Small Business Website Mistakes
As a website designer, I see dozens of small business websites every week. Every week I find some awesome ones, a couple of average examples, and quite a few 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! So today I want to point out some of the most common small business website mistakes I see and help you to avoid them.
A well-designed, mobile-first website can boost your business.
Some small business owners 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 “modern”. I want to show you what not to do when creating a website for your small business instead!
Not Hiring a Professional
OK, I understand why some small business owners decide to build their own website, I really do! We’ve all seen the adverts that say for just a few pounds a month, you can build a “professional looking website” with just a few simple clicks. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it?
What they don’t tell you is that you’re going to spend many hours trying to figure out their app, wondering what to write and where to put things, and unlocking complicated mysteries like how to use your own domain. After all that work, you’ll end up with a poor website that can’t be found in the search engines, has the vendor’s logo clearly visible in the footer and sometimes shows adverts that earn the vendor’s money.
Effective website design requires far more than adding a logo and some pictures illegally grabbed from Google. A professional web developer will create a website that:
- follows best practices for design, content, and layout
- is readable on any device
- will help you keep existing and attract new customers
Hiring a professional seems more expensive up front, but a well-designed website will end up paying for itself. DIY, on the other hand, will cost you time, customers and credibility.
At IH Media, we offer affordable websites that meet the needs of a start-up company, a small family business, non-profit organization or any other small business venture.
A mobile-first website is essential for any business. Not only do your mobile-using visitors expect this, but it also heavily impacts your ranking on Google. Starting July 1, 2019, mobile-first indexing by Google will be enabled by default for all new websites. For older or existing websites, Google will continue to monitor, evaluate and rank pages based on their best practices approach.
Most of your customers will visit your website while using a mobile device. If your website sucks on their iPhone they will find a competitor with a responsive website. Therefore, having a mobile-first website is essential in 2019!
Not Updating Content
A small business website must contain the latest information, images, and other related content. This includes blog posts, customer reviews, case studies, projects and product listings too. Small business websites that get updated frequently and regularly rank higher on search engines and are more engaging for visitors. But creating appropriate content and updating even a basic website can be time-consuming and frustrating for many small-business owners.
At IH Media, we can take care of updating your website so you can concentrate on taking care of your customers.
Some small business owners decide to be different and add a dash of creativity to their website navigation (a bouncing link here, some special fonts there). Just to clarify, that is a bad idea! The website navigation should always be clean, simple, easy to understand, and consistent throughout your site so that any user can find the information they are looking for quickly and easily. You should always use a clean, legible font and colours that are visible, interesting, and complimentary to the business brand.
Too Much Clutter
We understand that you’re very proud of your small business and you have lots to tell your website visitors but putting everything on your home page will result in a load of visually overwhelming clutter and the visitor won’t know where to look.
Make sure your home page provides only the necessary, relevant information. These should include business contact details, location and hours of business, overview of the services/products you offer, and a few up-to-date samples/testimonials. Once you’ve gently introduced yourself, they will then want to know more.
If you are not sure what your website visitors are expecting to find, look at some of your competitors’ websites. It’s an easy way to understand the information that is most relevant avoid making small business website mistakes is by not putting any information on your website unless your competitors’ include it on their websites!
Don’t Be Invisible
Hiding your contact information pretty much tells your website visitors that you can’t be trusted. It absolutely baffles us as to why on earth would any business want to hide their contact information. Don’t you want existing and new customers to contact you easily? We guess maybe you just don’t want any business …
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!
Make it easy for all your customers to contact you, by having 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 and include any social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Not Taking Website Security Seriously
Most small business web sites get hacked or otherwise compromised because they lack any sort of website protection! Take it from me; sooner or later someone will try to hack your site! Maybe it’s simply a hacker who wants to prove they can do it, but most often it will be to either steal confidential information or take down your site for ransom.
Fortunately, website security measures can easily be added to any website. Installing a Secure Socket Layer Certificate (SSL) is a good start, and we provide one at no extra cost as part of our Website Hosting services. You should also consider using one of our Website Maintenance packages to monitor your website on an ongoing basis so you can sleep at night knowing your website is being cared for.
Now that you have a better understanding of the most common small business website mistakes you can start avoiding them. Don’t give up if you’ve already made some (or all) of these mistakes though.