If you’re a small business owner, you know that your company probably needs a website. So, you ask around to know if anyone knows a good website developer. You find a consultant or an agency, write them a check and have them build you a website that makes use of the latest software and design trends. You’ve got a fancy new website, with all of your company’s information listed. Mission accomplished, right?
Not so fast. Like all components of a business, your website must be maintained over time and optimized to get the best marketing results. There are several major mistakes that small business owners tend to make with their websites.
Don’t repeat these frequently-made mistakes made by small business owners:
Not Having a Consistent Strategy – Your website should not be a general electronic brochure about your company. Your website should have a single major purpose, such as attracting new customers. All of your website’s content and design elements should revolve around the strategy and purpose of your website. If your website’s goal is to attract new customers, it should have up-to-date, quality information about your company’s products or services and contain a clear call-to-action to get potential customers to call you or fill out an opt-in form on your website.
Not Updating Your Website – Websites are not fine wines. They do not get better with age. Information becomes stale. Technologies become out of date. Design trends change. You should review your website on a quarterly basis to make sure the information about your company is still up-to-date. You should expect to revamp your website every four to five years. If it’s been since 2007 since you’ve created a new version your company’s website, it might be time to bring on a web developer to do a refresh.
Ignoring Software Updates and Backups– If your website was built in the last few years, it’s probably powered by a content management system, such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. This software needs to be updated on a regular basis using the built-in update tool that comes with your content management system or through the assistance of your web developer. Failing to keep your content management system up-to-date will leave your website vulnerable to being hacked.
The other major technical component you need to make sure is being taken care of is backups. Don’t automatically assume that your web developer is backing up your website or that your hosting provider is backing up your website either. If possible, use an automatic script to perform weekly backups of your website and its associated database. Your web developer should be able to set this up for you.
Failing to Use Email Marketing – If someone ends up on your website, there’s a strong possibility that they’re a potential customer. If you’re not trying to collect the email addresses of people that visit your website, you’re throwing money out the window. One of the best ways to keep your business fresh in someone’s mind is to email them several times over the course of a few weeks. Consider adding an opt-in box to your website that sign someone up for a free email newsletter or email course that’s sent out over a period of a few weeks. This may sound like a burdensome task, but it can all be setup automatically using email collection and auto-responder software, such as MailChimp or Drip.
Forgetting to Market Your Website – If you build it, there’s no guarantee that anyone will come. If you do nothing, your website might eventually get indexed by search engines and you’ll get a trickle of traffic from people searching for your business specifically, but that’s about it. To get the best return on your website, you need to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy for your website that includes search engine optimization (building links to your website and optimize your website for the right keywords), social media, email marketing and some form of advertising (depending on your industry).
Have you made any of these mistakes with your website? If so, what action steps are you going to take to resolve the issue?