What is the true cost of your website? Is it turning your potential customers away?
by KATE MATTHEWS
IS YOUR website making a great impression? Is it engaging? Does it reflect your business brand? Can people find it? And if you don’t have a website, why not?
So many questions… but they all need to be answered if you are going to have a successful online presence for your business. According to Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses online. Can you afford to NOT have a great website?
We thought we’d take a look at a few common mistakes that can turn away your potential customers in minutes, as well as a few of the things that (we think) make a website stand out from the crowd.
1. Visual design
There are several elements to visual design, but together they create your brand, deliver your message, and sell your product. Or do they? Don’t turn your potential customers away by creating a bad first impression.
Now I’m not saying YOUR website is ugly, but I’m sure you’ll agree that there are far too many websites out there that do suffer from (a term I have just coined): Ugly Website Syndrome (UWS).
Common mistakes include poor layout, difficult site navigation, clashing colours, hard to read fonts, flashing lights, typos and ugly images. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. And don’t think that being on a shoestring budget will allow you to be forgiven for such faux pas! It won’t. A bad website will just make you – and your business – look cheap.
Even if you don’t have web programming skills, or a big budget, you can use a variety of templates and FREE website builders to help get you started. We love Wix, Blogger, and WordPress. But there are many more out there.
2. CURRENT CONTENT
When is the last time you updated your website, or even checked the information is still current and effective? We recommend checking your website over thoroughly at least once a week, and updating or tweaking it as necessary. Keeping it fresh will also help you rank better with search engines, something every business should have high on their priority list. There is no excuse for out of date content on your site. If you haven’t updated your website recently, you can be sure it is hurting your business, so do something about it, today.
3. ONE CLICK POLICY
One of the most important pieces of information on your website is your contact information. Is it easy to find? It should only ever be one click away from ANY page on your site. In fact, all key pages of your site should only ever take one click to find.
4. INTEGRATE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
The marketing world agrees: social media probably the most important tool right now for reaching out and connecting with your past, present, and future customers. Make sure you link your website to your preferred social media platforms. It should be easy for your guests to find the link and connect with you in ‘real time’.
If you haven’t created a business page on Facebook yet, what are you waiting for? It’s dead easy, and very cost-effective (free). Here’s a great post which highlights the value of Facebook marketing for all types of businesses, written by Lisa Marie Robinson on her blog, The Market Place.
But a word of warning. Don’t put all your marketing eggs in the one social media basket. There’s no doubt Facebook is a great marketing tool, but it shouldn’t be your ONLY one. You don’t own that little piece of Facebook real estate, no matter how well it’s working for your business.
At the very least, you might like to consider using a mix of media platforms. The ones you choose are up to you, but with many people actively using Twitter and Facebook, it would be wise to at least investigate your options. By linking them to your website or blog, you’ll have a completely integrated media package.
5. Register your business with google MAPS
Sounds simple, right? But many DIY webmasters skip this step and wonder why their business website flounders in a sea of online content. Click this link and follow the steps.
What is holding you back from blogging your biz? One of my favourite virtual business mentors, Karen Gunton, has written a great article on why blogging is a great tool for small businesses. A great and informative read, will definitely get you thinking.
Ask a friend (or three) to look at your site objectively. And beg them to be brutally honest. Give them a checklist. You may like to include things like;
- Is my site easy to find with a search engine? What key words worked best? And what didn’t?
- Is my site easy to navigate?
- Are my contact details easy to find?
- What was your first impression?
- What are five words that you would use to describe my site?
Got a few seconds to take our poll and/or leave a comment?