5 Common Website Mistakes Made By Small Businesses

Upon starting my website design and hosting agency for small local businesses – I found a ton of websites that were just awful. After reaching out to the businesses, I want to put together the 5 common website mistakes made by small businesses.

You can find this on Medium and Facebook too!

Introduction

If you have a small business, you are likely making these 5 mistakes. Maybe without even realising it!

Now, when I do reach out to a small business they often get defensive too. I’ve contact some businesses about bad sites and they reply with ‘It’s okay, we handle it ourselves *hangs up* or ‘It doesn’t get us any money anyway’. Both of these are examples of the business viewing their website backwards.

We Handle It Ourselves

If I wanted to be a really good swimmer, would I get help from an electrician or a professional swimmer?

The answer is so simple when I boil it down to that simple example, but so many local businesses fall into the trap of handling the website themselves or worse; having a friend or family member do it.

Unless you have the time to run a business and a website at the same time, or your family or friend are professionals and can do an amazing job, you’re not going to stand a chance against a company that uses divisional labour and specialises in what they actually do.

It Doesn’t Get Us Money – Why Bother?

This one boils my blood the most – strong statement, but It’s me being honest. If something isn’t working, why stay the same? Things only get better when effort is put into them.

Your car doesn’t get you any money, but you still upkeep it. The amount of small businesses that have a freshly cleaned van but a website clinging on for it’s life is huge! Why do to the effort of making sure your van is presentable when your website, the online face of your company, is covered in dirt, won’t start and hasn’t passed it’s MOT?

5 Common Website Mistakes Made By Small Businesses

Okay, so now my mildly offensive rant is over lets cover off what I think are the 5 most common issues with a website made and managed by a local business.

I’ve not put them in any particular order, so if you find your business website has any of these issues I’d put them on your to-do list for next week.

Insecure

Having a search engine view your site as insecure is awful for so many reasons. For one, the browser might refuse to open your site or display a warning, which has the huge potential of turning a customer away. Imagine if you went to use an ATM, and there was a sign above it saying ‘INSECURE’, would you use it?

5 Common Website Mistakes Made By Small Businesses - insecure

Another reason for this being a problem is with ecommerce. If you sell products on your website, digital or physical, you need to have a secure check-out method. Passing bank or credit card details over a plain old HTTP link is soooo 1997. Lower than this is any type of sensitive information. I would never put details into a website that is showing as insecure. My name, address, phone number… nothing.

Finally, this shows that your business might be one of the following: out of business; not care; no time or tech illiterate.

All of these are bad for their own reasons:

Have they really gone out of business?

Who handles this website, why have they not fixed this?

If they can’t find time to fix this, will they find time to provide post sales support?

If they can’t fix their website, how can they provide a cohesive solution for me?

Default Icons

A website is the one place on the internet where you can pick and chose exactly how customers and clients view your brand. It’s the only place where you have full control to mould how your business appears. So why would you not use your own logo?

default icons - Amandas Blinds

I’ve used this example in the past but it’s still the default icon. I honestly can’t believe it.

For a company formed around design and elegance, this is a huge miss on their side. You can also see that the website was last updated in 2020. That’s 4 years ago…

Alongside this issue is using overused and obvious stock photography throughout the website. I don’t know about you, but when I see the header image is a generic stock photo, I immediately don’t want to hand over my money.



Ineffective Call-To-Action (CTA)

If you fail to include a clear way for customers to progress, they won’t.

Having a main page that has an about us, our services, our products and a ton of information is not effective. People want a clear way to buy your products, or contact you directly.

No more of this, ‘we strive to offer excellence in providing you the best possible service possible ever in the world please we promise we really need your money‘. It doesn’t work. It’s cheesy, long winded and discouraging.

What do people do when they know you’re instantly trying to sell them a product? They put up their guard. If you’re in person or on the phone, you could counter and still be able to sell, but when it’s a website they can just click off and not come back. Opting instead for your competition.

Ineffective Call-To-Action (CTA)

I’ve chosen the example above because the first thing you see when the website loads, is a blurry image, poorly formatted content and a huge block of text that no one is going to read.

Ignoring SEO

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is essential for even small businesses. It allows Google to recommend your website higher than you competition, with the hope of increasing your company’s revenue.

In the below image you can see how they missed out on potential keywords like: thurnscoe landscaping; thurnscoe paving; thurnscoe joinery; thurnscoe fencing contractors… the list goes on for a while.

However, so often I see small business owners building the website themselves and either not knowing what SEO is or not incorporating it. There’s a saying that I often refer to for things like this:

When in doubt, leave it out

But leaving SEO out of your website will make it harder or impossible for Google to recommend you for the keywords you want to get customers from. If you’re a drainage company but you don’t include phrases like ‘local drainage experts‘ or ‘Thurnscoe drainage exports‘ lightly dusted throughout your content, then you’re missing out big time!

Optimising tags, headers, keywords and the URLs themselves all go together to build your reputation with search engines.

Unless you are spending a ton on advertising, you’ll find that websites build without SEO in mind suffer from low traffic and rank positions.

Responsive Design

It’s 2024, most of your traffic is going to come from mobile devices so it’s essential to cater for them when building your professional website.

Please, please, please don’t build your website for desktop users and stop there. It’s like stopping 6 out of 10 customers from entering your shop because you want the front door to be on it’s side. Silly..

tachart

The above example shows just how visitors will view your professional business website – not so professional after all.

However, it’s a similar story of not wanting to fix it because they don’t see the value since no sales come through their website. Horse before the cart, no wonder no one buys through your website.

It’s extra sad since most modern website solutions are prebuilt to be responsive and you have to work pretty hard to break that functionality.

Conclusion

I like to think I’ve covered off everything I wanted to discuss today. These are by far the 5 most common issues I see with the business websites around me. And after talking to many of the business owners, they are happy to keep providing these websites to their customers.

I think there’s a lot of confusion too – many businesses get websites built for them by the terrible agencies that usually go out of business in a couple years and leave them without maintenance. But even for 4 years ago, these websites need to be burned and rebuilt.

Too many business owners have been burned by website agencies in the past, that they don’t even want to think about their own website. Which is why I chose to stay as a sole trader, I don’t want to hide behind a business. This is my name on the line, not a company name that can be changed or dissolved at a moments notice.

I really appreciate you ready this, hopefully it’s shined some light on why your business website isn’t working for you.

As always, reach out if you need my services:

7 Reasons I Should Manage Your Website

Enjoy! 🎉

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