One of the most efficient ways to gain traction to your website is to optimize and fix the pages you already have. Even the most refined websites often have an underperforming page or two, and much like a chain, websites are only as strong as their weakest link.
This is especially true when that weakest link is a landing page. If a potential client visits a landing page with a sloppy interface or a lengthy loading time, that could cost a sale before the client even knows what the site offers.
Diving into the fundamentals of identifying underperforming pages and – and how to fix them – is one way to improve your site’s optimization.
Why Underperforming Pages Matter to Performance
Pages can be considered underperforming for several reasons. The most common red flags would be low engagement metrics, a high exit percentage, and a slow speed. Of these three, perhaps the easiest metric to understand would be a website’s speed. If a page has a significantly lengthy loading time, impatient users may click off the page before even viewing it.
Consider the case of the underperforming restaurant menu page. It doesn’t take too much insight to know that seeing a high bounce rate for a restaurant menu page is strange. The menu should be one of the main reasons to even visit a restaurant’s website. But after further investigation, it was discovered that the page had a loading time of over eight seconds, which was over four times as long as other pages on the same website. Couple that with the fact that whoever is looking is hungry, and you have a recipe for a high bounce rate from that page.
Steps for Discovering Underperforming Pages
Checking your web pages’ speeds isn’t complicated and can make a huge difference in your bounce rate. To check your web pages’ speeds in Google Analytics, go to “Behavior” -> “Site Speed.” You can also click “Site Speed” -> “Page Timing” to see how the loading speed of every page on your site compares with each other.
Another important metric when identifying underperforming pages is a high exit percentage. Exit percentage refers to how often a user leaves the site after visiting a page. If a page is consistently getting potential clients to click off the site, it’s worth looking into. On Google Analytics, this can be tracked by going to “Site Content” -> “Exit Pages.”
The Complexity of Your Landing Page
Landing pages typically have the highest exit percentage, or bounce rate, as they are meant to filter out people who are not interested in the product. But if a certain page is making potential clients stop in their tracks, this could be a disrupter in the conversion path that is costing your business countless sales. Though your landing page technically
Lastly, underperformance can be identified by other poor engagement metrics. Ask the following: are users doing what you want them to do when they visit your webpage?
Engagement can be tracked by the amount of time people spend on a page and what they click on (or what they don’t click on), among other metrics. In Google Analytics, view “Avg. time on page” in “Site Content” -> “All Pages” or you can also try the metric “Click Through Rate.”
Every website is different, so there is no magic number for these metrics. Much of this depends on the product or service that a website offers. But comparing pages within the same website is a good place to start. If people spend a significantly smaller amount of time on one page than another on the same site or if one page is causing more exits than others, changes to the website may be necessary.
How to Fix Underperforming Pages
Once you identify the problematic pages on your website, changes may be necessary to optimize your page. While some things can be simple to fix, such as a messy layout or a slow speed, others might require more analysis and split-testing to uncover what is causing poor performance.
The Internet offers some excellent tools for solving many page issues you might be experiencing. PageSpeed Insights is a great resource for bringing laggy pages up to par with the rest of your site. To fix issues related to poor engagement, Google Optimize is a free way to run split-tests on new site layouts. There is also Visual Website Optimizer, which is a user-friendly alternative for those who are less tech-savvy and need to run tests.
When it comes to optimizing your website, there is no quick fix. Fixing pages should not be a one-day or one-week project. Rather, website optimization should be a constant, ongoing priority to your business. The digital marketing space is quickly changing and evolving, and there is always work to be done. Keeping a website optimized is a little like gardening – there is always something to do, whether it’s content to add, links to check, or suboptimal pages to improve. But that work matters because it is all geared toward improving conversions.
Digital marketing can be daunting. Like any strong marketing tactic, it takes time to build and implement. By investing your time in underperforming pages, you’re staying one step ahead of the competition.