While it seems like common sense to have answered these questions before a Web site gets built, Gary Klingsheim notes that sometimes business owners don't think about these things before launching a site. So the sooner you figure out why their Web site is failing to perform, the sooner you can figure out how to make the situation better--and earn your SEO consulting keep.
Web site problems tend to fall into two distinct categories--usability issues and poor strategy. In addition to long load times, poor overall performance--including things like broken links, tenuous sign-up forms and buggy shopping carts--can be one of the strongest deterrents to site productivity. On the other hand, not defining a clear target audience from the start can stunt performance as well, as site owners will have no idea which keywords or traffic sources to use, nor will they know who their real competitors are.