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The #1 Mistake Small Businesses Make on Their Website Content

The #1 Mistake Small Businesses Make on Their Website Content

As a freelance writer who specializes in providing small businesses content, I’ve had the opportunity to review hundreds (if not thousands) of websites over the past couple of years. In fact, for one client alone, I reviewed almost 400 different websites to determine how well they “spoke to” their consumer. What I found was somewhat surprising.

Because a lot of these businesses were extremely well-known, name brands that are common household names, I expected to see websites that compelled me to want to buy. I even hid my credit card just to protect me from being drawn in by their words and images. Instead, I was almost let down because a large number of them made one grave mistake.

Now, before I tell you what that mistake is, let me first say that most of us are smart enough to realize that web content doesn’t necessarily correlate with the quality of the product as the two are completely separate. However, if your livelihood depends on your ability to sell, then you certainly want to use words and images that do just that—especially with a first-time buyer.

The #1 Mistake a Lot of Small Businesses Make

So, what is the one major mistake I’ve seen time and time again? It is content that focuses more on your business than on your consumer. What does this mean?

When someone goes to your website, they are going there for one reason: to discover what you can do for them. They don’t care how great you think you are, how long you’ve been in the business, or the amount of passion you feel for your product or service. What they care about most is how you can make their life easier, better, or more pleasurable.

Sure, some of that information should be given, but it belongs on your “About Us” page so your consumer can read it if they like. But, overall, you want to keep this type of content off your home page because your client’s first priority is themselves, which means that you could lose them forever if you don’t answer that question up front.

Most any marketing guru will tell you that, in order to be successful, you need to have content that:

  • Speaks directly to your target market, using language they will understand
  • Tells your target market what problem(s) you can help them solve
  • Shares with them how you intend to help them solve it
  • Is transparent so they aren’t looking for the hidden meaning or “catch”

All of these guidelines are intended to make your potential clients feel like you connect with them deeply enough to get them to open their wallet to you. They need to be front and center on your website so that your consumer knows that they are the most important thing to you, making them want to choose you as their number one product or service provider.

An Exercise for You

To highlight the importance of this, take a moment and look at the websites of some of the businesses you frequent in person but have never visited online. Read their content and look at the images they’ve chosen to use. Do they tell you more about them as a company, or do they share with you what they can do for you?

Be sure to view a few of them so you can see the difference between how each one is set up, as well as how you feel after visiting them. You will find that websites that focus on your needs draw you in far more often than websites that tell you how great their business is.

Keep this in mind when creating your content for your website. Get to know your target market intimately before you begin so you know what keeps them up at night, their likes and dislikes, and what makes them want to take action.

When you are aware of and fully understand these types of things about your clients, you will find it easier to tailor your website specifically to them. And they will tailor their spending specifically to you.


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by Christina DeBusk // Freelance writer, author, and small business consultant committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.