The 6 mistakes to avoid when building a business website (and what to do instead)

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For many small businesses, a website is one of the very first things that makes their business look “real”. In fact, for the growing number of small businesses that do not have a physical storefront, their website serves as the primary first point of contact for new businesses.

Even if you have a physical location, more and more potential customers will engage with your business online before they even do so in person. The good news is that your website can help you reach customers that you could never reach in person. The bad news is, you are probably wrong.

Here are 5 common ways small businesses can mess up their website and how to avoid them:

1. Not having a website at all.

If you’re not online, you don’t exist for most of your potential customers. A website is perhaps your most important point of engagement with a potential customer unless it is a face-to-face conversation. Even then, you can bet your potential customers will check out your website before they even have a conversation with you.

By the way, a Facebook page is not a website. There are a lot of reasons why Facebook is not a suitable substitute for a website, not the least of which is that you should think long and hard if you really want access to your online presence to be entirely up to you. thank you from someone. other (ie: Facebook).

2. Don’t allow people to easily connect with you.

When visitors visit your website, they are looking for certain things. They want to know who you are, what you do, and probably most importantly: how they can get in touch with you.

Make it easier for your customers and prospects to reach you by including a contact page with the best way for them to connect with a real person. Lots of businesses use contact forms which is good, but you’d be surprised how more approachable you seem when you include your email address and / or phone number (especially a phone number!) .

3. Do not keep it up to date.

There is nothing worse than a completely outdated website. If the most recent entry on your “events” list is 4 months old, you’re sending a message that you don’t really care about anyone who comes to the page. Or, if your blog hasn’t seen a new post for over a week or so, visitors are starting to wonder what happened to you.

Make sure your contact details are up to date (see # 2), and if you are a retail establishment, make sure your website includes your current hours of operation. Think like a consumer and make sure that all the information they are trying to find on your site is not only available but up to date.

4. Not knowing your target.

Your website should serve a purpose. For most businesses, the goal is to guide potential customers into a relationship with your business. Think about the things that matter to them and ignore just about everything else.

You are not your customer. You already understand your product, or your business, or whatever. Don’t use language that makes sense to insiders unless your website is just for insiders. Consider every page, graphic, link and text on your site and make sure it is ruthless to your target audience.

This means that calls to action (CTAs) should be clear and relevant to your potential customers. Remember that everything on your site should serve one purpose: to connect with your potential customers.

5. Design it yourself.

Unless you are a web designer, designing your own website is a really bad idea. Sure, it’s easy – there are literally hundreds of inexpensive options for building websites – but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for your business.

If your website is truly the starting point for the vast majority of your customers, it’s worth the time, energy, and money to get it right.

If you’re looking for real small business examples of what a professional can do for your website, check them out. I don’t know them, I’m just a big fan of their sites:

Find a partner who can help you assess the message you want to communicate and create a design that represents and strengthens your brand. There is a saying, “you can pay now, or you can pay later.” You can pay a designer now, or you can pay your brand later in the shot. Focus on what you do best and find someone who can help you communicate it with your target market.

6. Do not make it compatible with mobiles.

More 52 percent of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. If your website design doesn’t adapt to mobile browsers, you’re missing out on the chance to reach half of your potential customers. At a minimum, you tell them that you don’t really care about their business because you couldn’t bother using one of the gagillions of mobile-friendly themes available on pretty much any content management platform.

If you’re looking for a few examples of great mobile-friendly small business sites, here are a few that I love:

My guiding principle of marketing is to “allow your customer to do business with you”. Just as it’s important to make it easy for them to find the information they want or to contact you, make it easy for them to do both of these things from their mobile device. It’s more than likely that this is where they find you anyway.

The opinions expressed here by the columnists of Inc.com are theirs and not those of Inc.com.


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