If you have a website and expect it to help, not hinder your business, you’ll want to avoid the major mistakes that many small businesses make. Focus on your “landing pages” in particular. A landing page, quite literally, is the page on your site where the incoming visitor “lands” as determined by the link they clicked, from an ad, article, directory listing of some other place.
For most small businesses, the landing page is typically the homepage, but that might not be a good idea. The best landing pages are specifically meant to convert the visitor into a paying customer and home pages aren’t typically set up for this.
The landing page is the first glimpse that a customer or prospect might get of how your business looks online, so you’ll want it to leave a good impression. Here are some typical landing page mistakes and how to fix them:
Mistake #1: Lousy Links: Do links into your site target specific, relevant pages? Don’t aim every link to your homepage. Instead, create links that bring prospects to the place on your site that will help them the most, such as a product page, contact information or quote request. Don’t think that by merely directing traffic to any page on your website, visitors will take the time to search further for the information they want, or to place an order.
Mistake #2: Crummy Content: How much information have you provided on your pages? How have you titled you pages and named products? To improve chances of showing up in search engines, include “title tags” on your pages that use the terms or titles most commonly searched for. Include as much useful information as you can, including prices or fees.
Incorrect or outdated information is a turnoff, and off-target or poorly written content will make your site look second-rate. Review and update content regularly to keep it fresh. Provide tips, case studies and other information that helps your intended audience solve a problem or accomplish a task. Avoid industry jargon, and keep it conversational. Proofread carefully.
Mistake #3: Missing Calls to Action: Don’t make visitors scroll down the page to find what they need. Include the most important items on the top portion of the page immediately visible in a browser window (called “above the fold”). Your landing page should call for one specific action. If you want people to order, make them an offer, such as free samples or quotes, a free newsletter, or discounts geared to what they need. Create clear links to the order page.
Mistake #4: Unwelcoming Aesthetics: Imagine stepping into a store filled with poorly organized, untidy shelves and unreadable signage, says Jason Hennessey, an SEO specialist with Everspark Interactive. Chances are you will leave. The same thing could apply to your website and the overall look and feel of your landing page. As with a bricks and mortar store, you want to enhance your visitors’ experience and instantly make them feel that they have come to a business that is credible and trustworthy.
Mistake #5: Dismal Design: Don’t cram all available space on your website with ads, flash graphics or irrelevant information. That can be both confusing and a big contributor to poor landing page performance. Keep your site design and landing pages clean and uncluttered, especially when you want a particular call to action. Avoid garish colors, multiple type fonts and large image files that slow things down.
Customers are there because they want to accomplish something quickly, and your design needs to keep that in mind every step of the way. Too many small business websites are frustrating to visitors. They force people to hunt for contact basics, have irrelevant information and fail to make the ordering process easy. Keep order and lead-generation forms simple and user friendly. The more information fields you require, the fewer people you’ll get filling them out.
Copyright © 2000-2011 BizBest® Media Corp. All Rights Reserved.
About the Author: Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.