It’s estimated that more than half of all small businesses have a website. Unfortunately, though, many of these websites are not properly optimized to their fullest potential. Search engines will have a difficult time providing users your website in search queries if they are not optimized properly. Here are some of the most common web design and development mistakes made by small business owners.

#1) Using a Generic Template

There are literally thousands of free-to-use website templates and “themes” available, allowing small business owners to set up a fully functional website with minimal effort. The allure of obtaining a web design for free may sound enticing, but you should think twice before using them. Many of these free templates and themes are poorly coded, and to make matters worse, some of them contain malicious code and viruses.

#2) Lack of Content Marketing Strategy

Content is the driving force behind every successful small business website. Without content, you won’t be able to gain any traction in terms of visitors and traffic, which in turn means less search engine activity. Consider both your niche and what your target audience is expecting upon visiting your site. You want to focus on content that’s meaningful and relevant to your business’s demographic, presenting it in the most professional and authoritative manner possible. Content is much more than just bullet points on a page of the products and services you offer.

#3) Time-Consuming Updates

According to an info-graphic published by LifeHack, 64% of small business owners said updating their websites is a “major challenge” due to the time it requires. Regardless of the size of your website, it’s going to require at least some time to update. However, you can streamline the process by using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, or outsourcing the task to a professional web agency, such as Smart Link Solutions.

#4) Not Analyzing Key Performance Indicators

Running a website without some type of analytics program or software is like driving a car night without the headlights. You are essentially “hoping” for the best with no real sense of strategy. A smarter and more effective approach for small business websites is to use software like Google Analytics to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) like number of visits, number of returning visits, bounce rate, exit rate, etc.

#5) Displaying Address and Contact Information as Image

Why shouldn’t you display your business’s address and contact information as an image? It may sound harmless enough, but displaying this information as an image doesn’t provide any real value in terms of Local Search Optimization (LSO). Search engines are unable to read images, like a blind person. Search engines read code and they won’t see your address or contact information if placed in image format. By displaying this information in the form of text, search engines will notice your address, encouraging higher search rankings for local, geo-specific keywords.

Website design and maintenance have changed drastically over the years. With new search engine algorithm changes, such as Google’s Panda and Penguin, and new design platforms coming out, it can be difficult as a small business owner to keep up-to-date on your website and remain in compliance with search engine rules. Smart Link Solutions is a certified Google Partner, who not only can design a beautiful, responsive website for your business, but will also optimize your website to comply with search engine standards. Contact Smart Link Solutions today at (248) 684-0500.