We works with tons of small businesses, and we’ve seen it all when it comes to websites. Certain types of problems come and go, but we thought we would make a list of some of the most common and easiest to fix ones.
In general, we thought these were the most important ones to get right if you intend to actually drive business using your website. If not: then you can ignore some of this advice.
Here is our roundup.
1. No Analytics
If you don’t have Google Analytics or a similar suite of analytics set up on your site, you are making a huge mistake. Analytics help you determine what’s working on your site; and what’s not. Without them, you really have no way of knowing if your site is working.
And what’s more, this is one of the easiest problems in the world to fix. Signing up for a new Analytics ID takes less than a minute, and once you have that, it should only take your web developer a few minutes to implement it on your website. After that, you just sit back and watch the data come in.
How can you tell if you have Google Analytics installed? Easy! First, you’ll want to make sure you are logged out of your website (sometimes the analytics are set not to trigger for administrators). You could also use an incognito window in Chrome.
Then, if you’re using Chrome, right click somewhere in the background of the website and then select “View Page Source”, or just press ctrl + U.
Then search the code using ctrl + f for “UA-“. You might have to hit the down arrow a couple times. But what you are looking for is mention of your Analytics ID, which generally looks like UA-123456789. If you see it there, they are probably working! Check your Google Analytics dashboard to verify it’s working by looking for data.
2. No Calls-to-Action
A website should lay out the next step for any prospective buyer. Without it, even those who are interested may just leave and never return.
Common calls-to-action include email list signups, promises of guides or documents in exchange for an email address, “request a quote” forms, and even a phone number if used correctly.
Which one is best for you really depends on your business. What works for one business may not work for another! If you operate a law firm, for instance, simply having your phone number may turn out to be the most effective call-to-action there is. But if you’re a food blogger, it’s critical that you get people on your list.
Check your site to make sure you have calls-to-action and if not, figure out how to add one.
3. Not Mobile-Friendly
By some metrics well over half of all searches are now performed on mobile devices. You simply cannot afford not to have a mobile-friendly website anymore.
Most visitors simply assume that your site will work on their mobile device. If it doesn’t, they will leave and go to your competitors.
We recommend going with a responsive design that will allow your regular website to adapt and accommodate smaller screens. It’s recommended by Google and we practice it on all of the websites we build.
4. Cheap Website Hosting
Your business is your livelihood. So why go cheaper on your website hosting than you do on your cell phone service? It makes no sense!
If your site is slow, people will get impatient and leave. Sure, cheap website hosting is really cheap, but quality hosting is very reasonable. For around $25/month, you could easily have high-end, premium WordPress hosting that will compete with the fastest out there.
5. Vague Content
If you say that you are a “Leading provider of business solutions,” you are literally better off just not saying anything. Sentences like that are so vague and lifeless that they will ruin any chance you had of converting a visitor.
Be specific. Use the actual names of your services. If it’s not instantly obvious what you do, you’re doing something wrong.
While you’re at it, identify specifically who you are targeting so that they know they’ve come to the right place. And give them the detail they crave about the services you provide.
6. Too Much Complexity
Some people thing that too much content on their site is a problem, but that’s really not true. Too much complexity is the problem.
People like to read, and they like detail. They just don’t like to be assaulted from all sides with irrelevant information. Keep your design clean, remove distracting elements, and make it easy enough to navigate your site that people can reach that additional content easily.
7. Terrible Logos and Branding
The horrible logo that your niece made for you in 1997 is ruining your business. It’s bad, and you need to let go.
Nothing ruins a great website design like a crappy logo. Seriously, if your graphic designer tells you it’s really outdated, listen. You might be attached to it but it’s driving people away and making you look unprofessional.
It’s also not that expensive to redo it. We work with an incredible graphic designer that will not only redo your logo, but provide a whole branding guide that you can use anywhere your brand is! It’s one of the best investments you can make.
8. Really Outdated Website Design
You know who you are.
If your site looks like some kind of throwback to the 90’s, it’s time to update. Generally people know when their site design is terrible, but not always! If it’s been a while, it may be worth it to reach out to some trusted experts and get an honest opinion.
An old, outdated website design tells your visitors that you are likely cheap, outdated, and out-of-touch. If it’s bad enough, your website may literally be worse than having no website at all. Anyone who sees it will head for the hills faster than you can say, “Al Gore Invented the Internet”.
If you take your business seriously, you need to take your website seriously.
9. Lack of Contact Information
This one seems like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised at how often I see it. You need to make it as easy to reach you as possible.
That doesn’t just mean having a contact form on your contact page. You need to accommodate all of your visitors, no matter how they prefer to reach out to you. You should have a form, phone number, email address, and even social media links. Give them options!
Regardless of your industry, you generally want to have your “Contact” page in your main navigation. I recommend having it be the last one on the right, because that’s the most common spot and the one people will check first.
For some business, especially those that provide local consumer services, you’ll want to have your phone number directly in your header so that people can call you quickly from any page.
Find out how your target customers want to reach out to you, and accommodate them.
That concludes this roundup! With the exception of redoing your website design, all of these are things that can generally be fixed in less than an hour or two, and can provide tremendous results. Try them out and let me know how they work for you!