The Big Problem with Small Business Websites
Posted by Matt
It’s pretty much essential for every small business to have a website these days. Customers expect to be able to go online and find out about companies they’re interested in quickly and easily. They want to be able to request help, view price lists, confirm opening hours and, in some cases, make a purchase.
Unfortunately, a lot of small business owners view the development of their website as a cost rather than as an investment. They try to cut corners or they fail to seek professional advice; and as a result they often make the kind of mistakes that actually do cost them – in the form of missed opportunities.
Here, we’ve taken a look at some of the biggest mistakes that we find with many small business websites, so hopefully you can avoid them with yours.
Poor mobile design
Websites that are difficult to navigate, slow to load or that simply look bad on smart phones and tablet computers are likely to drive a lot of visitors away. Studies show that mobile web traffic now exceeds desktop traffic, which underlines how you can no longer afford to have a website that’s not properly optimized for mobiles.
Whilst there’s no longer the same need for extensive SEO activities as there was a few years ago, home-brewed websites still often fall down in the search engine ranking stakes due to a lack of understanding concerning how Google ranks web pages.
In some cases, well-meaning webmasters and business owners attempt to follow ‘good SEO practices’ but unfortunately take bad advice or use outdated techniques that lead to them being penalized. In other cases, they simply do nothing at all, leaving themselves in a position where they’re lacking any kind of basic onsite optimization that would make their sites much more search-engine-friendly.
Lack of links to social media
Social media continues to grow in popularity as a channel for people to make contact and engage with businesses. Websites that don’t make it easy for customers to like, share and follow their brand tend to miss out on a lot of potentially positive interactions and therefore a lot of marketing opportunities.
The content that is placed on a small business website is often the thing that receives the least attention during a website build. In many cases, someone is given the task at the very last minute to throw together a few words to fill all that space and populate all those shiny new pages that have been created.
The problem is, poorly written copy that has no structure and no specific purpose can hold any website back, even if the design of the site is good and it receives plenty of traffic.
Website content needs to be engaging, informative, keyword-rich and written for the customer. If it’s boring, self-serving and lacks any clear purpose then customers simply won’t read it and will likely go elsewhere.
No calls to action
Following on from the importance of good content, it’s equally important that a small business website also features strong and compelling calls to action; clear instructions that direct and encourage visitors to take that decisive next step. Without calls to action there’s a greater chance that whilst people may read and like the content on offer, they still do not follow up with some form of action.
Ideally, a website should take advantage of every opportunity to remind visitors to either subscribe to a newsletter for more information, persuade them to get in touch or nudge them to make that purchasing decision. Clear, concise and compelling calls to action are how this is done and they are what make the difference between a website where people become interested and a website where people become customers.