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Small Business Advice - Avoiding Common Website Mistakes

By: Aaron-- 2009-10-19 2:00 am --

These days, pretty much every small business owner knows the importance of having a functional website.

But of course not all business websites are created equal. Some are better than others - and naturally you want your company's site to be among the best in its category.

You can go a long way toward creating a useful, functional and attractive business website simply by avoiding four common site errors that Lisa Barone identifies on the Small Business Trends blog -

1. Bad design. Your site doesn't have to look fancy, but it should look professional. Just as with the decor or signage for a brick-and-mortar store, you want to invest a little time and resources on your website to get good results.

2. Lengthy conversion funnel. The "conversion funnel" is marketing-speak for the process your site visitors go through when they want to buy anything through your website (presuming that you offer sales and not just information through your site). Barone is correct in saying that you want to make the purchase process as simple as possible. That's why sites like Amazon.com pioneered 1-click ordering for repeat customers.

3. Strategy before design. Think before you build. What are the major goals that you want your site to accomplish? Just as you wouldn't start building a house without having a blueprint and a plan, similarly you should have some detailed website objectives and strategy in mind before you start creating your business website.

4. Lack of dynamic content. Barone accurately points out that too many business websites have static content (address, phone number, basic information) that never changes. Your website gives you an opportunity to engage visitors and create some brand loyalty. Think of new material with which you can periodically update your site. If you run a restaurant, maybe you can post the weekly specials online or send out a recipe of the month to a list of email subscribers. If you have a pool supply company, you can create a blog with testimonials from satisfied customers, seasonal coupon codes or information about the latest and greatest pool supplies and chemicals. The exact content and techniques will vary according to your specific business, but the point is to publish new content at regular intervals that brings visitors back to your site for repeat visits.

How did you overcome these problems in building your own small business website? What content do you use to attract customers to your website for repeat visits? Tell your story and share a link to your site in the Comments section below.