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TL;DR

  • Businesses will go months – or even years – with a website that suffers from all kinds of common functionality problems. These issues scare customers away.
  • A good relationship with your web developer is important for keeping your site clean of errors and in tip-top shape.
  • Common website errors include broken links, missing images, indexing issues and 404 errors.
  • When website errors do occur, business owners should conduct basic troubleshooting and document whatever problems they find.
  • Documenting these issues carefully for your developer results in a faster fix and less time being billed.
  • If you feel your site needs some work, Comit can prepare you with an in-depth report and offer suggestions for improvement.

 

In today’s digital economy, there’s no doubt that a business’s website can have a direct impact on their bottom line. It’s a key component of modern marketing and provides a valuable point of contact for new and returning customers. To do that job well, though, a website must be well designed, useful, and most of all – functional.

Despite the importance of having a functional website, however, you might be surprised at how often businesses will go months – or even years – with a website that suffers from all kinds of common functionality problems. The issues can range from small things like broken links and lack of indexing to bigger problems like server permissions errors and page timeouts. The one thing they all have in common is that they will make a bad impression on visitors, and therefore the business itself.

When website errors do occur, business owners have to be prepared to conduct basic troubleshooting and understand how to document whatever problems they find. That way, it’s easier to communicate with their web designer to get the issues sorted out as soon as possible. If you’re a business owner or manager who is dealing with website errors, here’s what you need to know.

The Most Common Business Website Errors

Since websites come in all shapes and sizes, the kinds of problems they may suffer vary greatly. Most issues can strike at any time, even on newly-designed websites. Here are some of the most common ones to look out for:

  • Broken Links – Websites rely on links as the primary means of navigation between pages. When they don’t work correctly, the website as a whole will suffer. Any link that either won’t load when clicked or that takes the visitor to the wrong location should be considered broken.
  • Missing Images – Images play a vital role in most websites, but they don’t always display as intended. Sometimes, linked images may end up being either intentionally or inadvertently removed from their hosted location, renamed, or otherwise blocked from loading.
  • Indexing Issues – Most internet users locate websites through search engines, which discover web pages via automated crawlers to create their indexes. If a website is improperly configured, the search engines may not find all of the available pages, hurting visibility.
  • 404 Errors – For a business owner, few things are more disturbing than trying to visit a page on their website only to be greeted by a 404 error. A 404, or page not found error, means that the requested page is either missing or has been relocated elsewhere.

There are, of course, other errors that can crop up on websites from time to time. As a business owner, the most important thing to look for is continuity. In other words, if anything changes on your site and you aren’t sure why, it could be an error and should be investigated further.

Reporting Issues to Your Webmaster

When a website develops an issue, the next step is usually to report it to the site’s webmaster or whichever web designer is responsible for the site. Since websites are complex, clear communication is necessary to avoid any undue delays in fixing the problem. When reporting an issue, try to include the following information, whenever possible:

  • A thorough description of the problem
  • The steps needed to replicate the issue
  • The expected behavior
  • The actual behavior
  • The operating system and web browser version used when the error occurred
  • A screenshot of the problem (Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android)

Having this information ready when you report a problem will help your webmaster to understand and locate the problem so they can address it. It will save time, money, and headaches for everyone involved.

Keeping Things Running Smoothly

As we mentioned before, not every website error will be obvious. Some of the most damaging errors can hide in plain sight, like slow loading times and poorly optimized pages. Although those kinds of things won’t always prevent a page from working, they will decrease how useful and effective it is.

In some cases, small problems can be indicative of larger, structural issues lurking in the background. To find out, it’s often helpful to turn to online tools like our free website grader. It will give you a basic idea of how your website is working, as well as how it stacks up to your competition.

If you feel that your site needs some work, Comit can prepare you with a more in-depth report about your website and offer suggestions about how we can work with you to make it better. We know that your business website is a crucial part of your sales and marketing arsenal, so contact us today and we’ll be happy to collaborate with you to combine our considerable expertise with your vision for your business to create a website you – and your customers – will love!