As a small business owner, it makes sense – given the plethora of advice on the subject – that you know you need a business website. You probably also know you need to have some form of social media profile to enhance that same internet presence.
So knowing that, you set off to do it. There’s plenty of sites that will offer to let you design a website for yourself, so you pick one of those at random. And how helpful! It offers a section of templates for you to pick from – all you need to do is substitute the stand-in text for the name of your company, so you do that, click save, and voila: you have a website.
Maybe you even know you have to take it a notch higher. You link your social media accounts to the website, because you’ve heard that’s important. You occasionally puzzle over how to build backlinks and tinker with the idea of paying for ads to get you to the top of your rankings. But you’re not a web designer and you have no desire to be one – the important thing is that you have the website. Your business has an online presence. You’ve got social media. That’s box ticked – right?
The above might be an exaggeration, but it’s staggering how few small business owners actually invest in their website. It’s as if the mere fact of having one is all that counts – whether it’s functional, up-to-date, or even just plain usable… well they don’t matter so much.
The simple fact is that having the wrong website is as bad as not having one at all. A website that is deficient is going to be incredibly obvious to a digitally-savvy generation who might want to use your products or services. They’re going to see the cheap cut-and-paste job and dismiss your business because of it.
There are several things that alert potential customers to the fact your website has been approached in a slapdash manner. If any of these sound familiar, it might be time for a rethink.
Cardinal Sin #1: There’s Nothing But Basic Information
If your website is just an ‘about’ page and then a ‘contact’ page – sorry, no points. It’s just not enough. People want to know about the business, the services you offer, the testimonials from people who have used your service or products. They want to see photos, ideas, get some idea of who you are.
If the idea of writing that kind of content isn’t your bag, then hire someone who can do it for you. Your website shouldn’t just be a static, boring set of information and statistics – treat it more like an advert, in which you want to look your best.
Cardinal Sin #2: It’s Not Mobile Friendly
If your website doesn’t change format – known as being ‘responsive’ when viewed on a mobile phone, then you’ve got a problem. More and more users nowadays are viewing sites on their phones, and they don’t want to have to be squinting and playing around with settings to be able to get the information they need. If you’re using a theme website then they should take care of this for you. If not, then there are a few tweaks you can make to an existing website that will help.
Cardinal Sin #3: Not Using Original Pictures
Free images are plenty useful when it comes to building a website, but they do have a problem: anyone can use them. That’s why you want to use them for your website and social media presence, of course – they’re free and easy, and with a couple of clicks you can look more professional.
However, some images are used so often that people become used to them. They recognize them as stock images. As a result, you can look lazy for uses them rather than your own original images. It’s far better to snap a few decent pictures yourself – ideally of your business in working condition – than rely on basic stock to showcase what you do.
Cardinal Sin #4: It’s Boring
To an extent, a business website is always going to be boring. It’s there to impart information and that, of course, should be a focus. However, there has got to be a middle ground – a lighthearted, conversational tone can make customers feel more included and more warm towards your product. When you write your content, think of it more as writing an email to a friend than giving a presentation to a business environment.