If you manage a small business, creating a strong website is a critical part of drawing in customers and converting leads. A website is often the first place your audience engages with your company, and a flawed website—one with errors like slow page load speed and poor web design—will only cause site visitors to question the credibility of your brand.
Here are 10 common mistakes on small business websites, and how you can avoid them.
1. (S)loading speed
Slow page load speed is a detriment to both user experience and SEO. On the UX side, users tend to abandon websites with long load times, reducing customers’ chances of conversion. On the SEO side, slow page load speeds mean a lower ranking on Google, since site page speed gets factored into the Google algorithm ranking.
Research shows that pages that take 5 seconds to load have an average bounce rate of 38%, whereas pages that load within 2 seconds have an average bounce rate of 2%.
You can use Google’s Page Speed Insights to monitor your page load speed. If your page loads are slow, try the following fixes:
- Optimize and condense your code
- Reduce redirects
- Leverage browser caching
- Improve server response time by minimizing performance bottlenecks
- Use a content distribution network
- Compress and optimize images
2. Only designing for desktop
In 2013, mobile phones made up 16.2% of web traffic worldwide. In 2018, that jumped to 52.2%. That’s right, the majority of web traffic comes from mobile.
If your company’s website isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re falling behind. A website that isn’t mobile-compatible will not only rank lower on Google but will also drive away valuable web traffic.
To create a mobile-first website, use a mobile responsive HTML framework and optimize your website design to accommodate the size of mobile screens.
You can also use Accelerated Mobile Pages, an open-source initiative, to speed up page loads on your mobile site.
3. A vague or elusive company description
Your home page should it make it 100% clear what your company does—even to visitors outside your industry.
Small businesses sometimes heap so much jargon into a company’s description that their product seems elusive at first glance. What, exactly, is a “dynamic, leading-edge customer success platform”?
Put a clear description of your company on your home page so that the average person can understand what you do. If you’re not sure whether your company description will be understood by those outside your industry, show your website to friends and colleagues, and have them describe your company back to you. If they’re not able to grasp what your company does, you’ll need to use clearer language.
4. Hidden (or nonexistent) CTAs
Another big mistake small business websites make is having weak calls-to-action. According to Small Business Trends, 70% of small business B2B websites lack a call to action on their home page. If you don’t have CTAs or if they aren’t readily apparent, you miss out on opportunities to convert site visitors.
Make CTAs easy to locate by placing them in a noticeable color at the top and bottom of your page. Put your CTAs on your home page, at the end of blog posts, and in landing pages, and make the text of the call-to-action relevant to the surrounding content.
5. Annoying website navigation
When it’s unclear where your menu bar is or how to navigate to your product information, frustrated users are likely to abandon your site altogether.
Your website should seamlessly move users through your marketing and sales funnels, without causing any hiccups or obstructions.
You can improve the browsing experience for your site visitors by creating a well-organized navigation bar, and include clear, straightforward headings and subheadings across your page content.
6. Disruptive ads
If ads on your website are detrimental to the user experience, they’ll only cause your business to lose money in the long run.
Vet your ads carefully, and pay special attention to ad placement on your site. While banner ads are okay, avoid autoplay video ads and full-screen rollover ads.
Keep pop-ups to a minimum, too. If you do need to use pop-up ads, ensure the wording is friendly and approachable, and avoid being aggressive or guilt-tripping your users.
7. Inaccessible contact information
One of the biggest complaints about small business websites is the lack of accessible contact information. When site visitors try to contact you but are unable to find your information, you may have just lost an opportunity to close a sale. And, if you run a brick-and-mortar business, having your complete contact information on your website is a crucial part of boosting local SEO.
Make it easy for clients and other site visitors to communicate with you by placing your contact information where users will look for it. Have a designated “Contact” section in the navigation bar, and place your company’s address and a contact email or phone number on the header or footer of each page. Depending on your product or service, you can also offer a live chat option in the bottom right-hand corner of your site.
8. Neglecting SEO
Local SEO isn’t the only thing to watch out for; online businesses also need to pay attention to SEO, in order to show up in search engines and grow traffic to your site. Your brand new website might look beautiful—but that doesn’t necessarily make it a good site. If you neglect to factor in SEO, you’ll find that your website isn’t able to bring much traffic.
Only 36% of small business have an SEO strategy, meaning that most small businesses are missing out on a critical opportunity to rank high in search engines and generate awareness of their brand.
As you build your SEO strategy, make sure that each web page has a title and meta-description. This will allow Google to rank your site in search results and display it to viewers.
Also be sure to include key words and other highly searchable content throughout your site. The more your website answers the questions users are looking for, the higher you’ll rank in Google’s search results and the more users will click on your web pages.
Use designated SEO tools to monitor your website’s metrics and optimize your search engine rankings.
9. Forgetting about content
While 94% of B2B small businesses use content marketing, only 9% of them consider their content marketing strategy “very effective.”
Many small businesses don’t invest enough time and planning in their content marketing strategy, fail to promote their content, or are writing for the wrong audience.
To drive organic traffic, you need to have a small business blog that ranks well for SEO and offers genuine value to your readers. Great content establishes your company as a thought leader in the industry, helping to build awareness and respect your brand.
If you want your content strategy to succeed, you need to make your content valuable to your readers. Keep your readers interested by mixing up content types, using an engaging brand voice, and providing the tips and insights they can’t find anywhere else.
10. Poor website design
A recent Stanford study found that 75% of users judge a website’s credibility based on its design. While great web design can boost your site’s credibility, poor design can make your site appear untrustworthy and turn customers away.
To upgrade your website design, use consistent formats, colors, and fonts across your website pages. You can make your website look even more professional by making a logo to use across your site pages. A consistent logo, style, and color palette, in addition to making your site more attractive, helps establish your professionalism and authority.
Over to You
Don’t underestimate the power of a great website. Avoid these common website mistakes to showcase your authority in the market, boost brand awareness, and acquire happy customers.