Planning, designing, and maintaining a business website is one of the early steps any business must make in their quest to utilize the internet as a lead generating machine. While this is fantastic, a lot of them are making some monumental website mistakes that will cost them a lot of money and missed opportunities over time.
In this article, we will discuss some potentially detrimental website mistakes that you should avoid if you really want it to play a role in sending more sales, local leads and profits to your small business.
When potential customers visit your site, the first impression they receive matters a lot. Therefore, it is vital that your website is visually appealing and has all of the necessary built in tools to help you get more local customers.
It is also important that your website loads quickly and is easy for visitors to find the information they need. This can be tested for free using the Google Page Speed Tool.
For instance, some of the most common website issues are slow loading times, confusing layouts, lack of relevant content, loud colors, too large/too small fonts and difficult navigation.
Also be careful about using Flash and music on your website unless it is absolutely necessary for your marketing goals. Otherwise, you will turn some visitors off completely and cause them to leave your website immediately.
When a potential customer lands on your site, the last thing they want is to “wonder” where they should go to find the information they are looking for.
It should be clear – there’s no time to have them guessing because they may just turn around leave and never come back. However, many companies still have confusing navigation structures that cause them to lose visitors. As a general rule of thumb, make sure your navigation menu is easily visible and contains the most important links that your visitors would be searching for.
If possible, avoid having drop-down menus on your navigation menu as this can be somewhat confusing for some internet users.
Some business owners use free website builders to create their company websites. While this is better than not having a website at all, it should definitely be a short-term solution. Many business owners who attempt to build their own websites neglect some very important pieces of the puzzle, which is to be expected. Unless you have extensive knowledge and training on building websites, this may not be the route you want to go if you really want your website to be profitable.
Some companies find it best to hire a professional website designer and/or marketing consultant to handle this process. Not only can they make professional recommendations, but they can help you plan, design, and build the perfect site for your type of business.
Many businesses still do not have an email capture form on their website, which is like waving hello to a potential customer and then watching them turn around and walk out the door.
While you have visitors on your website, why not capture their email addresses so you can follow-up with them? Doing so will give you an instant connection with your visitors that will allow you to build an ongoing relationship with them via email. Capturing email addresses is not as difficult as you may think; as long as you offer visitors something of value for opting-in, most people do not mind giving up their email addresses.
This could be a free report related to your industry, a discount or coupon on your product or service, access to your newsletter, or anything that your target audience would find irresistible.
Some companies that do capture email addresses on their website tend to ask for too much information; first name, last name, home address, phone number, email address… all of that is just too much.
This could turn someone off immediately because they’re usually not willing to give up all of those details. In fact, the first name and email address are good enough and have shown to be more effective than the longer, more detailed opt-in forms.
You only have a few seconds to capture the attention of your website visitors; so your website needs to be equipped to handle the job. Usually, most website visitors land on your home page first. However, many businesses do not have their contact information anywhere on the home page. Many mistakenly think that having their phone number and address on the “Contact Us” page is good enough, but it’s not.
Let’s say a potential customer lands on your home page because they’re looking for a local business that can provide what you have to offer. But when they get to your home page, all they want to do is find your phone number so they can give you a call – but there’s no phone number.
Now they have two choices:
1. Continue to hunt around your website for your phone number
2. Leave and go to one of your competitors’ websites
Which one do you think most people choose? You would “hope” they choose to search your site for your phone number. But in reality, most people simply hit the “back” button and move on. Also, not having a strong, clear call-to-action on your home page is another costly Website Mistake. If you want your website visitors to do something, such as call you, email you, or come to see you, “tell them to do it.”
Calls-to-action have proven to boost conversion rates all over the marketing world. Therefore, not using them is just another missed opportunity for you to drive more sales to your business.
Pictures and graphics speak so much louder than words. People today are extremely “visual” and graphics help you get your messages across more quickly and effectively than words alone. Most people don’t like to read a lot of long, drawn-out website content. So graphics and images will help you break up the content on your website, as well as keep your visitors engaged and informed at the same time.
If you want higher search engine rankings, fresh, new content is one way to get it. Stagnant websites do not cut it any longer when it comes establishing a strong online presence. The search engines are constantly roaming sites and those with the most recent relevant content wins the race. This includes the “social media factor” as well, which also plays a huge role in website rankings.
Good, relevant content is not only appealing to the search engines, but it’s also appealing to your customers and potential customers. Posting consistent content gives them a reason to come back to your site from time to time and get the information they crave related to your particular industry. So try to keep the content flowing, which should help keep your visitors flocking to your site.
People today are on the hunt for quick, easy information. They do not have the patience to read paragraphs and paragraphs of content – especially when they’re looking for a local business that can provide what they’re looking for.
Excessive page scrolling can be a complete turn-off for most website visitors; yet, many businesses are still loading their sites up with long pages of content. Instead of trying to squeeze everything in on one page, break up the content into different topics and post them on different pages or blog posts. This will help your visitors find what they need more quickly.
Also, layout your content in a way that visitors can easily scan it and get the information they need. Use bullet points, headlines, or anything else that will help your readers consume your content quickly and effortlessly.
Yes, it’s true that most consumers feel more comfortable doing business with reputable companies with a long track record of success. However, many companies make the mistake of putting all of their “About Us” information right on the home page.
Some of them write a full page all about how they started their business, their company goals, their credentials, etc. This is all great information, but the home page is not the best place for it. When local consumers are looking for local products and services, what they really want to see on the home page is content that talks about how you can help “them.” So instead of making your home page all about your company, make it about “your target market.” Talk about the “pains, needs, or wants” that your target audience may have, followed by the “solutions” your business can offer.
Your website is a virtual representation of your business. If it is filled with spelling and grammatical errors, it could potentially turn-off your visitors. Many people will associate your site’s overall level of “professionalism” with the quality of your product or service – even if there is no direct correlation.
However, many businesses neglect to proof-read their website content before posting it. This could put a negative light on their brand and impact their ability to generate new customers and potential partnerships. Therefore, to ensure that your first impression is a good one, thoroughly proof-read and edit your content appropriately before posting it on your website.
Sometimes, businesses incorporate links into their website content to help visitors find their way to different pages on their sites – as well as pages off of their sites.
This is great. However, many companies fail to make their links “noticeable,” which means some of their website visitors will overlook them.
If you add links to your website content, make them stand out so your visitors know that they’re clickable. For instance, you can make them a different color, make them bold, or underline them so they are easily identifiable as “clickable.”
On the flip side, avoid using colors, bold font, or underlines for your regular, non-linked text. This is so you don’t confuse visitors as they may think this text is actually a clickable link when it’s not.
A large portion of internet traffic now comes from mobile devices, which means your business is probably getting a lot of hits to your website from mobile users. But what happens when they get there? Are they presented with a nice, mobile-friendly website that they can quickly view and move around? Or are they presented with a slow-loading, jumbled website that is impossible to navigate or find what they need?
Most of the time, they’re simply looking for an address or phone number; but websites that are not mobile-optimized usually have a problem delivering that simple information – which is extremely frustrating for users.
It may be hard to believe, but many businesses still haven’t taken the time to mobilise their websites. This is a huge profit leak that could be costing you a lot of money. If users are unable to view your website while on-the-go from their mobile phones, they are likely to move on to one of your competitors that has a mobile-friendly website.
Chances are that you’ve heard about the social media craze of today…
Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube are taking over the internet. People flock to these sites on a daily basis to socialize with friends, family members, and businesses. Although some companies are starting to see the value in marketing via social media, many of them have yet to connect their website visitors with their social media profiles. In other words, their websites do not have links to their social media pages, which is a costly mistake for several reasons.
The end goal of using social media in business marketing is to build a large following of consumers; so companies should make a point to tell the world to connect with them and follow them via social media. In order to accomplish this goal, you should put links to your social media pages everywhere – this includes placing a link to your social media pages on your website, on your blog, and in your emails.
You should also incorporate this practice into your traditional advertising methods as well, such as your TV ads, newspaper ads, direct mail letters, etc.
Search engine optimisation consists of several factors, such as on-page and off-page optimisation. However, many business websites today have no form of “on-page” optimization built-in. This means that their websites are not structured to help them get better search engine rankings and more visibility from local consumers.
Without on-page optimization, your website has no “focus” as far as the search engines are concerned, making it harder to rank your website for relevant terms.
On-page optimization helps the search engines easily see what your business is about so they can easily place your website in the proper ranking spots in relevance to your competitors.
Many companies today invest a lot of time and energy into building their websites. But after that, they have no idea how the website is doing in terms of traffic and conversions… and that’s because they are blind to what is going on behind the scene.
Monitoring your website’s performance is a vital piece of maintaining and improving your overall online presence. If you do not know how much traffic you’re getting or how well your website is converting into more customers, you’re missing a huge piece of the puzzle. The most commonly used tool to monitor your website performance is Google Analytics.
Only when you have a grip on this information can you take steps to make sure your website is truly working for your business instead of just costing you money.
Most of your website visitors come there for one thing – and that’s to see what you can do for them. If they’re unable to see that information right away, they will probably leave your site within seconds.
Many business owners make the mistake of not listing their products and services visibly on their websites. In a nutshell, your site needs to show them why they should stick around – and do it fast. A great way to do so is to make it easy to find your product or service list so they can tell right away if your business is what they’re looking for. Being able to immediately capture the attention of your website visitors is crucial if you want to keep them around longer.
If your visitors cannot see what you have to offer shortly after hitting your site, they will assume that you do not offer what they want or need and move on to one of your close competitors instead.
Yes, it’s true… many small businesses still do not have a website. A website represents your business on the World Wide Web and without one, you’re non-existent there. I help local businesses in the area analyze their online marketing efforts, as well as develop plans to help them continuously manage and improve them going forward. If you would like more information about potential online marketing or website mistakes your business should avoid, contact Altitude Digital for a free consultation.
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