July 14, 2016
Building an online presence is important for businesses today due to changing buyer behaviors. Back in the days before the internet, people would check the yellow pages or go to the mall to the store or mall to find what they need. Nowadays, the first port of call is their favorite search engine.
Ninety percent of consumers in the U.S. go online to find you, and if you are not there, they will go somewhere else. A small business might think it can’t afford to do much by way of online advertising, or even having a website. That would be a big mistake. The Internet has leveled the playing field for all players. As a small business, your only chance to make it against your competition is to be seen and heard, and that is through an online presence. Here are the top website mistakes to avoid:
Focusing on Mobile Devices
You probably know by now that a significant number of consumers start their search online or shop using branded apps on a mobile device, so you make sure that your site is mobile friendly. However, there is a right way and wrong way to do it. Mobile gadgets work on different platforms, so it would be a mistake to design a website for a specific gadget.
It would be better to design a website based on screen size and resolution. It should be scalable and responsive as well, so a browser can seamlessly switch to different devices.
Sticking to a Cookie-Cutter Theme
You are a startup, so you have a small business. It would be understandable if you choose a free template for your website so you can design your website yourself. You put in all your information where you are supposed to and publish. You have a website! The problem is you are just one of many small business owners to use a particular template, so your website is practically identical to many others bar the website name. Heck, even the font you use for the company name is the same! If you must use a free template, customize it as much as you can. Make it your own, and make it stand out.
Neglecting to Put in a Search Box
You want to make your website as easy to navigate as possible. When you use a standard template, everything is probably where people expect it to be. However, some users get impatient if they have to click several times to find what they need. A search box is a crucial function of your website that should be on every page.
Using Too Much Flash
Your website should be attractive, and using flash animation can help make it so. However, you shouldn’t go overboard with it because flash files can slow down page load times. Additionally, many mobile devices don’t have flash capability, so make sure you configure your website to take out flash files in your mobile version.
Choosing a Dark or Busy Background
Content is king. This is going around the online block, and relevant content is definitely an important aspect of your online presence because it makes you more searchable and gives value to your visitors. However, many websites cancel out the value part by choosing the wrong background. This makes it hard for people to read the content, so they leave the site.
Choosing the Wrong Font
Related to choosing the wrong background is using fancy fonts that are hard to read, or using CAPS and “!!!!!” all over your website. Content is not just about what you say, but how you present it. Remember that content is for your users, so make it easy for them to read and appreciate what you have to say. Use a standard font that translates well to mobile devices.
Giving Too Little Thought to Images
You can use images to make your content more interesting, and easier to read because it breaks up long text. Sometimes, browsers remember images long after they’ve forgotten the content! However, if you use images that has nothing to do with your message, or images that are so badly pixelated it is unrecognizable, it makes your site look amateurish. On the other hand, high-quality images can really drag your site speed down, so browsers click away before they see it.
The worst-case scenario is uing copyrighted images without permission: You need to pay close attention to the images you choose. When you put images in your site, make sure you have the right to use them, they are relevant to your content, are of good quality and optimized for web viewing, and are the appropriate size for your site.
Choosing the Wrong Hosting Service
Your website may be the best website in the world, but if you choose the wrong host for it, all that effort will go right down the drain. Consumers are notorious for their impatience when it comes to loading time. A full 16 percent of abandon a page that takes longer than three seconds to load, and number goes up to 25 percent when it takes more than four seconds.
If your host server is slow, or worse, crashes, you are looking at a significant drop in your page visits, and most people will not bother to come back. Some sites offer free hosting, but that is a bad idea for a startup business. Find a reliable host service with a reputation for being fast. You will have to pay, but it will be worth it in the end.
Establishing an online presence for a startup business is not going to be easy. Some things are beyond your control. However, you can control others, including your website. Avoid these eight website mistakes and you can establish an effective online presence.
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