When considering a new business website most business owners acknowledge the importance of having a great product or service and an established online presence today. There are over 82% of local businesses currently hosting a website. A website is not just the digital face of the company anymore. Today, it also helps to engage audiences, start conversations, and build relationships with your target market and current clients. If you want to grow your brand online, all roads should lead back to the central hub of your business presence—the all important new business website. But just having a website is not enough to fuel the sales and growth of your business; it must be a well-designed site with clear objectives and good content. Yet, very often small and medium business owners undermine their business goals by trying to cut corners with their website and these shortcuts often prove to be disastrous. Here are the most common mistakes you should avoid when setting up your business website to ensure you do not kill the golden goose.
Mistake 1: No Clear Business Plan or Strategy
Before developing your site, there needs to be a business plan in place, with clearly defined objectives. Simply put, what products, services or information should visitors to your site see and read? Can your site offer a better solution to your target market than your competitors?
What’s the goal of each page? Your site should ideally be designed for your target market segment and it should drive them to an action, such as buying your product, signing-up to your email list, sharing your link or taking a survey. You must also develop a plan-of-action with task lists for your website in order to successfully achieve your goals. Without a clear business plan or strategy you will not know how to build your call-to-actions; which are vital to achieve online conversions.
Mistake 2: No Integrated Marketing Plan
SMBs often undermine the potential of their new business website by implementing discrete marketing tactics for their website and offline marketing efforts, instead of integrating both. Why not spread the word about your offline promotions online or use offline marketing to drive traffic to your site? If you want to drive high quality traffic to your site and get a profitable return-on-investment from it, then you must have a well-designed website and a comprehensive marketing plan to promote your brand—both on and off-line.
Before you begin coding for your website, consider some of these tactics to integrate into your plan:
- Affiliate marketing channels: Use this tactic to promote your brand or consider selling through established third-party platforms.
- With almost 75% online searchers never looking past the first page of search results, it is vital for your website to use search engine optimization strategies to make it visible to newer audiences. Therefore, your marketing plan should focus on social signals and on-page as well as off-page factors that search engines use to determine the SERP rankings. Other SEO tactics include building citations and backlinks and using keywords and meta-info on your website
- Ask for referrals and showcase reviews to help boost the visibility of your website.
- SMBs often find it challenging to keep their website content fresh and updated in order to remain relevant in Google searches. Update company news, host a blog with tips and advice for customers and post on industry trends to rank higher in organic searches.
- While your website design must never get in the way of the marketing message, it still has to be professional and attractive enough to make an impression on visitors and draw their attention to the content. The website design, layout and graphics are just another tool that helps get your message to your customers in a clear and concise way.
Mistake 3: No Clear Calls-To-Action
If your site has a clear business plan and communicates your message clearly, potential customers will be led to commit to an action—resulting in higher conversions. Start by considering what core actions you want your visitors to take once they are on your website? Is the goal to have them buy a product? Would you rather they contact you? Or perhaps your business objective is to increase your email subscriptions? You can create simple & accessible call to action links or buttons to help guide the user and address their needs, while achieving your own business goals, such as call-in traffic, walk-in traffic, lead generation, or online sales.
- Call-In Traffic – If you want your visitors contacting via phone to schedule an appointment or discuss your service with you, then you have to advertise your phone number prominently on your webpage. Use enticing copy like “Call today for a free phone consultation” or “Contact us for a free assessment”, etc.
- Walk-In Traffic – If you want potential customers to walk in to your local brick-and-mortar store then feature ‘Contact Us’ information front and center, with your store address. Also display a map on your site. Offer special coupons and discount vouchers that they can claim in-store by printing it off or showing on their mobile phone. An extra incentive gives customers a little extra push to visit your store.
- Lead Generation – There are a number of call-to-action’s you can offer for attracting quality leads for your business on your new business website. For generating leads use contact forms, offer free trials, use sign up’s, or even set up free downloads in exchange for personal contact information.
- Online Sale – If your new business website centers on selling online then it is vital to make the process of purchasing from your website extremely simple and easy. The product information should be concise and precise, with prominently displayed ‘Buy Now’ buttons. You can drive people into immediate action by creating a sense of urgency with CTAs, such as “20% Off For First 50 Customers” or “Shop Now! Sale Ends Sunday.” Do ensure your site is secure, especially if transactions take place on your website and you handle sensitive personal information.
Regardless of the action you want the visitors to take, you have to design the site to communicate value clearly. To highlight CTA links or buttons use larger fonts, contrasting color, and pay attention to positioning so that it stands out to viewers and they can easily follow through on the desired action.
Mistake 4: Not Mobile-Friendly
In 2015 the number of consumers conducting an online search on their mobile surpassed desktop searchers. Whether looking up a shop address while out and about or searching for the nearest restaurant when on the move, smartphones and tablets have made it hugely convenient for users to search the web. Despite this trend, worryingly only about 91 percent of SMB websites are mobile-optimized. It is absolutely crucial now for your website to function well and look good on any size screen.
To make your site mobile-compatible, you can either make your site mobile-responsive or create a distinct mobile version of your site. Mobile responsive sites automatically respond to adjust to the size of the device being used to browse your site, while a mobile version of your site has duplicate content hosted on a sub-domain of your website. Google prefers a mobile responsive website over a mobile version of a website. Think from the user’s perspective to detect features on your site that may frustrate mobile users and fix these problems like slow load times (longer than 2 seconds), difficulty in navigating on different devices, dead links, etc.
Mistake 5: Not Choosing The Right Hosting And/Or eCommerce Platforms
For the continued success of your website, you must get the infrastructure right. The primary function of a web host is to deliver your website files to the visitor’s browser quickly and reliably, without fail. SMBs often wonder why they should pay for a host when there are scores of free hosts to choose from. If you want to be taken seriously by visitors, then you must put some thought into where your website lives.
You must have a unique domain name, own your site, have control over your server and hosting account, and get access to good backend software which is typically not possible with a free host. Reputable web hosting companies will have fast, secure servers and an integrated platform with managed services, marketing tools and additional features to help you run a successful website. A web hosting provider with no downtime and strong security will also help improve your page rankings and SEO results. Also, remember that the server’s physical location does impact search results, so stick to picking a web host in the country where your target customers reside.
To run a functional eCommerce website, you must look for tested and updated eCommerce solutions to manage all the products, categories, checkout process, and more. The checkout process to complete a purchase should ideally be limited to 3 clicks or less. You can benefit from feature-rich plug ins such as WooCommerce, Ecwid, and MarketPress as well as custom installs including Magento or Cs-Cart. eCommerce websites will also need an SSL (secure sockets layer) Certificate for encryption of sensitive data such as credit card numbers and personal information in order to assure visitors and search engines about the security status of your site.
You can easily get a domain name, hosting account, and SSL Certificate using HostLabs. We have a range of basic business web hosting plans to more advanced hosting solutions such as private cloud hosting, IT infrastructure, disaster recovery and business continuity solutions. HostLabs uses only the most advanced virtualization technologies available today such as VMware and Citrix XenServer.
Stay Ahead Of The Game
Now that you are aware of the most common mistakes made by SMBs when running a site, you can use it as a checklist to tweak your site in order to improve your web presence. Help your business grow in leaps and bounds with a dynamic new business website.