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10 Common Small Business Website Mistakes You May Be Making in 2024 – Part 2

For small business owners, your website is more than just a digital storefront—it’s the very first handshake with future customers. Ensuring this vital first impression is not only visually appealing but also user-friendly is paramount to your success. 

Our last article [link to it] covered 5 common mistakes that small businesses make with:

  • Navigation
  • Pop-ups
  • Website load time
  • Responsive design
  • Jargon

If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here.

Let’s explore our final 5 tips on how to keep your digital welcome mat inviting and free from the usual slip-ups that can deter potential business.

Mistake 6: Keeping Your Website a Secret From Search Engines

Imagine you’ve got this super cool clubhouse, but you didn’t tell anyone how to find it. It’s got all the best games, snacks, and comfy chairs, but if nobody knows where it is or that it even exists, what’s the point? 

Your website is kind of like that clubhouse. 

You could have the best services or products, but if you’re not making it easy for search engines (like Google) to find you, you’re basically invisible online.

So, how do you send out a digital map to your site? 

It’s called SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. This isn’t about tricking Google with magic words but more like using the right keywords that match what people are searching for and having the right website structure

For example, if you’re a lawyer specializing in family law, you want to make sure your website talks about things like “family lawyer,” “divorce help,” or “child custody advice” because that’s what people will type into Google when they need a lawyer like you.

If you ignore SEO, it’s like putting up a “Closed” sign on your website. You might as well be invisible. But when you pay attention to SEO, you’re putting up a big, flashy “Open for Business” sign that guides customers right to your door. 

And who doesn’t want that?

Mistake 7: Forgetting to Tell Your Website Visitors What to Do Next With A Clear Call To Action (CTA)

Picture this: You’re at a super cool amusement park with all these awesome rides, but there are no signs. You’d probably wander around a bit, feel confused, and might even leave without trying the best rides. 

That’s what happens when your website doesn’t have clear signs—or in website speak, a clear call-to-action (CTA).

A call-to-action is like that big, red button that says “Press Me!” It’s your way of telling visitors exactly what you want them to do next. 

Whether it’s “Buy Now,” “Sign Up,” or “Contact Us,” your CTA is your website’s way of guiding visitors to the next step. Without it, they might just wander off.

Think about what you want visitors to do most on your site. If you’re selling something cool, your biggest button might say “Add to Cart.” If you’re a lawyer, maybe you want them to fill out a form for a free consultation. That’s your CTA. Make it big, bold, and easy to find.

Also, don’t clutter your site with too many CTAs. If you do, it’s like a tour guide shouting directions at you from all directions. 

You wouldn’t know where to go first, right? 

Stick to one or two main actions you want people to take, and make those buttons impossible to miss.  Choose a contrasting color for your CTAs to really make them stand out.

Remember, your website isn’t just there to look pretty. It’s there to guide your visitors somewhere – like making a purchase, learning more about your services, or getting in touch with you.

If you’re not clear about what you want them to do, they might not do anything at all.

Mistake 8: Using Blurry or Low-Quality Pics

Ever scrolled through social media and seen a picture that was so blurry, you couldn’t even tell what it was supposed to be? 

Kind of a letdown, right? 

The same goes for your website. If you use pictures that are blurry, too small, or just plain bad quality, it’s not a good look. It’s like showing up to a job interview in a wrinkled shirt and flip-flops. People might not take you seriously.

Think about it: Your website is like your online storefront. The images you use are like the window display. You want everything to look sharp, inviting, and professional. 

That’s why picking the right pictures is super important. 

They need to be clear, high-quality, and they should make sense with what you’re talking about. If you’re a bakery, show off those cupcakes in all their mouth-watering glory. If you’re a photographer, your pictures need to be top-notch, showing off your skills.

But remember, the pictures you use should do more than just look pretty. They should tell a story about who you are and what you do. A great image can grab people’s attention and even help explain things better than words sometimes. 

So, take a bit of time to choose the right ones. It’s like picking the perfect outfit for a first date. You want to make a good impression!

Mistake 9: Letting Your Website Collect Metaphorical Dust

Ever visited a company’s profile only to see their last post was from 2017? You might wonder if they’re still around or what they’re up to these days. 

It’s the same deal with websites. 

If someone lands on your site and the last update was ages ago, they might think, “Hmm, is this place still in business?” 

Keeping your website fresh is like keeping your social media profiles lively. It shows you’re open, active, in the game, and ready to engage.

Here’s another thing: Google and other search engines are always on the lookout for fresh content. 

When they see that you’re regularly updating your site, they think, “Hey, this site is alive and kicking. Let’s show it to more people.” This could mean better spots in search results.

Updating your site isn’t just about adding new products or services (though that’s important, too). It’s also about refreshing your blog posts, changing up images, or even just tweaking your homepage now and then. It shows visitors and search engines alike that you’re keeping things up-to-date and that you care about providing a good experience.

And don’t worry; you don’t have to overhaul your site every month. 

Small, regular updates are like watering a plant—a little bit consistently can help it grow big and strong. So, whether it’s sharing news about your business, adding tips or insights in your blog, or just updating photos, keep your website’s content fresh. It’ll make a great impression on both visitors and Google, keeping your site in the spotlight and getting clicks!

Mistake 10: Skipping the Safety Gear for Your Website

Imagine surfing the internet like riding a bike. 

Now, what if I told you that not having a secure website is like riding that bike downhill without a helmet? Sounds risky, right? That’s because it is. 

Your website needs something called an SSL certificate to keep everyone’s data safe—kind of like how a helmet protects your head.

When a website has an SSL certificate, it’s like having a secret code. Anything people do on your site, like shopping or filling out forms, gets scrambled into a code that only you can understand. It keeps hackers from sneaking a peek at private info like addresses or credit card numbers. Without it, you’re telling your customers, “Hey, it’s okay to ride this bike without a helmet.” 

Not cool.

Here’s the kicker: Google, the apex of search engines, is now checking if sites are secure before showing them in search results. That means your website might not show up as easily when people are searching for stuff online. It’s Google’s way of making sure everyone plays it safe on the internet playground.

So, how do you get this magical SSL certificate? 

It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Often, your website host can set you up with one. It’s a simple step that tells everyone, “We take safety seriously around here.” Plus, it keeps Google happy, which is always a good thing. 

Make sure your website is wearing its helmet. Safety first, folks!

What To Do Next…

Wrapping up our digital deep dive, let’s remember that your website is essentially your online handshake. 

It’s the first, and sometimes the only, impression potential customers will have of your business. 

So, it makes all the difference to ensure that this virtual greeting is as warm, inviting, and effective as possible. Avoiding the common pitfalls we’ve talked about is key to keeping your digital doors open and reaching your business goals.

First off, clear navigation and a speedy, mobile-friendly site aren’t just nice-to-haves; they’re must-haves in today’s fast-paced, smartphone-dominated world. Every element of your site, from the words you choose to the images you showcase, should tell your story in a way that’s easy to understand and engage with. 

Remember, the goal is to make visitors feel at home and ready to explore what you have to offer, leading them gently but firmly to the action you want them to take, whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or reaching out for more information.

Lastly, keeping your content fresh and your website’s security tight shows your customers that you’re not just open for business, but you’re also a reliable, trustworthy partner in this digital journey. As the online world continues to evolve, so should your website. Regular updates, attention to SEO, and ensuring your site is a safe place for visitors will help your business stand out in a crowded digital marketplace. 

So take these tips, tweak your digital strategy, and watch as your website becomes your best salesman ever.

Need help implementing any of the tips above? Contact IFTS to set up a free consultation.  Just send si@iftsdesign.com an email with the subject line “Free Consult”.

Boost Your Business Part 2: Easy Steps to Get More Google Reviews with a Custom Business Card

In today’s digital age, online reviews play a crucial role in shaping the reputation and success of businesses. Positive Google reviews not only build credibility but also attract more customers to your doorstep. So, how can you make it easier for your satisfied customers to leave glowing reviews? The answer lies in a simple yet powerful strategy: custom business cards. 

In our previous blog post, we showed you how to get a shareable Google Business review link and how to turn that link into a QR code using Bitly. 

Now, we’re going to show you how to leverage the power of Canva to create custom business cards with your Google review link that drives even more Google reviews to your business.

Why Google Reviews Matter

Before we dive into the tutorial, let’s briefly discuss why Google reviews are so important for businesses. 

  1. Credibility: Positive reviews from satisfied customers build trust and credibility in the eyes of potential customers.
  2. Visibility: Higher review ratings and greater numbers of reviews can improve your business’s visibility in Google search results.
  3. Customer Acquisition: A strong reputation with positive reviews can significantly influence a customer’s decision to choose your business over competitors.

Now that we understand the importance of Google reviews, let’s get started with the tutorial!

Sharing Made Easy With a Custom Review Card

These cards not only serve as a reminder for customers to leave feedback but also make it incredibly convenient for them to do so. By incorporating a QR code linked directly to your Google review page, you’re simplifying the process for your customers, ultimately increasing the likelihood of them leaving a positive review.

Let’s explore how you can create and utilize these custom review cards to further enhance your online reputation and attract more customers to your business.

Step 1: Designing Your Custom Business Card in Canva

Canva is a user-friendly design platform that offers a wide range of templates for various purposes, including business cards. Here’s how to create your custom business card:

  1. Open Canva: Sign in to your Canva account or create one if you haven’t already.
  2. Select a Business Card Template: Browse through Canva’s selection of business card templates and choose one that fits your style and branding.
  3. Customize Your Design: Add your logo, contact information, and any other branding elements to personalize your business card.
  4. Adding the Bitly QR Code: Now, it’s time to generate a Bitly QR code linked to your Google review page. Head over to Bitly and follow the instructions to create a QR code linked directly to your Google review page, or watch our tutorial here.
  5. Incorporate the QR Code: Once you have your QR code, add it to your business card design in Canva. Ensure that it’s placed prominently and is easily scannable.

Step 2: Printing and Distribution

  1. Printing: You can print your business cards at home if you have the necessary equipment, or use a professional printing service for a high-quality finish.

2. Strategic Distribution: Make sure to leave your custom business cards at your checkout counter, include them in packaging, or hand them out during events or networking opportunities. The key is to make them readily available to your customers.

Ready, Set, Go Get Those Reviews!

By following these simple steps, you can create custom business cards that not only represent your brand but also serve as powerful tools for boosting your Google reviews. Remember, the more accessible and user-friendly you make the review process for your customers, the more likely they are to leave positive feedback.

So, what are you waiting for? Start designing your custom business cards today and watch as your Google reviews soar, bringing in more customers and growing your business’s reputation.

If you found this tutorial helpful, don’t forget to share it with others who might benefit from it. 

Stay tuned to our blog for more tips and tricks to help you succeed in the digital world.

Happy designing and here’s to more glowing Google reviews for your business!

Boost Your Business: Easy Steps to Get More Google Reviews

Are you looking to skyrocket your company’s reputation with minimal effort?

It’s a no-brainer that glowing reviews can significantly elevate your business’s online presence and credibility. But the big question remains:

How do you effortlessly encourage clients to leave those much-coveted reviews?

This comprehensive guide is your golden ticket to amassing an impressive collection of Google reviews, ensuring your business shines brighter than the rest.

Simplify the Business Review Process

The secret sauce to racking up reviews lies in making the process as straightforward as possible for your clients. Whether you’re a painter leaving a fresh coat of paint on a client’s walls or you’re an attorney that has just successfully navigated them through a complex legal battle, the satisfaction of a job well done is your prime moment to request a review.

Here’s how to harness that moment to your advantage:

Step 1 - Navigate to Your Company’s Google Business Profile

Start by accessing your Google Business Profile. You can do this by entering business.google.com in your browser or simply googling the name of your business.

Step 2 - Locate Your Direct Review Request Link

Once on your profile, look for the “Ask for Reviews” option.

This is where the magic happens.

Google provides a direct link that simplifies the review process, leading clients straight to where they can sing your praises.

Copy this link and save it somewhere easy to access; it’s your new best friend.

Step 3 - Make Sharing a Breeze

Now, you want to ensure this link reaches your clients without any hassle. Transforming the link into a QR code or a shortened URL via services like Bitly makes asking for a review via email, text, or even in person as seamless as possible.

How to Use Bitly To Get More Reviews

  •  Sign up for an account (you can use the free one to create everything you need and this is not an affiliate link)
  • Click on “Create New” > “Link”
  •  Fill in the URL and the title
  • Create the “Custom Back Half” text for the bitly URL
  • Turn on the QR code and select the color (add your logo if you have the paid subscription)
  • Click “Create”  
  • Download the PNG or JPEG version of your new QR code
  • Copy the bitly link and test it

Imagine you are a house painter and you have added this QR code to your final walkthrough paperwork.  Once you do the final walkthrough and your client is thrilled with their new house, you can pull out the QR code and ask for a review.

Or, imagine you are an attorney.  You could add the QR code to your final invoice or case documents.  When your client is thrilled with you winning their epic legal battle, they will be more than happy to leave that review, and you have made it super simple.

Step 4 - Employ Psychological Strategies

When asking for a review, framing it as a favor can significantly boost your chances of success.

People inherently enjoy reciprocating kindness, and by doing something nice for them, you’re more likely to receive a positive review in return. This approach taps into the basic human desire to give back, making your request much more effective.

Beyond the Basics – Getting More Reviews

Taking it a step further, incorporating the QR code into various client-facing materials can substantially increase your visibility and the likelihood of receiving reviews. Whether it’s a business card, a brochure, or an email signature, every point of contact is an opportunity to prompt a review.

In the next installment of our guide, we’ll explore innovative strategies to leverage these QR codes and Bitly links even further, ensuring every satisfied client has the chance to share their positive experience.

Stay tuned and get ready to transform your business’s review-gathering strategy from mundane to monumental.

With these simple steps, your business will not only gather reviews effortlessly but also build a reputation that stands out amongst your competitors.