Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Jake Magleby  – Enjoy!

Marketers have touted the benefits of an online presence for businesses for years. However, starting a business website is only the first step. For many would-be Internet business gurus, their bottom line is falling short of what it could be. Make sure your business is competitive on and off the Internet by avoiding these five common mistakes.

1. Unresponsive Web Design

If you haven’t optimized your web design for multiple devices (i.e. mobile phones, desktops, and tablets), you could be driving traffic from your site. According to eMarketer, local mobile searches are expected to exceed desktop searches by 2015. This means your site needs to operate seamlessly across devices in order to compete.


photo credit: Flickr, leo_prince008

Unresponsive designs equal cumbersome navigation and a frustrated user. The more intuitive the design (and navigation), the higher your conversions will be.

2. Slow Loading Time

Time is money, and Internet users are impatient. If you can’t deliver page results within a few seconds, you could be losing valuable traffic. According to Kissmetrics, a one-second delay in page response can result in 7% loss in conversions.

While there are many ways you can improve your page load time, consider focusing on these areas:

  • Minimizing HTTP requests
  • Optimizing images
  • Compressing larger pages
  • Combining CSS sheets

Akamai found that 47% consumers expect a web page to load within 2 seconds, and 40% will abandon the site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Don’t lose out on conversions before visitors even have a chance to see your content.

3. Unreliable Hosting Services

Small business website hosting services come in various packages. However, whether you host on a shared server, a dedicated server, or something in between, your web host should be able to do four main things:

  1.  Provide 24 hour tech support. If something goes wrong on your website, you need a guarantee that tech support will be able to help you right away to ensure the site is running properly as soon as possible.
  2.  Guarantee at least 99.9% uptime. When Amazon experienced a 40 minute downtime in August 2013, they incurred a $5 million total loss. Though a small business may not suffer revenue loss on such a grand scale, downtime directly affects your bottom line. Look for host providers like Midphase, that offer 99.9% uptime to ensure the best results.
  3. Protect your data. Most hosts will back up your web data on a separate server. This protects your information in the case of a costly security breach.
  4. Scale their services. Make sure that your hosting service can accommodate business growth and scale their services to meet your expanding needs.

If your host cannot fulfill these four promises, you could be setting yourself up for lost business.

4. No Calls to Action

Call to ActionTo turn visitors into repeat customers, consider adding a call to action after a purchase on the thank you page. Invite them to share the offer they purchased with their friends; encourage them to sign up for a newsletter; or ask them to “Like” you Facebook or follow you on Twitter.

Though you’ve already earned one conversion, a call to action can turn your single conversion into a loyal customer.

 5. Lack of Optimization

You can’t rely solely on branding to generate online leads. Marketing Charts found that 39% of customers for online merchants came from searches. What does this mean for you? You need to optimize your site for search and usability; because if people can’t find you, they can’t purchase from you.

There are many aspects to a good SEO strategy, but keep in mind these basics:

  • Include relevant keywords in your meta descriptions, title tags, and alt texts.
  • Update your contact information.
  • Add relevant keywords to your content and copy.
  • Share posts, deals, and information via social media.

Optimizing will increase your visibility in the SERPs, the traffic to your site, and ultimately your online conversions.

Though there are many factors that affect a company’s bottom line, taking time to improve your website will be worth the effort. If you have already done most of these things, investing in data analytics, such as Google Developers tools, is a great way to identify more nuanced problem areas with your website.

Evaluate your traffic patterns, click-through rates, and individual page conversions to discover small but significant ways you can improve your site and your bottom line today.

Jake MaglebyJake Magleby 1 has written extensively about effective marketing, sales, and financing strategies to help small business owners succeed in the fast-paced and ever-changing business world. He also has an interest in education and development.

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  • Consumers that make purchases online are a much younger demo and are used to a specific level of response from websites. The window to get them to “act” is getting smaller and smaller. If you have a site that doesn’t load quickly or cannot give them what they are looking for instantaneously, consider that window closed because the consumer knows that in milliseconds they can find another site that will give them what they want. It’s important to understand your clientele. And people who are looking online want one thing: instant gratification!

    • While I think it can be dangerous to assume it’s only a younger demo that cares about this, I agree with your point.

      • merrywater

        I agree, it is not just the younger demo, it is everyone that has a job, family, and other extra curricular activities. Everyone wants it and they want it now, there is no time to waste as everyone is doing a million and one things.

  • The continued
    development of mobile and tablet technology is changing the way that we use
    the internet. Whereas once the desktop was king, more of us are now turning
    to handheld devices to attain both the products and services we want
    including looking for a holiday or trip abroad.

  • Great post Jake!

    I think you can also take #4 one step further and create a #4b to say “Too Many Calls to Action”. I think sometimes companies go overboard and start sticking buttons everywhere – and then none of them mean anything to the user. One main CTA and a perhaps 1 or 2 secondary CTAs should be sufficient to inspire action.

    In fact, I just completed a website analysis for a client who had 12 CTA buttons on their homepage! Whoah!

  • Manu Jeevan Prakash

    Hi Jake,
    Good article .Business owners can use this tool to check how their website looks across different devices , this is a responsive web check tool for free.They can also check thier website load speed using google developers tool .


  • Jason Moore

    Hi, I realize I’m a little late to the party, but I recently wrote a similar article that I think could help as well. Also, I noticed the link in the author bio “Jake Magleby” is broken, so you may want to give it a quick fix. Here’s my article that’s similar:

    I hope I could help.