Small businesses are finally starting to recognize the importance of websites. A 2013 poll from AT&T Small Business Technology found that that nearly two thirds of small businesses intend to invest more heavily in their website this year. However, many small business owners don’t understand how to structure a website properly to reach their conversion goals. Here are some common mistakes that you will want to look out for.
Many small businesses try to use their homepage to tell their customers everything they want to hear about their business. The homepage is not the place for that. It should serve a single purpose: getting your customers to another page on the site. You want to change any elements that may be keeping your customers from visiting other pages on the site. Here are some changes that you may need to make:
The best advice for the homepage is minimize the content on it. Your site will actually be more successful if you stop overloading your unnecessary messages.
Many small businesses don’t realize that people have very different preferences for using the Internet. A number of them are still using Internet Explorer to browse the Internet themselves, without realizing that more web users actually prefer Google Chrome.
They also don’t realize that the number of mobile web users is expected to estimate the number using desktops by the end of the year. A study from Borrell Associates found that only 15% of small business websites are optimized for mobile devices. The other 85% are making a huge mistake, because research from WebDAM Solutions found that 57% of customers won’t recommend a brand with a poor mobile website.
You need to do everything possible to provide a quality user experience. This means that you will need to optimize for a variety of different browsers and devices. It is a good idea to look into responsive design to design for all of them simultaneously.
Many small businesses don’t properly define their priorities with their website. They often write lengthy dissertations of information that people don’t care to read. The same companies also neglect some of the most important details.
For example, one study found that 60% of small businesses don’t even have their phone number on their website. How do they expect people to get in touch with them? They probably expect customers to drive to their business, but many people don’t want to drive out of their way to find out that the business isn’t what they were looking for. They would rather pick up the phone and talk first.
You should also provide your email and an address for people to send snail mail (yes, some people still use that!). Your goal is to encourage people to followup with you so you can earn their business. Make things as easy for them as possible.
In the 1989 hit movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Kostner’s character embraced the philosophy “If you build it, they will come.” That was already terrible advice for businesses then. It isn’t any more useful for small businesses trying to market themselves online.
You need to actively market to bring potential clients to your website. There are a number of things that you need to do offsite, but there are a number of onsite things that many people aren’t aware of. You will spend 60% less on outbound leads than inbound leads. SEO is one of the most effective ways to bring those leads to you, but many small businesses don’t invest in it at all. You can improve your lead generation campaign considerably by performing some onsite SEO.
Many small businesses also don’t incorporate social media into their sites. Social media is an extremely important way to engage with customers, so you will need to add social sharing buttons and links to your social profiles.
Every small business’s website should support their overall brand image. There are a number of website mistakes that may hurt your relationship with customers. Here are some of the more pressing ones that you need to look for:
Your company’s brand is its single most important asset. Make sure that your entire website fosters the image that you want your customers to see.