Your business is missing out on prospective customers because of the mistakes it’s making in the online sphere. Period. In today’s world, everyone wants to discover the next great way to show or say something online, or to invent the next technique that will create buzz around the market. But is your company approaching the web in a way that might be causing more harm than good? Here are 5 common mistakes businesses make online that hinder them from achieving their goals:
Long Email Addresses and URLs
People remember things that are unique, rare, or just simple in nature. You chose to read this very article because it’s title got to the point quickly, and it didn’t waste your time with unnecessary information or fluff. Your business email addresses and URL are no exception. Keep them short and concise. Don’t make them complicated or cumbersome in length, as people have no use for excess information in their already over-cluttered lives. If your email address or URL is forgettable or too difficult to remember, chances are your business is as well.
Have you ever driven down the street and seen a sign like “Kidz Tyme Daycare”? What were your initial thoughts about the name? Unique? Crafty? In reality, many people see these attempts at being original quite the opposite: forgettable and awkward. In addition, these abnormal naming conventions invite a level of confusion into play. A person may not hear the same name as they see, which can lead to issues when searching for that business online. For example, someone may search online for “Kids Time Daycare” after hearing about it from a coworker, incorrectly routing him/her away from the correct business. To avoid this situation, purchase both the correct and incorrect spellings of the company when shopping for search terms, so as to redirect your audience to the proper business. Better yet, consider changing the name altogether. If you have to rely on odd spelling to stand out from the competition and be “original”, you should be looking at a better name from the beginning.
I’m going to be honestly blunt: if you believe that clip art makes a successful logo, you probably shouldn’t be running a business. Not only does this option look cheap, both in a professional and monetary sense, but customers may see it as a direct reflection of the work and service you provide. If your logo is substandard, what is to make your clients think that your work for them will be any different? Also, do not attempt to create your own logo if you have no experience with design and design software; people will know. If money is a constraint, consider hiring a student with experience in graphic design. Many of them produce admirable work at reasonable prices. What’s more, through a student you can have direct contact with and control over how your logo is being produced. This route will avoid any faceless entities and will help you dodge any potential copyright infringement lawsuits. In reference to legal consequences, do NOT attempt to rip off any logos, pictures, or text that you’ve found online. You eventually will get caught, and you will probably have to pay out more money than it would have taken to get pictures you had a right to in the first place.
No, I’m not referring to images within a website. When used correctly, sliders, galleries, and independent images can add a dynamic visual component to your site that grabs customer’s attention. Here I’m actually referring to images that are the website. Have you ever searched for a restaurant’s website, only to find that it’s simply a massive JPEG image of its menu? This mistake presents many problems. In addition to the sheer size of the file, which will cause significantly slower download speeds for viewers, your website now becomes a single, static entity. Nothing can be clicked on or interacted with. If you wish to change a text element or a single parameter, you now have to spend time changing the entire image. What’s even more condemning are the search engine optimization (SEO) consequences resulting from this mistake. To Google, your website is simply a black box of embedded text within an image, unidentifiable and unreadable. Viewers will have a much more difficult time finding your site organically, causing you to miss out on potential customers. This used to be a much bigger problem than it is today but I still see it happening with great frequency.
Personal Email Addresses
Your business and all of its members should be using a unique, streamlined email address format across all of its communication channels. The obvious reason is to obtain a professional appearance. It doesn’t look too certified when you receive a business email from firstname.lastname@example.org in regards to a product or service from a local bank. What many do not realize is that failure to protect your communication channels can have substantial legal consequences. If a disgruntled employee leaves your business, but still has access to classified information through a personal email address, that presents a serious liability problem. Utilizing a standard, corporate email address system ensures that this will not happen, as all communications are handled in a professional, behind-closed-doors manner.
Is your business making the most out of the online market in a way that is smart and calculated? Simple changes online can help make considerable positive impacts on your company’s perception by the public. Correct these common pitfalls now, and watch your customers approach you with a renewed sense of trust in and dependence on your professional abilities.
Jason King is a senior at LSU majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Digital Advertising. In his spare time, he enjoys engaging in outdoor activities like hunting and fishing around South Louisiana.