Having a website is a must for any business that is serious about getting customers. However, one fact that many business owners fail to realize is that a poorly made or even simply outdated website can do a company more harm than good. Listed below are three ways in which a website can damage a company’s standing online, and turn off potential customers:
Failure to Update
Your website must be updated on a regular basis, so that it accurately reflects what your company is doing and offering right now. There is hardly anything that will repel potential customers faster, than discovering that some portions of your site are out of date.
Updating a website has to do with not only design, but also with the website content. It is important for your site to clearly display what you are selling, and at what price. Also, your site should provide the relevant contact information. Adding modern features, such as a live chat service and a “contact us” page, makes it easy for potential clients to get in touch.
Non-Existent or Poor Social Media Integration
People enjoy using social media, as is evidenced by the fact that there are over one billion Facebook users alone. A site that has little to no social media integration puts a business in a bad light. It suggests that the business in question does not truly care about the website, because all reputable modern businesses have a social media presence. Therefore, prospective customers are likely to infer that the company does not care about its’ products and/or services either.
Adding social media integration to your site does not mean that you need to add social sharing buttons for dozens of social networks. Indeed, doing this would be counterproductive, as it would make your site look cluttered. However, your website should have social sharing buttons for the most popular social media sites, including Facebook, Google + and Twitter. If your products cater to women and/or are visually appealing, you will probably want to add a Pinterest sharing button as well.
Lack of Functionality
Even a good looking website can lose potential customers, if it does not function properly. Some common website functionality issues include:
• A site taking too long to load.
• The site in question not being mobile phone compatible, thus rendering it unusable for the growing number of smartphone Internet users.
• Bad links (i.e. internal links on a site that direct to 404 pages).
• Difficult to use shopping cart.
• Lack of varied payment options.
• No SSL security for e-store websites.
Thankfully, functionality problems are not difficult to fix, with a bit of time and hard work. In fact, business owners can fix the majority of problems themselves, although hiring a professional to do the work is often the fastest and most efficient course of action.
If a site loads slowly and cannot be viewed on mobile phone devices, then it may be time to switch to a new web hosting service. Many web hosts now offer free mobile phone compatibility for websites, ensuring that business owners are able to reach mobile phone Internet users. Also, a good web host will ensure that a site does not take too long to load, providing the site has been properly designed.
Adding a functional, easy to use shopping cart is not overly difficult either. There are many services to pick from, making it easy for you to find the one that best suits the needs of your online store. Better still, SSL security can be obtained from a number of providers.
Adding a variety of payment options may be a bit of a challenge, as you will need to sign up for multiple merchant services. However, the cost is more than worth it, because you will be able to attract more customers than ever before.
Simply having a website for your business is no longer enough. Because the Internet is an increasingly competitive arena, you need to make sure that your website is up to date, easy to use and offers proper social media integration. If your site is doing poorly in any of the above mentioned areas, it will not only be less visible to potential customers, but actually drive them away