Three Common Website Issues and How to Survive Them

  September 11, 2018


Managing your company's digital presence might not be the easiest, but some simple solutions exist for even the most frustrating of issues. Here are 3 common website "emergencies" and how you can push through to a solution.

Three Common Website Issues and How to Survive Them

Emergencies happen even on the internet. Despite your best efforts, you can’t always save your website from the occasional mishap.

However, you can promote best practices that give you peace of mind so that when bad things happen, you’re prepared.

At Solodev, we want your website to withstand even the smallest of issues. It’s why our U.S.-based customer support team is available 24/7, 365 days a year. But there are plenty of smaller issues we want to help you DIY solutions to your website.

Here are three common website issues and how to fix them:

404 Errors

Problem: 404 Error pages can offer a fun, tongue-in-cheek page on your website. But more often than not 404 errors are generally a pain in your website visitors’ sides. Your visitors wanted a simple solution to a problem they had or an answer to their query -- and they came to your site to find it!

These 404 errors frustrate both web managers and web users. However, there are simple ways to track 404 errors using Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. This tutorial seeks to lay those out step by step and also tell you what to do when you stumble upon these issues.

Simply put, 404 errors are messages from browsers letting an internet user know that the address they want can't be found. While these won't kill your website entirely, enough 404 errors on critical website pages could greatly hurt conversions.

Imagine having optimized a page, spending hours on the copy, and making sure the UX design is near perfect -- only to have no one actually reach the page. And if that happens on one of your website's most important resources, you've just wasted not only a visitor's time but also your own.

There are many reasons a 404 error may be thrown. Specific pages may have been deleted or the source URL could have a typo in it. In any event, 404 errors indicate to the user that something has gone wrong and be greatly disruptive to the end user experience.

Solution: Tracking your 404 events using Google Analytics.

This straightforward 404 tracking strategy gives you the best clues as to what’s working and what’s not -- and ultimately a pretty good idea as to why people are stumbling upon your 404 error page.

Website Content Getting Scraped

Problem: No one likes a copycat, but you might find that your content, images, or even entire website has been scraped by a mysterious online entity. Scraping is the online equivalent of identity theft. It’s never a comforting moment to realize your company’s hard work has been duplicated in a short turnaround by another organization or website.

There are two key reasons why you should care that your content got scraped:

1. Loss of competitive advantage

Scraping within the same industry can be detrimental to your brand’s reputation, especially if the scraped item in question is content serving as thought leadership.

2. Duplicate content is penalized by Google

Solution: Run a Whois Lookup and see who owns the domain. Reach out to them and alert them. Let them know that you know about the scraping. Sometimes an informal cease-and-desist letter is enough. If that’s not the case, file a complaint with the domain or hosting company. Be ready to prove the content is indeed yours.

Old Results Showing Up on Google Search Results

Problem: You typically want your website to be seen by Google, but there are some instances where you need to remove certain pages from Google's search index. The reasons for this could include that a page no longer exists on your site or that it simply contains outdated information (and you want a new page, with more relevant information to become the more definitive source for a search). Conversely, you may want to just temporarily remove a link that appears in the search index as you finalize copy updates.

Ensuring your site’s presence in search results is up-to-date and accurate is often just as vital as ensuring you show up at all. Ultimately, you don’t want your SEO efforts to direct users to outdated or wrong information.

In any event, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to have a certain page removed from search results but are left confused regarding how to accomplish that. Requesting that a specific URL is removed from Google’s search index is possible, provided you take advantage of their built-in tools.

Solution: Register your site with Google Search Console to prove you have ownership of the site. Then, start deciding which pages you want to delete entirely and which ones you want to set up a 301 redirect for.


Author

Scott Madara
Contributions Editor here at Solodev. Want to be featured on the Solodev Blog? Get in touch.
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