Running a small business is no easy task. And keeping on top of all the latest and greatest web trends is definitely not on the top of your to-do list, I am sure.
But there are a lot of mistakes that many small business owners make with their website that are costing them customers!
These are things that can have a huge impact on your website and business.
In this post I want to highlight 6 of the biggest mistakes I see small business making on their websites and how you can go about fixing them.
No Regular & Targeted Content
One of the biggest mistakes I see businesses making with their websites is assuming that once it is ready, they can sit back and reap the rewards.
That used to be the case, but in 2015 you need to constantly create new content that is useful for your current and potential customers.
This usually means blogging or video blogging (whichever you like more). But if you only do video, make sure to include transcripts in your posts so Google will know what the content is about.
Why is content so important anyway?
Well, unless you have more business than you know what to do with (and if so please get in touch), then you want to be found on Google. In order for this to happen, you need great content that is keyword targeted.
To reiterate: that means writing a blog post regularly (whether that is once a day, once a week, or twice a month is up to you) on a topic that is relevant to what you sell and helps your customers.
Here is an example I always use:
Imagine you sell pool equipment. You want people to find you when they are searching for that kind of equipment, right? Sure, but also for related searches like
- how to clean my pool
- what is the right chlorine balance
- how warm should my pool be
…and so on.
Think like a customer. Write down common questions and problems you know your customers have and write blog posts (or videos) about that. You will be amazed what you know that they do not.
Then they will find you on Google and come to you when they need pool related stuff!
If you want some more information on how to create customer relevant content check out this article on Business Blogging.
No Visuals Within Content or Social Media
Moving on from plain old vanilla content (text only), I want to highlight something that is becoming the key to your success in the current climate of short attention spans.
It is now an absolute must to have visuals in your content. Even if it is just an amazing header image, like the one in this post!
This article on Hubspot highlights the importance of images stating:
- photo posts received 84% more link clicks than our text and link posts
- photo posts [on Facebook] attracted 104% more comments than the average post
Images are crucial to getting attention, engagement and sharing on social media. Which means more business for you. And in fact this trend is increasing with more and more tools focusing on this area like Canva (for easy image creation) and MavSocial (image focused social media management). And we will see even more tools coming in 2015.
Your blog posts should have at least one related image in them (at the beginning) and perhaps more if it gets a little long (let’s say 1000 words or more). People are reluctant to read large blocks of text, and adding related and interesting visuals will help keep them interested.
Try using following kinds of images (depending on the post content):
- Product images (catalog images, or you using the product)
- Images related to the content (sometimes you have to think laterally to find an image that fits)
- Infographics are powerful ways to present information visually
- Graphs and charts when talking about data and numbers
There are loads of ways you can include visuals in your posts. So get in the habit of doing it each and every time you create a post.
And if you need some more help getting started with images, check out this post on using images, which includes some great tips, tools and ideas for your blog or website.
Non SEO-Optimised Content
After you have your content and your related visuals, it is time to make sure it is SEO optimised.
What do I mean by that?
If you are writing on a specific topic (like pool cleaning in the example above) you need to optimise your content for that topic. And one great way of doing this is to do a little keyword research to see what searches people are actually doing on this topic.
By doing keyword research with a tool like Long Tail Pro or Google Keyword Planner you can find the exact phrases people use and how many times a month they are estimated to be searched for.
[su_note]FREE BONUS: Watch our free video where Spencer Haws shows you how to find more keywords for your business![/su_note]
Tips and Tricks:
- If you are not familiar with keywords, check out this article to find out more
- A quick how to use Google Keyword Planner (to find keywords) will also get you started
Quick Keyword Example:
Let’s take a quick look at the example Pool Tile Cleaning.
You will find that the broad phrase Pool Cleaning has 2900 searches a month.
But we want to dig deeper and find longer phrases that are more targeted and specific to what you are writing about.
Instead, I found that the term how to clean pool tiles has 110 searches a month. It is probably more easily ranked for in Google, and really describes what my post is about as well.
These are the kinds of longer terms you want to go for.
So in short you should be learning how to do:
- Simple keyword research (to optimise your chances on Google)
- SEO optimisation on your content using On Page SEO
It might take a little bit of trial and error to learn these two skills, but they are well worth the effort.
Difficult to Find Contact Information
This is a smaller topic, but still very important for businesses online.
Having your contact information readily available on your website is key to your success in business.
Think about it. You search for a restaurant, or a cleaning company or even an SEO company like mine. You do lots of research, find the right company and then you can’t find the email address or phone number!
Customer lost. What a waste.
So what kinds of contact information should you display?
If you are a local business this could mean:
- address (Google Map also)
- phone number
And if you are only online, then just email/phone number.
Whichever of these are the most useful in your business (for me it is email, for physical businesses it could be phone), put them in your website header and/or footer so people won’t have to search for them.
A contact page is also crucial. And it should have all of the above as well as a simple contact form so people can write to you directly from your website.
Such a form will send you an email straight into your inbox, so make sure you monitor it.
Your Website Is Not Mobile Ready (aka Mobile Responsive)
According to StatCounter
Mobile internet usage in the US has grown by 73% over the last 12 months to reach 24.4% in August.
And in 2015 you will see mobile internet usage growing even more.
So if your website does not look great on a mobile phone or tablet you need to do something about this asap.
One simple way to check your site is to use this tool. I also recommend you check it on actual physical devices (at least a few phones and tablets, even at a store). You might be surprised by what works, or not, and how easy/hard it is to use. That is what your customers experience every day. So pay attention.
Having a horrible mobile website is a great way to really lose customers. People hate having to pinch and zoom and try to hunt for what they are looking for. If you site does not help them quickly they will hit the back button and go to your competitors. End of story.
I make sure all of my customer’s sites are mobile ready and it can be done easily with a Mobile Responsive theme on WordPress.
Ask your web developer if you need help.
Slow Load Times
Last, but certainly not least, is website load times.
This is important for two main reasons:
- Google likes fast websites (and measures them constantly) so it helps move you higher on Google
- Website visitors do not like slow sites (less than 3 seconds at least)
If your site is too slow, then you risk losing your visitors, just like with non-mobile ready websites. People want everything now, and if they have to wait – Boom! they hit the back button and find another site that loads faster. Patience is a thing of the past.
So take the following two steps today:
Test Your Website: Use this great tool to see how fast your site loads (test it two or three times to get an average). If you are not under 3 seconds, then it is time to take a good look at your website.
Make Your Site Faster: Here is a detailed post I just wrote that shows you the kinds of steps you can take to solve this problem and shave 1-2 seconds or more of your load times.
Some things have a huge impact on your business, and your website is one of them. So make sure you don’t fall into the trap of ignoring the important stuff and losing customers.
Tackle the above list one at a time, even picking the simplest ones first (like contact details) and you will see improvements in your business in no time.
Hey, thanks for the post. FYI, I’m seeing a 404 on the link for Make Your Site Faster.
Thanks, Tom – should be fixed!
thanks for nice post Ashley
love the illustrations and contents.nice post.
The sad truth about sites who deliberately choose to make their contact page an exercise in hunting is that they don’t want you to contact them. This is typical for e-commerce sites. It’s so obvious and it makes me shake my head. Don’t the players in the e-commerce space realize how easy it can be to stand out from the crowd and be “top of mind” due to great customer experiences?
You are so right Alex. And in fact it is not only them. Even service businesses can suck at it too. Like restaurants without easy to find address, phone and …. menu! not in pdf form so I don’t have to download it on my phone. OMG