- Thinking of it as merely an online brochure — True, a good website is a marketing tool, but it is so much more.
- Not integrating the site into their other marketing efforts — I hear this a lot, “Our site is not good enough. We’re not comfortable referring people to it.” (That’s what keeps me in business.) Well, then make it good enough, and put it on every other communication you send out from you e-mail signature to your business card to television and radio advertisements.
- Cheaping out and not hiring a professional to build the site — Sometimes people want to hire their brother-in-law to make their website. That’s fine if the brother-in-law is truly a professional web developer. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of money. Nowadays you can get a custom-designed and programmed professional site with lots of bells and whistles for under $2,000. Why would you waste $500 on a cheap site that, if anything, hurts your business? Think about your ROI: How many new clients does your site need to help you get in the next year to pay for itself?
- Not having a list builder built in to the site — It amazes me that some companies do not use their contact form to build an opt-in list of people that they can market to in the future.
- Missing opportunities to profit directly through the site — In almost any business, there is something you can offer to your clients and clients-to-be that you can ask for the sale and collect payment on through the web. This saves you time and money, and makes you money! Why wouldn’t you do it? At the very least, you should have some advertising on your site. I even advertise my competitors. Why not? Let their advertising dollars go to me and still end up with the deal when all is said and done. Ruthless, I know.
- Not paying attention to SEO which is probably the greatest moneymaker in any webmaster’s bag of tricks. A thousand dollars to get you on top of your niche for your keywords is usually money well spent. I have one client (a recording studio) who actually asked me to tone down the SEO on his site because he couldn’t handle the phone calls.
- Not customizing the site’s functionality in a strategic way – If you run a medical practice, doesn’t it make sense to set appointments through your website? That can free up your staff to do other things. If you are a musician, why wouldn’t you sell tickets directly through your gig calendar? You need to think about what your site can do for your business. That’s another reason it’s important to hire a professional — they can suggest things that you might not think of yourself.
If you can avoid those pitfalls, your website will make money for your business, no matter what that might be.
By Chuck Linart Evolution Media works with small businesses, mostly in the NYC area, to implement the advice offered above — and more! Optimize your business website!