Small Business Website Mistakes Hurt Your Brand!
In our line of work we look at dozens of small business websites every week. And every week we find some really awesome ones, a few average examples, and a lot of really bad sites. Small business owners don’t intend to create a bad online presence, but many of them keep making the same Small Business Website Mistakes! In a previous post we outlined The Big Problems with Small Business Websites. Today we want to point out common small business website mistakes and help you avoid them.
A well-crafted, responsive business website can boost your business marketing, website conversions, client retention, lead to higher search discoverability, and generally provide you with better returns no matter where you are located, or what specific industry you serve. Yet too many small business owners put together their website quickly and without much thought just so they have something online.
They don’t believe that an effective business website is a major part of their business marketing strategy, but feel they need to have a website in order to appear “with it” and “modern.” Unfortunately this approach has virtually zero chance of any measurable success. Rushing leads to common small business website mistakes that can affect your reputation and cost you business. We want to show you what not to do when creating small business websites and content instead!
Common Small Business Website Mistakes
Not Having a Responsive Website
This is the most critical of all small business website mistakes, and all too many small businesses make it! Just so you are clear on this, since 4/21/2015 Google requires you to have a mobile-friendly website. Not only that, but most of your customers will visit your small business website while using a mobile device. If your website sucks on their iPhone they will find a competitor of yours with a responsive website. Therefore having a mobile-first website is absolutely essential in 2017!
If you are not sure if your business website is mobile-friendly you can check it in real-time on a variety of mobile devices on Responsinator.com. If it looks great you can move on to the next step. But if you notice any issues you should really fix those first.
Not Proofreading The Content
The first of our common small business website mistakes is the one most often overlooked by small business owners! A spelling error on your website can make customers doubt your authenticity, reliability, and professionalism. Too many small business owners write their own content, run it through a spell checker (or not!), and put it online. However, spell checkers, even if you do use them, do not catch every single error, and can not be relied upon for something as important as your small business website.
Consider having all your business website content checked by a professional proofreader or editor to ensure that your content is well written, accurate, and has correct spelling and grammar. If nothing else, read the content aloud before posting it. Quality content that is free of spelling and grammatical errors will help you put your best foot forward with your website.
Nothing will hurt your brand reputation more than having outdated content on your small business website. A high quality and trusted website must contain the latest information, videos, ads, infographics, and other related content in order to stay relevant and rank high in search engines. This includes your blog posts, case studies, white papers and product listings as well. Avoid making another one of our small business website mistakes and regularly evaluate all of your content for relevancy and timeliness.
Some content can easily be updated by simply adding the latest statistics, images, info, etc. This includes blog posts and white papers, product info or service details. Be sure to check your FAQ section if you have one and update it as needed. Any content that can not be updated should be deleted, or at least archived in order to keep your most visible web content fresh and informative.
Hiding Navigation Elements
The next of our small business website mistakes is the result of misplaced creativity. Some small business owners decide to be different and add a dash of creativity to their website navigation, thinking this is a wonderful way to personalize their online presence. Just to clarify, that is a really bad idea!
What this actually does is to camouflage the navigation as a design element, and thereby making it almost impossible for website users to find anything they need. The website navigation should always be clean, simple, easy to understand, and consistent throughout your site so that any website user can find the information they are looking for.
Professional web designers carry out this by using a clean, legible font and working with colors that are visible, interesting, and complimentary to the business brand. mission, and audience. A splash of neon in the menu bar may work very well for a younger audience, but it is less effective for older professionals. Designers also make sure that chosen colors will not inhibit a color blind person from using the navigation elements on the page for ADA compliance.
Another of our common small business website mistakes is also one of our most annoying! This is a major fault on many small business websites, and it often occurs because small business owners are not really sure what type of information should go on their website, and what belongs in their blog, email newsletter, or social media. Therefore they tend to put everything on their home page, which results in a visually overwhelming sense of clutter. Make sure your home page especially provides only the necessary, relevant information.
Your business website should offer evergreen business information, including your company mission, business location and hours of operation, the services you offer, and a few up-to-date samples and testimonials. And if you are not sure what your website visitors are expecting to find, take a look at your competitors websites. An easy way to avoid making small business website mistakes is by not putting any information on your website unless your competitors include it on their websites!
No Call To Action (CTA)
One of the more serious small business website mistakes is not having an effective call to action. Once your customers arrive on your website they expect you to tell them what to do next. Studies have repeatedly shown that websites with a call to action button or column are more successful at converting site visitors than those that do not have a CTA.
Keep in mind that an effective call to action does not necessarily be sales oriented. Especially at the beginning of the conversion journey a simple invitation to subscribe to your newsletter or download a free e-book or white paper are generally much more effective. You are ready to sell, but your customer would like to find out a bit more about you first!
Hiding Your Contact Information
This is another example of common small business website mistakes, and it absolutely baffles us! Why on earth would any business want to hide their contact info? Don’t you want existing and new customers to contact you easily? We guess maybe you just don’t want any business …
In reality new and repeat customers alike visit your business website to find your current hours and other relevant contact information. If you hide this information, you make it very difficult for customers to find out when you are open and how to reach you. In a worst-case scenario you will lose business if potential customers find your direct competitors contact info instead of yours!
To make it easy for all your customers to contact you, make sure that your business website has a contact page with your contact info clearly listed. Also consider putting your contact info in the footer of every page as this also boosts your local SEO!
Not Hiring a Professional
Of all the common small business website mistakes this one is easy to understand, and the one that will cost you the most in the long run! So before you complain that professional web designers are too expensive for your small business budget, consider this:
“If you think a professional is expensive, just wait until you hire an amateur!“
Many small business owners think that engaging the services of a professional web designer or agency to design their small business website is not worth the cost. Instead, the “cost conscious” small business owner often opts for putting together a quick logo using a free online logo utility, and then create a website from a free template on Wix or Weebly. You have seen the results! Sure, they end up with a website. However, lacking any design or development skills of their own many small business owners end up with a site that is not usable from their customer’s perspective.
Avoiding small business website mistakes is only one of the benefits of hiring a professional web designer or agency. Many professionals offer small business website packages to meet the needs of a startup company, a small family business, non-profit organization or other small business venture. This ensures that you receive a small business website that your clients find attractive and easy to use, and a professionally designed brand logo that serves as your online brand ambassador.
Hiring a professional will help you avoid these small business website mistakes. A professionally designed online presence will help you keep existing and attract new customers. This in turn leads to higher conversions and sales. And isn’t that what you are after first?
Avoiding Small Business Website Mistakes
Now that you have a better understanding of the most common small business website mistakes you can start avoiding them. We always recommend starting with what we call the “low-hanging fruit” first. Identify the single most important issue affecting your small business website and tackle it first. Found errors in your content? Have a professional proofread and edit it for you. Is your contact info missing or outdated? Add and update it as needed. Need a fresh design to comply with the Google Mobile Update? Better get professional web design help right away!
Need Help Fixing Your Website?
Here at ESPRESSO Digital, we offer a full range of digital media services, including professional website design and development, brand strategy and development, search engine optimization (SEO), content strategy and creation, and social media marketing, to name just a few. Contact us to learn more about our small business web design services, and how our team can help you achieve your business goals through a professional small business website.
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We appreciate your help in eliminating bad business websites, one pixel at a time! Thank you!