As an ardent reader of SMBCEO, you know too well how important the Internet is for small-business success. Small enterprises rely on the inexpensive marketing of social media and the Web’s plethora of accessible, essential business tools. You even comprehend the necessity of maintaining a small-business website to supply your customers and clients with the vital information they need to seek your products and services. Yet, having a website isn’t exactly the same as having a great website — or even a good one, at that.
Your website is the lifeblood of your online presence, which means you must ensure that it looks nice, performs well, and, ultimately, makes sales. If your site isn’t encouraging customers to follow the sales funnel and convert, your site isn’t very good. Here are some common and uncommon mistakes many small businesses make when creating and maintaining their most important online asset.
It Isn’t Clear
You might have paid top-dollar for breathtaking images and florid prose, but the awe-inspiring visuals mean nothing if your visitors can’t tell what it is you do. First and foremost, your website should be a source of information about your company, which means you absolutely must include details like your products and services, your location and hours, and your contact numbers. Additionally, this practical info should be easy to find, not hidden away behind some vague link.
It Is Messy
On the flip side, your website could be an information deluge, overwhelming any visitor with too much data to handle. It is true that most Web users will visit your site to learn more about your company, but that doesn’t grant you permission to inundate them with irrelevant facts and figures on your homepage. The details you offer should be well-organized under appropriate links, and you should tailor it to be digestible for an online audience.
It Doesn’t Match the Brand
Whether you built it consciously or not, your business has a brand that customers and potential customers can identify as distinct from your competitors. Your website should reflect that brand with its style and function. For example, a prestigious, sophisticated company should never consider using primary colors and Comic Sans, and a casual, open-hearted business should avoid big words and rigid design. Your website should be quintessentially yours to prevent confusion among visitors.
It Is Outdated
The cutting-edge Web designs of the late 1990s are no longer revolutionary — in fact, they are wholly archaic and unappealing. Today, Web design trends change as quickly as fashion, and your website should strive to remain relevant amidst the changing tides. Oftentimes, that means you should be revamping your site every couple years to ensure it doesn’t become outdated.
It’s Redesigns Are Too Drastic
Then again, your site might be frustrating for visitors because it is constantly changing in big ways, so even loyal customers become befuddled whenever they visit. Instead of throwing out your entire wardrobe every season, you should strive to maintain a classic, familiar look and feel that preserves the important functions your customers need, such as your contact information and your online checkout. Then, when you fall in love with a new design trend, your visitors won’t have to work hard to convert.
It Can’t Market Itself
No website is an island — well, no successful website is, anyway. Few visitors will be able to navigate to your site if you don’t create connections with the rest of the Web. Social media accounts, blogs, business coops, and more can make your website more visible online. However, the saturation of the Internet is making free online marketing nearly impossible. A PPC company is inexpensive and more effective at spreading the word about your site’s existence.
It Makes It Hard to Buy
More than 47 percent of online shoppers abandon their full digital carts because it takes them too long to navigate through the checkout process. Web users have little patience, and forcing your customers to complete unexpected steps and provide additional information is like begging them to abandon. Your website should make working with your company fun and easy, which means big buttons, clear calls to action, and short checkouts.
It Doesn’t Use Internet Science
On one hand, keyword optimization often isn’t good: Too often it favors search engine robots over actual flesh-and-blood customers, and it can look strange scattered around website text. On the other hand, new customers will not be able to find your site if you neglect to implement smart keyword strategies. Optimization science changes constantly as search engines modify their codes, so you must be willing to update your tactics regularly to keep your website high in relevant search results.