November 18, 2009 4 Comments AUTHOR: brucemarler CATEGORIES: Marketing Tags: , , , , , ,

Top 5 Small Business Website Mistakes

As we work with small business owners daily to develop their plan for their online presence we hear a lot of the same questions and at the end of the day the customer is always right but there are things we try to help people keep away from or things that we find that maybe they did not do the first time they built their site that they should do this time. Here are 5 things small businesses either need to avoid or need to think about when they have their websites built:

Music playing on site- This is a major thing to avoid, when websites were being bought and deployed because they were “neat” and new this was something a lot of people did. Also I have witnessed this a lot on customer sites that were built by non-professionals. Without fail the majority of people visiting your website will be turned off by the auto-playing music as soon as they hit your site. This is an absolute avoid. Please please do not do this.

Using templates based on framesets – This is something else I see weekly by customers who have bought websites from people that focus on vertical markets, many of these niche market template websites are based on frames and you lose the ability to link to individual pages of the site. This is very late 1990’s. If you bought your website from a niche market provider or you had your website built in the late 90s or early 2000’s and your site is built with frames it is time for an update.

Working with developers that do not understand SEO – This is also very common, in my mind if you are having a website built and basic SEO is not part of what they do by default what is the point, if you spend 5K for a website and no one ever goes there does it matter? No. This is a very common issue with older technology companies in an area that have never upgraded past the “tech” part of websites. This is also very common when people focus on the flashy/pretty part of the site and not on attracting customers. If you ever hear someone say “Oh yeah my sister was gonna build my website” this is probably going to be a problem as well. For the small business customer that may read this and needs to understand what I mean please feel free to use my contact me form.

Using Flash and only Flash to build a site - Last week I sat down with a potentially large advertising customer who also wants a custom website developed. Although we do not focus on custom websites in this case it makes sense for us to do it. But what was interesting is they brought up the site of their would be competitor and it was done almost 100 percent in Flash. Sure it looked great and did some cool stuff but it ranked no where in the search engines, all their traffic was from PPC. They focused on pretty and not getting customers. Flash is another item that decreases the ability of the small business owner to optimize their site for the search engines. Avoid making it the focus of your site.

Clip Art Animated GIF’s - Just like the music reference above, this is very late 90s early 2000’s. Having clip art based graphics on your site will turn users off. The little guy walking across the screen that is on a graphic is not something that is neat anymore. Please avoid this, clean nice looking graphics will be more interesting to your visitors.

Thanks to @DanSanchez for inspiring this post.

If you have questions about the right steps for your small business website please use the contact me link above to contact me. If you have more suggestions for small businesses to avoid feel free to put them in the comments section below.


  1. Tom Crandall 7 years ago says:

    Great topic, Bruce. One of the mistakes I frequently run across is lack of content.

    What I mean is the lack of content their audience/customers are actually searching for. For local business websites, small businesses need to display their products/services, pricing, hours of operation, payment options, service policies, locations, addresses, phone, contact form, service areas, etc.

    • bruce 7 years ago says:

      @Tom – That is very true, it actually surprises me how many times we have to remind people that we need that info for their site. Thanks for getting that info in here.

  2. George Pickering 7 years ago says:

    I would have to add Domain Name Selection under SEO. I see many businesses ignoring the that sits open, yet they are spending time and/or money on SEO targeting that geo+keyword combination

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