Casting a Critical Eye on Your Small Business Website | inspirationfeed.com

Casting a Critical Eye on Your Small Business Website



In today’s business environment, your online presence is critical to your success. Consumers comparison shop electronically as part of their pre-purchase research, and if your small business website doesn’t measure up against the competition, you’re likely to lose the sale.

BizBest, a website that promotes itself as providing independent ideas, trends, tactics and resources to help small businesses succeed, surveyed thousands of small business sites to see what they’re doing right and wrong. It then came up with 10 common mistakes and how to fix them, which have been summarized below:

Crummy Content

strategy process Casting a Critical Eye on Your Small Business Website

“Thanks to the rise of social media and changes in how search engines operate, it’s now more important than ever to have high-quality content on your site,” BizBest notes right off the top. Content that is off topic and/or poorly written won’t show up in search and makes your site look second-rate. Instead of a hard sales pitch laden with industry jargon, emphasize helpful tips, case studies and other valuable information that customers and prospects can really use to solve a problem or accomplish a task — and keep it conversational!

Keyword Clueless

Keywords are critical to online success, so know and use those that apply to the products and services you sell. “Even if you think you know what they are, unless you’ve used a keyword discovery tool to see the precise terms that real people are typing into search engines daily, you haven’t done it right,” warns BizBest, which recommends using KeywordDiscovery.com and the keyword tool in Google AdWords.

Social Scarcity

If your website doesn’t at least give the minimal acknowledgement of social media, it’s incomplete. BizBest suggests that you include a link to your Facebook page, as well as Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and your business blog.

Muddy Metrics

Metrics measure who visits your website and from where, what they do once they’re onsite, the most and least popular pages on your site and which visitors make you the most money. BizBest argues that unless you have this information, you’re flying blind. It also advises that you sign up for a web metrics service such as Google Analytics to get a handle on what’s happening.

Missing Mobile

“Mobile web usage is exploding, with huge implications for small businesses that lack a mobile-friendly site,” warns BizBest, which notes that mobile sites are designed specifically for the small screen and to be easy to navigate and “thumb friendly,” tech talk for using large, centered buttons with “breathing room” to prevent accidental clicks. As customers increasingly use their mobile phones to acquire local information, your mobile site should accommodate them in their search. BizBest recommends GoMo from Google, a program that instructs business owners and startups about mobile websites and how to find help setting one up.

Obvious Omissions

Don’t make the mistake of omitting obvious business-related information like hours, location and how to contact you. Make sure this info is prominently displayed all across your site so that it’s easy to find. Consumers who have to hunt for it may not bother and move on to your competition. And have a process in place to follow up on all inquiries.

Offer-less Ordering

Encourage people to sign up or order with special offers or calls to action. Some options are free trials, discounts or a newsletter. Give visitors to your site some direction and they’ll most likely follow it.

Dorky Design

Website design is not all about looking pretty, says BizBest. “It’s about creating a great user experience and being highly functional and effective at attracting, keeping and converting customers,” it explains. “Obvious cookie-cutter sites and over-the-top images undercut your goals. Customers are there because they want to accomplish something, and your design needs to reflect that.” This means keeping order and lead-generation forms simple because the more information you require, the fewer people will fill it out.

Laughably Link-less

The goal of being online is to be found by prospective customers. Search engines take notice of the number of quality sites that link to yours, and they’re more likely to do that if you offer helpful information such as tips, whitepapers, newsletters, press releases, a blog and the like. Another approach is to seek links from professional associations, clients and vendors.

Unborn Updates

Incorrect or outdated info on your website really makes you look old and out of touch. “If your latest press release is three years old or other content is clearly aging, customers will wonder how up-to-date and vibrant your business really is,” BizBest points out. It advises that you review and update all content on a regular basis to keep your site fresh, timely and a place people want to visit.

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 Casting a Critical Eye on Your Small Business Website

Beth Longware

Beth Longware Duff is a professional editor and award-winning writer whose work on a wide variety of topics has been published in print and electronic media. She currently writes on a wide range of topics dealing with electronic payment processing for Merchant Express at www.merchantexpress.com.

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