Most Common Problems with Small Business Websites
Whenever we take on new clients or build new websites, we do a lot of research. This research mostly entails learning what we can about the applicable industry, finding competitors, and looking for ways we can improve web practices in our client’s field. So, it goes without saying, that we see more websites than the average person. Here are the most common problems we see.
1) Not Mobile Friendly
It’s amazing to me that business still have sites that are not mobile friendly. It was all the way back in 2016 that mobile traffic outpaced desktop traffic. Everyone should have a mobile first website. Everyone should assume the majority of traffic arrives via a mobile device.
“But, most of my clients are desktop users!” Well, that’s because your site is not mobile friendly.
“But, most of my visitors are older!” Older generations still use mobile phones, but more importantly, even if they don’t you’re still missing out on everyone who does.
If a site is not mobile friendly, it’s well past its expiration date. This can cause dramatic SEO problems and likely means the site is actively working against your business.
2) There is no SSL certificate
An SSL certificate provides a secure connection between your website’s server and your visitor. Without this secure connection it’s possible for a 3rd party to intercept the connection. This can be a major security concern as it means any information the user provides is accessible by that 3rd party. You can tell if you’re on a secure connection by looking for a little lock icon in the address bar.
In late 2017 (almost 2 years ago!) Google Chrome, the web’s most popular browser, started showing a security warning to users if their connection is not secure. Often, this means people just leave and head to another, secure, competitor. Also, your site wont show up in search results unless it’s secure.
Can you imagine finding out that your site’s traffic was being intercepted by hackers? All of your clients (new and potential) are now compromised. (BTW, Mindshare provides SSL certs at no cost on all our projects, as every web development company should.)
3) It’s, just, ugly
Good design generates confidence. If a user is not confident in your company, why would they hire or purchase from you? A bad design can turn people away. So, what is good design? That’s an entire article, but it mostly boils down to the professional use of color, imagery, negative space, shape, proportion, and user experience. All of these things work together to provide the user with a working, easy to read website.
4) It’s slooooooow
A slow website is a bad website. As a web developer, part of my job is to create functionality that doesn’t compromise speed, or weigh the speed decrease with the use-fullness of the functionality. But, more and more, I notice sites that don’t have any functionality and are slow.
As a general rule, we like to see sites load in less than 3 seconds unless there is a really good reason for it taking longer. Anything more than 5-6 second is unacceptable. There are many reasons a website loads slow but most often it’s either bad web hosting, large images, or bloated code. BTW, we can fix all of these issues.
5) Bad or Inconsistent Messaging
Your business website is often the first impression. So, it must provide a clear description of who you are, what you do, and a call to action. Without those 3 things your website is dead, it’s offering no value.
The people visiting your website are there for a reason, it’s your job as a business owner to understand that reason, and give it to them. Are they there for research? Provide them with information. Are they there to make a purchase? Offer them products. Are they looking to hire you? Let them know what you do!
Often bad messaging comes from some sort of design gimmick. Yes, your site should look good, but a good design takes messaging into account. You don’t need to messaging one for design or visa versa.
6) No call to action or next steps.
If a person is visiting your website, chances are they know nothing about you. Therefore, they don’t know your on-boarding process, or how to get started. Adding next steps is easy for eCommerce websites, typically you just make a purchase and bam, done. But for service providers it can be a little more complicated. So, make it obvious. Do you want them to call? Or fill out a contact form? Do you want them to email you? Or do you want them to come to your office? Do you not want them to come to your office? Be explicit in how you want to make first contact.