Most small business owners are good at multitasking. They’re the sales rep, marketing director, office manager, customer-service rep and, yes, webmaster. But while most business owners can probably get by with answering their own phones and ordering supplies, designing and updating a website isn’t a skill that’s easy to forge.
Here are four mistakes many small business owners make when it comes to their online presence, plus some suggestions for how to make that presence better:
Mistake #1: You’re wrecking your own web presence
When a potential client approaches me with frustration about lack of user engagement on their website, what I usually find is that the site is, frankly, terrible. It’s a bad out-of-the-box-template patched together by the business owner himself/herself, or some best price person that was secured thinking this would save money.
Your web presence is an significant component of your marketing. Businesses’ web and social marketing platforms are key components of how potential customers/clients view your business and fundamental to keeping the clients you have. As technology and social media continues to expand, staying in touch and interacting with your customers online and offline will have a profound effect on your customers’ buying decisions. Ensuring that your site is engaging, aesthetically attractive and modern will have a positive effect on your company image.
The best way to have a desirable website is to hire a professional website designer. This is a worthy investment, because as an expert in web design, they will know how to use a wider variety of tools to support your needs, help you write content that is suited for visitors and SEO, and advise you as to whether a WordPress or HTML5 would be better suited for your website.
When you are ready to hire a professional, take some time to discuss and communicate what your actual, manageable goals are. Give them examples of successful websites you want to emulate, and be able to describe what you like about the examples.
Mistake #2: They Underestimate The Importance of Social Media
Social media is “free” advertising for your website. Some small business owners make the mistake of not having social media or, worse, it is managed by an employee or college intern. Social media marketing is marketing and remember that perception is reality, so approach it with the importance that it commands.
Another mistake that small business owners make is posting too many updates about advertisements or about what their company is doing. The vast majority of your social media content should not feature yourself or your business at all. This exhibits a respect and commitment to the users and gives them reasons for returning.
Don’t be afraid to interject the human factor when interacting with your fans and followers; whether through an incentive such as an inspired contest or just responding to criticism, be honest, helpful and meaningful conversations. It goes without saying, but it’s worth repeating: never buy likes or followers! Rely on the power of word of mouth and solid, entertaining, useful and otherwise relevant content.
Mistake #3: They Seldom Update Their Website
If you don’t care about your offerings, why would people visit your site to see the same things over and over each visit? You should do more than just make weekly or monthly blog posts or recycle old content. To get people motivated to return to your website, your offerings should be exciting or at the very least, new and interesting.
If you don’t keep your website updated, your users and visitors have nothing to look forward to and search engines will assume your site is either dying or dead. The more time lapses between you adding fresh content, search engines; especially Google spiders will crawl your website less frequently.
Mistake #4: They Ignore SEO Recommendations
Having an expert to professionally design your website should definitely help with SEO, but depending on your business goals, you may also want to seek out an SEO expert. While most web designers are experts at designing websites, they are not SEO experts.
Also, make sure that you’re offering your web visitors the best possible user experience by making content available with as few clicks as possible. Ensure that your content is written for both the search engines and your visitors.
These are four practical tips that when implemented, should help your web presence. You have put much thought and hard work into your product or service, let your web presence be complimentary to your efforts and not a hindrance.