If you are a small-business owner, you no doubt have heard about the importance of website design and development. Perhaps you have a website already, but it is bare bones, and you want better. Or maybe you will be starting from scratch. Either way, avoid a few common mistakes that small businesses make.
1. Neglecting the Call to Action
A call to action, or CTA, is what gets someone on your website to take an action such as signing up for a newsletter, calling your office, or downloading a free demo. This link has a bunch of good examples, with information on where to place call-to-action buttons and how to handle multiple ones on the same page.
Simply having a cool CTA is not enough, though. You have to do the necessary research beforehand and after release (through A/B testing, for example) to determine what CTAs may be most useful. You also need to track their ongoing effectiveness.
In sum, having a call to action that succeeds is a process that begins well before a website is built or modified, and one that should continue as long as the website exists. (P.S. There should also be visible contact information throughout the site.)
2. Terrible Navigation
There is no excuse for having a website that people can’t figure out how to use, yet it happens all too frequently. Small business websites must have well-located, clear, and functional menus. Generally, you find menus at the top of the page, although sometimes they are on the left side of the page or under a header.
Designers should always approach menu placement with purpose, having specific reasons for making the menu choices that they do. One way that a small business can appear professional and smooth is to allow users to scroll over a menu element to bring up a comprehensive list of options. It lets you get a lot of menu information in a small space.
3. Irritating Ads
Ads can be a great way to make money. At the same time, if they’re annoying as heck, they may actually be costing you money. Some ways in which they bother website users can be:
- Too busy
- Too many
- Hard to get rid of (pop-ups)
Your ads are part of your website, and thus, they are part of the face your business presents to the world. (Speaking of what the world sees, you are probably designing ads of your own to advertise your business on other websites; here are some handy tips for these ads.)
Be selective about which ads you run, and ask your partners to rework their ads if necessary.
4. Lack of Security
If your website is taking down customer information and/or accepting customer payments, it needs security. You should also have an easy-to-find policy that explains how you use and protect consumer information.
So, these are four mistakes to avoid. Menu navigation, calls to action, ads, and security are all items in themselves that can make or break the success of your website, and in turn, your business. Getting them right sets you on a good path.