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How Not To Make The 3 Mistakes I Consistently See on Small Business Websites

consistent-website-mistakesIf you have a small business website it should serve one purpose – generating sales.

Sure, it should inform your visitors of your offers and give them social proof of your abilities through testimonials. Without a doubt, your website should generate and capture leads. And most importantly your business website should move your visitors toward buying your offers.

While there’s nearly infinite ways to do generate sales, a few necessary pieces need to be in place on your business website in order to generate more sales effectively. Most of this is really common sense. Yet after the more than 20 Business Website Assessments I’ve done in the past month, these basic elements are consistently being missed on small business websites.

Yet, these basic elements are so fundamental that you want to be sure you’re not missing them on your website.

1. Ineffective use of Page Titles

Page titles are part of the HTML code on your website. Usually you’ll see the page title in the top bar of your web browser window.

While it serves a number of purposes, it has two very primary, and important, functions. First, it is an important piece in keyword optimization for SEO. No effective SEO strategy is complete without including keywords in the page titles. For effective SEO, each of your business website pages should have unique page titles. These page titles should include the keywords that you’ve optimized for each, specific page.

Secondly, and perhaps even more important, your page titles are used as the main, linked text in search engine results. It’s the large blue text you see in the graphic below:

page-title-importance-search-results

Effective page titles tell people what they’ll find when they click through the search results into your website page. Ideally, your page title will show a benefit the searcher can gain from visiting that page. The best page titles will increase click-through rates from search results, increasing your visitors, your leads and potentially your revenue. Spending any time SEO without optimizing your page titles for conversion is a poor idea.

Of the 26 websites I’ve evaluated in the past month through my Website Business Assessment, every single one of them were not using page titles effectively. If you have a small business website, you may want to look into this.

2. No Clear Business Objectives

Your small business website is nothing more than a marketing tool. On its own, there’s nothing magical it can do. It’s merely a servant to how you want to use it to market and promote your business.

As a marketing tool, your business website needs to be considered as part of your marketing plan. when you create a marketing plan you identify objectives – the things you want to accomplish through your marketing efforts. Then you set out to do the tasks that will accomplish the objectives.

Your business website, as a marketing tool, needs to also have clearly identified business objectives. In other words, you want to be absolutely clear what your goals are with your website. Sure, it could be getting more clients. But there’s a process involved in getting more clients. And your website is a place to implement that process.

But to go a step further, it’s not just enough to state your business objectives and then go about using your business website to accomplish them. You need to prioritize your business objectives. You need to decide that this one objective is the primary mission of my website. Then do everything you can think of to get your primary objective in front of your website visitors, blog post readers and anyone else who will see your website.

After you identify your primary business objective then decide on the second and third most important things you want people to accomplish on your website. Make each of those visible at the most opportune time in your business website. Just make sure they don’t trump the primary objective.

An example that came out of the 30-minute follow-up call I do with every Business Website Assessment came from an alternative healer. She had her signup box for joining her email list on every page of her site. Yet, when we spoke, her primary objective was a free consultation time. The email signup was important – actually her secondary objective – but was not as important as the free consulting time. So we discussed ways that she could adjust her website to make the free consulting time more visible and more appealing. What’s great to here is that after two weeks she’s gotten 6 more inquiries than she usually had.

Be clear, ultra clear, with your business objective, prioritize them and then design your website around them. Doing so, you’ll find much greater success using your business website to promote your business.

3. Few or No Enticing Action Steps for Visitors to Take

In every case in the past month, the websites I’ve evaluated have had few, if any, direct action steps. Action steps, I define, as what you want your visitors to do when they arrive a to a certain point on your website page. Every page of your website needs to have clear, easy-to-do action steps – even your bio page. Actually, especially your bio page.

To have easy-to-do action steps it helps to have clear business objectives. If you know the objectievs of your website, the action steps you want your visitors to take simply become an extension of your primary, secondary and tertiary objectives.

The key here is that the steps are easy for your visitors to complete. Remember, this is the point of conversion. The action you’re asking your visitor to take will directly engage them in your business. So this isn’t the time to get cute with language or too wordy. It’s not the time to explain a bunch of things about what you can do for them. Simple, easy-to-understand, to-the-point content is what you want here.

The best action steps are the ones that combine your business objectives with the wants of your visitor at the moment. When their wants meet your objectives, you’ve got a conversion – a list signup, a consult inquiry, a seminar registration, a product sale, etc. Ultimately, your website’s copy should almost always be about moving people toward an easy-to-do action step.

Now, I keep saying easy-to-do for a reason. On three occasions this past month, I’ve done Business Website Assessments on business sites where the action steps visitors were asked to take were way too complex. In one case, the primary objective was an email list signup in exchange for a free product. The business owner, wanting to get as much from the conversion as they could, insisted that first the visitor signup for a list, then verifiy their email address, then fill-in a “short”, 16 question survey, then verified their email address again, and then they finally got the giveaway product.

All this was explained up front so there was no misdirection. But the business owner wasn’t getting many signups. So I suggested moving the survey in the process to the end and don’t require it. Deliver the product and then offer the survey. I spoke with the business owner yesterday and in the past week he’s tripled his list signups and doubled his survey respondents. Make the process easy.

And…make it easy to find. Don’t hide your action steps like I’ve seen on a number of websites.

Of Course, There’s More…

And there always will be. But when it comes to having an effective business website for your small, service-based business, these are the three most common mistakes I’m seeing during a Business Website Assessment. They also happen to be three of the most critical pieces to having a successful business website.

Perhaps it’s time you find out what’s working and what’s not working on your website. Or what you can do to make your website more effective in reaching your business goals. I’ve got a few slots available still for Business Website Assessments. Signup today.

Are you making these mistakes with your business website? How about your blog? What will you do to change it?

Or do you feel your website is dialed in and performing exactly how you want it to? Tell us how you did it.

Let’s talk about it.

note: image from TopTechWriter.US on Flickr, some rights reserved)

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Comments

  1. Simple but powerful advice. I saw so many sites use inappropriate page titles. Besides those three, I would suggest one more.

    Since every new website needs to be ranked well in SERPs, they might decide to pay for SEO services. Yes, SEO services are good. However, you have to make sure that the SEO company you hire is legit. I heard someone site got banned because they hired a black hat SEO company. In that case, you lost your money, your site, and perhaps your brand.

  2. Agreed, great points! I have done several small business website jobs and always try to keep in my mind these valuable points. The small business is indeed all about making the sale, or converting them to a valuable lead. Proper page titles should be a no-brainer, however so many amateurs fail at this easy task!

  3. Business Logos says:

    You raise some good points. There are so many mistakes made by webmasters, you could make a blog on that topic alone!

  4. Hamming
    Right on. There’s lots of ‘so-called SEO experts’ out there. It take very little to call yourself an expert. Yet, I’ve always felt the title expert is something that others give you.

    Web Design
    They should be a no-brainer. Yet, after reviewing so many sites, it’s obvious that this bit is not being passed on to people.

  5. Simon Wilby says:

    Dawud, this is my first time in your blog and I really admire this post of yours, specially the part discussing the title tag usage.

    I have seen many sites that uses their own url as their title tag. It doesn’t make sense for the SE’s as well as for the users/searchers or prospective clients.

    Also, I think the right usage of meta description can also help your business conversion.

  6. Dawud, believe it or not, up to 60 percent of the website/blog owners doesn’t seem to care too much about the Page Titles! That’s why, they’ve already made the deadly mistake in the very beginning…

  7. Mark Walusimbi says:

    Great points! I’d like to add that most webmasters are not familiar with all the mystifying little rules of grammar and punctuation that befuddle an average writer. Very few proofread their sites.

  8. Dawud, I currently have a real estate html web site that needs to be converted to Word Press from html. Do you know anyone that you could recommend that could help?

    I realize it can be costly but I cannot afford to keep paying for PPC…

    Help!

  9. Ivy Bot Forex Robot says:

    The main thing I notice is lack of call to action points. It seems like small businesses and small website owners alike seem to overlook the simple truth,.. people need to be persuaded. Click here, buy this, read more.. its all needed.

  10. In regard to #2:

    As a designer, this is one of the most frustrating pieces to the puzzle. I build sites for companies and start-ups who don’t even know what their vision is. They know their product, but that’s about it.

    When the client is responsible for providing site content, they usually provide vague and almost useless information to begin with. I usually advise them to contact someone to help them with their content, because no matter how awesome a design is, people still like to know what a company is all about.

  11. I agree with you. In fact, I am guilty of these wrong practices. Glad you have brought these entire thing up. 🙂

  12. @Business Logos
    Forget webmasters. I’m talking to business owners.

    @Simon
    That’s right. I think Title Tags should draw interest toward a conversion, not just be SEO’d.

    @wilbh81
    I believe it. Especially with WordPress and some of the plugins…someone would be wise to teach on this.

    @Mark
    You wouldn’t be speaking to me, would you? I’m terrible at proofing my writing. Not sure why, I just am.

    @SanDiegoAI
    I’ll be in touch by phone.

    @Ivy
    Right on. And I say ‘click here’ isn’t enough. My advice is ‘click here to get that thing you really want right now.’

    Lead ’em to water and then help them drink.

    @Electonics
    Exactly right! The client always focuses on all the visual detail – sometimes near obsession. Yet, what good is the most beautiful website if the content doesn’t convert? What’s more, sometimes the most beautiful design elements get in the way of people reading the content to begin with.

    Since I work so much helping business market more effectively and grow, I see the visual website design as merely a backdrop for stellar content and enticing offers. If it’s more than that, it gets in the way. That coming from someone who’s designed websites for 13 years.

  13. Dawud, I would like to add on the point here. Besides of the three points you’ve mentioned on above article, we need to remember that a friendly and on time customer support is necessary, as it decides the seriousness of your spirit into the business!

  14. Cheap Memory says:

    I totally agree with you Wilson. Customer support should be one of the main objectives of any site selling products or services.

    I especially like the Live chat module most sites have.

    This live support should also be a priority

  15. Thrive Learning Institute says:

    Wow Dawud, 10 years of SEO and building websites. Very happy to stumble across your site today.

  16. After going through a full site redesign myself. I can’t tell you how important the use of H1 and H2 tags are for showing up in google. I have seen vast improvements in SERPs because of just the Heading tags. But there is a lot of great stuff in here. Thanks.

  17. Roommate Search says:

    Great points! As a small website operator I want to add one more point to #1. You should have unique page titles throughout your website for SEO purposes. I used to have “Free Roommate Finder” as my page title for every page on my site because thats what my site is about and I thought it would help. But it turns out that Google will kill your pagerank as a result of this. So make sure you use good page titles, and make them unique as well. 🙂

  18. Definitely a good read. The problem I used to always have when creating a new business was creating a purpose for my business. It’s ironic; earning money is not a purpose. It’s just a by-product of what your business should do.

    Anyway, cheers for the blog!

  19. Some great advice. Another tip that falls in line with what you were saying with #3 is that you should offer multiple paths of least resistance. If you are selling cheap memory, the landing page should have an action for every type of visitor.

    The one looking for prices. The one looking for compatibility info. The one that knows exactly which one he wants and just needs to buy it.

    Sometimes I build sites that use different ways to get the user to continue on to the same logical next step. Say, several different instances of the same link with different anchor text.

  20. Fountains Outdoor says:

    I think at the end everything is important, including friendly customer support, but we won’t even have the chance to give it if non of what you mentioned here is applied…

  21. Quit Snoring says:

    I myself have recently started a website for my dad’s business, but I’m having somewhat of a hard time trying to convince him of the necessity of doing SEO and that sort of thing. Any advice here?

  22. Oh well, i guess the only thing i’m using correctly is the page title.

    The rest i will try to implement your advise and see if i can g better results.

    Thanks for sharing…

  23. Wilson & Cheap,
    I agree. How you treat your clients and customers makes a huge difference in the success of your business.

    Denver,
    I can’t tell you how difficult t can be to get this point across to clients.

    Thrive,
    My pleasure. Read on.

    Jason,
    I’ve found the simplest way to solve the point on having a purpose with your business is to focus on the problem your products/services can solve and how that will affect people’s lives. Your business CAN make meaning.

    Roommate,
    Right on!

    Go Beach,
    Yes. And you want to make the actions visitors need to take as clear as possible. Once they’ve decided to act, there should be no guesswork as to how.

    Fountains,
    Good point. You have no customers to serve if your marketing isn’t converting. And, ultimately, that’s what I’m talking about here – converting eyes to dollars.

    Quit,
    Yep. Talk to him about Google Local Search and put your efforts there. Show him how it’s no different than advertising and so he needs a budget, even a small one, around doing some SEO. And, prove to him that Google has become the modern yellow pages (which it has).

    Lastly, remember than you can do a lot of SEO yourself. The key is to find the right search phrases to optimize for. For that, there’s Google Keywood Tool and other services like it. Then it’s mostly about optimizing your site & drawing relevant backlinks.

    Publicdad,
    Once you get ’em there, you gotta convert ’em. If not, what’s the point of getting ’em there?

  24. I really liked ur this article Dawud….waiting eagerly for ur new posts 🙂

  25. I believe that when designing a website, it is important to have a certain path in mind, that you intend users to take. For instance…they see the product, add to cart, checkout. Or see products..request estimate. To many websites do not have an easy path to conversion, leaving users lost and confused.

  26. With so many distractions is can be tough to remain focused. Thanks for the reminder

  27. Good article which has got my wheels turning and burning now. A good design that is easy to navigate with contact info easy to find is most important.

    Customer support should be one of the main objectives too.

    Great post, keep up the good work.

  28. skill games says:

    “Yet, these basic elements are so fundamental that you want to be sure you’re not missing them on your website.
    1. Ineffective use of Page Titles”

    It’s good that you mentioned those things. I would be wary of them from now on. I guess, ineffective title is many people’s mistake. They tend to focus on creativity without much thought on SEO techniques in creating titles.

  29. Fast food coupons says:

    Hi,

    Very Informative Article , The Importance of the a Simple HTML tag such as title could make the difference or sale or no sale.

  30. Speaking of ineffective page titles I recently aquirred a contract to redo a landscaping companys website and thorughout the whole site all the titles that had the word landscaping in it were spelled: “Landscapping”…talk about useless!

    P.S. their site was like this for 7 years before they asked me to redo it haha

  31. kestane balı says:

    Speaking of ineffective page titles I recently aquirred a contract to redo a landscaping companys website and thorughout the whole site all the titles that had the word landscaping in it were spelled: “Landscapping”…talk about useless!

    P.S. their site was like this for 7 years before they asked me to redo it haha

  32. Auto Dealer,
    That’s why it’s important to have clear business objectives for your website before you even bother to deign it. You always have to be thinking of how will the site meet my business goals.

    New Orleans,
    Focus is everything. Without it, we’re just floating on the wind having no idea where we’ll land.

    Camisetas,
    Remember, the post is about mistakes I’m seeing all the time on small business websites. You have to get customers before you can service them, right?

    skill,
    I think we focus too much on SEO, personally, and not enough on techniques that actually work to drive targeted traffic and convert that traffic to business.

    I always say that the answer you get about marketing will always be determined by who’s answering you. A word-of-mouth guy will say, “use WOM.” And an SEO guy sells SEO. Yet no one solution works for everyone. The best marketing approach is customized to each business’ needs, objectives and abilities.

    Fast food,
    It could…but can you elaborate on how?

    kelowna,
    Isn’t that interesting. Wonder how many other people out there search for ‘landscapping’ in Google?

  33. Interesting thoughts about how sometimes a website is only a marketing tool. Good food for thought.

  34. I’ve seen so many bad websites. I must add that the worst thing I see is websites built by designers using heaps of flash and graphics. The sites may look good but they aren’t going to show up in the search engines, leading to no traffic and no sales.

  35. I agree with you. Those tips you give are something that would be helpful for any beginner that is trying to earn some money from business website. I would even add to that that creating accounts on such social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter would give many benefits increasing traffic on this site – helping to sell, whatever is there to sell.

  36. Thank You! I’ll be following you on twitter!

  37. Nice post. But, when you look at my website, i sell nothing, just give a free tool for local people to sell their cars on. Yes it makes a little money, but not enough to pay for seo services and buy baclinks. If i start charging people, i website will go under. Any advice for a free auto classified website?

  38. kestane,
    Did you see how that misspelling ranks?

    Tattoos,
    I’ve always been one who feels that function – and hence business objectives – should always out weigh fashion. Any business website should do one thing really well – produce leads. Thoughts?

    Gry,
    Yet, don’t you think there’s a need to be careful with social media (yeah, I know…odd coming from me)? So many people are just spinning their wheels with these new toys, getting no traction and no increase in their business. Social media should be stepped into with a solid strategy backed by metrics, don’t you think?

    Portland,
    Have you built a list? Or do you have a way to go out to your site’s users? If so, ask them what they want – and what they’ll pay for it. Sounds simple, and it is, but it can change your business greatly.

  39. As a web designer and SEO person myself it annoys me to no end that people actually pay for websites with the flaws you’ve listed.

    The sad part is that the web designer who creates websites like this usually ends up with their client coming back to them and wanting to pay for SEO services.

    Fair enough, linking and optimizing content isn’t necessarily part of web design but something as basic as page titles should be.

  40. Dawud, thanks for the thought provoking post. Title tags are the easiest to fix and play a huge role in SEO that they should never be overlooked. I am now subscribed and will be back for more 😉

  41. Good points on an effective business website. You’re right about having an objective, there needs to be a clear call to action.

    Once a prospect is interested in moving forward with your company they need to know exactly what to do.

  42. Hairdresser Perth says:

    I often do work with small business websites and the most common thing I see is a page title that is crammed with “keywords”.

    It is as if they don’t realize what this looks like on the search engine results pages. I try to write page titles that are like a headline in an ad and then after that, try to weave in a keyword or 2 making sure it is still readable.

  43. Great advice. It’s amazing how the real simple, obvious stuff can slip right past us. Got a question though: testimonials, does ANYBODY really believe them…are they a waste of space?

  44. There are a lot of others mistakes. For those who work with internet, like me, this is good because it generate a lot of business oportunities and new clients!

  45. Great post and so very true! I totally agree with you. It’s really helpful for small business.

  46. Hi Dawud, Great detailed post! I see this all the time when dealing with people’s Adwords campaigns. They basically think anypage will make the visitors think “wow” without creating great landing pages.

  47. Edinburgh,
    Yeah, but I’m of the mind that SEO is overrated. I see building a website that’s positioned effectively in a niche, clearly communicates benefits and converts traffic as far more important than SEO. What good is traffic if it doesn’t convert?

    SEO often just gets in the way of sound business practices. I think it’s helpful to remember that SEO is only ONE way to drive traffic. There’s hundreds of other ways that can often be more effective in building business and making more money.

    Knoxville,
    Glad to have you on. Let me know how I can help you and your business in the future.

    Local,
    Yes, yes and yes!

    That’s the key…once your visitor is interested they need to know EXACTLY what their next step is. NEVER leave them guessing. ALWAYS make it clear. (sounds like a good blog post…)

    Hairdresser,
    Right on! See my comments above to Edinburgh

    Wayne,
    Great question. I never thought so until I tested it. If you think about testimonials as ‘social proof’ of what you’re saying, it does make sense. And yes, pages with testimonials tend to sell better than those without.

    Giuliano,
    Roll on…

    B2B,
    Can you be more specific? or are you just looking for a back link?

    Accountants,
    That’s why I always teach my clients about clear objectives, strategies and effective tactics. You gotta know what your goals are before you can actually get there.

  48. Aged Care Christchurch says:

    Thanks for your information. As a blogger, I always value people who add value to the information available to educate readers. I particularly liked your advice on “No Clear Business Objectives”. It is important to have a marketing plan in order to generate sales.

  49. This may be the best article in your blog. It has stimulated my thinking process — isn’t that what good writing does. I’ve made some notes.

  50. I think #2 is the most critical. If a company is without business objectives then a website isn’t going to help. H

    If a company does have clearly defined objectives then item number 3 will be much simpler and more direct to achieve.

    Item number 1 is primarily a technical task but definitely critical to SEO. So for companies wondering what simple things they can do to increase their rankings in Google, tweaking those titles is the #1 task.

  51. Aged,
    It is. You can’t get to where you want to go if you don’t know where it is.

    Donnie,
    You should got through my archives. There’s definitely some stuff better than this.

    brian,
    I completely agree. Being clear about your business objectives is one of the most important – and basic – pieces of having a successful business. If you don’t have clear objectives, your business serves your whims and struggles.

  52. I see the Titles example most of all. I think it just stems from the fact that the majority of people are not tech savvy, especially the older business owners to whom the internet is not a primary tool. Additionally they just don’t have experience with thinking about something like a website from multiple perspectives (owner-side, visitor-side, etc.) so while they may be experienced in running a physical store effectively, their insight into best practices on the web is lacking. It’s all a matter of education, really, as long as the person recognizes the value in doing things on the web correctly.

  53. Leningbox says:

    I guess affiliates works best to start with. Page titles/descriptions are most important for SEO, and yes.. ofcourse backlinks.

  54. Thanks for the points. I realize we’ve put up our website and not completely given people easy to understand paths to follow. I’m not 100% how to implement those suggestions, but it is something we’re working on. Thanks for the free advice.

  55. Anime MMORPG says:

    Your website must have
    1.About Page
    2.Contact Page
    3. Utilize the “free” strategy e.g.(free trial,free membership,free stuffs) clients love those. it’s like free taste when you sell drinks or foods
    4.Keep updated… Visitors often see the date and when they see that you’re not updated you got 50/50 chance of getting the customer
    5.Study Social Media Marketing
    6. Always learn the latest gigs….

    Hope this helps too

  56. Thank you for this post. Many people dont realize this. A website can make or brake a company. Great SEO is also a must

  57. I definitely agree with number 2. Before starting anything, objectives must be set.

  58. I totally agree with you Wilson. Customer support should be one of the main objectives of any site selling products or services.

  59. Business Consulting Services says:

    Aside from page titles, one more thing I noticed to other sites is that they are not using keywords on their meta tags while some are using keyword stuffing which is a not good idea at all.

  60. I agree with you. Many tips you give are very helpful for me, which is trying to earn some money from business website.

    Regards,

  61. Yuba City Photographer says:

    I would have never guessed that those would be the most common mistakes. I have even made some of those mistakes.

  62. I agree with number 2. You need to know what you want to accomplish first and set clear/attainable business objectives. Keeping it simple helps too. Thanks.

  63. Banner Stands says:

    I like it to be simple and easy. = the best website customer feedback you can ever get.

  64. What about multiple (yet similar) products. Is it more profitable to let clients choose from a “grocery list” or present your best first and hope for add-ons at check-out?

  65. A small business is being run by relatively few people, and the likelihood of someone knowing all the ins and outs of SEO and effective marketing strategies are low on that scale. It’s good to see a resource like this.

  66. Maneesh Bhati says:

    I believe that when designing a website, it is important to have a certain path in mind, that you intend users to take. For instance…they see the product, add to cart, checkout. Or see products..request estimate.

  67. revitol acnezine says:

    I believe that proper seo is really a must. Everyone must start of course from researching with their keywords build traffic using seo and build back links. These 3 simple concepts could drive your business website up. also, keep being updated so that your readers will keep on coming back to your site giving you much more traffic!

  68. Great points! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I often do work with small business websites and proper seo is such an important task to make a site successful.

  69. shercy ramos says:

    As a consumer and web buyer, I usually want to google what I want to purchase online. The problem with some pages in the web is, their web page title is often misleading. So, I totally agree with your point on Ineffective use of Page Titles. I think business here should really be concise and prudent about their title choice.

  70. Nice one! This would serve as a reminder for all of us in the business industry. 🙂

  71. personal statement medical school says:

    “Every page of your website needs to have clear, easy-to-do action steps – even your bio page.”

    Most of the time, people look for answers and solutions when they visit a certain site, therefore, a website must strive to be very convenient and beneficial, above everything else.

  72. Now a days every body is looking forward to reach the global audiances for their products and services.
    They are having their sites and have hired lots of webmasters to make them visible over major engines like google, yahoo and msn.

    Before jumping into this online marketing campaign one should be very much aware of his goals, audiances, keywords and competitors as well.

    It is the quality of volume which matters alot not just the volume. SEO is all about sales, conversions, ROI

  73. The points that you have mentioned should be taken care of. whether the business is small or big, it is there to earn,Then why not try every possible means to make a profit generator from all ends.

  74. I usually advise them to contact someone to help them with their content, because no matter how awesome a design is, people still like to know what a company is all about

  75. another moan about number two. People often get a website designed as they feel they just need one. At the end of the day, the site’s job is to sell, it cant do this unless we know who we are aiming, the message etc.

  76. I think same and I published articles in my blog like this.Thanks for good information.Especially page title is very important.

  77. I’m glad you pointed out the importance of a bio page needing directions also. So often it is a dead end path.

  78. Makes sense, yet I still see so many business sites with the same titles throughout their entire site. Some of these people even go through the trouble of making different meta tags for each, but don’t bother with the title. It’s a shame, because it’s such a huge indicator for search engines of the content in your page.

  79. Thank you for this post. Many people dont realize this. A website can make or brake a company. Great SEO is also a must..

  80. Most traditional businesses still solicit clients via networking events or referrals. Unless you’re engaged in a low pricing strategy, SEO seems too costly a field to engage in marketing for (clicks do not result in conversions).

  81. Good list. So many small businesses have terrible websites that can hurt their business. I see it all the time!

  82. Best Web Site Host says:

    Good point, I should definitely work on providing direct action steps for visitors to take.

  83. I think the most important part is to provide clear action steps. I’ll think more on this to improve my site.

    I think I should visit my site and imagine myself a stranger. It’s funny if I’ll know where to go 🙂

    I know a lot of sites that have tones of useful info and products. Still I get lost as soon as I enter them. I think these sites would be more successful if their managers read your post

  84. These are some good advices, but needless to say, I don’t think they are enough. there are a lot of factors that search engines, Google, take into consideration when evaluating a website. Even with all these 3 steps completed, a business website can still have trouble getting valuable traffic.

  85. Great tips, I really like # 3 if there is something that you want your visitors to do it should be easy to navigate, there’s nothing more frustrating that getting to a site and being unable to complete the task you came to the website to perform in the first place!

  86. Agreed on those 3 points totally. It’s just a multi-faceted thing though, web design and SEO. So many angles to cover and sometimes its easy to miss one.

  87. I’m learning to make Business Website. After reading some of your article, I get a new idea which I will try.

    I think it is necessary to combine many things to get quality traffic. Continue to learn and try.

    Thank you for the help and information. I’ll be back to see new info from you.

  88. Identifying your business objectives should be the main goal when you’re starting a business. Also, I consider SEO an important tool that you can use to get your business up and running.

  89. Thanks for discussing the three mistakes often committed in small business websites. I think the lack of enticing options for the visitor is the common but not easy to spot mistake. Don’t you think so?

  90. Cilt Bakimi says:

    Good point, I should definitely work on providing direct action steps for visitors to take.

  91. Hot Penny Stocks says:

    There are a lot of good points you raise there, thanks for discussing. As starting on this online business it would really be beneficial to heed these useful advise from such experts to avoid certain time and money invested in developing your business and making it grow.

    Rafael

  92. These are some good advices, but needless to say, I don’t think they are enough. there are a lot of factors that search engines, Google, take into consideration when evaluating a website. Even with all these 3 steps completed, a business website can still have trouble getting valuable traffic.

  93. Great post! As a small business owner, I deal with my clients regularly. I like what you said about prioritizing your business objectives, the same can be said for your clients. Or at least make sure you have an accurate understanding of what their objectives are, when getting into business with another small company. My business is providing a service for other businesses, knowing what they need (not always what they want) can go a long way in my line of work. Thanks again.

  94. This is a great post. I am especially guilty of mistake #3 — no clear action steps for visitors to take. I am going to work on that aspect of my site right away.

  95. The StarShine Company says:

    Wow great post and great blog. These things are hard for business owners because many of us wear all the hats for various reason… can’t afford it, quicker to do it oneself (or so they think), etc. I myself, probably haven’t done the best I can in many of the areas you mentioned but I think of myself more as a crafter and not so great at all the web-stuffs. Glad I found your blog!! Perhaps improvements are on the horizon for me!! =)

  96. Berita Harian says:

    strong points dawud, in fact, these are the mistakes that I did when I first put myself online.

  97. directory scotland says:

    Good post, I however disagree (an honest disagreement) with the bolding and attempt to highlight words. Your comments should not be so long that you need to highlight certain sections, short and sweet are best.

  98. Great post. I’m always surprised how business use their page titles ineffectively.

  99. Chicago Chiropractor says:

    I feel the biggest point here, is the lack of call to action steps. When a company designs a website, even if it is with a professional design firm, they focus on the information on the site. Which is an important part of your site, but let’s not forget you need your site to drive your business, in this day and age you need an action packed website!

  100. Most website owners have no clue about titles, SEO, or what an action step is.

  101. website design tampa says:

    Using counterproductive tech and settings. This mistake can take many forms. Disabling the “back” button, for example, was once considered a way to keep visitors on your site. But at best it’s another annoyance to avoid. Likewise a site that constantly opens new browser windows or uses a hodgepodge of fonts, colors and styles.

  102. An excellent blog post! The internet would be a better place if people could write as well as you. May your tribe increase!

  103. Dawud,
    Thanks for this great blog, I can tell by the number of your comment responses to other comments that you really care about your readers.
    The ineffective use of page titles I think is by far the most common mistake that people do when starting their websites.

  104. E Fackrell says:

    Great posting! I’m just starting out with my Web site and really appreciate the advice. I will keep it in mind as I develop my business further.

  105. You’re right on regarding no clear call to action. Businesses must really think about the purpose of their blog and craft everything around that purpose. I would hope that most would like to generate business as a result of their investment, but so few create a clear call to action, like: “Join Our Email List,” “Contact Us for a Free Site Evaluation,” or “Register for Our Online Seminar”

  106. How to Make Money 2K says:

    This was a great read Dawud, can see why it has become so popular via the comments. No Clear Business Objectives is definitely a very important factor that should be heavily focused on! BTW, you have a look of Christian Bale on that top photo lol! Take it easy.:D

  107. sinema izle says:

    Great post. I’m always surprised how business use their page titles ineffectively.

  108. Thanks for the share, I couldn’t agree more with your article. They should learn from their mistakes.

  109. Dawud,

    Actually not having a clear business objectives is OK sometimes. I have started websites with no objectives – but I was passionate about the niche and then a year later I figured it out after looking at my analytics data which way to head.

  110. I’ll benefit from these points any second now as I go and fix up my website! But as I’m new to business from the nonprofit sector, I can’t help thinking about the MANY websites I know which really did understand the points you make – they captured the visitor with clearly signposted, easy-to-click actions. But I found it made the nonproft sector rather soulless. Sure, I can spin by a website and in a microsecond have been guided through to add my name to a petition to save the melting whales of the sahara desert or whatever and a moment later I am gone . . off to Youtube or whatever. Now the nonprofit marketers would say that exactly the same principles apply to web marketing whether its business or changing attitudes – but I reckon maybe not. On a business website we’re pulling people in so that they DO have a longer relationship with us: I mean, I want a contract out of the visit, I want to get paid for helping someone out. If a nonprofit adopts the same tactic, they’re getting paper support without any meaningful follow up. I dunno: I guess it depends what we really want. I want to work. But for a nonprofit, what do they really want? Names on paper, or actual supporters?

  111. Maybe this could be a separate point, or part of number 3 since you had addressed it there: don’t make your visitors jump through hoops! I mean, the “short”, 16 question survey? Oy! I’m not sure which is worse: no call to action, or a complicated call to action. Either way, it clearly creates an obstacle to generating sales.

  112. Dawud after reading your this post I suggest you are an informative person.Really appreciate you for such a nice post and your this post insist me to come again and explore your blog again.

  113. Daniel Szalok says:

    Great thoughts, I read the post twice 🙂
    I made some of the mistakes on my earlier sites, now I know what to do to correct them 🙂

  114. Hey this is a very interesting blog post…Ya the all three mistakes you had decided are those mistakes which are very common…I like your blog…Thanks a lot.

  115. Great article. It got me to look at my own site and I realized I was not taking advantage of the page title.. Now I got some work to do.

    Thanks!

  116. Thanks for opening my eyes. It makes us think twice about content or what we are really trying to do on pages.

  117. Trend Trading System says:

    Your post caused me to realize that my H1 headers need to communicate better what my visitors as well as my own objectives are for each page.
    Thanks for the reminder here.

  118. Wedding Function Venues News says:

    That being said, with limited shelf space in the traditional marketplace for writers — the book store — I’d rather he get out of the way and make room for people for whom these things actually matter.

  119. If you are a small page owner – you should check out http://www.pubmarketplace.com. It is an easy way for publishers of all sizes to earn revenue by displaying relevant admarketplace ads. You can customize advertisements relevant to your site using display ads, a search tool or text ads.

  120. sikat ang pinoy says:

    Maybe I can use your points in my case study regarding with website. thanks for sharing your opinion

  121. Bars and Night Clubs says:

    I’d add to that poor linking, in particular ignoring the fact that google places huge importance on keywords in the URL…

    I believe this is more important then titles..!

  122. I’ve to agree with all the points, especially the first one. I’ve seen many people not doing the basic SEO, either they use no meta tags or use too many. Trust me, using many tags won’t do well on search engines (and I’m saying this from my personal experience).

    All you need to do is use simple title, description and tags and that would be half of your work. Most of the times it will instantly rank you well, then you can work on the link building part to rank better.

  123. Virtual Assistant says:

    It’s a shame that so many small business owners do not know this ahead of time. More often than not the web designer is hired and the site is built and launched with very little attention to the items mentioned on this list. Then when the small business owner finally gets the site launched they wonder why they are not getting any leads from it. Google Maps is another must. Good post D!

  124. I just start small business too and theres so many useful information, I hope it will help me!!

  125. Jeremy Ashburn says:

    I really like point #2. About 4 months ago I formed my website. Since then I’ve been steadily the site so with my objectives. My main objective is to target the customer who’s scouting for a new laptop or desktop and show them the best PC for their needs. In the middle and end of my articles I’ve placed the links where customers can directly see the product for sale. Hopefully my articles are motivating the customer to action. Take a look and give me your thoughts.

  126. “What’s great to here is that after two weeks she’s gotten 6 more inquiries than she usually had.”
    These are very good results.
    I hope to achieve good results so site.

  127. Great article that every business owner should take into account when building a website. I’ll definitely be bookmarking your site for future reading.

  128. I especially like your discussion of “No Clear Business Objectives”. I am a blogger and I try to monetize my blogs. However, not one of my blogs has a really clear business objective. I’ve got to start getting that done I believe if I want to really connect with my target audience.

  129. I think the biggest mistake is to choose inappropriate domain name. If you have wrong title tags, you can edit them and when google re-index your site, all will be ok. But if you have a wrong domain name, it may costs you too much to fix the problem 🙂

  130. Wow very informative post which has surely woken me up and realised I need to do more! I think if you’re busy with client work, it’s very easy to forget about the objectives of the business and the website, so thanks again for this.

  131. Thank you for such a clear, concise resource Dawud! These things may seem “no brainer” but when you’re not an SEO expert, they’re not! Your insights about defining your purpose and conversion are right on and simply put. Thank you!

  132. Excellent post. Couldn’t agree with you more. I visit a lot of small business websites and can’t believe the amount that I see which have Google ads on their main business site! Why on earth would you put adwords on your business site? Not only does it entice visitors to click away from your site while only earning you a few pennies but also makes the whole site look cheap and unprofessional.

  133. the post is informative and as far as the SEO point of view is concern, use of proper title tag with keywords regarding the content of that page only, use of alt text in images, use of H1 and H2 tags for content heading, user friendly navigation with keywords.html as page name is most important.

    But above all what should be kept mind that your content is the one that speaks about your services. So let it to be informative, and useful for viewers. Try to make it as interesting as you can. I am sure you will be benifited

  134. Nice post.

    The page title is probably a bit of a technical thing and I wouldn’t expect everyone to know about it’s impact in search engines and other places.

    Totally agree with (2) and (3) though.

    I’d add another: Webpages that are too busy. So many people feel that they need to fill their webpage’s entire space with text and graphics. Often this results in a bunch of buzzwordy filler content that is no use to anyone. >> Keep it simple! <<

  135. You hit the nail on the head…too much of an effort to optimize a poorly designed site is worthless

  136. Great post! I manage around 15 small business websites and Ive noticed that some of them could function better. Thanks for the great advice.

  137. Flying in Four says:

    You must have seen some of my websites on vertical jump training! haha. I’ll have to update my objectives clearly like you recommended. Thanks.

  138. How about “Not measuring marketing and social media efforts.”

    I work with many SMBs who run their own PPC, SEO or social media marketing campagins, yet don’t have measurement tools installed on their websites, like Google Analytics. As a result, they have no idea if these campaigns are delivering any ROI if the form of measured traffic, leads or sales. Bottom line, if you can’t measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, you should be running them.

    Cheers!
    Ken

  139. Thank you for the tips. I am actually using some of them for our new version of our site that we hope to have completed in 3-5 days.

  140. Grea Post, For those who work with internet, like me, this is good because it generate a lot of business oportunities and new clients!

  141. Kids portable dvd players says:

    I think you’re quite right about not being clear on the site’s objectives, and I reckon in many cases this stems from a general lack of focus in the venture. Someone may have a goal to “earn a living from my goat cheese business”, but how to actually go about implementing that is all pretty vague. Once this fuzziness is resolved though, it should become pretty clear what changes to make to the website to support the business.

  142. You have a lot of good and simple advices here and I will study them all.

  143. Effective page titles are a huge part of attracting visitors. I’d add the page URL as another big piece that some people tend to neglect. I always check the URL before I follow the link.

  144. I can’t tell you how important the use of H1 and H2 tags are for showing up in google. I have seen vast improvements in SERPs because of just the Heading tags. But there is a lot of great stuff in here.

  145. Great tips for anyone who is not an expert but would like to work with internet and with SEO with good results. Thanks a lot Dawud!!

  146. While I do agree on these 3 mistakes I feel that should have been a few more tips, like marketing mistakes like spending thousands of dollars in SEO on a non reputable business.

  147. RegistryResource says:

    Great stuff Dawud!

    I think especially see the lack of “call to action” on small business sites and often the contact info is buried on some interior page of the site instead of being featured prominently.

    Mike

  148. Publicidade says:

    Another common mistake I find in almost all sites are redirecting the (www) is a very simple thing to fix. Pretty cool your article. 🙂

    Jọo Vargas РSol Publicidade

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