallest” website errors can have a substantial impact on your visitor retention, engagement, and ultimately, your business’s online visibility.
- They can result in a poor user experience: Visitors who encounter errors, broken links, or slow loading times are more likely to leave your website and seek information or products elsewhere. This can lead to a high bounce rate, a decrease in conversions and a loss of revenue.
- Website errors can affect your website’s search engine rankings: Search engines like Google prioritize websites that provide a positive user experience. If your website is plagued with errors, it may be penalized and pushed down in the search results, making it harder for potential customers to find you.
- Website errors can impact your brand’s reputation: A website that is riddled with errors can make your business appear unprofessional and unreliable. Users may question the credibility of your brand and may be hesitant to engage with your products or services.
How To Identify Common Website Errors
Identifying website errors is the first step towards resolving them and improving your website’s performance. Thankfully, there are various tools and techniques available to help you in this process. One of the most basic ways to identify errors is by manually browsing your website and checking for broken links, missing images, or any other issues that may arise.
However, for larger websites or those with complex structures, this manual approach may be time-consuming and inefficient. In such cases, using automated website scanning tools can be highly beneficial. These tools crawl your website and provide detailed reports on any errors they encounter. They can identify broken links, missing images, slow loading times, and other issues that may be affecting your website’s performance.
HTTP Error Pages
One of the most common website errors is encountering HTTP error codes. These error pages are displayed to users when they try to access a web page but are unable to do so. There are various different types of HTTP error pages, but some of the most common include:
- Overview: This error occurs when the user tries to access a page that doesn’t exist.
- Solution: Check to see if the page has been moved or deleted. If it has, you can create a redirect to the new page or remove the broken link. If you’re using a content management system like WordPress check to see if there are any plugins or modules that could be causing the 404 error. Disable any plugins or modules that you’re not using and see if that fixes the problem.
500 Internal Server Error
- Overview: A 500 internal server error is a general server error that can be caused by a variety of things, such as a coding error or a problem with the server’s software.
- Solution: Contact your web hosting provider for assistance. They will be able to help you troubleshoot the problem and fix the 500 internal server error.
- Overview: This error occurs when the server is unavailable or overloaded.
- Solution: Wait a few minutes and try again. If you’re still getting the error, contact your web hosting provider.
- Overview: This error occurs when the user tries to access a page that they’re not authorized to access.
- Solution: Check to see if you have the correct permissions to access the page. If you do, the problem may be with the server configuration. Contact your web hosting provider for assistance.
Slow Loading Times
Another common error many websites face is slow loading times. Slow loading times can be a frustrating experience for website visitors. In fact, many users will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load which not only affects the performance of your website but SEO rankings as well. That is why it is crucial to identify the underlying causes and take steps to rectify them.
- Optimise Images and Multimedia: Large images and multimedia files are often the culprits behind sluggish page loading as they can make up a large portion of your website’s file size. Compress images and videos without sacrificing quality, and use the appropriate file formats to reduce their size. Tools like Adobe Photoshop or online services can help with image compression.
- Leverage Browser Caching: Enable browser caching on your server. This allows visitors’ browsers to store certain resources, such as images, locally so that when they return to your site, their browsers can load these resources more quickly, resulting in faster page loading times.
- Use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs): CDNs store copies of your website’s static content on multiple servers around the world. When a user accesses your site, the CDN serves the content from the server nearest to them, reducing latency and speeding up page loading.
- Optimize Code: Bloated or poorly optimised code can significantly slow down your website. Minification is the process of removing unnecessary characters from your code, such as whitespace and comments. This can reduce the size of your code files and improve loading times.
Broken links, also known as dead links, are links that no longer point to a valid page. They can be caused by a variety of factors, such as pages being moved or deleted, or the domain name expiring. Broken links can be a major annoyance for website visitors, reducing their ability to effectively explore your website or take desired actions such as filling out a form or visiting another page.
Fortunately, there are several ways to find broken links on your website, some of which include:
- Regularly Scan Your Website: Periodically use link-checking tools or online services like the Google Search Console to scan your website for broken links. These tools will identify links that no longer work, allowing you to effectively address these issues.
- Update or Remove Broken Links: Once identified, take action! Update or replace broken links with the correct URLs if the linked content still exists. If not, remove the link altogether. This ensures that users won’t encounter those frustrating “404 Not Found” errors.
- Implement Proper Redirection: In some cases, you might need to implement 301 redirects. If the content has moved to a new location, using a 301 redirect will automatically send users to the new URL, saving them from encountering a broken link.
- Maintain a Comprehensive Internal Linking Strategy: A well-structured internal linking strategy can reduce the chances of broken links. Make sure your links are organized and maintained, especially as you add or remove content.
- Keep an Eye on External Links: it is also important to remember that external links can also become broken. If you’re linking to external sources, it’s a good practice to periodically check if those links are still active.
Images play a crucial role in enhancing the visual appeal of a website and conveying information to users at a glance. However, there are instances where images on a website may fail to load, resulting in missing images. This can be due to various reasons, such as incorrect image file paths, server issues, or slow internet connections.
There are a number of ways to find missing images on your website. One way is to use a browser’s developer tools. For example, in Chrome, you can open the developer tools by pressing Ctrl+Shift+I. Once the developer tools are open, click on the “Network” tab. Then, click on the “Images” sub-tab. This will show you a list of all of the images that are loaded on the page. If you see an image that is missing, you can right-click on it and select “Copy link address”. Then, you can open the link in a new tab to see if the image loads. If the image does not load, then you know that the image file is missing or corrupted.
Once you’ve found missing images on your website, you need to fix them. There are a few different ways to do this:
- Re-upload the image file: If the image file has been moved or deleted, you can re-upload it to your website.
- Correct the file path: If the file path for the image is incorrect, you can correct it in your website’s code.
- Whitelist the image: If the image is blocked by a firewall or ad blocker, you can whitelist the image. This will allow the image to be loaded on your website.
- Use Descriptive Alt Text: When adding images to your content, always include descriptive alt text. This not only helps with accessibility for users with visual impairments but also provides context if the image fails to load.
SSL Certificate Issues
An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that creates a secure connection between a website and a visitor’s browser. It encrypts all data that is transmitted between the two, protecting it from being intercepted by third parties.
SSL certificates are essential for protecting website visitors’ personal information, such as credit card numbers and passwords. They also help to build trust between businesses and their visitors as users identify the padlock symbol and the https:// with a secure connection, giving them the confidence to freely engage and explore with the website.
However, there are a number of issues that can occur with SSL certificates. The most common include:
- Expired SSL certificate: SSL certificates have a limited lifespan, typically one year. If an SSL certificate expires, visitors will receive a warning message when they try to access the website. To fix this issue, you need to renew your SSL certificate.
- Revoked SSL certificate: A certificate authority (CA) may revoke an SSL certificate if it is no longer secure. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as if the private key for the certificate is compromised or if the domain name associated with the certificate is no longer valid. To fix this issue, you need to contact your CA and request a new SSL certificate.
Mobile Responsiveness Problems
With the ever-increasing use of smartphones and tablets, ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly is no longer an option but a necessity. Not only do mobile responsiveness problems deter visitors, but affect your search engine rankings as a result.
To address mobile responsiveness problems, it is crucial to design and develop your website with a mobile-first approach. This involves creating a responsive design that automatically adjusts to different screen sizes and ensuring that all content is easily readable and accessible on mobile devices. Regularly testing your website on different devices and screen sizes can help you identify and fix any mobile responsiveness issues.
Website accessibility refers to the inclusive design and development practices that ensure all users, including those with disabilities, can access and navigate a website effectively. Common accessibility issues include missing alternative text for images, lack of sufficient colour contrast, and inaccessible forms or navigation.
Resolving accessibility issues involves adhering to web accessibility guidelines, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). This includes providing alternative text for images, ensuring proper colour contrast, and implementing keyboard-friendly navigation. Regularly testing your website with assistive technologies and conducting accessibility audits can help you identify and fix any accessibility issues.
Best Practices For Fixing Website Errors
Fixing website errors requires a systematic and proactive approach. With a few simple best practices, you can quickly identify and easily fix various errors and keep your website running smoothly.
- Regularly monitor your website: Conduct regular checks to identify any website errors promptly. This can include monitoring your website’s performance, checking for broken links, and reviewing server logs for any errors or issues.
- Backup your website: Before making any changes or fixes to your website, ensure that you have a recent backup in case anything goes wrong.
- Stay up-to-date: Keep your website’s software, plugins, and themes updated to the latest versions. This ensures that you have access to the latest features, bug fixes, and security patches.
- Test changes in a staging environment: Before implementing any changes or fixes on your live website, test them in a staging environment to ensure that they work as intended and do not introduce any new website errors.
- Document your fixes: Keep a record of the errors you encounter and the steps you took to fix them. This can serve as a reference for future troubleshooting and help you identify recurring issues.
Keep Your Website Error-Free With Digital Nomads
A well-maintained website can be a powerful tool, ensuring that your visitors not only find what they’re looking for but do so with ease, trust, and satisfaction. By being aware of common website errors and knowing how to identify and resolve them, you can ensure that your website remains error-free and provides an optimal user experience.
Ready to cement your online presence? At Digital Nomads, we offer award-winning web design and SEO services that are designed to transform your website into a user-friendly, error-free, and search engine-optimised powerhouse. Contact us today to discuss your website needs and explore how our services can propel your digital success. Don’t wait—let’s turn your website into a remarkable online asset!