If you’re a small business owner, you know that your website is one of the most important marketing tools you have at your disposal early on. Before you can afford to dump a bunch of money into expensive local ads and radio commercials, you’re going to attract customers and clients through the web. So how can you make sure that your website is optimized to best present your brand and capture potential leads?
As an established web design company in Columbus, Ohio, our team here at Signal Interactive has had the pleasure of working with dozens of small business owners who are making their first splash on the web with a small business website. There are a variety of paths to take when conceiving and designing your small business website but before you get carried away, you should probably be familiar with some of the most common web design mistakes small businesses make so that you don’t fall into the pit.
Getting in a Hurry
When you’re launching your small business on the web, it’s common to want to get something up as quick as possible. The thinking usually goes, “I’ll get something up there for now and improve it later on.” While this can work as a temporary strategy, usually what happens is that “placeholder” website ends up being your main web presence for the next few years while you worry about the other moving pieces of your business. Instead of rushing it, take the time early on to understand your target market and to craft a web design that suits the user experience you’re going for. Make sure the website design caters to your target demographic and is easy for them to use and navigate, that way you keep them interested for as long as possible.
Getting too Fancy
There are all kinds of bells and whistles that can be added to a website these days, and it’s tempting to be as flashy and fancy as possible to garner attention and appear “unique.” The reality, however, is often that overdoing the web design can be distracting and confusing to your website visitors. If someone just wants to know your hours of operation and they can’t get past the silly intro video you created or the pop-ups keep assaulting them like a game of whack-a-mole, you’ll likely lose the customer to a competitor website that isn’t so overwhelming. Keep it simple, communicate the necessary information, and opt for a clean, elegant design over flashy, fancy-pants theater.
No Clear Call to Action
A “Call to Action” or CTA is a clear point at which you ask the user to do something for you. This can be making a purchase, subscribing to an email list, liking your Facebook page, or downloading a piece of premium content like an ebook or brochure. It doesn’t matter what it is, but you have to make the end-goal clear and definable. You want to funnel your website visitors to a specific end point that benefits you in the long run. Usually this means capturing their information for future contact and marketing, but it can also just be picking up the phone to make a call to your office. Whatever it is, make sure your website is clear about the action your visitors should take, otherwise you’ll have all kinds of web traffic and no discernible results.
The internet is a dynamic, ever-changing place where people come to discover and exchange ideas. If your website is a fixed dinosaur that hasn’t changed in years, it will likely get ignored for lack of originality. Users and search engines alike prefer websites that are regularly updated with fresh, relevant content. If your site remains too stale or stagnant, it will fade into web obscurity and be forgotten. Keep a regularly updated blog as a simple means of adding new content to the site on a regular basis and try to freshen up the homepage each month.
Paying Too Much or Too Little
There are many options out there for hiring a web design company or a freelancer and it’s often difficult to decide where to place your investment. On one hand, you could hire a college kid to throw something together for you on the cheap, but as we all know, you often get what you pay for and these sites can sometimes be less than impressive. On the other hand, you can go to a high powered web agency and pay over $10,000 for a fancy pants website that ultimately doesn’t address your most essential marketing needs. The safest course is to do your homework and understand what you’re looking for. Usually you’ll want a web design company that also understand digital marketing so that your site is designed to capture leads and improve your sales bottom line.
If you have questions about what kind of website your business should build, our webheads are always available to help you out. Contact the team at Signal Interactive to learn about how you can get a professionally designed small business website at an affordable rate that can actually bring you new business.