What makes a great website? A lot of business owners are at a loss when it comes to what their website should be to best serve their business and their customers. And web designers sometimes have their own ideas about what’s most important, which don’t always best serve their clients.
Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most common mistakes that business owners make when designing their website, and what you can do to correct them if you’ve made them yourself.
Forgetting about SEO
Before you begin thinking about the design elements of your website, you need to start with a solid foundation. SEO is the bedrock of any well-designed website, but a lot of business owners tend to skip over the critical steps of keyword research and solid SEO strategy.
If you’ve raced past keyword research, you’re doing a huge disservice to yourself and your prospects. When you don’t know what search terms people are using to find solutions that line up with your business’s offerings, you’re missing out on the opportunity to connect with valuable prospects. When they’re not able to discover your company, you’re not able to make revenue from them.
If you’ve never undertaken proper keyword research, check out this guide for a step by step approach.
Focusing on Style Over Substance
Everyone wants to build a spiffy-looking website. And it’s true that a website’s look does matter to a certain extent, but it shouldn’t be your primary focus.
Your business offers great solutions and a lot of knowledge to your customers and prospects—you want to be sure that message comes across loud and clear on your website.
The first step to focusing on substance is making sure you have a clearly defined value proposition, and that it’s displayed front and center on your landing pages. If prospects come to your site and are greeted by beautiful visuals but no clear description of what you do, they’ll quickly move on to one of your competitors.
The next step is thinking about storytelling as the driving force for your web copy and layout. When you let storytelling guide your web design, you ensure that you’re addressing the needs of your customers and laying information out in a way that guides the customer journey.
Hiding Your Contact Information
Have you ever been to a website, decided that the business offers a great solution for you, and then had to spend five minutes searching page after page for a simple way to get in touch? It’s a frustrating feeling!
Whatever you do, don’t hide your contact information! Make sure your phone number, address, and email are clearly displayed on each page. Consider incorporating a chat element into your site. Make getting in touch with you a completely seamless process. When a prospect wants to do business with you and give you their money, make it easy for them to do so!
Taking a “One Size Fits All” Approach
Through the power of marketing automation, you’re able to customize landing pages for each visitor. You can ensure you’re greeting prospects and customers with information that’s most relevant to them, based on prior interactions they’ve had with your brand.
A huge part of user experience is making your prospects feel special. People want to feel seen and understood by brands from their very first interaction through to the repeat and refer stages of the marketing hourglass, so being able to provide visitors with relevant, tailored information from the start is a way to make a great first impression and start building trust right away.
Ignoring Trust-Building Elements
Trust is hugely important to building a lasting relationship with customers. If you don’t win a prospect’s trust early in the game, they will never convert. And if you do something that makes a customer question your trustworthiness, they will not come to do business with you again or refer you to their friends.
There are some quick fixes you can take to make sure your site is set up to build trust from the second a visitor lands on your page. Having a website with an HTTPS certificate is the first step. HTTPS encrypts any information you’re gathering on your website, so if you’re asking visitors for their personal information or are collecting payments on your site, you have to make them feel confident their information will be kept safe.
Chrome is now alerting users when the site they’re visiting is has not migrated to HTTPS, so your site is being labeled with “not secure” in the URL bar if you haven’t made the switch.
Including badges for SSL is also an important trust-building step. Research has shown that people are more likely to trust and do business with sites that display trust badges.
When you’re designing your website, it can be easy to get caught up in focusing on the wrong elements. Making a pretty site is not the same as building a solid one, but if you don’t know what makes a truly great site then it’s easy to miss the mark. Knowing these mistakes that business owners often make allows you to identify the issues you see in your own site, and pivot to build a stronger site that empowers you to outpace the competition.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Website Design.