A small business website has the potential to make or break your reputation. Whether you do business exclusively online or you market your brick and mortar business, you need a good looking website. Unfortunately, there are many opportunities to make mistakes with a small business website. A website makes an instant impression on your website visitors, and without the right website approach, you will lose visitors as soon as they land on your page.

If you want a website that converts visitors into customers and represents your company well, avoid these common mistakes:

  1. Making the wrong domain name choice.
    Your domain name will be your calling card online so it will need to represent your company well. If at all possible, try to combine your company name and a key word for your industry. If you can’t for some reason, you should try to use your company name. Search for this carefully. For example, our main website address is PBCoffices.com, which combines our company name and a keyword “offices”. In addition, we also have the domain PacificBusinessCenters.com which also goes to our main website. Domain names in most instances are cheap, so you can buy several and have them point to your main website.
  2. Using flash animation and other complicated designs.
    Flash animation on a website may look great at the demo, but it’s a pain for your visitors. Less is more when it comes to business website design. This doesn’t mean that you should have a completely white website with blank sidebars. But this does mean that you should choose an appealing design and functionality over glitz and glamour. Flashing banners, black background with white text, huge graphics or video effects and other moving parts all create confusion for the visitor, and take time to load. Even worse, these elements can deter search engines from directing visitors to your website. Stick with something simple and effective.
  3. Outdated content.
    Fresh content will ensure search engine spiders visit your website frequently, and it will help your audience connect with your company. A great way to get this combination of functionality and appeal is to use a blog on your site. Blogs are easy to update and allow you to keep your visitors informed on new changes with your company, as well as information that is important to them. If your company information has recently changed (ie: you’ve added a product or have moved locations), make sure every page of your website has the updated information. You never know where your visitor may be entering the site. If you have the wrong phone number on an inner page, all the money invested in the website is wasted.
  4. Dead links and pages that go nowhere.
    Don’t lead your visitors on a wild goose chase! Be sure that all of your links are working properly and that your pages are linked in a logical way. Pretend to be a visitor to your own site and try to navigate around. Even better, have friends who are outside of your industry use your website while you watch. If you or your friends have trouble, it’s a safe bet that new visitors will too. To find broken links on your site, use Google Webmaster Tools as a handy resource to find broken links.
  5. Pick a target market.
    Your website can’t sell to everyone at once. If you want a website that moves your audience toward a decision (purchasing a product, filling in a contact form, or signing up for a newsletter), you need to know who that specific audience is. Just like with advertising and marketing, you have to know who you speaking to with your website to get the best results.

Courtney Ramirez
Research Analyst, Pacific Workplaces

Courtney’s research for Pacific Workplaces focuses on tracking emerging business trends and best practices – with an emphasis on how they affect business operations, technology, and shared office space trends.