Your website can make or break your business. This is true whether you have an online business, or an offline business. Of course, if you have an online business it is even more important to have an effective website. Avoiding the following mistakes, you will have created a website that increases your reach, gets more traffic, and converts your visitors into customers.
1. Using a Free Website – There are a lot of website builders that work great, but you should at least buy your own domain name. Using a site like “builder.com/yourbusinessname”, or “yourbusinessname.builder.com” is not a wise business decision. If you are not willing to pay ten bucks for a domain name, why should someone consider spending money buying from you?
2. Making an Online Brochure – In the early days, websites were simply brochures. The only way someone could you, was if you gave the contact a business card with a link to your website. Today a website is so much more. Due to content marketing, SEO practices, and social media marketing (paid or free), your website is now the hub of your business, and can bring in literally all your business if you plan everything right.
3. Having an Undefined Purpose – Your website needs a reason for existing. The reason is not always as clear as you think. You may think the reason is selling, but it depends. Your reason might be to educate, to build your list, and then to convert visitors to customer. Or, it might be a store, where the only reason anyone comes is to buy something.
4. Not Checking Responsiveness – If your website does not work well on mobile devices, then you must update it as soon as possible. The reason is that a lot of people use mobile devices to access the internet now, and Google will rank your site lower (if at all) if it is not responsive. That is fairly easy to do today, with self-hosted wordpress, and most of the hosted builders today, but always check.
5. Making It Difficult to Get Around – Poor navigation that does not have the audience in mind, and has no plan for where you want to lead your visitors, can be problematic. Plan how your audience will react when they go to your home page, or a landing page you sent them to. Look at it from their perspective, to ensure that they can get the information they want, and not quickly click away.
6. Making Your Website Too Busy – It is so important to avoid Flash, and other busy elements on your website, if you really want a lot of traffic that converts readers, users, and customers. Avoid anything that blinks, clip art, and horrible graphics, which have no point.
7. Not Including a Call to Action (CTA) – You can have more than one CTA on your site, depending on the page they are visiting. But, don’t have too many CTAs on each page. You do not want to confuse them. If you are want to build your email list, which I highly recommend, put sign-up forms in multiple places, as the most important call to action.
8. Slow Loading Speed – The speed your website loads is important as well, because people are inherently impatient and lazy. They do not want to wait for your information to load. You can avoid these problems, by using a good builder, that has clean code, and also, by avoiding too many images. Plus, by using a highly-rated hosting service.
9. Not Including Targeted Content – The content on your site, from the about page, to your home page and others, should be targeted toward your audience. Speak to them as if they are your good friend. Use terminology that you would use in a conversation. Make it feel at home.
10. Not Taking Advantage of Google Webmaster Help Files – There is a wealth of information available to webmasters of all skill levels, about what works best to get more visitors (and the right visitors) to your website. Do not ignore it. All other search engines use the same information to list your website.
Mistakes businesses make with their websites can be avoided simply by taking the time to learn from experts, on what works, and what does not work. You should not try to reinvent the wheel. Just because you like something does not mean that other people will like it. Look to marketing stats to find out what works best, and of course keep up to date with the information on Google Webmaster Tools.