6 Digital Marketing & Web Design Mistakes Small Business Owners Make

Posted April 16, 2017 by Anthony Neal Macri

Remember the days when not every business had a website? Sometimes you Googled a business and discovered that they only existed on yellow pages?

Times have changed. Every single business, small or large, has or desperately needs to have a website.

As a small business owner, you must accept that your website is a vital piece of marketing and branding for your business. Visitors are coming to your website for a specific reason, and you want to ensure that you answer their questions and use your website to sell your product or service.

Your website will make an impression on your potential customers before they will even consider buying anything from you. You might not even have a chance to talk to them, the website should be your best foot forward in making that lasting impression.

Web design, at its essence, is a form of art. And like art, it should give your visitors an experience. It’s meant to combine form and function in a way that makes a website enjoyable, navigable, interesting and usable. In order to do this, there are certain “rules” that must be followed when building your online business presence. Often, small businesses don’t follow these rules, and that’s when website disasters like this happen.

From personal experience, I can say that these are the most common mistakes small business owners often make:

1.Rushing to the finish line

I get it. As a small business owner you have to juggle a million different things. Your online presence is just another one of those things. You just want to get it done.

The problem with that is, you are rushing to the finish line with a bunch of important missing pieces. I have seen many business owners get to the design of their business website before even having researched who their target market is, or who their perfect customer is.

If your target market is older, perhaps the font size should be larger. Or if your product is geared towards a younger audience, then you need to think about mobile experience more, since younger generations are mobile and more social. These are just some examples.

The most important question you must be able to answer before starting to design is: Where do you want your visitors to go once they land on your website? What action do you want them to take? Both answers are easy if you know your target audience.

2.A Terrible CTA (call to action)

As I mentioned above, you must 100% know what exactly you want your customers to do on your website. Once you know, work with a designer to make that process as easy as possible. Every other feature and piece of information on the website becomes secondary.

Your CTA is the gateway to your business. It tells your potential customers to do something: Buy this! Get a coupon! Learn more about this service! Obviously, remember it’s extremely important that your CTA clearly tells visitors what they need to do but also explains exactly what will happen when the CTA is clicked. There is nothing worse than clicking on a CTA and ending up on the wrong page.

Remember! Keep the amount of CTAs on check. There is a fine line between helpful and super annoying and confusing. Check out for example this disaster:

3. The Use Of Ugly Or Irrelevant Images

Images and graphics are a super important part of your online presence and design. They can convey complex thoughts and information quickly. They can also ruin the entire design if not used properly. I have seen this happen more often than I like to admit, but from small to large, businesses sometimes pick the worst images possible to convey their message. I wrote an article not too long ago about visuals and graphics that do well on social media where I spent some time explaining why stock photos can come across as phoney.

4. Lack Of Contact Info

Weirdly enough, a lack of contact info is another pretty common mistake. The moment visitors decide to make a purchase, visit your location or give you a call. It’s imperative they have all  the contact information the second they decide they wanna do business with you. If a potential customer has to sift through your site for contact info or address, he or she will likely get frustrated and leave. Your “Contact” page should always be just one click away and your information should be at the bottom of every page.

Make doing business with you as easy as possible. That’s your goal.

5. Paying Too Much Or Not Paying Enough

This is a tough one, since there isn’t a right answer and prices change depending on a series of factors that are completely unrelated to your business. In short, you get what you pay for BUT paying too much won’t necessarily get you more when it comes to web design and digital marketing.

You’d be surprised how many times people ask for my help after they’ve hired a cheap design company, let them make really crappy business decisions, and they end up with a really bad product. On the other hand though, small business owners get lured in by expensive agencies that work with big brands, not realizing these agencies while “hip” and “cool” might completely miss the mark when working with smaller businesses that are looking for a more ROI centric approach.

Spend some time visiting websites of large advertising agencies to see how weird they try to look on purpose in order to sell themselves to large brands as non conventional and avant-garde.

6. Too Many Ads Everywhere

Whether it’s your ads or some other network’s ads, be careful on where you place them and h0w many of them. Obviously, you are trying to advertise your products and services and I even told you to provide click to actions whenever possible but remember there is a fine line between advertising and noise that gets your visitors/customers annoyed.

Check your ads placements like a hawk, if you find them annoying, your visitors will too. Keep it to a minimum and the few you have, make them count by having them professionally designed.

Take a look at this disastrous page:

Key Takeaways

Find an agency or consultant that understands your business and your business goals and trust them when designing your online persona. Now more than ever your digital presence has a direct impact on how successful your business will be.

Anthony Neal Macri
It all started at AshleyMadison.com. From there I worked with some of the best and most exciting startups. Now I help businesses and startups make it big online. Everything I do is driven by passion. I only take on projects I feel passionate about. Need Help? Let's chat.
Anthony Neal Macri
Anthony Neal Macri

Comments (1)

  • Peru Buesa says:

    Great post Anthony. The number of CTAs on a page is tricky, for you do not want to waste the opportunity for the final CTA, although in many cases a ‘transitional CTA’ (e.g. learn more) can be the best!. A good A/B testing attitude is key here. Thanks for sharing and well written!

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