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10 Big Website Flaws Every Small Business Must Avoid

10 Big Website Flaws Every Small Business Must Avoid

Small companies are up against big companies with big web design budgets, and usually smaller companies with top-flight websites. Since most would-be customers use the Internet to find and vet suppliers, no company can afford a substandard website. Here are 10 major website flaws a small company must absolutely avoid.

1. Poor Mobile Viewing

A website with a poor mobile viewing experience is the kiss of death. More users access the Internet on mobile devices than desktops; if the website doesn’t cater to mobile users, leads and online revenue will be handed to competitors that have strong responsive web design.

2. Poor Contact Forms

Contact form flaws run the gamut: too many fields, too many required fields, field boxes too small for mobile users, no privacy statement to assure people their information won’t be sold or given away. In addition to flawless design, forms should also be tested regularly to make sure they are working.

3. Poor Phone Number Display

Some website visitors prefer to phone in their inquiries and orders, but are thwarted by websites that don’t clearly display the phone number or identify the number as the one to call for inquiries. In mobile display, the phone icon must always be in view and have click-to-call function.

4. No Call to Action

Companies need to give users a good reason to inquire. The bland “call now” or “contact us now” isn’t motivational. Winning websites offer discounts, free trials, extended warranties — whatever it takes to motivate users.

5. Crowded Design

Pre-mobile, it was common to cram as much information as possible “above the fold,” so desktop users would not have to scroll. Mobile users now are accustomed to vertical scrolling, so white space is the way to go. White space makes for easy reading and conveys a streamlined, organized, expert company brand. Unfortunately, many website designs are mired in old, crowded design techniques.

6. Slow Page Loading

If a web page doesn’t load in two or three seconds, most users are GONE. Page loading speed is essential for conversions, and it is also a major ranking factor for Google. Slow page loading is common among small businesses, but can be corrected through an expert design and development review of the site and hosting service.

7. Weak Credibility Statements

Most small businesses are relatively unknown quantities, and must convey credibility to overcome skeptical users. Good credibility statements include customer testimonials, mentions of awards/industry recognition, and display of logos of recognizable customers.

8. Poor Photography

Great photos sell, but poor photos spell trouble. Because custom, on-location photography is expensive, many small companies shy away from it. Mistake! Great photos convey product/service benefits and features more powerfully than words, and in addition enhance credibility and brand image.

9. Too Much Inwardly Focused Content

Small companies are rightfully proud of their history, accomplishments, and value in the marketplace. But talking about it in-depth on the website can be a major turnoff and distraction for users. Remember that users come to a business website for solutions to their problems. Highly converting content always speaks to customer needs.

10. Broken Pieces

Even with large companies, there is a tendency to build a website and forget about it. But great websites are continually tested websites. In addition to checking form functionality (mentioned earlier), other important site elements to routinely check include page loading speed, internal and external link function, social share button functionality, mobile image display, navigation link function — and, of course, accuracy of product and service content.

If these 10 errors are avoided, your site will stand out from the crowd. The result: more inquiries, leads, and online revenue. It’s time to put your competition on the defensive!

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by Brad Shorr // Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, a B2B SEO, PPC and website design company. His articles have been featured on scores of leading business websites including Moz, Smashing Magazine and Forbes.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.