This blog was first posted in ‘The Meeting Room’, a blog dedicated to supporting small businesses.
Zeald contribute to The Meeting Room regularly as guest bloggers.
1. Having no website (or having an old one)
Almost 90% of Kiwis and Aussies use the internet daily, and over half of us research new products online before buying (Consumer Barometer with Google 2015). Yet, at Zeald, we know there are many businesses that still don’t have a website.
Key to running a successful business is understanding your customer and what they want. A great way to start understanding your customer is to build and develop a website. Once people are visiting your site, you can gather information about them. You can see where they come from, what they do, and begin to understand why they leave. This information is critical to not only evolve your site but your business as a whole.
Some organisations rely on word of mouth and/or print media to generate business. Others are at the other end of the spectrum, relying solely on a Facebook page or other social media. These approaches to marketing aren’t inherently wrong, but they could be more effective with a website as a central hub .
For example, social media can be great for generating new leads and interacting with people, but it is constantly changing. As a user you have little or no control over design and what information you can or can’t display. When using social media for your business, make sure to direct people to your website, where you have the most control.
Potentially worse than having no website at all, however, is having an out-dated one. Few things will turn people off a business faster than a website that looks like it was built in 1992 and hasn’t had an update since. You’re better off pulling that old site down until you get something up to date.
2. No responsive design
We no longer live in a world in which the desktop computer is the only portal to the internet.
According to Consumer Barometer with Google, more than 75% of Kiwis and Aussies now use a smartphone, and over half use their smartphone at least as often as a computer.
In the same study, Google found that on average each person uses three different devices to browse the internet; usually computer, a smartphone and a tablet - each with their own screen size and resolution. It’s important, then, that your website displays properly on each of these. That’s where responsive design comes in.
Responsive design is a way of coding a website so it automatically changes the way it is displayed depending on what device is accessing it. Historically, websites were designed for viewing on a desktop computer and therefore looked distorted on other devices. A few years ago, the way around this was to create an entirely separate website specifically for mobile users. Now, through the use of complex code, a single website can adapt to any display. It’s a ‘one size fits all’ approach to website design, and is a necessity in this day and age. Google even ranks mobile-friendly websites higher in mobile search results.
If your business is still using a website designed solely for desktop computers, then that needs to change. Think about how you browse the internet. Are you going to try to navigate a website on your mobile device if it isn’t loading properly?
3. Ignoring metrics
Many small businesses we work with think that once their new website goes live that’s it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. To run a successful website, you need to be regularly monitoring the metrics, and making changes accordingly. If you don’t have access to your website metrics, don’t know how to find them, or have just ignored them, then this needs to be addressed.
Metrics are crucial to improving the performance of your website, as they can pinpoint exactly what website elements need attention.
Below are the top five metrics you should be looking at:
4. No call to action
5. Trying too hard
People generally start putting music on their website for one reason: they realised it was possible. The same thing happened when auto-playing video came around (please stop this too). The lesson here is that you don’t have to add something to your website just because you can.
Adding all the latest features to your website just causes clutter and subsequently slows it down. This applies to images as well. The highest quality image isn’t always necessary, and can often be contributing to excessive load times. A successful website will load quickly and give visitors what they need: a solution to their problem. Keep it simple.
6. Using social media unnecessarily
But remember that you don’t have to cover all the platforms. As with mistake #5, just because all these different social media platforms exist, doesn’t mean you need accounts on all of them. Different platforms work for different businesses. By all means try them all out, but be sure to remove the account and any associated links if they don’t take off. Find out what works best for your business.
If you think that your website may be guilty of any of these digital deadly sins, but aren’t sure how to change your ways, the Google Certified experts at Zeald are always happy to sit down and talk it through.