Too many small business owners make the mistake of not considering their website a significant priority. With over 85% of consumers using the internet to search for businesses, there are a number of reasons to change that perspective.
- Customers expect you to have a website (and an updated one at that).
- Your website is your first and only chance at making a good first impression.
- Without a website (or with an outdated one), you’re not going to show up in Google search results.
- Your website lets you control the narrative and storyline.
- Your website is the perfect place to showcase your product and/or services.
Unfortunately, simply having a website isn’t enough: it needs to be user-friendly and engaging! Below we uncover 10 common website mistakes that business owners make and how they can have an impact on customer engagement.
1. Urgency Over Understanding
If you’re scrambling to piece together a website to get something out there with little consideration of content and your user’s experience with your site, it’s likely that the end result won’t be that great.
You’re simply not making your website a priority; this is probably not the case for your physical location, so why should it be for your website? Think things through and lay out a plan before you start designing your site.
2. Thinking that Wordpress Is Your Best and Only Option
Wordpress is not the only solution, nor should it be the only one you consider. There are so many good platforms to choose from that are more user intuitive and don’t require the maintenance that Wordpress sites do.
Three of the most widely used CMSs are Wix, Shopify, and Squarespace. Each of these offer similar features; however, Shopify is specifically developed for e-commerce and not for designing a general website. Among the three, we recommend Squarespace.
3. Thinking Your Website Is a Necessity and Not a Priority
Let’s return to that stat from the beginning: 85% of consumers use the internet to look up businesses like yours. If you don’t make your website experience a memorable one, you’re not making it count.
Having a website shouldn’t just be seen as a necessity, it should be seen as a priority! Your website should have the same priority as your physical location.
4. Not Considering the Mobile User
Of those 85% of consumers who use the internet to search for businesses, more than 60% of those users are doing so from a mobile device to do so (for restaurants that number is closer to 90%).
Is you website mobile friendly? Take the Google mobile friendly test and guarantee that your site is up to par.
5. Not Looking at Your Site From a Visitor’s Perspective.
Too often we see business owners that are unable to distance themselves from their work enough to consider their customers’ experience. Your website shouldn’t cater to your whims and needs: it should be directed towards and designed for your customer base.
When you design a website, your focus should be on how your user will interact with the site. Is it intuitive and easy to navigate? Start by looking at your design through the lens of your customer.
6. Outdated Information and/or Website Design.
It’s easy to get busy and forget to update your website. Time goes by, and the next thing you know your website information is outdated and it’s still sitting on a foundation of old technology. Both scenarios will cost your business dearly!
Only 30% of all small business websites are mobile-friendly, meaning that they are significantly outdated, and the information on those websites is most likely outdated as well. Take a look at your website: are you among the 70% or so small businesses with an outdated website?
7. Poor Design
Ask yourself a simple question: do I like the design of my website and does it reflect my business well?
If you’re not sure, ask one of your employees or friends for feedback. A customer’s first impression is 94% design-related and in the same study 46% of consumers based their decision solely on visual appeal and design of the site.
8. Not Focusing on Security
Not only will Google eliminate your business from search engine result pages if your site isn’t secure, it also drives away potential customers and leaves your site vulnerable to hacks and malware.
Users today are more savvy than ever and are able to discern whether or not a site is secure by looking for an SSL certificate. If you don’t have an SSL certificate, be sure to sign up for and install a free Let’s Encrypt certificate.
9. Not Leveraging SEO
SEO is a buzzword for many small business owners, but it’s also a pretty nebulous topic. Most neglect to understand that a good SEO strategy begins with optimizing your site and its content.
Simply put, you need to make sure each page has the appropriate metadata, all images should have the appropriate alt text and tags, and the content should be optimized to provide the best user experience.
10. Not Hiring a Professional
You know your business well, but I would guess that developing and designing a website is not your expertise. If this is the case, you really should consider consulting a pro before embarking on your website design endeavor. There are so many nuances to consider that you’re bound to miss a few.
Use a resource like the UpCity Marketplace to help you find the right web design partner for you. You won’t regret it!