There’s no such thing a magical web design fairy who can wave a magic wand and grant a small-sized business instant success. The recipe for a successful business website has two key ingredients:
- hard work
Every small business owner knows their website is a vital part of their businesses. But here’s the deal: to have a shot at success, your online presence can’t be anything less than outstanding.
The most common mistake made when redesigning a website is that the owner fails to pay attention to the myriad of details before the site goes live. Consequently, the site launches and looks pretty good overall, but has tiny errors and glitches.
Sure, site visitors will find your newly redesigned website interesting, useful, navigable and enjoyable. But your visitors are coming to your site with a specific goal in mind. It can be that they’re looking for the answer to a question or in need of a specific product or service. First and foremost, you need to provide them with answers and/or services they’re looking for, but there are also several unwritten “gotchas” to avoid:
Rambling On and On
Nowadays, people will give your site only a few seconds before deciding if they’re going to continue reading. If they can’t instantly understand what your business in about, they’ll bounce.
As a business owner you must be ruthless with your content — edit, edit, edit and don’t pack too much above the fold.
Busy designs with tons of images, text and buttons take a long time to load. Give your visitors some breathing space and keep in mind that a crowded website is overwhelming. If a visitor is overwhelmed, they reach what’s called their “cognitive limit” and they’ll click away out of confusion. Aim for being brief, simple and perfectly clear.
Stale, Out-of-Date Content
Providing the latest information on products and services is imperative simply because your prospects, customers and industry are constantly changing.
A simple fix is to have a business blog with a new post every week. Not only will it drive visitors to your site, but search engines will reward you with higher ranking.
Pro tip: If you don’t have a large following or recent posts on Facebook or Twitter, temporarily deactivate the links to those sites from your website. It’s better not to expose yourself to the negative impact of being “behind” compared to your competition.
Aiming for the Wrong Target
A website without goals is similar to a race with no finish line. And not knowing your ideal customer causes confusion about who your website’s talking to.
Don’t design your website for “everyone”. Figure out who your most frequent users are and concentrate on creating the ideal experience for them. If you try to please everyone, in the end, you’ll end up pleasing no one.
Poor Optimization (SEO and Speed)
Unlike in your commute, when we’re talking about websites, traffic is great! It’s the single most desirable thing for a small business website as a site with no traffic is virtually useless.
In order to increase your overall traffic – visitors and clicks on your website – you need to optimize the way people find you and the speed at which your site performs. This means paying attention to your website’s SEO or Search Engine Optimization. SEO involves many things, a few of which are:
- describe your images with “metatags” so Google and Bing associate key search words with your pictures
- make sure your images aren’t too large and slow the loading of your web page
- add hidden “keywords” to your page so Google and Bing can rank your page higher
- install helpful plugins to make it easy to manage your website’s SEO and page speed
Taking the DIY route
If you’re thinking of redesigning your website and want to do it yourself, that’s not a mistake. Just be sure to do what web designers do: put on your thinking cap and figure out:
- Your ideal customer(s) and what makes them tick
- The result you’re looking for
- What you want to say
- How you want to organize (structure) the information on your site and each page
Uuse the same processes that web designers use – creative strategy, persona development, site map, wireframe, design, code, QA, launch – to ensure you’re building a scalable site – one that’s solid today and easily upgradeable down the road.
Forgetting the Basics
- Link to links: Always, always remember to hyperlink! Don’t be one of those companies who has their email address without making it clickable.
- Mobile testing: Research shows that more than 50% of website visitors are on mobile devices, so make sure to test your site on a smartphone and tablet.
- Social exposure: Don’t add social media links as an afterthought. Only add links to your social channels if you’re active on them.
Paying Too Little or Too Much
Lots of small business owners have been burned by shady web companies resulting in atrocious, overpriced disasters. Some assume that they need an expensive agency that’s worked with big brands in order to ensure they have a great website. The truth lies in between.
Simply put: don’t blow your budget on web design. Do thorough research before hiring a web agency and make sure you balance your marketing resources for a site upgrade – but more importantly – growth services to make sure your overall traffic increases.
Although there is no secret web design fairy, with hard work, persistence and by keeping these “gotchas” in mind, you should be able to create a magical website for your small business.
Let Rushminute Help
There’s a lot that goes into creating and maintaining all of your digital properties. We know. We’ve helped dozens of clients in the U.S. strengthen their brands with website makeovers, social media management and digital marketing. If you’re in the process of updating your site or need a “go to web guy” to help you manage your digital properties, Rushminute can help. Contact Rushminute or schedule a virtual cup of coffee and we’ll talk about your vision and how a great website can help you achieve your business goals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robbie Moore is the founder of Rushminute, a digital marketing agency in Lincoln, Nebraska. With 20+ years of experience in digital marketing, Robbie has worked with dozens of companies and organizations, large and small, around the globe. He also writes extensively about design, development, and business in general.