6 Common Website Mistakes

Avoid these mistakes and enjoy the benefits that an effective online presence can help create for your business.

6 Common Website Mistakes

Successful retailers put time and effort into maintaining the exterior of their stores. They hang eye-catching signs with their shop names and create attractive window displays meant to get people through the door. Few retailers would allow the outside of their shops to grow stale and dated.

Unfortunately, some retailers don’t view their store websites in the same way. They may adopt a set-it-and-forget-it strategy when it comes to their online presence, building a quick website and assuming they can leave it alone for years.

With more consumers turning to the internet to find what they’re looking for, the very first impression most consumers will have of your business is what they find online. You can’t control external reviews or other online mentions of your shop, but you can control what they’ll see when they visit your website.

If you want your website to work for your business and not against it, make sure you’re to avoid mistakes that small businesses frequently make when it comes to their websites.


1. Not Having a Website

The internet has changed the way consumers find the products and services they’re looking for. Fifteen years ago, people turned to the phone book when they needed to find a local business. But according to a recent article on socialmediatoday.com, 70% of Americans don’t use the phone book at all. Mine doesn’t even make it into the house. It goes right from the mailbox to the recycling bin. Compare that to the 97% of Americans who have performed an online search to find a local business in the past year (per a BrightLocal survey).

If you don’t have a website, you don’t exist to those consumers.

Even if your business name comes up in a Google search, that’s not enough for today’s consumers. According to an article posted by DUBUB Marketing Agency, 70 to 80% of consumers research a business online before visiting the company or making a purchase. They want to know if your business is worth leaving the house for. If you don’t have a website, potential customers will pass over your shop for your competition.

If you’re going to build a website, make sure you have a professional domain name. You can create a free website through sites like WordPress, but you’ll have WordPress in your domain. For a small annual fee, you can use your own domain based on your business name.


2. Missing and Outdated Information

Today’s consumers have little patience for businesses that don’t provide the information they’re looking for on a company website. Many people prefer to contact companies through text messages, email and Facebook messenger. However, plenty of consumers still want to be able to call a business if they have questions. If your website is missing your contact information, you could be losing out on potential business.

Make sure everything a customer wants to know is on your website. Include your contact information, shop hours and directions to your store. Additionally, your site should also outline the services and products you offer. Information about your range and archery lessons you provide should be easy to find, too.

It’s even better if your site allows archers to reserve range time or sign up for classes online. Online scheduling makes the process easier and less intimidating for new and existing customers. Allowing customer reservations ensures that customers will be visiting your shop in the future, perhaps making a purchase.

Once you have your content finalized, check it periodically to make sure it’s still up to date. A BrightLocal survey found that 50% of consumers said they were less likely to patronize a business if the contact information was incorrect; 39% said they would hesitate to use a company if the website content was poorly written, so consider hiring a professional copywriter to help you. If that’s not in your budget, find an editor to look over your content. Many editors have reasonable rates.

And remember to update the copyright year if it appears somewhere on your site. A website with a 2011 copyright date will make consumers assume your shop is out of business.


3. Too Much Content

You don’t want to leave out important information, but don’t throw every detail you can think of onto your website. Having too much content clutters up your website, creates a confusing layout and dilutes your message.

Donald Miller, the author of Building a Story Brand, recommends using the “grunt test” to determine whether your website provides the information you need it to. According to Miller, a good website is one where a caveman looking at it would be able to grunt the answers to the following questions:

  • What do you sell?
  • Why do I need it?
  • How do I buy it?


If you’re not sure if your website meets the grunt test, ask someone you trust to look at it with fresh eyes.

Don’t overcomplicate your website with excessive text that consumers don’t care about. Some businesses put a lengthy company history on their homepage. There may some value to that history, but most consumers are more interested in what your business can do for them than in learning more about you. Move your company history or personal bio to an About Me page that interested consumers can click on if they wish.

4. Unappealing Layout and Imagery

According to a post from agency Today’s Local Media, the average web user stays on a website for just 20 seconds. That’s how long you have to grab their attention, convey your message and pique their interest. A well-designed website keeps consumers engaged for an average of two minutes. A poorly designed website looks unprofessional. Low-quality images, unfortunate color choices and poorly chosen fonts will have consumers clicking the “back” button on their web browsers. A good website has a clean design that’s built with a target audience and brand message in mind. Simple is better than overly complicated, and the site needs to be easy to navigate. Use the best photos of your shop that you can. Professional images are ideal, but if that’s not in the budget, check out the ATA’s website for tips on how to take better pictures.

5. Not Optimized for Mobile

According to broadbandsearch.net, mobile internet use has increased by 222% from 2013 to 2018. In 2018, 52.2% of web traffic was conducted on mobile phones. Unfortunately, a website that looks sleek and modern on a large computer monitor can be clunky and hard to navigate on a small phone screen if it’s not optimized for mobile. No one wants to have to scroll all over the place to read your web content.

If your website is several years old, it may be worth updating it to a more mobile-friendly layout. And make sure you verify that your website appears the way you want it to by checking it out on multiple devices: computer monitor, tablet and smartphone.


6. No Clear Message

What do you want people to know about your business? In Building a Story Brand, Miller makes an interesting point. People are moved to act by what he calls internal and external problems. Companies often advertise solutions to external problems, but internal issues are far more compelling.

For example, why do consumers come to your shop? You might assume that people come to your shop because they need to buy archery equipment (the external problem), but that’s not really the case. If a consumer just wants to buy a product, they can probably find something that meets their basic needs on Amazon or at Walmart.

Consider a parent purchasing a bow for their child. The parent has never participated in archery, but their nine-year-old daughter has asked for a bow for her birthday. This individual’s internal problem is that they find archery intimidating and want someone to walk them through their first purchase. Or consider a regular customer who has a dream bowhunt scheduled this year. He has a lot of money invested in this trip, and he wants to spend extra time practicing at the range. His internal problem is that he’s worried about squandering this opportunity by not being prepared.

What is that you offer that your competition does not? How can you address the internal problems that drive consumers to your store? You won’t be able to address all of them but think about those problems as you design your website. That will help you craft a message that appeals to your target market.


Final Thoughts

If you haven’t updated your website in a few months (or years), take a few minutes to look it over and address any issues you find.

If you’re not happy with your website, you can contact a professional web designer to help improve it. Make sure you check out several examples of their work before you hire them. Most web designers know their stuff, but it’s one of those fields with a wide range of skilled individuals, so you’ll come across less experienced designers as well.

You can also reach out to the ATA to learn about resources for high-quality websites. But whatever you do, don’t neglect this vital marketing tool.

Photos by John Hafner


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