Common Small Business Website Errors You Must Avoid!
Updated August 2023
These Common Mistakes Hurt Your Website Engagement and Conversions!
Your small business website is an integral part of the branding and image of your small businesses. It serves as a place where potential and existing customers can explore and interact with your brand. But if you make any of these common small business website errors, you significantly reduce the effectiveness of your website and your online marketing efforts.
Bad web design is bad for your business!
A unique and compelling website isn’t an option anymore. Having a poor site causes businesses to lose customers, and that is money out the door. Unfortunately, this occurs with an alarming frequency. Many small business owners design their own websites to save money and have more control over the project. Unfortunately, sometimes they don’t truly understand the concepts of good web design, leading to a less-than-ideal website.
Web design, at its essence, is a form of art. And like art, web design looks to give its viewers an experience. Web design is meant to combine form and function in a way that makes a website enjoyable, navigable, interesting, and usable. To do this, there are certain spoken and unspoken “rules” web designers must follow.
Since it is responsible for capturing your brand’s spirit, essence, and vision, the design of your small business website is critical. To prevent bad web design from repelling potential customers, here are fifteen common small business website design errors you must avoid!
15 Common Small Business Website Mistakes
Not Representing Your Business
Studies have shown that visitors judge the quality of a company and its services by their impression of its website. Fair or not, this means that if your website doesn’t reflect your company’s look, feel, quality, or culture, you may be losing the opportunity to connect with new customers.
We often hear businesses share that they feel uncomfortable sending people to their website because it doesn’t give off the impression they want to portray or it doesn’t provide enough information on the full range of products and services offered.
Another common small business website mistake is the dreaded “confused brand” website. The confused site features a variety of typefaces, images, color palettes, and themes, none of which relate to each other.
This error occurs for several reasons. It can happen when you don’t know your brand image well. You can easily fall into this trap when you like too many design templates and want to use them all.
It can also happen when trying to convey too many ideas at once and viewing your site as individual components rather than holistically. When designing a website, choose one theme, logo, and typeface, and stay with them across all other aspects of your site.
Outdated Website Design
You know who you are.
If your site looks like some kind of throwback to the 90s, it’s time to update. Generally, people know when their site design is terrible, but not always! If it’s been a while, it may be worth reaching out to some trusted experts and getting an honest opinion.
An outdated website design tells your visitors that you are likely cheap, outdated, and out-of-touch. If it’s bad enough, your website may be worse than having no website. Anyone who sees it will head for the hills faster than you can say, “Al Gore Invented the Internet”.
If you take your business seriously, you need to take your website seriously.
Focused on Design Instead of Functionality
Many small businesses focus on the website’s design, colors, and layout instead of the content and functionality. A pleasant color and layout scheme are critical to attracting visitors. However, it can be distracting and confuse customers if the website is overly flashy, glamorous, or busy.
When you have too many visuals on your site, your website does nothing for your business. People want to understand what a website is about as soon as they get to it. They can’t do that if there’s a lot of visual clutter. The result is that they’re likely to leave.
You must make your business website as decluttered as possible.
Ensure your small business website is clear, clean, and well-organized. Have a clear focal point on your website. All the other visuals on your site should complement the focal point. Having a decluttered website also allows for the CTA to stand out. That increases the chances of your website visitors taking action.
Some small businesses do not pay enough attention to the usability of their websites. The home page may look great, and the site could contain plenty of helpful content.
But, if users cannot quickly see ways to navigate the site, they will not waste time hunting for what they need. So, make sure that the menu on your website is easy to find and use. And provide a search facility on your site too.
Simple navigation menus are a must for your small business website. Keep your menu links and tabs as short and descriptive as possible. Lack of an easy to use navigation system can exasperate and drive away visitors.
Don’t make the mistake of hiding the navigational components. It is best to stick with placing things like menus and search boxes where people expect to find them: at the top, where they are easy to locate.
Poor Use of Content and Whitespace
Small businesses want to convey as much information about their brand to potential customers as possible. And content is a crucial part of your website and marketing campaign. Content tells readers about your business and the products or services you offer.
However, a cluttered and packed website can be a huge turn-off. If your small business website contains too much information, text, or images, you will likely confuse and turn off visitors. Pay careful attention to the fonts you choose and how the content appears on the page.
Typeface conveys your brand image in addition to the actual words you write, so make sure you pick a legible and attractive font. Make good use of white space to bring the eye around your site and make large blocks of text less intimidating.
Incorporating too much text into their websites is a big mistake many people make. Break text up where possible and use visual elements to represent concepts. Be sure to update your content continuously; otherwise, customers might think you are no longer in business.
Photos and graphics are also an integral part of web design. Images can convey complex thoughts quickly without having to physically read text. Many businesses inexplicably use irrelevant images or low-quality images.
Images that aren’t of the highest quality will diminish the visual appeal of your website and turn off visitors. Likewise, irrelevant images will only confuse your readers, making them wonder what you’re trying to convey.
No Effective Call-to-Action (CTA)
Your CTA ensures that your site visitors know what you want them to do next. It instructs consumers as to where they can click to learn more about your small business, sign up for your newsletter, or shop online. An unclear or confusing CTA will result in lower engagement and conversions.
Your CTAs must be optimized correctly to generate as many clicks as possible. That means you should avoid a wordy CTA. The CTA should not be used to explain. It should only be used to command action. All the explaining should be done within the webpage.
Hidden Contact Info
One of the most common small business website errors is to hide your contact info! The moment visitors decide to make a purchase or use your services is crucial. It’s imperative they have the necessary contact information the second they decide you’re the right company for them.
If a visitor must search through your site for contact info, he or she will likely get frustrated and leave. Your “Contact Us” page should always be just one click away, or your information should be at the bottom of every page.
Excessive Third-Party Advertising
Many small businesses like to stretch their website budget by selling at least some advertising space on their website. However, too many ads or noisy and flashy ads will frustrate your visitors and make you lose business. If the advertisements pop up too often or cover essential areas on your website, they will annoy the visitors, compelling them to leave.
Analyze your ads like a hawk; if they annoy you even in the slightest, they’ll undoubtedly do the same to your visitors. Pay extra attention to pop-ups. While they’re generally making a comeback, make sure they’re easy to close and not full-screen size. Therefore, place ads prudently.
Not Focusing on Your Target Market
Another of the more common small business website errors is lack of focus! If a business is unaware of its target market and tries to satisfy the interests of all kinds of visitors, it will sabotage the brand’s clarity of purpose. Therefore, you must identify your target market and stick to it!
The design of your website must be appropriate for your business and target audience. For example, the colors and fonts you would use for a site selling children’s toys would be different from those used on an accountant’s website. Trying to appeal to a too-broad audience can also be a mistake. So, design your website specifically for the most likely people to buy your products or services.
Explore your target audience, focus on what matters most to them, and give them the features that they most need. Ask the following questions to avoid mistakes in web design in the future:
- What are they looking for on your website?
- What will aid them in their search?
- What distracts and annoys them?
Not Speaking Their Language
Focusing on your target market also allows you to speak the language your audience expects. You will only confuse and alienate your audience if you rely too much on industry buzzwords, technical jargon, or marketing mumbo-jumbo.
Business jargon and industry buzzwords interfere with online communication with your audience. Although it may sound professional, it can be a big turnoff to visitors outside the related industry. This disconnect can lead to several problems, such as losing the visitor’s attention, creating a gap between clients and the company, and making your audience feel ignorant or insecure.
On your small business website, content must inform and persuade visitors, so using buzzwords and jargon can be counterproductive to what you’re trying to achieve. Putting yourself in the audience’s shoes is an efficient way to navigate messaging. You want to use words representing your brand but also ensure clear communication.
This frequent small business website error is a huge red flag for your site visitors!
Your website is never “finished.” It’s essential to keep your website up-to-date with fresh content, photos, and videos to engage your visitors. If you don’t, your website will quickly become stale and outdated.
Relevant website content is one of the critical factors determining whether a website will be successful. Your website must include up-to-date information about your products and services to help potential customers learn more about your business and what you offer.
Adding a blog is one of the best ways to keep your website up-to-date. A blog is a great way to share new information about your business and can help you attract new visitors to your website. Post new content regularly and promote your blog posts on social media.
Grammatical and Spelling Errors
And the last of our common small business website errors are unfortunately also a widespread shortcoming. Grammatical and spelling mistakes can hurt your credibility. One way to avoid them is to engage the services of a professional copywriter.
If you intend to create your content, be sure to proofread it to avoid mistakes carefully. This tool will help you avoid common spelling and grammatical errors.
Did You Make Any of These Common Small Business Website Errors?
If you made any of the above common small business website errors, you must fix them immediately. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to attract new visitors to your small business website and convert them into your product or service consumers.
Take a good look at your small business website. What do you see? Is this what you want your potential customers to see when they first visit your site? If the answer is yes, you are done and may now go and have a double espresso. Good for you!
But if you can identify even one of our common small business website errors on your website, you may need professional help. Creating effective website content, building search engine-friendly links, and building a useful small business website takes a lot of different skills. Doing this yourself is very tempting, but we do not recommend it! Get the results you need and hire a professional.
We Can Help You Avoid Common Small Business Website Errors!
Then, if you believe we are a good fit for your small business web design needs, let’s talk! We offer a full range of consulting and design solutions for businesses and product brands.
And if you are still unsure how to build a successful website for your small business, let’s talk. We will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine how to build a successful website for your business or product brand!
How Did You Avoid Website Mistakes?
Did you know about these errors when you built your small business website? If so, did they affect your engagement and conversions? Did you eliminate these errors? If so, did you notice improved performance on your website? Maybe you have website errors you can share?
Please leave your comments below so our audience can benefit as well, and grab our feed so you don’t miss our next post! And help other business owners get an excellent small business website without making any of these errors by sharing this post with them!
For more content relevant to your business or product brand – check out the range of articles on our web design blog. (This one, explaining the importance of user experience in web design, is an excellent place to start!)
Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!