9 Website Fails That Could Cost Your Small Business New Customers

Elizabeth Kraus

Your business website exists for one reason and one reason only: to make it easier for customers to find you. To take your business from startup to success story with today’s connected consumers, you need a website that can help move a new site visitor from prospect to customer as quickly as possible.

If your website isn’t producing the leads and conversions you need it to generate, one of these website fails could be to blame.

1. Playing Hard to Get

Site visitors don’t want to have to dig around for vital information like your phone number, address, or contact information. Make sure they can get to this information with no more than one obvious click — like a Contact Us link in your main navigation or site header — from any page on your website.

You might even consider putting your business’s address, phone number, and email in the footer or header of every page on your website. Especially if you’re a retail operation.

For the advanced small business owner, you can make it even easier for prospects or customers to call or email your business by adding click-to-call and email buttons to your site’s header and footer as well. Click-to-call and 1-click-email scripts can be added with simple hyperlink commands to either text or graphic (image) content, such as a button that says “Call Now.”

2. Lack of Backups

If your website is down, new customers can’t find your small business at all. Back up your website on a regular basis, no matter where it is hosted. Here’s how:

  • Most hosting platforms enable backups or provide plugins that do so.
  • You can also back up your entire website by copying all of its files onto a secondary storage device, such as an external hard drive.

How often you back up your website should be dependent on how often you make website changes. Likewise, make sure to ask your web host what their plan for server failure is.

3. Clunky Navigation

If customers can’t find what they’re looking for quickly, they will move on. Design your website experience from the customer’s point of view:

  • When they first arrive, what page(s) do they usually land on?
  • What are they usually looking for?
  • What words do they use when they describe the problem they’re trying to solve or the need they want to meet?

Use these terms in your site’s navigation to help customers quickly get to the content they want most.

4. Insider Jargon

If prospects or customers who visit your website feel intimidated or overwhelmed by content that they don’t understand, they will look for a website that speaks their language.

Assume that the average site visitor has little-to-no knowledge of your small business’s products or services, and provide web content that educates and makes it easy for the less-informed to find the products or services they are looking for.

For example, a day spa’s owner found that site visitors searching for massage services didn’t know that “rejuvenation services” referred to massage therapy. After the day spa changed their website navigation menu to read “massage therapy,” they saw an increase in bookings.

5. Outdated Content

If site visitors don’t think your small business website’s content is current, they may not trust it. This includes everything from the copyright date that is likely shown in your website’s footer to event pages, blog posts, and any other content that includes dates. Make your website appear as up to date and current as possible:

  • Add new blog articles on a regular basis (weekly, or at least monthly). If you can’t keep that schedule up, consider removing your blog from the website and repackaging the information as “resources.”
  • Perform regular maintenance to menus and product and service pages to ensure they remain current.
  • Remove publication dates from evergreen content (content that remains relevant and does not change often).
  • Ensure that your site’s copyright date is updated annually.

6. Not-Found Pages, Posts, and Projects

If customers land on an error page, they may give up instantly. Check your website and fix any broken internal or external links as part of your regular weekly (or even daily) maintenance routine.

If your website is a WordPress site, you can add a plugin that will check your site on a regular basis and alert you to any broken links. If your website is not a WordPress site, you can use a free service like brokenlinkcheck.com to make sure all the internal and external links on your site are working properly.

7. Unprofessional Design

Site visitors may not trust a small business website if they are put off by its design in any way. This includes poor design, bad architecture, poorly written content, low quality images, or a generally obsolete appearance.

Your website offers prospects a first impression of your business that creates brand perceptions and sets expectations for the entire customer experience with your business. If it’s been a while since your website’s appearance was updated, or if you’ve been limping along with a starter website, chances are that it could use a facelift.

8. Neglecting Basic Security

The negative consequences that website security failures can produce range from bad press to compromised customer data and loss of trust. Ensure that you have data breach insurance coverage.

Data breach insurance helps cover the costs associated when a business’s website is breached or hacked. These costs include notifying customers, identifying causes and sources of the breach, managing the breach, and handling public relations.

Most policies also include expert advice on how to reduce the chances of having a breach occur in the first place. Consider buying data breach insurance if:

  • Your business accepts electronic payment in-store, over the phone, or online,
  • Your business collects sensitive data about employees or customers and stores it electronically, or
  • Your business has valuable assets and data that are secured electronically on a computer, hard drive, or in cloud storage.

9. Forgetting About Search Engine Optimization

Failing to search-optimize your website in accordance with the standards prescribed by Google and Bing can make your website hard to find. You could have the most amazing products and services in the world, but if search engines don’t know where to most appropriately place your website in online search results, it’s not going to get found by your target audiences.

Moz.com are SEO (search engine optimization) experts. Their free Beginner’s Guide to SEO is comprehensive. It can teach you all you need to know to ensure your website is search-friendly and meets the standards of Google, Bing, and other important search engines.

One Response to "9 Website Fails That Could Cost Your Small Business New Customers"

    • Sammi | March 1, 2018 at 12:50 pm

      Was #8 something about not proofreading before you post…?
      Otherwise, helpful and relevant information!

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