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5 Mistakes To Avoid On Your Small Business Website

Monday, April 28, 2014   By Mike Reddy


Remember the days when a website was more like an electronic billboard? When its look was more like a cool looking newspaper ad or directory listing?  When it just sat there staring at us doing, well, absolutely nothing?

Thankfully there now seems to be a greater understanding in the small-business community that a website is a very real opportunity to showcase your business, to let the potential customer experience just what it would be like to deal with you and to use your product.

In other words, to really understand you and your brand.

So an increasing number of small business owners understand that investing in a website is all about investing in their brand, gathering good-quality potential customers, converting them and, in doing so, taking their small business to a whole new level.

But that seems to have resulted in a new problem.

One of the biggest mistakes that small business owners are making is that they are simply trying too hard. The focus should be on making sure that the relevant information is clear, concise and easy for the visitor to find.

Search engine rankings are determined by a number of things but among them is the relevance of your site to Google’s understanding of what the visitor was looking for.

Or, more precisely, the relevance of your site according to Google’s algorithms.

That relevance is largely based on the number of and how long visitors stay on your site and what they do when they get there.

The last thing you want is for visitors to be arriving at your site and disappearing back to the search engine seconds later.

Here are some mistakes being made by small business owners which are having that undesired effect:

  • Too much content. Filling the website with text is not pretty to the eye, nor is it appealing to the site visitor. People, especially adults, learn using different techniques. Some prefer to read, some prefer to listen and some prefer to watch. For best effect you need to ensure that your website will cater for all of these adult learning styles.

  • Not being mobile friendly. Statistics show that over half of your website visitors will be using a tablet or smartphone device. Viewing a traditional website on a mobile device is not a pleasant experience. And with so many of your competitors now using mobile friendly websites it’s very easy for your visitor to simply move right along.

  • Hiding the important information. Or, specifically, your contact information. As contacting you is the desired objective it stands to reason you should make your contact information easy to find. Ensure your phone number is easy to locate and at the top of every page.

  • Ignoring Search Engine Optimisation. Having the best site is a complete waste of time if the search engines don’t rate you. You really need to be on the first page for your targeted keywords. Try typing what you think your keywords might be. Google will try to predict the rest of your query based on what others have typed. These can include juicy keywords and key phrases which you can look to incorporate into your website. After all, it’s a better sample size to base assumptions on than any other.

  • Building a Las Vegas site. You know the ones I mean - They have logos and banners that flash, spin, dance, sing or do anything else that attracts the attention away from your key message.

Sometimes when we read something over several times we stop seeing what we should be looking for. Utilise someone with good English skills to proof read your text looking for spelling mistakes, poor grammar, in fact anything that will reflect poorly on your product or brand. After all, if you don’t even check your website for errors, what does that say about your quality control when it comes to your product or service?

Continue to check your website from time to time for dated content, dead links, sparsely filled calendars, anything that might signal to a prospective customer a lack of attention to detail.

Your main objective is to give your prospective customer a positive experience so they can learn about all the ways you can help them. Show you value their time.  In the real world you do this by showing up to meetings on time and keeping phone calls professionally short.  In the digital world you show a tidy, useful, helpful, easy to navigate website.

Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.