It’s safe to assume that most small businesses have a Website, and hopefully they have a few goals with their site – such as prospect education, demand generation, eCommerce or customer resources. We’ve seen many small business Websites and observed common mistakes they make.?? Keep reading to see if you have a weak site and how to fix it.
There are many unique elements that make Websites “stick” in the minds of prospects and customers and compels them to return for more. I hope to leave out the cop-out “it depends” and shell out solid advice as a professional surfer of the Web and share some honest, critical feedback that will help small businesses expand their Web presence one page at a time. Not all this advice necessarily applies to all entrepreneurs; I warn you to remain objective as your bottom line depends on it.
Poor Organization for Newbies
I don’t mean computer newbies, I mean newbies to your business – prospects. Some sites I’ve seen have extremely detailed information about their processes, proprietary product information or similar jargon. This results in what analytics geeks call, “bounces,” as people simply don’t know where to go.
To fix this, consider the value in ‘economy.’ Efficiency is king when conveying your ideas to customers and prospects. Keep pages not much longer than a couple pages. Judiciously allocate the longer copy pages for the time when prospects should be interacting longer and educating themselves; while using bullet points for product features and such.
Branding & Consistency on Website and Collateral
The brand and the use of that brand throughout the Website, e-mail and overall user experience is key to making it “click” with prospects and users. I’ve hit many small business websites that merely lack consistent branding and it becomes an instant turn-off for making a purchase. Some sites have poorly blended pages, landing pages, shopping carts, email templates – and when it adds up, it looks amateur. Do I (as a potential customer) want to hand my credit card to amateurs?
This takes practice and patience to “fix.” Branding involves several types of messaging, colors, style guide, considerations for the audience, logo, and compliance to such guidelines. A good start might be a local graphic design firm that works with small businesses. Once you nail down a consistent brand and theme, consider hiring a Web developer convert designs to HTML. When picking a designer or a developer out, ask for samples, portfolio of companies close to yours and don’t forget to communicate a lot. One tip from one of our contractors is to be aware of budget and make it clear – and be open to a developer or designer’s suggestions to make your site attractive for users.
Unclear Call to Action
This is the big component that many sites fail to include. Their call to action is missing or is very weak. A call to action is a strong invitation to have a prospect interact with your business. A call to action can be pretty vague to very specific – such as getting a quote, obtaining a free report, signing up to a newsletter, purchasing a product or service. Most marketers are confident about their ability to make clear calls to action, but not many small business Websites do a good enough job of them.
To correct this, think about how you plan to generate or educate leads. Publish that content and allow a email marketing app, such as Infusionsoft , collect leads and follow-up and deliver on the calls to action. Depending on your success, you may want to consult with a small business strategy consultant to give you fresh ideas to help you and your business grow. (You can find some great resources in our directory.)
There’s probably a lot more mistakes small business Websites make every day, losing and missing leads all through the day and night. The goal is to provide a good experience so people can find your site, get what they need and ideally come back for more. If you do that, your site is likely performing well. You might also get some great suggestions on how to improve your small business Website experience by bookmarking this blog and staying tuned for more great articles!
Author: Jasper Bossert
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