Posted Friday, December 17, 2004
Small businesses are flocking to the Internet. The web is fast becoming a major channel for lead generations and sales of products and services. Additionally, thousands of people are turning to the Web to start their own home-based businesses.
After spending hundreds and even thousands of dollars to build their web presence, the vast majority of businesses coming online are disappointed with the promised results of their websites. I’m sorry to say, but most of these under-performing websites were build by graphic designers and technical developers that have no real marketing experience. In committing these mistakes many small business owners are unwittingly driving their website visitors away!
Having reviewed literally hundreds of websites for small business owners, I have seen the exact same mistakes being made over and over. The following are 5 of the most common website design mistakes being made today – and tips on what you can do to avoid them.
Mistake #1 – Not Clearly Differentiating Yourself From The Competition
How many websites have you been to that look the same, say the same thing, have the same functions, and generally are just the same-ole website? Probably a lot. People go to your website to get information to solve their problem and to find out how you can solve it for them.
If your visitor doesn’t have a clear understanding of why you are different and that you are the only solution for them to logically choose, they will click on over to your competitor.
One of the most common website mistakes is not clearly differentiating themselves from their competitors in a meaningful way. Meaningful in a sense, that whatever difference you claim to have must benefit the customer. It needs to be something that they desire.
If you’ve done your job right, you visitor will feel that they would be foolish to not buy your product or service.
Mistake #2 – Content focused on only you and your business
No one cares about you or any of your awards. All they care about is how you can help them solve their problem. I see this time and again – small business webites owners focusing all their content on their company and how good they think they are.
The moment you start to understand that people don’t care about you, and what they really care about is how you can solve their problem, your sales will begin to increase. Why? Because generally speaking, deep down, people are totally immersed in their own problems. Your job is to get into that person’s mind as the solution of those problems. Here are some tactics that you can implement to make your prospect begin to see you as the solution to their problems:
-State your prospect’s problem then agitate it
-Address each potential objection in your copy and an FAQ area
-Do the “I and We” test (If you have I in your copy more than half of the times you use "you and your"…you need to re-write your copy)
-Show testimonials and case studies of people that have achieved positive results
Mistake #3 – Confusing Navigational Instructions
The cyberworld is impatient and unforgiving. If a visitor lands on your site and gets confused, she is only a mouse click away from another site. Providing good navigation on your website is a must if you want to convert your visitors into customers. Here is a 3 step formula for developing a good navigational scheme for your site:
-Determine your “most wanted response” (MWR)
-Provide a pathway to your MWR
-Provide a closing page i.e. an irresistible offer
Mistake #4 – No use of compelling headlines and sub-headlines
It is said that 80% of the success of a direct mail letter is attributed to its headline. It is no different with website copy. The Web has brought us universal access to photos and graphics but in the end, it’s the copy that sells…period. The trick to getting your visitors to read your copy is to use dynamic, attention-getting headlines and sub-headlines.
The sole purpose of your headline should be to make sure your visitor wants to continue reading the text below it. Each and every page of your website should start with a headline.
Mistake #5 – Dull, Mind-Numbing Content
Many web developers just don’t know how to write web copy. Most small business sites provide copy that is boring and useless. The site is about what the small business does and NOT what problem your services solve for the customer.
Here are some suggestions to liven up your web copy:
-Include stories of real people
-Use case studies
-Use surveys, studies, charts, graphs and evidence
-Use thumbnail photo galleries…make sure they are thumbnail and not
full size…a slow loading site is a no-no!
While this list doesn’t cover all of the possible website mistakes, it does describe some of the most expensive, destructive and most common made by many online business owners. Just by following the suggestions above, you will find that your website visitors will land on your site and feel free to stay awhile and browse around. Thus, beginning the process of converting a visitor into a customer.
About the Author
Irene Brooks is the Founder of 3-D Success Partners, and editor of the 3-D Success Newsletter. To get your free lifetime subscription go to (http://www.3-DSuccessCoach.com)