Websites That Don’t Work – Eight Common Mistakes Small Businesses Make Online

1. My sister-in-law’s niece is clever with tech stuff – and she did it for free. In cyberspace you are up against the experts so use one yourself. Good design and technical input are crucial to ensure a quality user experience which looks and feels contemporary.

2. More is a bore, always. Information overload is something to avoid. Listing too many products or services on a cluttered website is likely to result in a high bounce rate.

3. Lack of basic instincts. The site must communicate first and foremost the clear basics of what your business does, why a customer would need it and how they can get it.

4. The CEO forgets SEO. Search engine optimisation (SEO) matters. It means potential customers are more likely to find your site so your copywriting must work in ways that Google and other search engines will recognise and categorise appropriately.

5. Thinking it’s done and dusted. A website’s Google ranking drops if it contains outdated content or lacks current aesthetics, not to mention that it makes it look like your business is closed. Keep the site current and fresh. Digital is flexible and adaptable, not cast in stone.

6. Hitting and hoping. There’s no excuse for just “putting a website out there” because there are so many ways the performance of your site can be monitored and, as a result, tweaked and improved to get better response rates. A monthly data report should be the standard minimum.

7. Failing to go native. Your website needs to be responsive, which means it automatically provides an optimal viewing experience – easy reading and navigation with little resizing, panning or scrolling required – according to the device (mobile, tablet or PC) used by the user seeking information. If not, your site will be hard to navigate and looks cheap.

8. Making it all about you. What matters in a website is how the users experience it and not how it feels or looks to the business owner (or the designer). You need to road-test every element with a new consumer in mind and deliver a user experience which answers both their needs and their habitual navigation behavior.