Your website is the face of your small business. For the vast majority of consumers, that’s all they know about your business – and what they see and experience there directly influences the ultimate decision about whether or not to purchase your products or services. As a result, every effort should be made to design and build a site that’s visually pleasing, easy to navigate and answers a customer’s question.
But many small business websites are flawed, with some critical errors that blunt a customer’s desire to buy and keep the business from growing. Here are seven reasons why these websites fail to deliver.
1. The site doesn’t appeal to the target audience. Whatever you’re selling, there’s a target audience for it – and the information you gather on this audience should influence the site’s design and content. A younger demographic is likely to respond more favorably to bright colors, eye-catching imagery and brash headlines. Customers in an older age bracket should see images that reflect their group and there should be liberal use of larger font sizes and uncomplicated navigation. Don’t try to please everyone. Design a site that’s certain to appeal to the people you most want to reach.
2. Navigation is confusing and frustrating for users. Visitors to your site want information. If that information is disorganized or broken up on different pages with no apparent rhyme or reason, people won’t stick around for long. Make sure the homepage clearly announces who you are and what you have to offer. Go from this “global” information to more focused details on different pages – with links that clearly indicate where the visitor can go next.
Dead links that take visitors to a external non-existing page or, worse, to an empty page on your own site should be avoided at all costs. They give the impression of a sloppy, incompetent business – one they’re not inclined to patronize.
3. Content is stale and/or boring. It’s not enough to put up a website, slap some content on it and move to the next thing. In order to attract prospective customers, you should continuously post fresh updates about your products or services, as well as related news about your business and, if possible, articles or blog posts that answer consumer questions. (Maintaining a blog on your site means posting something new at least once a week to keep people coming back and improve your SEO ranking.) Content that never changes gives the appearance your business is either gone or just treading water.
4. The site is slow to load. Flashy design is a tricky thing to pull off. If you go too far, the site looks crowded and gimmicky. Worse yet, the site becomes slow to load – and nothing kills a visitor’s interest more than having to wait for your site to appear in its entirety. Best website design advice? Keep it simple.
5. There’s no clear call-to-action. So visitors come to your site – now what? Every page should have some call-to-action, whether it’s inviting them to sign up for your newsletter, take a step closer to purchasing your product or contacting you for more information. Never leave people wondering what the next step should be.
6. The shopping cart doesn’t work properly. Once customers decide to buy, the check-out process should be simple and easy to follow. If there’s a glitch in the process and they have to start all over again, they’ll probably opt to go elsewhere.
7. The websites isn’t “mobile-friendly.” If you know your target audience, you know their buying habits. These days, that frequently means they’re inclined to buy through their mobile devices. A site that’s mobile-compatible will result in repeat visits from customers who primarily shop by smartphone or tablet.
We can help you develop a custom website that gets results for your business. To learn more about our website design services, or to get started with your eCommerce website, call our web design experts at 1-855-284-3722.