Website making you scream?
5 common website issues explained…
What are the most common problems that arise when websites and applications go wrong? Digital technology, as we all know, is never perfect. It has to be maintained like any other machine, and like other machines it too can malfunction. A whole array of problems can occur in websites and apps with multiple layers of content, e-commerce functionality, and different user interfaces. Websites always require troubleshooting and updating to make them work optimally, and this job is often done by an external technical support provider.
The list of what could go wrong with a website is a bit like the hypothetical question ‘how long is a piece of string?’ Just as there is no limit to the problems that could occur with a complex machine like an aircraft, a vast array of technical issues might potentially affect a website.
Whatever the situation, though, the best course of action is not to panic. Whilst they can be frustrating, most technical problems are usually solved quickly and effectively with a calm and pragmatic approach. Of course, this is easier said than done when your website is the heart of your business, and you have customers to support or a global audience to entertain. The most important thing to remember is that whilst they are obviously frustrating, technical problems are not the end of the world; and a good technical support partner can not only solve these problems when they arise, but also stop them from happening again.
At Modular, we’ve diagnosed, investigated, and solved hundreds of technical issues with websites and applications over the years, from relatively straightforward fixes to extremely complex troubleshooting projects.
Here, we’ll examine the five most common problems with websites and highlight some possible solutions.
1. Arrrrggghhh website down!
At the top of the chats. Let’s start with the worst case scenario. For many businesses, an entire site going offline is exactly this scenario. In the vast majority of cases, this will be due to a relatively simple server error, and it can normally be resolved by resetting the server. Depending on who looks after your site, you would either contact your technical support team or the hosting company directly. With a managed hosting arrangement you would contact your technical support team who would then solve the problem for you. With an unmanaged hosting arrangement, however, you would have to solve the problem yourself.
2. Missing links
Another common problem almost all websites throw up is the notorious ‘link missing’ issue. This could be a dead link to an internal page within the site, or a dead link to an external web page. Missing links can be caused by a number of factors. Human error is one of the most common, where a link should have been created by an administrator and has been missed out in the process of editing the site. Sometimes, though, missing links can be caused by text or image formatting issues within the content management system of the site. If the cause is either of the above, or indeed something else, a missing link is usually very easily solved.
It is also worth noting that the most advanced content management systems will often tell the website’s administrators if there is a missing link in a page they are editing.
3. Broken tags
Another frequent problem in websites is the issue of broken tags. A web tag is a short piece of computer code, usually a transparent pixel that is placed in the code of a web page. When a visitor loads that web page or makes an action on the page, the tag calls on a third-party application to perform a marketing, tracking, or data collection task. Broken tags do not call on those third-party applications to undertake those tasks. They can be caused by errors in the website’s code that prevent the tags from firing correctly or collecting information. They can also be caused by website updates that relocate tags, problems with database configurations, and slow-loading issues. Whatever the specific cause of a broken tag, it can usually be solved very quickly by an effective technical support team.
Crucially, a good technical support team will not only resolve the issue itself, but they will also investigate and resolve the reason it occurred.
4. Images not displaying properly
Another very common problem that virtually all websites encounter at some point is that of an image (or set of images) not displaying properly. This can be due to a wide variety of reasons, including issues with uploading, incorrect file formatting and file sizing, content management system problems, or website configuration issues.
Again, an image not displaying correctly is normally a problem that can be quickly and efficiently solved by a good technical support team; at the same time as solving the issue, they’ll also make sure that the image displays correctly next time it’s loaded, and that the same problem is not replicated elsewhere on your website.
5. People and systems conflict!
Problems with servers, bugs in the content management system, so-called ‘plug-in conflicts’, configuration glitches, updates, and of course human error can all result in websites not functioning optimally, and sometimes not functioning full stop. It takes a lot to make sure that not only are all of the bits of tech talking to each other and working in the right way, often lots of humans are involved as well and they need knowledge and understanding as well.
Most conflict can be resolved with investigation and fixes or training and upskilling.
Adding value to your business by investing in technical support
Websites are made up of a very large number of digital components, including software and plug-ins (a piece of software that adds new functionality to a host application without altering the application itself). Once you add into this digital melting pot a large group of people using the content management system, often in different locations and even different time zones, then things will not always go exactly to plan. Issues will occur with all websites from time to time. And that’s okay, providing you have an organised, reliable technical support team on hand who have detailed knowledge of your website and its various systems.
For all these reasons, establishing a partnership with an expert technical support specialist will likely prove to be a valuable, long-lasting asset to your business, giving you the time and confidence to focus on your core products or services whilst a trusted team are on hand to solve any technical problems as they arise.
At Modular we help organisations of all shapes and sizes find the right Support Contract for their website. If you want some help working out what is right for your site and your organisational needs, give Emma a call on 07584 652285 or drop an email to email@example.com and she’ll gladly talk you through our packages and options.