As a small business your website is arguably the most crucial element of your marketing. Simple mistakes in a website’s design can turn away valuable new customers.
While it’s important to make your website easy to find online, you also want to ensure you’re meeting your audience’s needs and giving them the information they want once they arrive. A website can be very expensive to build upfront, so it needs to work.
Here are 6 of the most common problems I’ve found with small business websites along with some practical tips for addressing them.
1. Overlooking your target audience
Rule number 1 of any successful business is to know your audience. If your website is going to have any level of success it needs to be designed with your customer in mind. Your business might have multiple audiences; but being too broad, and saying that your product is for everyone, will weaken your message. By profiling certain types of customer you can better address the benefits of your product or service that they’re looking for.
If your website isn’t targeting specific kinds of people then you might want to rethink it’s content and design.
For example: the website of a dentist might have a target audience of mother’s in their 30’s or 40′s who are looking for a dentist for their family. That’s a very specific framework to work within and it allows you to identify the benefits of your service that are relevant to that kind of person.
2. Having a poor design
Having a badly designed website is actually more serious than something just not looking pretty. Websites that provide a poor user experience are actually downranked by Google. So you could could be losing valuable placings and therefore potential revenue from a poorly designed website.
A big concern is using clichéd stock images on websites. These types of stock images can actually be very damaging to use because they are widely used on spam sites; to the point where they can actually significantly reduce the level of trust a customer puts in your site and therefore your business.
If you do use stock images try to be selective about the choices you make and avoid the clichés, or hire a professional photographer to take custom images for you.
3. No call to action
Every successful piece of marketing needs a call to action. What is the single most important thing you want a user to do when they visit your website? Do you want them to book an appointment? Buy a product? Contact you? Or subscribe to your newsletter? If you don’t have a call to action, you need one and whatever it is it needs to be clear, and immediate, and on every page of your site.
4. Thinking a website is complete and not updating it regularly
Websites are never complete. They are always a work in progress. You should constantly be making changes and small upgrades to improve your site and add new content. In fact if you don’t regularly make changes to your site your Google ranking will drop. Google and other search engine robots believe your site is deserted if nothing has been edited for a long time.
Adding sections to your site that you can regularly add new pages to is really important. It’s the single best way to boost search results. These sections might include a blog, latest news, before & after photos, or case studies. These sections allow you to add new content easily and build up your keywords. Meaning your website gets more hits.
5. Not including keywords in your web content
Having well written content is important, what’s also important is to identify and use keywords in that content so that search engines will pick up your site.
Here’s a tip:
Write down 5 words or phrases you think people will type into Google when searching for a business in your industry. Imagine they don’t know you, and have never needed your service before. What might they type into Google to find you?
Then read the content on your website and count how many times those exact words and phrases appear.
If your keywords appear less than 10 times in your site you have a serious problem that you should address immediately. Fix the problem by rewriting your content to include your keywords more often – but remember it still needs to make sense to your audience.
6. Not having a mobile friendly website
72% of New Zealanders now have smartphones. This means that there are actually more people surfing the web on their phones than on desktop computers. If a smart phone user visits your website and it isn’t optimised for mobile they will most likely leave and go to your competitor.
A mobile optimized website can result in 67% higher conversion rates. And when you consider that more than 25% of New Zealanders have at one time made a purchase or booking from their smartphone that’s a lot of potential revenue you could be throwing away by not having a mobile optimised site.