Most business owners would agree that a website is a must for our business. More than just giving us a presence in Internet searches, our website allows potential customers to learn more about our products and services. It also enables them to get a feel for who we are and what we do. A quality site encourages potential customers to get in touch; a poor site loses them at the first hurdle.
It’s surprising how many SMEs miss out on the basics when it comes to their website.
While large organisations typically have a team of people devoted to ensuring the business’s website is functioning effectively, the majority of small- and medium-sized businesses don’t allocate any resources to their website once it’s up and running. And that can be a costly omission. Whether it’s hard to find or is filled with grammatical or spelling errors, if your website isn’t up to scratch it is sending the wrong message, and whether or not you realise it, your business is paying the price.
Here are my top six website mistakes SMEs make, and how you can avoid them:
- Your website copy is full of spelling and grammatical errors. Losing customers because you are offering “Marketing Tip’s”? Don’t know your “their” from “there”? Poor writing on your site says “We can’t be bothered.” When I see grammatical errors on a site, I always wonder what else they are getting wrong. Ensure the writing on your website is competent. If writing isn’t your thing, ask someone who writes for a living to quality-assure the copy on your site. There are lots of talented PR and marketing people who can tidy up your website content. It won’t cost a fortune, and it help to ensure your site conveys a professional image to visitors.
- Your website is hard to find. There is nothing more frustrating that trying to find a business you know exists, but whose website exists somewhere in the ether due to an overly complex URL. My advice: If you can’t get a straightforward domain name, consider changing your business name.
- There’s no phone number or email address. There’s no point having a website if you don’t provide easy-to-find contact information. Give people a telephone number or an email address, at the very least. And don’t bury this information. Put it on your homepage. In fact, put it at the top of your homepage, in a large font! If you don’t want to list your email address because you are tired of getting spam, install a contact form. And if you are sick of getting those automated PPI-claims phone calls, you should also be judicious about listing your mobile number.
- Your business name doesn’t say what you do. It may seem obvious to you, but to someone new to the community, “Dewey, Cheatham and Howe” does not necessarily scream “firm of solicitors!” or “quantity surveyors!”. There are hundreds of businesses whose business name is the surname of two or three of its principals, or worse, two or three of its long-dead founders. You don’t have to change your business name, but it is helpful to put “Quantity Surveyors”, “Chartered Accountants”, “Architects” or “Solicitors” after your name. Doing this on your website header will help to ensure that your firm comes up in an Internet search. It will also ensure that your site visitors know they have arrived at the right place.
- It’s all text and no visuals. Set yourself apart from other similar businesses by using real photos of real people. Even better, include photos of local landmarks on your site. This helps to root your business in the local community, and that is ideal if that is your main trading area. If you haven’t got decent photos, commission some from a local photographer. If you can’t afford to buy-in photography, source some royalty-free professional photographs. Your site visitors will appreciate it.
- There is out of date content on your homepage. Did you do a promotion for Christmas? If it’s January and a smiling image of Santa still greeting your visitors, you are sending the wrong message. If you can’t be judicious about updating your homepage, consider hiring in someone to tidy it up for you on a regular basis. Even if you only update it once a quarter, it enables you to say something timely, and your visitors will appreciate it.
I hope you have found that useful. And if you see Joe, please ask him to give us a ring.
Does your website need a bit of tidying up? There is nothing we enjoy more at Bruce Public Relations than a wee bit of editing! (Check our handbags — you’ll find a red marker!) We can edit your website in a jiffy and we promise it won’t cost you a fortune. Get in touch and we will give you an estimate pronto!