10. Website Design is too Busy
Simplicity is the key to great small business website design. There should be as few steps as possible between your potential customer and the desired action you want them to take, whether it’s to purchase a product or email you for more information.
When you go to Amazon’s website, you are presented with featured products along with a search feature. After you search for a product or click a featured item, you are taken to that item’s page which includes an “add to cart” option. Once you press that button, you are prompted to check out, which is Amazon’s desired action. They create a direct flow to that call to action that is short, simple and only takes a few clicks.
9. Confusing Navigation
Website navigation should be simple, obvious, and consistent throughout the site. If people get confused, they will leave your website and find one that’s easier to use.
8. Loose Brand Identity
Many small businesses don’t pay close enough attention to maintaining a tight brand identity. Your brand is much more than just your name; it is your entire look and feel across all media beyond your website.
For example, Apple maintains a consistent look between their software, operating systems, mobile devices and even their computers. Everything they do has a minimalist, industrial, metallic, clean feel to it. Apple maintains consistency right down to the spacing between the lines of type(1.4 ems for the last several years). Now compare that to the small business that has a website with inconsistent fonts, colors and branding throughout their website. Many businesses also attempt to print their own promotional materials from home without using the right colors, fonts and logos, further diluting their brand. When a business doesn’t maintain a consistent look, it makes them look like amateurs.
7. No Contact Information
It is very important to have your contact information readily available from every page on your website. Even if they don’t need to contact you right now, when consumers browse websites, they need to be assured that they can get in touch with you fairly easily if necessary. You have several options when it comes to having website visitors contact you. You can post your physical address, phone number, an email address, or a contact form where they can type a message and have it emailed to you. Whatever option you choose, be sure to reply to all inquiries in a prompt manner to reassure them that you are responsive to their needs.
6. Don’t Define Yourself Quickly
Basically what this means is, if people visit your home page and can’t tell what you do within about 10 seconds, your home page needs a serious overhaul. I have clicked on several websites recently and even after clicking on a few of their pages, I still couldn’t determine exactly what the purpose of the websites were. Here are some basic pieces of information that should be somewhere on the home page: who you are, what you do, where you are, and what makes you different from your competitors.
5. You are Disconnected from Your Customers
In this age of instant information and social media everywhere, customers like to feel engaged when it comes to where they do business. This is actually a lot easier than it may sound. Connecting to your customers is not only easy, it can be fun. You can start a blog, a Facebook page, or even a twitter account and start sharing a behind the scenes look at your business with your customers. When you get a new product in, post about it, maybe even with a video, and give your customers a sneak peek. Write about existing products or services and ask opinions and feedback on them. Or even write about the general news and events of the day. The whole point is to show your customers you’re human too and connect to them on a human level.
4. Don’t Keep Content Fresh and Up to Date
Nobody likes going to a website only to find out the information is outdated. If you discontinue a product, it should be removed from the site, if you’re out of stock, it should say that on the website, if your contact information changes, it should be reflected on the website. When your website is outdated, it gives the appearance you’re not in business any more. If you don’t want to contact your webmaster to make changes for you for every little update, maybe what you need is a content management system(CMS). A CMS allows you to log in to your website and make changes to it just as easily as logging in and checking your email. Practically anyone can do it. Content management systems happen to be a specialty of ours at Tallahassee Web Design.
3. Don’t Track Visitor Information
Do you know how many visitors came to your website last month? Do you know how they found you? How much time they spent on the site? Their demographics?If you’re not tracking visitor information, you’re missing out on a goldmine of information that you could be using to market toward your target audience.
2. Don’t Use or Fully Understand SEO
Most people have heard of SEO, but very few fully understand how it works, including people who call themselves SEO experts. Search Engine Optimization(SEO) is how your website is “marketed” to search engines. I use the term marketed because it’s really more about how your site appears to search engines as opposed to an exact, quantifiable science(although we almost have it down to a science at Tallahassee Web Design). If you want to maximize your website’s visibility in search engines, you’ll need to find help from real experts. Even then, it will take some time because there are some factors search engines use that are even out of our control.
1. Don’t Have Full Control Over Your Website’s Assets
By assets, I am referring to your domain name, web hosting account, graphics, files, and anything else required to run your website. All too often, Tallahassee Web Design is contacted by people who never took full control over their website’s assets, left it in the hands of some freelance webmaster, and become stuck at the mercy of their soon-to-be ex-webmaster.
The #1 absolutely most important asset is your domain name. There are millions of domain names out there, but they are all unique and there can be only one like yours. Even if you don’t know how to manage a domain name, you should at least have the login and password so you may hand it off to someone who does know how to manage it, should you ever need to take matters into your own hands. Without your domain name, you have nothing. Files can be rebuilt, emails can be resent, but you only have one domain. At Tallahassee Web Design, anything we ever produce for you is yours; no questions asked. If you ever decide to use another web development company(although no clients have left us yet), we will gladly hand over all assets and make the transition as smooth as possible. If you need a logo or piece of artwork we did so you can have it printed elsewhere, we will gladly send the files and even work with the other vendors.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Do It Yourself!
Small business website design is not a do-it-yourself venture. Website design is much more than merely words on a screen; it takes a lot of technical expertise behind the scenes to keep a successful business website running smoothly.
Attempting to build it yourself can actually do more harm than good. The importance of first impressions can’t be over-stated. If a potential customer visits your website and finds an amateur mess, they’ll have a negative first impression that will stick with them for a long time. You may also hurt your search engine rankings with bad website design and it will take some time to overcome this.
If you think you can’t afford a premium website for your business, think again. Tallahassee Web Design offers competitive prices and flexible payment plans. A great-looking, functional website is so well within your reach, you might be surprised.