It’s been said in one way or another over and over again, but it’s one of the most important statements to understand and put value in: Your website is the first impression many customers will have of you. No matter how enticing and beneficial your products or services are, you could be missing a large chunk of customers and clients for one major reason: your website design.
It’s easy to just focus on the big picture of your small business. You know what you want to offer, who you want to reach and where you want to be located. But you also need to focus on the details, and having a website that draws visitors in is a big detail that far too many business owners overlook.
Luckily, creating an attractive website is relatively easy to do. However, it will take some time and effort — and if you really want it done right, it’ll cost a few bucks. Whether you’re building your site yourself or hiring a pro to do it for you, avoid these 4 common mistakes to make sure you aren’t losing money:
- Slow Site Speed
When visitors come to your site, they don’t want to wait seven seconds (an eon in the internet age) for a page to load. They want almost instantaneous load speeds, and they want the information they’re looking for quickly. Not only that, but a slow site speed affects your search engine results rankings negatively. So if your site is slow, potential customers will have a harder time finding you — and if they are able to find you, they may not stay on your site for too long.
There are pretty easy ways to increase your page speed. Combing through your entire site to find issues to fix can be time-intensive, but there are tools like Google PageSpeed Insights that tell you pretty much exactly what needs to be fixed to speed up your site. Best of all, that tool is free and easy to use.
You can also take steps like leveraging a browser’s cache to speed up your site. Simply use a tool like YSlow to see what your site’s cache is set for, and change it as needed — often, 1 year is a good benchmark, unless your site changes often. Doing so means a user’s browser doesn’t have to reload the whole site every time they come back to visit, so they have a faster load time.
- Lack of Site Responsiveness
A couple years back, Google issued an ultimatum that websites needed to be responsive, or they would suffer in search engine result rankings. This ultimatum, dubbed “Mobilegeddon,” was the first time Google really addressed the issue of mobile sites being clunky. In order to really do well in rankings and appease your website visitors, no matter what platform they use, your site should look great on desktop, tablet and mobile — i.e., it should be responsive.
Think of it this way. About half of all users say unattractive websites, such as those that aren’t responsive, indicate a lack of credibility. About 94 percent said a bad website design is a main reason they’ll leave the page altogether. The message is clear, both from users and Google alike: Design a great site for every platform, or lose potential business — and risk losing money.
Don’t think you have to build separate sites for each platform, though. Most major web hosting and design companies, such as WordPress, GoDaddy, Wix and Squarespace, have options to automatically optimize your site for mobile. You just need to make an attractive website, make sure you like the design across each platform, and publish it.
- Difficult to Contact You
Contacting you — or, at least, a representative at your business — shouldn’t be a virtual scavenger hunt. Your contact information should be front and center on every page. The easiest way to do that is to list a phone number and place a “Contact” button on your main navigation bar. That way, it’s prominent and in the same place on every page of your site.
Simply having that contact option isn’t enough though. You must be responsive. Sure, phone calls are easy because your phone rings. But you may have set up a separate email address just to field emails coming from your site. You should have someone monitoring that inbox at all times so potential customers get rapid replies. That way, they aren’t caught by a competitor’s hook while they’re waiting to hear back from you.
- No Structured Sales Funnel
Identifying and structuring your sales funnel is crucial to creating a profitable website. In case you’re unfamiliar, the general funnel has three parts:
- Top: Marketing/garnering interest
- Middle: Making the pitch
- Bottom: Closing the customer
Of course, this process can be divided up further in any number of ways, depending on your industry and your own methodology. But when it comes to your website, the funnel often flows like this:
- Top: Blogs and other content to get visitors to the site. These should link to relevant product/service pages.
- Middle: Product/service pages that explain the value of your offerings. These should link to a sales page of some sort.
- Bottom: Sales page. This could be an order form for services, or an e-commerce site for your products.
The key to reaching the bottom of this funnel is a strong call-to-action, or CTA. This should direct the customer to contact you, submit a form, buy your product or service or take some kind of actual action. A CTA is good at the top of the funnel, and great in the middle of the funnel. If the bottom of the funnel is a quote request form or something similar, you’ll want to make it easy for a visitor to submit their information. And if it’s an e-commerce page, you’ll want to customer to not have to hunt for the checkout option.
Let Us Help You Build a Great Website
At Company.com, we know how much time you (don’t) have to create a website design that converts. That’s why we’ve partnered with Weebly to offer a small business website package. Designing a website that drives revenue and avoids losing money has never been easier. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you, or to start a free trial of our premium software package.