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Aug 15, 2017

10 Biggest Mistakes On A New Business Website

Creating a new business website is an important step in an organization’s marketing plan. However, many times businesses make some common mistakes that can make the new website clumsy at best and ineffective at worst. Here are a 10 of the biggest mistakes to avoid:

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1. Using Poor Quality Images

The visual presentation of your website is crucial to creating a professional appearance and gaining trust from your customers, both current and future. Using poor quality images is simply unacceptable and damages your credibility as well. People are visual by nature and attracted to things that are beautiful. When you load your website with photos that are low quality, unfocused, blurry, or unprofessional you are sending a distinct message to your potential customers, and it’s a message that says your business is low quality, unfocused, and unprofessional. This is not how you want your website to represent you.

To keep this from happening always make sure that all photos on your site are clear, vibrant, relevant, and professional. If you are having trouble taking quality photographs yourself then hire a professional to do it for you. It is always best to have all the photos on your website be original and directly reflecting you and your business.

However, if you have to revert to some stock photos on your site then here are a few more tips for obtaining quality photos:

  • Don’t use Google photos. It will take your readers all but two seconds to realize they have seen these photos before all over the internet. Also, you could very well be infringing on someone’s copyrighted materials if you do this.
  • Purchase photos from a quality stock photo site. Everyone wants to keep expenses down. I get it. However, you get what you pay for. Free usually means less impressive photos and the need to credit someone for their work on your site. Purchasing the photos from a site like iStock.com or Shutterstock.com usually gives you the ability to use the photos on your website without crediting the work. Be aware though that there are different licenses available and that some do require you to credit the photographer, so make sure you read the rules first.
  • Make sure all photos are relevant. It’s tempting to grab the first beautiful picture you see because it has all the right colors to match your site, however if the photo is irrelevant to what your website is about it will confuse your customers and may damage your company’s core message. Always make sure that the photos you use directly reflect what your website and business is about. Keep not only the photos crisp and clear but your brand and message clear as well.

For more information on taking great looking photographs, check out this article called “Product Photography on a Budget” here.

2. Copying Text From the Manufacturer of Your Products or Any Other Website

It’s tempting to copy text for one of your products or services from another website or manufacturer. I mean, why try to perfect something that’s already been perfected, right? Well there are many reasons not to do this and foremost in mind is plagiarism. Many companies have the content on their websites copyright protected and copying it into your site can cause anywhere from minor problems, people notice you’ve done it causing your reputation to take a dive, to major problems, the manufacturer of your products breaks off relations with you or worse sues you. It’s just not worth it. Now it is okay to see how other sites and manufacturers have their descriptions worded in order to see what works and what doesn’t, but it’s always best to write everything on your website to suit your business and its needs in your own words. If you’re not the wordy type though, fear not, there are many freelance writers who can do all this for you.
Another issue with copying text from other sources online is that it can damage your search engine rankings. When duplicate text is used on multiple sites on the internet the powers that be notice. If the original source is not sited on your website, you can be penalized when it comes to your search engine rankings and that can be very damaging to you and your business. Bottom line, just don’t do it. Take the time to restate the idea you want to get across in your own words and with your own style. It may take a little extra effort on your part but it is worth it.

3. Poor or Complicated Navigation

website design

Make sure you keep the amount of page navigation tabs at the top of your website to a minimum. Use only what is needed and nothing more. If you use any more than this the choices are too confusing and it clutters up the website. If your site has so many navigation tabs that there is a second line of page tabs then it clearly has too many. Most websites should have these basic page navigation tabs: Home, About, Contact, Products, and a few other relevant pages.

4. Cluttered/Crowded Web Design

It’s human nature to want to fill every bit of space on a website with some content but doing so can make the site look cluttered, give your readers too much to look at, and cause vital information to be lost in the sea of text and pictures. This can be tiring and frustrating to your readers when they are trying to find specific information about you and/or your company. Remember that white space is your friend and it actually allows the information that you do put on your website to stand out and be found more easily.

5. Forgotten or Hidden Vital Information

Believe it or not, this is one that I see far too many times. If your customers cannot find vital information like your company’s phone number, address, hours of operation, or email address on your site within the first 5 seconds of landing on your website, you are going to lose them. Make sure this information is found easily and is located consistently on all pages of your website including the contact us page. Failing to do this one simple thing can cost you and your business money and customers which is the exact opposite of why you have a website in the first place.

6. Grammar or Spelling Errors

OOPS

In this day and age of technology and spell check, there should be no reason for grammar and spelling errors to appear on your website. Sure, we’re human and sometimes things slip by us but double and triple checking your website for grammar and spelling errors is an absolute must. Always remember that your website is a virtual representation of you and your business. If you have spelling errors and grammar mistakes on your website it sends the message to your customers that you pay no attention to detail, do not strive to high standards, and are too lazy to care about how your business is represented. Now none of this is true, of course, but that’s the impression your customers will take away from it. Do not let them leave your website with that impression.

7. Lack of Social Proof or Credibility

One of the best ways to show people who you are, what you stand for, and how well you serve your customers is to show them what others say about you and your business. Collecting testimonials from satisfied customers and displaying them on your website can go a long way in convincing potential new customers to buy your products or services. The fact is that most people want to hear about other customers’ experiences with a company before they decide to do business with them. Testimonials are a great way to do that and displaying them on your website makes them visible to everyone who finds their way to your site.
Another way to provide social proof of the quality and standard of your services or products is to display any awards your company has received and to have a page that displays your company’s portfolio of clients served and services you’ve provided to them. This gives potential new customers visual proof of the quality of your products and services which helps to make the decision-making process much easier for them.

8. Lack of Social Media Integration

Sure, having a website is an absolute necessity for businesses today but if the website has no social media integration to help get your message out to the masses you’re making your life harder than it has to be. Why is social media so important? Pew Research Center has been tracking social media usage of the American public since 2005 and they’ve found that 76% of the public uses some type of social media, most of them check their social media sites more than once a day, and the average person spends up to 2 hours a day on social media alone. That’s a lot of eyes that your business will not be grabbing if your website lacks social media integration.

Ideally, you want to help your readers and customers share the content of your site with their friends, family, and coworkers and you also want to be able to have your website information shared directly to your business’ social media sites as well.

9. Not Building a Mobile Responsive Website

Responsive design on devices isolated on white

This is a huge one. Your site must be a mobile responsive website. Why? Because 80% of time spent on social media is now done on mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets and, according to the analytics firm Flurry, people are spending up to 5 hours a day on their mobile devices. If your site is not mobile ready you’re missing out on a lot of traffic all throughout the day. Mobile responsive sites also perform better in SEO rankings, provide a better user experience, and automatically adapt to whatever device the viewer is viewing your website on. More adaptability simple means more chances to attract people to your site and ultimately to your business.

10. Cheap Website and Email Hosting

Sure, everyone wants to save as much money as possible especially when you’re trying to run a business. However, there are certain things where keeping costs too low is not recommended. Your website and email hosting are two of them.

There are a lot of free to low-cost web and email hosting sites out there but what you gain in savings you lose in reliability and security. When a website or email is free to low-cost you lose a lot of flexibility to design your website exactly as you want it to look, the dependability of the hosting is usually poor to non-existent, and the security of your data and website are very rarely protected. Do you want your business website and email in the hands of hosting sites like that? I am pretty sure the answer is no. When creating your business website, security and reliability should be at the foremost of your thoughts and concerns. Without those two things your business’ bottom line could be seriously at stake.

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