Article written by Megan Totka, Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com.
Let’s face it. Most business don’t get it right the first time.
Whether it comes to our businesses, products, or services, we often follow the motto of “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” We’re encouraged by the stories of innovators and entrepreneurs who failed before they succeeded. The Thomas Edisons with their 9,999 prototypes before finally seeing the light. The Richard Bransons with their 400 failed companies prior to finding one with wings. It’s not that we accept failure as business owners, but rather we understand that such shortcomings are part of the process of being a modern entrepreneur.
But what happens when such shortcomings do hold us back? What happens when we’re not quite sure if we’re making mistakes?
That’s how elephants get in the room.
While sometimes we may make a mess of things as business owners, it’s undeniable that some mistakes will ultimately cause us major problems. When it comes to our small business site, there’s not much room to mess around. As web traffic becomes more and more targeted with today’s users harboring shorter and shorter attention spans, it’s crucial to make sure that we’re bringing new users into our funnels and keeping them there.
But what if there’s something wrong with our sites, and we’re not even aware? Let’s identify the following three main offenders that plague most SMB sites and understand how we can overcome them.
Overcoming Crummy Content
No business wants to hear that its content is stale; however, crummy content is a big elephant in the room for most SMBs looking to stake their claim online. As our content profile represents how we’re both found and shared online, what we put out in the open has huge implications for our businesses and their online reputations. If you feel that your business may have flatlined when it comes to content, consider how to breathe some new life into your text:
- Lists have always been popular in the content sphere; however, sites such as Buzzfeed have become insanely popular in recent months by taking the list article to the next level. Can your business take a similar approach?
- On a similar note, there’s no better time than now to get topical. Whether through newsjacking or simply following the trends of the day via Twitter, topical content is a great way to capture the attention of new visitors to your site.
- The wide world of web content is more than just words these days. Consider the opportunities when it comes to quick and easy image-based content. Easily shared and digested by today’s user on-the-go, such marketing represents a great way to make an impression upon new visitors. From meme marketing to microvideo platforms such as Vine, the possibilities are seemingly endless. Free, fun and simple.
In Search of Better Search
As mentioned earlier, traffic has become more targeted. Search engine optimization continues to become more and more accessible to the average site owner due to the wealth of information concerning Google’s algorithm and what Google wants you to do to keep in their good graces. The benefits of targeted traffic are obvious; we want users who are interested in what we’re selling to show up at our proverbial doorsteps; because they’re more likely to spend. Yet the benefits of sound SEO are innumerable. Consider also that:
- A sound SEO strategy doesn’t require you to reinvent the wheel. By simply understanding your industry and what keywords to target within that industry, you’re probably a step ahead of a decent chunk of your competition.
- SEO doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. A savvy site owner can run the show for free with enough education (and there’s plenty of that available online, all for free and with no strings attached).
- Sites with poor SEO are much more likely to be overtaken by their competitors, who are willing to target markets and keywords relating to their industry.
Overdoing Your Design
It’s not 1999 anymore, although not every small business site gets the memo. In pursuit of getting too much done at once, many of today’s sites look cluttered and overwrought, ultimately turning users off as soon as they land on the page. Can you afford to send users running? Probably not. Ensure that your website is embracing the elements of modern web design, including:
- Unique typography
- A flat design
- Simpler designs and larger images
The Bottom Line
Make sure that there’s no elephant in the room when it comes to your small business site. By ensuring that you’re taking a modern approach when it comes to content, search and design, you’ll avoid the most common pitfalls facing today’s SMBs and their sites.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.