Congratulations on launching your start-up! While common wisdom was that your better mousetrap would be enough lead people to your door, online marketing is much more complex. Even if you have done your research, your start-up is still likely to make at least one of these common website mistakes. Find out how search engine optimisation and other common website challenges may be holding your company back.

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1. WordPress Twin

We love WordPress. Its open-source software has helped to make clean, functional website designs available for businesses and home users. With all those organizations and individuals using the free designs, it’s no wonder most people are easily able to spot a standard WordPress format. In some cases, the WordPress logo and name still appear, making it obvious to all that your company is using a standard design. Having your company site as a WordPress twin screams “beginning blogger” and this will negatively impact your company’s credibility with visitors.

Replace the favicon (the logo that appears on the tab in a browser window and that may also show up as a desktop icon). Remove the WordPress site references at the bottom of your page. Check key words and your page meta description to make sure you remove references to WordPress (or any other purchased site design) any generic pictures and replace with your company’s information and pictures – see below.


2. Image Wasteland

A typical hallmark of aninexpensive, starter website is too little graphics, too much text. While this was once traditional for bloggers, even sophisticated bloggers have learned to avoid too much text and too few images.

In one study, 46.1% of those surveyed said their number one factor they used when evaluating the credibility of a company wasthe company’s website’s design. That makes a good website a business necessity. Keep in mind that visitors who quickly leave your site aren’t just missed sales. These quick bounces out of your website will also be tracked by search engines and will negatively impact your search engine rankings.

Add good quality pictures and/or videos to your site. Compare the cost of the photographs to the cost to you for every potential customer turned away by poor images on your site. If you are selling products, your pictures not only make your website look professional, they are the key to your sales success.


3. Muddled Messages

Perhaps you want to keep all your options open since your company is just starting out. Or are you hoping that cryptic content will make visitors want to explore further? It’s time to turn that attitude around. Visitors won’t stay on your site unless you engage their interest right away. Studies have shown that around 55% of visitors spend less than 15 seconds actively on a page. This makes it critical for you to convince visitors in pictures and as few words as possible the benefits of your site and company.

Clearly and concisely state why visitors need your site. If you offer the best selection of sparkly bumble bee costumes for dachshunds, state your case immediately. Back it up with happy pictures and videos of costumed dachshunds flitting through fields and flower beds.

An interesting and interactive site will help keep visitors engaged. Even if they don’t own a dachshund, they may decide to share your page with their bumble bee/dachshund-loving friends. From there your business can continue to grow and build new customers.


4. Colour Me Bored

Colour has the power to capture attention, create an atmosphere, and make your site stand out from the crowd. Use colour photographs, infographics, and videos but don’t forget the overall colour scheme for your website.

If your site is using the default colours that came with a standard website design, create your own colour design. If you site uses your own colours, give it a critical eye to make sure it has the right tone. Make sure your colours will appeal to your target audience. Compare your colour scheme to your competition to make sure you have differentiated yourself while still hitting the right tone for your site.

The ages, economic status, location, and gender of your target market will all make a difference in what colours will work best. Think of your website as a display case for your product or service. You want to the case to be attractive and appealing without overshadowing your items on display.


5. SEO Is MIA

Most businesses realise the importance of search engine optimisation but many websites still lack even the most basic use of key words and meta descriptions to help their SEO. This doesn’t mean filling your site with repeated words or key words that aren’t relevant to your site. It is important to focus your content to attract your specific target audience.

Sparkly dachshund costumes will be lost to your target market if your key words are “pet supplies” or other general terms. Be sure to focus on your exact market or you’ll end up ranked behind every retailer of dog food. Think of what words and phrases you would use if you wanted to search for your product or service and make those your focus. It is better for your company to target a more limited market and key words than to try to attract internet searches for a broad range of products and services.

Your next step to improve your search engine optimisation could be hiring an expert to refine your search engine optimisation but deciding on your target market is your first step. This type of reflection is critical for search engine optimisation but every business needs to have a clear vision of who their customers should be. Even if you do decide to hire SEO management specialists, setting up key words and meta information on your site now will provide a baseline. That will make it easier to evaluate the future efforts to improve your site’s SEO and increase web traffic.