As an experienced business coach, I’ve seen many mistakes made when it comes to a business website. The blunders range from massive to not so big. Naturally, there are some great websites out there too.
Let’s talk about what you should NOT be doing when it comes to your business website, and naturally what you need to do to avoid these pitfalls.
1. Have a website!
I know this is pretty obvious but sadly some people don’t have a website. There seem to be three main reasons. The first reason is that the business is new or small and simply believes they cannot afford it. I understand this, but the reality is; how can you afford to not have a website? If you are in business and not online, then you almost don’t exist. If you are going to go into business, then you need to allocate a budget for a website. The second reason is that the business lives on Facebook and believes that having a Facebook business page is enough. All well and great, but remember you don’t own Facebook or the page; if Facebook wants, it can remove or freeze you and where will your business be? The third reason is the older long-established business that has been around forever and lives on word of mouth. If you’re nearing the end of your business’ life and you’re getting enough opportunities, then that is fine BUT if you’re considering selling that business when you go to retire, you will need a website if you want to achieve a reasonable price.
2. Build your own
This never goes well and often looks amateurish. If you don’t take your own business seriously, then how can you expect a prospect to do so? Yes, you saved some dollars doing it, but how much business are you losing because people don’t find the site, or don’t take you seriously? Remember that expression about having only one chance to make a great first impression.
3. Too little or too much
When it comes to content, you need to ensure you have enough on each page. Most designers suggest a minimum of 400-500 words per page. Ensure also your keywords are being used, but don’t overuse them and have too much use of a keyword (known as keyword stuffing). Remember also to ensure your content reads well for both humans and Google. Having say ‘Business Coach Brisbane’ in every second line doesn’t read well, and Google is smart enough to know it’s poorly written and will penalise you. Naturally, be sure to write content geared towards your target audience. Another penalty to watch is duplicate content; so don’t go copying content from another site, unless you’d like them to get boosted up and you booted down.
4. Too few images
Images play an important part of any website. You need to break up the text and have some visuals to engage your audience. If you are selling a product or service which solves a problem or pain point, remember you don’t have to have images of pain. Focus on the positive and create imagery that is appealing, attractive and engaging. Also, be sure to have these images labelled and tagged. By this, the image should not be called IMG4376 but rather it might be Business Coaching Brisbane Solutions. Ensure your images are congruent with your products or services; if you are selling upmarket watches, then having poor quality photos doesn’t send the right message. If your electrical services are geared towards suburban homeowners, then photos of high rises don’t match.
5. Assume you’ll be found now because you have a website
As I’m not a website designer, but rather a business coach, so I put this question to one of the web design firms I work with – Julian from Webspree (www.webspreedigital.com.au); here is his wisdom:
Having a Website is a high starting point. Think of it this way. We can all agree that Google is a library. Imagine walking into a library and randomly placing your new book on a random shelf.
We know people will find you eventually. It could take 5 minutes, or it could take five years. Imagine someone finding your book in a category that has no relation to your subject. We could pay someone to push your book in front of everyone that visits the library. You would get customers but would also annoy some along the way. The best thing to do is to work in line with the libraries rules, and they will assist in helping people find you. Help Google help you. Give them as much information about your business – Who you are, What you do and Where to find you.
Your Website needs to help convert traffic. Your Website the salesperson – tell people what solutions you offer and how to become a customer. Your Website the receptionist – qualify and inform. Answering questions and save the customer time.
Google rewards those who make engagement easy by increasing your online visibility. Google also penalizes those that make it difficult, like not having a mobile-friendly site or poorly placed contact details. Better customer experience means more people use Google. Make sure your Website is optimised (Search Engine Optimisation), Confirm your business location in local directories and acknowledge reviews. Integrate your site with your social media, regular posts and blogs.
Your friend can build a make-do website; you can use Wix or GoDaddy. You can even teach yourself all that I have mentioned and save money. It’s better if you ask an expert because this can help make you money and save you time so that you can then focus on your business.
6. A website negates the need for online listings
Sorry, wrong! Having a website is great, but don’t forget local listings. Listing your website on these (also known as back-linking) means you are found several places online and that you will have quality backlinks to your website. This improves your Google ranking if the backlinks are quality. If you are an Australian business, then being on a Pakistani or USA list doesn’t make sense. Some lists are quality and some are not – so do your research and link to only quality directories. Also, be sure to finish off your listing properly; take the time to write a decent spiel, put up a picture or logo and even try to get a couple of customers to give you a review. People might actually find you first via that source and then if they are impressed then will reach out.
7. A website is set and forget – no maintenance required
Yes, this is another fallacy. Your website still needs ongoing maintenance, such as updating any plugins, updating the theme, ensuring firewalls are secure and backing up the site. You want to ensure your website can’t be hacked. You personally can also regularly check links and contact forms to ensure they are still working.
8. I don’t need SEO OR good SEO costs a bomb!
Wrong – on both fronts. We do need Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and you can either pay someone to perform SEO for you, or you can do a good amount of it yourself. Blog writing is one of the best organic SEO methods available. Google loves fresh, new and original content, so if you can add a blog, article, newsletter piece to your website on a regular basis, then you’re going far. There are some other SEO strategies out there, but you don’t need to pay an arm, a leg and a lung for those services; you just need to find a trustworthy operator who charges a fair price for their services.
9. Reviews left require no response
Incorrect! Besides showing that you care, if you don’t respond to reviews, then Google perceives that you are not engaged with your website and its visitors and your ranking diminish. For a good review, you should always respond with ‘thanks’ and a few very brief words, like “Thanks Mary – it’s been my pleasure being your business coach.” If the review is negative, you need to jump on that straight away as people are watching to see how you respond. You might say something like “Jane, we’re really sorry you didn’t enjoy your lasagne. We pride ourselves in providing both quality food and excellent service. Please call me personally on 0412 111 111 so that I can help you. John.” Never ignore a bad review and never argue back with someone. Show you care, be nice and take it offline.
A business coach has many roles, including making sure your business can be found; hence I regularly talk about websites and marketing; because I do want to see businesses in Australia do well. If you’re wanting to learn more about my Australian business coaching services then check out this page or call me on 0411 622 666.