Websites are crucial to any small business or nonprofit because they add credibility to an organization, they are often the first place someone will look before buying an item or contacting for more information, and they increase exposure and publicity. Sadly, many of these websites don’t deliver the results they could and end up costing too much time and money because of a few common mistakes.
However, you can easily avoid these same small business website mistakes. Consequently, you’ll have a website that’s better positioned to serve the results you’re looking for.
Mistake 1. Focusing too much on design and not enough on purpose.
We all want our websites to look good. They should be attractive and fit with our branding. Additionally, our target audiences should find them appealing. But I’ve seen too much focus on the appearance of the site—constantly questioning colors, fonts, images—without regard to the purpose of the site. Keep in mind why you’re building a website, and make sure that all decisions you make for the site enhance its purpose. Otherwise, you’re probably spending too much time for too few results.
Mistake 2. Ignoring calls to action.
Similar to the mistake discussed above, websites without calls to action have nothing for the website visitor to do. Simply put, a call to action encourages your site visitors to take some action: buy a product, call for service, make a donation, etc. Whether it’s a graphic, a button, or something else, a call to action is easy to see and use. Without it, you’re missing out on customers. Read more about calls to action here.
Mistake 3. Not updating your website.
If you have a calendar on your site, keep it updated. If you have a blog, write regular entries. If you feature your products, make sure prices, descriptions, and pictures are current. A stale website communicates disinterest in your business and customers—or worse, that you’re out of business. In addition to content updates, make sure that any links and images on your site continue to work, so test them frequently!
Mistake 4. Contact information that’s difficult to find.
Whether it’s a phone number, email form, or postal address, make sure they’re prominently displayed and easily accessible. Customers are frustrated when they come to your website looking for your phone number and can’t find it.
Mistake 5. Not planning for mobile devices.
Gone are the days when your website had to work in many different web browsers for desktop computers. Now you have to make sure they work in smartphones and tablets, too! Over half of web surfing today is done on a mobile device, and if your business serves a local audience, it’s even more important to be mobile friendly. If your site doesn’t work well on mobile devices, your competition has the edge. Read more about mobile-friendly sites here.
Mistake 6. Not marketing your website.
Also gone are the days when you could build a website and then rake in the big bucks. You now need to market your website so that people online can find you easily. Today, this can include search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, content marketing, and paid online advertising. Read more about marketing your website here.
Mistake 7. Ignoring your website analytics.
To help determine the health and success of your website, it’s important that you know how many site visitors you have, how they find your site, and what they do on your site. There are several services that can help, both free and premium. Some of the most common ones are Google Analytics, StatCounter, and Piwik.
Mistake 8. Building an email list without permission.
This happens innocently and frequently…and can land you in trouble. Before you send an email blast that markets your services or sells your items, make sure that every email address on your list came with express permission for you to add to your email list. Buying a list or just sending these kinds of emails to the addresses you have on hand can result in being labeled a spammer.
Move forward, and succeed!
When you’re setting up your small business or nonprofit website, be prepared for some good conversations and hard decisions, and also be prepared to invest some time and money in order to get a worthwhile result. Avoid these common mistakes, and you’re well on your way to success!