7 Mistakes Small Businesses Make that Hurt Their Website

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A blog post about website mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.

With so much going on in a small business, it’s easy to focus less on your website and more on what you do best. In an ideal world, that would be a great strategy, but the reality is you cannot ignore your website – it is one of THE key assets in your business. Read below to learn about 7 mistakes I’ve seen over and over again, so you don’t fall into the same traps!

Build a website that talks to people, not at them.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of having a website that’s all about you, and not the people who are going to visit your site. If you have a small business, it’s important to have a website that talks to people, not at them. Your website should be about your business but also about your customers and what they want or need from you. There is a big difference in thinking in terms of “my website” and “ my customer.”

A website needs to serve as a resource for your customers, not just another place where you can dump information about it. Make sure each page has a clear purpose and that you’re providing useful information for your customers.

Not focusing on quality

Your website is the first impression your customers will have of you and it needs to be a good one. The best way to establish that is by establishing a good reputation for quality across all your channels — including your website.

Quality is the foundation of any great online business. It’s hard to build a strong online presence without having a website that looks and operates well.

Quality can be measured in many ways — from the content on your site, to the type of site you use, to the speed of your site and how it loads. 

After all, your goal when you start a small business is probably to make money. But the best way to do that is to build a loyal customer base and create a trusted brand that people want to buy from. 

Your website is one of your most important marketing tools, and if you don’t take the time to make sure it’s up to snuff, customers will be less likely to stay loyal and trust you. That’s a fact. 

Not having a plan for your content

You have to have a plan to create quality content pertinent to your business. Good website content is what helps you stand out from the noise on the web. Good website content also helps your site rank higher in search engines, which can increase your conversion rates.

Not having a clear roadmap for your content development process means you’re likely to end up with a patchwork of inconsistent, unlinked or disorganized content across your site. You could end up with pages that are out of date or that don’t reflect your current company offerings.

Bad content can sap your visitors’ time, making them feel like they wasted their time clicking on your site. And you’ll be left with a bunch of dead links pointing to nothing.

So when you’re creating your content, you should always be thinking about what’s going to drive traffic back to your site. Without this focus, you’ll end up with too much generic content that doesn’t add any value or even worse — no content at all.

Whether you’re an online retailer or a service provider, the quality of your content can make or break your site. If you don’t have solid content on your site, you’ll have a hard time attracting customers and ranking well in search engines.

Don’t let your website design go unchanged for years

It’s a common story: A small business has a website that looks exactly the same as it did a decade ago, and it’s hurting them. A site that looks outdated is less likely to be found or used and your business could lose out on potential customers.

No one wants to use a site that looks like it was built in 1995. If you haven’t updated your site for several years, you’re making it harder for users to find what they need and for search engine bots to index your content.

New technologies (such as drag-and-drop website builders and responsive web design) make it easier than ever before to change content and display across multiple platforms, so don’t fall into the trap of letting your website go stale.

Remember, your website is the front door for your business. It should reflect everything you stand for and make the process of finding out about you or your company as easy as possible. Make sure using your website is a pleasant experience by updating it to keep it in line with the latest design trends and technology.

Not Analysing the Performance of Your Website

You’ve spent lots of time coding, designing, and testing your website. You think you have a killer product. You’ve even tested the heck out of it in the market to gather feedback.

But if no one is using your site, it doesn’t matter how amazing you think your product is. The only thing that matters is whether people are actually finding it and buying from you. That’s why not analysing the performance of your website can be one of the worst things you can do for your business. 

The most important thing you can do to improve your website is to properly understand how it’s performing. If you’re not measuring the performance of your website, then you can’t know what you need to do to improve it, and therefore won’t be able to make intelligent improvements to it.

Having a website is not enough, you also need traffic.

A website with no traffic is like a hotel without guests. It’s like a car without any gas in the tank.

All businesses need a website that makes sales. That requires web traffic first.

There are several things that can affect website traffic, including but not limited to:

The page load time. The faster your pages load, the more likely you are to make a sale. Each person that experiences load times longer than three seconds could potentially get frustrated and leave without making a purchase. 

The search engine optimization (SEO) of the page. If you have an optimized page on your site, people will be more likely to find and click on it when they search for products or information about your business. Your goal is to have high-quality content so that people can find what they want quickly and easily.

Your title tag and meta description. These two elements include keywords that will help people find your products and increase awareness of what you sell online. The title tag should be bold and visible above all other text on the page; and the meta description should be concise and precise — it should address any questions readers might have about your product by giving them as much information as possible in as short a space as possible.

Remember: 80% of growing an online business is about getting enough traffic.

Understand what your customers want and don’t want

It’s easy to get caught up in making everything perfect on a website, but sometimes perfect isn’t the thing. A lot of businesses make the mistake of trying to make their website more stylish or fancy than they should be, which is counterproductive for their brand. Maybe their users want simple design and functionality. In other cases, some businesses make the mistake of overloading their site with information that doesn’t help people find what they’re looking for. 

In many cases, businesses just use their website to talk about themselves — but it should also be an actual resource for potential customers. That means being able to provide valuable content that people will want to read and share with others — not just have a link back to your main page. If you’re not giving away valuable information on your blog or elsewhere on your site, you’re not really doing anyone a favor by having a blog at all.

In Conclusion: Get educated and invest in a top notch website that will add value to your organization over time.

A final reminder: Your website is your first impression to your customers. It’s a window into your company, and it doesn’t get a second chance to make a good first impression.

A website can establish or reinforce a company’s image, and it has the potential to make a huge impact on a business’s bottom line. A poorly designed or maintained site can damage this image in an instant, so it’s important to invest in making sure your site looks professional.

Howdy! I'm the owner of Parrot Digital Marketing, Austin's best-reviewed web design studio.

I've been working full-time as a self-employed web designer and digital marketer for the past few years and and have worked on hundreds of sites across a range of platforms, including Wix, WordPress, WebFlow, Shopify, and Squarespace. I've managed six figures in ad spend across Google, Facebook, and YouTube. I also helped teach a digital marketing bootcamp at the University of Texas at Austin.

In my free time, I read, play the bass, travel, work on creative projects with friends, and watch a lot of documentaries. Recommend me one!

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