Redesigning a Small Business Website: Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes

Redesigning a small business website: don’t make these 5 mistakes

Redesigning a small business website can take your business to the next level, or it could be something that causes you a massive headache and costs you customers and traffic – which route would you prefer to take?

Regular readers of mine would know that this website has in fact, just been redesigned. I have undergone this process a few times over the last few years – to varying degrees of success. If you’re ready to take your business a notch higher, it’s time you designed a beautiful website. Having a user-friendly site will improve your outreach and enhance your brand reputation, and help you to gain more traffic, readers and customers. But if you make a few mistakes when redesigning a small business website, then it can take a while to recover – if you ever do.

Redesigning a small business website – is it easy?

Before designing your website, there are quite a few factors you need to consider. Of course, if you are redesigning your website, you are probably not happy with your current one. Like any page on the web, looking for constant improvements is imperative to ensure that you really do improve the speed, usability and functionally of your website, rather than just making cosmetic changes.

There are probably thousands of mistakes that you need to avoid when redesigning a small business website; but here are my top 5 mistakes to avoid.

Mistake #1: Using a “cheap” designer or developer

Years ago, I redesigned this website for the first time and I reached out to web developers and designers that I had met on websites like Fiverr and Airtasker. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using professionals you find on sites like these, but buyer beware.

I made the mistake of trusting that the work this company had displayed online was their own, and that they were based in my home country, Australia. After dealing with this web development “company” for a few weeks, it became clear that they weren’t a company, but a husband and wife team, they weren’t in Australia, but were based in India, and that they were hopelessly underqualified for the work they said they could do.

When choosing a professional to help you redesign your small business website, do your research properly. Ask for examples of websites they’ve redesigned then independently contact those businesses to ask how their experience was. It turned out that the work showcased on the website of the husband-and-wife team I unwittingly hired was not even their own.

Redesigning a Small Business Website: Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes
Alyce Vayle circa 2013 – we have come a long way!

Mistake #2: Failing to identify what is wrong with your current site

Depending on how tech-savvy you are, you might benefit from some assistance here. A good website redesign will be so much more than “cosmetic”. You need to consider the following elements of your new business’ website redesign carefully:

  • UX and UI
  • Site speed
  • How is traffic performing?
  • How optimized are the categories, headings and images?
  • Is you site secure?
  • Are all installed plugins functioning as they should?
  • Are there broken pages, and pages that need to be redirected?
  • Is your site optimized for mobile?

Using a professional web developer will give you confidence that these issues are being properly addressed, but it really helps to have done some of the diagnostics yourself, before contacting a professional. This will save you time, help you get to the important issues first, and will give you a greater understanding of the priorities needed for your website.

Mistake #3: Not understanding your target audience

You should have a concise, clear-cut purpose for your website. Before designing the site, identify your specific market niche. Ask yourself: who is most likely to buy my products? The content and design of your website should be optimized for your audience. For instance, if your business involves selling toys and other baby products, consider using an attractive theme with bright colors and fun widgets, and making things really simple – as your potential audience may be busy, distracted and wanting a streamlined experience.

Every entrepreneur should have a set of objectives for their website. If you desire to increase your followers and improve sales, focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It’s important to hire an experienced web designer who can create a responsive, user-friendly website for you.

Redesigning a Small Business Website: Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes
Alyce Vayle circa 2016. Looks OK but has limited functionality.

Mistake #4: Not making the site mobile friendly

Hopefully, non-mobile-optimized sites are on the decline, but I occasionally find websites that are really not mobile friendly online, particularly older ones. Google ranks websites on many factors (read my post on What is Domain Authority (DA) & How To Raise Your Website’s Authority & Google Rank for more information) and constantly updates their algorithm, which is usually steeped in secrecy.

One of the only times Google made an algorithm update public, was back in 2015, dubbed “Mobilegeddon” where Google announced they were rolling out a mobile-friendly update. This effectively meant they were giving webmasters a warning: make your website mobile friendly, or lose traffic and rankings.

The reasoning behind this was simple. Most people rely on their smartphones to access the internet and make online purchases. It’s crucial to design a mobile-friendly site that people can reach using their phones while they’re on the go. If your site can’t be accessed on mobile, you’ll lose a considerable chunk of your audience. Google uses a unique algorithm that normally ranks mobile-friendly sites higher. Therefore, design a website that can be accessed via mobile.

It takes a highly qualified web designer to create a mobile-friendly site. Companies you find online can do the job, or research your local market.

Mistake #5: Failing to look at website security

Now more than ever, websites need to be secure and to demonstrate trust signals to your users and audience. You also need to protect your content and assets. For this reason, security should be your utmost priority. If your site is a monetary one, then consider using a versatile payment processor that supports a variety of payment options. Your business site should also comply with a variety of regulations designed to protect both the business owner and the clients.

In addition, there are certain security procedures you should follow to avoid data loss. Hackers are always out there, trying to confiscate top secret data from an assortment of websites, so it’s important to secure your database with strong encryptions. Also consider getting a BBB or SSL certificate to protect you from identity theft (read this guide from Google).

What are your tips for redesigning a small business website?

Give me your tips in the comments section below and link to your website if you like. Give me your opinion on my tips, and add your 2 cents as well. Running a small business is challenging, but when you do the right research and find the right developers, you should be able to design something that lasts a couple of years (or even more) without needing a refresh.

Redesigning a Small Business Website: Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes
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Redesigning a Small Business Website: Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes
When redesigning a small business website there are major mistakes you can make, costing you traffic and customers. Here’s what they are.
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Alyce Vayle | Content Strategist
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