8 Common Website Mistakes Hurting Small Businesses (and How to Fix Them)
As a small business owner, you know how important it is to have a strong online presence. Your website is often the first point of contact that potential customers have with your business, and it’s crucial to make a good impression.
However, it’s all too easy to make common website design mistakes that can hinder your ability to reach and engage customers online. From a lack of strategy to outdated design elements, these mistakes can have serious consequences for your website’s effectiveness.
This post is split into two parts, first website design and branding, then we’ll discuss implementing marketing into your website. Below you’ll find tips for avoiding common pitfalls and creating a website that effectively showcases your products or services.
1) Lack of Strategic Approach to Overall Brand & Website
One of the most common mistakes that small businesses make is failing to have a clear and strategic approach to their overall brand and website. While it may seem like a small detail, a lack of strategy can have serious consequences for a small business’s online presence.
Without a clear plan in place, a small business’s website can end up feeling disjointed or confusing to users. This can make it difficult for potential customers to understand what the business does, what products or services it offers, and why they should choose it over competitors. A lack of strategy can also make it difficult for small businesses to effectively communicate their brand message and values.
To avoid this mistake, small business owners should:
- Take the time to carefully consider their website goals
- Create a plan that outlines how they will achieve those goals
- Include considerations such as:
- The overall look and feel of the website
- The types of content that will be included
- The functionality that will be offered
In addition to creating a strategic plan, it’s important for small businesses to regularly review and update their website to ensure it remains relevant and effective. This may include updating your strategy, refreshing the website’s visual design, updating content, or adding new features and functionality.
Having a strategic approach to your brand and website is crucial for small businesses that want to effectively reach and engage customers online. By putting thought and planning into their website design, small business owners can create a website that effectively communicates their message directly to their target audience.
2) Disorganized Design & Navigation
A cluttered or disorganized website can be a major turn-off for potential customers. Not only is it visually unappealing, but it can also make it difficult for users to find the information they are looking for, which can lead to frustration and a quick exit from your website.
To avoid this mistake, focus on creating a visually appealing and organized design for your website.
This may involve:
- Using white space effectively to avoid overwhelming your visitors
- Using clear and compelling headings to command attention
- Organizing content to guide your visitor to the next step
In addition to creating an organized design, it’s important to regularly review and update your website to ensure it remains uncluttered and easy to navigate. This may involve removing old or unnecessary content, updating the layout, or making other design adjustments as needed.
Overall, having a clean and organized design is crucial for small businesses that want to effectively reach and engage customers online. By prioritizing a visually appealing and user-friendly design, small business owners can create a website that effectively showcases their products or services and encourages users to stay and explore.
3) Using Outdated Design Elements
Design trends are constantly evolving, and it’s important for small businesses to keep up with these changes in order to create a website that looks fresh and professional. However, an extremely common web design mistake that small businesses make is using outdated design elements on their website.
Outdated design elements can make a small business’s website look unprofessional and can turn away potential customers. This can be especially true for businesses in industries that value innovation and design, such as creative agencies or e-commerce companies.
To avoid this mistake, small businesses should regularly review their website design and update any outdated elements.
Examples of outdated web design elements include:
- Flash-based elements or animation (this somehow still exists in 2023!)
- Auto-playing music or sound effects
- Low-resolution images or large images that load slowly
- Websites with a fixed width
- Lots of text and few images
- Lots of clutter, unnecessary elements, or overwhelming layout
- Busy, confusing, or clunky navigation menus
In addition to updating their design, small businesses should also stay up-to-date with current design trends in order to ensure that their website remains relevant and professional. This may involve reading design blogs, attending industry events, or working with a web design professional who is familiar with current trends.
Overall, keeping up with design trends is crucial for small businesses that want to effectively reach and engage customers online. By regularly updating their website design and staying up-to-date with current trends, small business owners can create a website that looks professional and attracts potential customers.
4) Not Optimizing Website Loading Times & Mobile Usability
The speed of a website and its mobile usability are crucial factors in determining the success of an online business. Unfortunately, many small business owners overlook these important elements when it comes to their website design. This can lead to a number of negative consequences, including lower search engine rankings, decreased customer engagement, and ultimately, lost sales.
Website speed is a critical factor in user experience. If a website takes too long to load, visitors will quickly become frustrated and are likely to leave the site in favor of a competitor.
This not only results in lost potential customers, but also impacts the website’s search engine rankings. Search engines such as Google take website speed into consideration when determining where to rank a website in search results. A slow-loading website will therefore be penalized and will not appear at the top of search results, making it less visible to potential customers.
In addition to website speed, mobile usability is another critical factor to consider. With the increasing popularity of mobile devices, it’s more important than ever for websites to be optimized for viewing on a mobile device.
A website that is not optimized for mobile viewing will have a small, difficult-to-read text, and non-functional links, which will make it difficult for visitors to engage with the site. This can lead to decreased customer engagement and can result in a negative user experience, ultimately leading to lost sales. Mobile websites are also prioritized by Google in the search results, so if your website isn’t mobile-friendly then it will be penalized in the search results, which means fewer customers will find your business.
There are a number of steps that small business owners can take to optimize the speed and mobile usability of their websites, including:
- Using a fast and reliable hosting service
- Compressing images and other large media files
- Using a content delivery network (CDN)
- Optimizing for viewing on all devices
- Regularly review and test the speed and mobile usability
- Stay up-to-date with the industry standards and best practices
Overall, ignoring the importance of website speed and mobile usability is a mistake that small business owners cannot afford to make. By taking the time to optimize these important elements, small businesses can ensure that their websites provide a positive user experience, improve search engine rankings, and ultimately, drive more sales.
5) No Strategic Marketing or Communication Methods
Small businesses often rely on their website to reach and engage potential customers, which is why it’s crucial to have a clear and effective marketing and communication plan in place. However, one common website mistake that small businesses make is neglecting to have a strategic marketing plan built into their website.
Without a clear marketing plan, small businesses may struggle to effectively promote their products or services, or to communicate their brand message and values. This can lead to a website that fails to effectively convert visitors into customers.
To avoid this mistake, take the time to define your target audience and create a marketing and communication plan that speaks to that audience.
This may include:
- Developing a content marketing strategy
- Utilizing social media
- Incorporating email marketing into your efforts
In addition to having a clear plan in place, it’s important for small businesses to regularly review and update their marketing and communication methods to ensure they remain effective. This may involve testing different approaches, analyzing website performance data, and making adjustments as needed.
Overall, having a strategic approach to marketing and communication is essential for small businesses that want to effectively reach and engage customers online. By carefully considering their marketing and communication efforts, small business owners can create a website that effectively promotes their products or services and attracts potential customers.
6) No Clear and Compelling Calls to Action
Calls to action (CTAs) are an essential element of any website, as they help guide users towards the next step in the conversion process. However, one common mistake small business owners make is neglecting to include CTAs on their website.
Without clear and compelling calls to action, small businesses may struggle to effectively guide users towards the desired goal, whether that be making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a contact form. This can result in a website that fails to effectively convert visitors into customers.
To avoid this mistake, small businesses should include CTAs throughout their website, and should make sure that they are crystal clear without any confusion about what step to take next. Finding what works best to engage your target audience may require some trial and error.
This might include:
- Testing different words in your marketing language
- Experimenting with placement options of your buttons and text
- Narrowing the visitors’ focus to a single action step on each page
In addition to including CTAs, it’s important for small businesses to regularly review and update their CTAs to ensure they are effective. This may involve analyzing website performance data, testing different approaches, and making adjustments as needed.
Overall, having clear and compelling CTAs is essential for small businesses that want to effectively reach and engage customers online. By carefully considering their CTAs, small business owners can create a website that effectively guides users towards the desired action and helps to convert visitors into customers.
7) Not Regularly Updating Website Content
Fresh, relevant content is essential for small businesses that want to effectively reach and engage customers online. However, one common web design mistake that small businesses make is neglecting to regularly update their website content.
Without regular updates, a small business’s website can quickly become stale and uninteresting to users. This can lead to a decrease in traffic and a lack of engagement, which can hurt the business’s online presence and bottom line.
To avoid this mistake, small businesses should create a content update plan and stick to it.
This may involve:
- Adding a blog to your website and posting regularly
- updating product or service pages
- Sharing new case studies or customer success stories
- Add new team member profiles or staff bios
- Share company news or updates
- Add a calendar of events or promotions
- Share relevant industry news or articles
- Add new FAQs or resources for customers
- Integrate social media feeds onto your website to keep it fresh
In addition to updating their content, small businesses should also review and optimize their existing content to ensure that it remains relevant and engaging. This may involve analyzing website performance data, conducting user testing, or making adjustments based on feedback.
Overall, regularly updating website content is crucial for small businesses that want to effectively reach and engage customers online. By consistently adding fresh, relevant content to their website, small business owners can keep their website interesting and engaging for users.
8) No Measurements in Place to Track Your Results
It’s not enough to simply have a website. To truly take advantage of its potential, it’s critical to have measurements in place to track your website’s results.
One of the biggest mistakes that small business owners make is not having any metrics in place to track the success of their website. Without proper tracking, it’s impossible to know what’s working and what’s not. This leads to missed opportunities for improvement and a lack of actionable insights that can help grow your business.
Having measurements in place can help you track a variety of metrics, including website traffic, conversion rates, bounce rates, and more. By having a clear understanding of these metrics, you can make informed decisions about how to improve your website and increase its effectiveness.
For example, if you have high website traffic but a low conversion rate, it may be time to focus on optimizing your website’s user experience or improving your call-to-action. On the other hand, if you have a high bounce rate, it may be time to re-evaluate the design and content of your website.
There are many tools available that can help you track your website’s metrics, from Google Analytics to heat mapping tools. Choose the tools that make the most sense for your business and start tracking your results today.
In conclusion, not having measurements in place to track your website’s results is a costly mistake that small business owners can easily avoid. By taking the time to set up tracking and analyzing the results, you can make informed decisions about how to improve your website and drive more traffic and conversions.
As a small business owner, your website is a crucial part of your online presence. By avoiding common website design mistakes, you can improve your website’s effectiveness and reach more potential customers. However, if you’re struggling with these issues and can’t seem to get your website on track, it could be having a negative impact on your business. A website that is confusing, unorganized, or difficult to use can turn away potential customers and hinder your ability to reach your target audience.
What Can You Do Next?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure of how to fix these problems, consider reaching out to a web designer for help. A web designer can work with you to identify and address any issues with your website, and help you create a website that effectively showcases your products or services.
Don’t let website design mistakes hold you back – get the help you need to create a website that works for you and your business. Contact us today to take your website to the next level.