If you’re in the process of setting up a new website or redesigning an existing one then be sure to take the time to plan out the details of your website and avoid some common mistakes many small business owners make. So before you consider the design and content for your website, here are five common website mistakes many small business owners make and how you can avoid them.

Not defining the purpose of your website.

Before you spend money on setting up a website and even before you determine the look of your website take the time to decide what it is you want your website to do for your business. Do you want it to generate qualified leads? Do you want it to increase your website sales? Do you want it to build brand awareness? It’s important to define your purpose as this will be the foundation for the design, content and overall effect for your website.

Not including your website as part of your overall marketing plan.

If you treat your website as an independent idea outside of your marketing plan then you won’t really know how effective it is as compared to other ways your business may be getting clients. If you are generating most of your business through other marketing methods that are more effective than your website, knowing this information can help you determine how much time and money you want to invest in your website. It also helps you to know if you’re truly investing or wasting money on your website.

Not measuring the results of your website traffic.

It’s important to measure your website statistics. When you review your website traffic you can find out which pages visitors are going to the most, how long visitors are staying on your website or a particular page, how many of those visitors have turned into a sale and much more. This is especially important if using a pay per click service to get traffic to your website. Analyzing your website traffic can tell you how much it’s costing you to get that sale. This can help you determine your conversion rate and see if you’re making or losing money with pay-per-click. Remember, marketing is about testing and measuring different ways of getting clients. If your website is part of your marketing plan then you want to know this information.

Not addressing the “what’s in it for me” factor.

People use the internet to search for information. They are often trying to solve a problem or gather information before buying. If they come to a site that does not contain information on solving their problem they are less likely to stay. If your website is all about you and focused on the features instead of benefits, then you’re less likely to connect with the visitor. Web visitors want to know “what’s in it for me”. Be sure your website offers good content that speaks to the visitor’s problem and makes them want to stay longer, come back or provide you their contact information. The ability to do that takes research and planning on your part. You’ll need to understand who your audience is, what their problem is and how you can present information to them that lets them know you’re the expert at solving their problem. You can present content in the form of articles, checklists, frequently asked questions.

Not having a good incentive for the visitor to give their contact information.

Most website visitors do not buy the first time they come to a website. Remember they are often looking for information. If they leave your site without contacting you it doesn’t always mean they’re not interested. They may not be ready to buy. They may still want to search around. But the key is something on your website brought them there. So now it’s up to you to try and get their contact information so you can follow up with them. Many businesses have a sign-up form for their newsletter on their website so that visitor’s can join their list. But the person doesn’t know you yet and may not feel that’s enough of an incentive to contact you. They really don’t know if what you have to offer in your newsletter is going to be valuable to them. Let them get a taste of your expertise. Present them with an offer for a free special report, teleclass or a mini-course on a problem they may be trying to solve in exchange for their name and email address. This can be start of building a relationship with that website visitor.

If you’re serious about having success with your website be sure to define what success is and include all of the elements discussed above in your website design. At the very least you’ll be doing something different from your competitors.

Author's Bio: 

Online entrepreneur Janice Gentles-Jones, AKA Online Success Queen, publishes the free special report "15 Website Design Mistakes Most Small Business Owners Make...And How To Avoid Them". If you're ready to boost your visibility, credibility and profitability, get your FREE report now at www.OnlineSuccessQueen.com.