eCommerce Made Easy

Top 5 Mistakes Online Business Owners make with their Website

January 30, 2024 Carrie Saunders Episode 40
eCommerce Made Easy
Top 5 Mistakes Online Business Owners make with their Website
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever feel like your online store isn’t converting as well as it should? Join me as I share with you the 5 most common website mistakes that could be holding your website back! 

In my over 20 years of eCommerce experience, I find many online business owners are just guessing when it comes to their website content and features.  As we juggle the overwhelming process of running our businesses, it is easy to overlook simple mistakes. From poor website design to overwhelming navigation menus, I will dive into my top 5 common website mistakes and how to avoid them!

Mentioned Resources

Check your website’s speed: https://pagespeed.web.dev/

How to Test your Website Free Checklist: https://learning.bcsengineering.com/launchchecklist

Find out more information about the Business Visibility Made Easy Course at www.ecommercemadeeasypodcast.com/bvme

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Speaker 1:

Running an online business can be hard and overwhelming, especially if you're unsure if you're doing the right things, having the right elements on your website, etc. I find many online business owners are just guessing when it comes to their websites contents as well as their features. So take a listen as you go through the five common mistakes online business owners make with their websites. Welcome to the eCommerce Made Easy podcast. I'm your host, kiri Saunders. When we started this business, all I had was a couch, a laptop and a nine-month-old. My main goal To help others. Now, with over 20 years in the eCommerce building industry and even more than that in web development, I've seen a lot. I love breaking down the hard tech and to easily understandable bits to help others be successful in their online business. Whether you're a seasoned eCommerce veteran or just starting out, you've come to the right place. So sit back, relax and let's dive into the world of eCommerce together. Welcome back to the eCommerce Made Easy podcast. I'm your host, kiri Saunders. So today we're talking about common mistakes that I have found online business owners make with their websites in the past 20 plus years that we've been working on websites. While these mistakes are simple and sometimes obvious, it's very easy to look over them. I know us, as even web developers, have sometimes overlooked our own website sometimes, especially as times change and things grow. So I want to list to you some of my top five recommendations that you always are aware of and reviewing pretty regularly to make sure that you don't fall into these common pitfalls that are really crucial to having on your website. So first is a poor website design. I know that whenever your business has been going for a long time at least for us it's really easy to be complacent with your website design as it was and but maybe it's not appropriate anymore. Something you can also find, too, is slow loading times. As our businesses grow and as we continue to put new things under our site, we sometimes forget to check how fast our website is, especially across different devices and across different areas of the world. So making sure you're regularly checking your loading times and we will link in the show notes some great tools for that as well as some reference articles we've already done on this. So making sure you your site is loading quickly is very important, because nobody sticks around for a slow website. Also an unresponsive design, and we'll go into this a little bit more detail, but we want to make sure that our designs look good on pretty much any device, ideally any device or any web browser.

Speaker 1:

We also need to make sure that our call to actions are clear and simple. We don't want to make them super generic like click here. It would be much better to say subscribe now, which is a much more direct way of saying that you're going to subscribe to your newsletter, for example. So using very clear call to actions are very important. Whenever a customer has a question in their mind, a confused mind says no. So you want to be crystal clear and you really want to be writing to third to fifth grade level really on your website in general, unless you're like a highly technical website that you really need to be spilling out all the exact technical details and things. We need to be conversational on our website and be speaking as normal conversation, not super, super formal and confusing.

Speaker 1:

We also want to make sure that our primary information is above the fold. So these are all the things that go under poor web design. So what that means is primary information above the fold is to think of it as an old style newspaper. You probably remember you're probably old enough to remember newspapers back in the day, and above the fold was what you saw when the newspaper was folded in half. So it is what got your attention as you walk by. The newspaper stands back in the day when people picked up newspapers, and newspaper stands and is still being carried into today's newspapers, which are basically our websites, right? So we want to have those really bold and inspiring titles and call to actions and the most important information at the top of the website. So we want to be able to see them when we first arrive at the website. So that's what above the fold means. So if you have something that's super important that you can't see when you first go to the website and please try this on desktop laptops, tablets and mobile we want to make sure that that's above the fold and if not, then you're going to want to correct that. So next is also not having a few core pages and information on your website, and I find this actually quite a bit. So really pay attention here and go to our show notes when you're done listening to the episode, because we want to make sure that we're really given out this core information.

Speaker 1:

Number one we want to have an about page Whenever I go to a new business, I want to learn about them so that I can decide whether I trust them for one. So having a good about page is great. Whenever you've already got the customer's attention and they want to learn a bit more about you. Having an easy to find about page is very crucial, and having it well written. That's kind of hard to say well written and easy to read and, you know, not too wordy, but you want to be a bit verbose here. So making sure you have a very well crafted about page is very important.

Speaker 1:

You also want to have a contact page and you especially if you're, you know, a business owner, you're going to want to have a way for them to easily contact you. So this could be on a contact page which is very easy to find because it's in your navigation, because your navigation is clear. We're going to go into that too. But you're going to want to potentially have your phone number or your email address at the top of the page page or above the fold to. That's just indicates a great customer service. Whenever, either your contact page is really easy to find and very clear on how to contact you, or you have the information above the page or even both many times in. Both is actually excellent, because sometimes people maybe they don't want to call you. They would rather email you to give them several different options for the ways that they can contact you, and make sure you do that in your contact page.

Speaker 1:

You're also going to want to have social proof, so we're also we're still talking about our core pages and information on our website, so we want to have social proof. We want to have reviews, we want to have testimonials. You could even screenshot reviews from social media and then put them on your website. If you don't have a social like reviews directly on your website, you can take them from Google business pages and screenshot those reviews and put them on your website because it's public information If it's out there on those social platforms, so you can screenshot it and put it on to your pages. I recommend screenshotting it rather than retyping it, because it provides a bit of validity that it wasn't actually a person who wrote it. Because they'll because when people see it, they're going to see their familiar area of, like a Facebook review or Google review. They're going to see, like the icons and the buttons around it to make it make them feel like you didn't make up that review, so doing your screenshots are actually pretty good here. And then, if you're selling e-commerce and you're actually selling products that deliver and that are shipped, making sure that you have very clear shipping information is vital, and this is one that I see missed a lot on e-commerce websites.

Speaker 1:

You need to talk about how fast they'll get their item. You need to talk about the carriers they use. Do they use UPS, fedex, dhl, think of any of the carriers that are local to you and your country? You want to be verbose and say what carriers you're going to use, because sometimes at least I know here in the United States there are certain areas where one carrier does a much better job at delivery and service than other carriers, and that really actually varies across the United States, for example, as one of them might be better than the other one in one place and then it's flipped in another place. So making sure they know how to expect their package is very important and many times it's. You know, I want to know am I going to get this thing in my mailbox, is it going to be left on my front porch, et cetera? So, being very specific on how it's being shipped and how long it's going to take. And if you have extra processing time or handling time to get the package ready, make sure you're clear with that too, because a one to three shipping delivery doesn't mean anything if it takes you seven to ten days to get that package ready and then you ship it. So make sure you're very clear that it's going to create some expectations as a customer that are more realistic if you're very clear about your shipping policies and time frames.

Speaker 1:

Also very important for e-commerce or online business owners in general, even those that do services return policies. It's very important that you have a very easy to find return policy page. Be very clear about what can be returned and what can't and their time limits and all those things. Make sure this is very clear. This is one I recommend you probably have your lawyer check over to make sure it's worded appropriately and make sure you have that return policies page.

Speaker 1:

There's a lot of places I have shopped on that didn't have it, and there's been times I just didn't shop because they didn't. They weren't specific on the return policy, so I didn't know what would happen if I was not satisfied. I'm not generally one to return something. It's just not. It's just not who I am, unless it's the wrong thing or something. But if I did my research and do diligence on Bada and just didn't simply like it, then I just feel like that's on me. But having that return policy is there is something broken or if there's something that's wrong with the order is very important to have up there.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so, number three, neglecting mobile users, and we touched on this just a little bit in the beginning. You are going to want to make sure that your website delivers on mobile tablet, laptops, desktops all the different sizes of devices iPhones, androids, whatever brands that are out there. At the current day that you're listening to this right now, iphones and androids are the top two in the market and we want to make sure that your website works across all of these devices. This not only affects user experience, because many times people will find you first via a mobile search or via social media. It's just going to affect their user experience if they can't get your website and find the information they want on their mobile device, whether it's a tablet or a phone, and it also affects search engine rankings. The major search engines put priority on those who have done a good job of creating a mobile website, so you're going to want to make sure that your website is mobile friendly, very, very important. I can't stress this enough. I personally don't like to shop on my phone, but I will do some research, initially on my phone if I'm not near my computer, and if I can't see it when I'm there and it's in my mind, I'm probably not going to remember to go to it when I'm on my computer. So mobile is very, very important, and tablets Okay.

Speaker 1:

So number four is inadequate content. What I mean by this is thin content, so content that's not full and doesn't have enough information. It's very I like to call it anemic, although my husband like laughs at me when I use that word when I'm talking about words, but to me it's like anemic. There's so little there. Think about product descriptions, for example. Even if you don't sell e-commerce, maybe you sell services or something. You're going to want to be very specific on what your product is, how it's going to help them, what it's going to deliver to them, etc. So you want to make sure that your content is not thin. It's very rich when you're doing this discussion Now.

Speaker 1:

When you're doing that, though, you need to keep this next point in mind, which is disorganized content. We don't want to flood the users with paragraphs and paragraphs and paragraphs of information. That's overwhelming. People generally don't read, especially on the internet, even though I just said we need to have, you know, not thin content, but people don't generally read. So how we balance this is with structuring our content with a scannable headings. So we're going to want to have heading tags, heading groupings, above your paragraphs. You're going to want to make sure that it's scannable. So think about when you're in school and you're writing papers for school. You usually would have like a title and then some headings and maybe some subheadings, and then you had supporting paragraphs underneath that. So more detailed information. You're going to want to do the same on the website. You're going to want to have those major bullet points in headings, so they're going to be bolder and it's going to be bigger text, and then if you peek their interest, then they'll probably will read that paragraph. You're going to draw them in and they're going to be more likely to actually read your page if it's just not a wall of text and it's scannable. So making sure that your content is organized and scannable is very, very important.

Speaker 1:

Also, outdated content. This is such a huge turnoff for me when I'm looking at a new company that I might buy something from or service that I might buy, if they have really outdated content. Say, they have a blog and they haven't updated it in a year or two or three or heck five or worse I'm going to wonder whether they're in business. Or, let's say, maybe they don't have a blog or something that's generating new content on their website regularly, but they link to their social platforms. I'm going to go to those social platforms and see when was the last time they posted to it. If it's been months or years, I'm probably again going to believe that they're out of business and their stuff's just kind of hanging around and I might not get what I'm buying. But if I see that they're posting regularly and even if that's only like a few times a month, that's still regular enough. If it's been recent, I'm going to accept that they're still in business and feel like that they are and have more confidence in them. So making sure your content is not outdated, as well as making sure your phone number might change or things like that Some really super important information from you. You're going to want to make sure you update that anytime something like that changes Okay.

Speaker 1:

So last but not least, is complicated navigation. I've seen this time and time again where people have such complex menus because they want to fit all the things in there. You're going to want to have at most five, maybe eight top level menu items across the top of your website at most, and then you could have sub menus underneath that. But you're going to want to be simple in your navigational names for those menu items. You don't want to be clever here. You want to be very clear. Like I said earlier, a confused mind says no, so please don't be clever. That's why I wanted you to be really clear here. You want to have the least amount of menus across the top that you can have and still have an effective website.

Speaker 1:

You can always put those really important extras at the bottom in the footer. That is a great place. If you want to go back to the shipping policies and return policies, that's a great place to put. Shipping and return policies is at the footer of your website. That's where a lot of people expect it. So don't feel like you necessarily have to have those at the top of your website because that's going to be clicked on. If they're even more interested in drawing into your page. You want to first get them drawn into your website first. So having those are really important things at the bottom, so they're not crowding the top of your navigation, is going to be very important.

Speaker 1:

And you want to make sure you have a search feature. Nowadays, most people don't want to browse around under menus after menus after menus. They just want to search and find the information they want. So making sure you have a good search feature is very critical to users using your website effectively. Okay, so keep in mind that these points that I just talked about, these five points, not only help your customer conversion rates, but they also help you be found. Major search engines, like we talked about in some of these points, look for well put together websites that have valuable content on them. So it's really important that you are reviewing this very regularly. And, again, our show notes we're going to, you know, bullet out some of these points for you so that you can keep them in mind.

Speaker 1:

All right, so that's it for this week's episode. Be sure to visit our show notes, like I said, at ecommercemeadeeasypodcastcom, or you should be able to see them on your podcasting app if you're listening on the podcast. If you're watching this on the YouTube channel, be sure to hit that subscribe button so you don't miss out on any more podcast videos. And we're also be doing. We're doing some tutorials too on YouTube now, as we're working on content for 2024. So make sure you subscribe there. And if you're listening on the podcast, make sure you subscribe to on your podcast player so you don't miss any upcoming new episodes. And if you're listening to this and you found value in today's episode or any of the other episodes of the ecommercemeadeeasypodcast, we would love to hear from you. What other content do you want to hear on our podcast? You can email us at podcast at bcsengineeringcom, or you can also leave us a review. We would love to hear from you. Thank you again for listening and we will see you next week.

Online Business Owners' Website Mistakes
Effective Website Content and Navigation