This contributor post was written by Genevieve of Lightbox SF.
Your website is the face of your business and its often the first impression a customer has. I’ll be the first to tell you that much of running your own business is pretending you know what you’re doing and making stuff up as you go along, but if the first thing a customer sees instills them with the sense that you have no clue, they are not going to part with their hard earned cash.
So what can you do?
Here are 5 of the biggest mistakes I see and how you can easily solve them.
1. Giving Away Control
You know those websites that have “get your own domain” ads all over them, not professional. I understand needing to keep things cheap, but if your business can’t afford hosting, you’re not a serious business. There are a number of options for around $10/month, Bluehost and Dreamhost are just two of the hundreds of options out there. Your website needs to be entirely yours to control.
2. Bad Photos
If I can’t get a clear picture of what you’re selling, I certainly don’t want to buy it online. Dark, blurry photos, distracting backgrounds and over stylized or Photoshopped images are the biggest offenders. There are tons of tutorials out there on taking good product photos on the cheap. If you invest the time to learn, it will certainly pay off in time.
3. No Personality
We buy things for the feeling or experience it gives us. If I know nothing about who you are, why you do what you do, or even why your product is the best, Im going to move on. We want to know the lifestyle or image we are perpetuating by purchasing. We want it to give us status, belonging, or a story to share. Be engaging, show your personality.
4. No Social Media Presence
Again its about engaging, giving your customers a chance to connect. At a bare minimum you should have a blog or Facebook page, but I would also recommend a regular newsletter and a Twitter account. This may sound daunting, but customers want to be able to choose how they interact with you. The more choices you give them, the better chance that they’ll like, follow or read what you have to say.
5. Hard to Find Information
Customers come to a website looking for information. This needs to be easy to find and easy to read. Your about and contact information should be on clearly marked pages with no searching required. Fonts also need to be basic and easy to read, your type is not the place to get fancy.
To have a serious business that people want to buy from you yourself need to take it seriously, that means investing time and (I’m afraid) money into crafting a polished, professional appearance that alludes to the amazing business you are working toward becoming.
image credit: personalized number poster by eva juliet
Genevieve Robertson writes about creative marketing strategies over at Lightbox SF. She helps makers, artists, and crafters brand their businesses by telling their stories and embracing what makes them unique.
33 comments | Click here to reply
RT @Cammie_Baby: 5 Things NOT to do with Your Website | papernstitch http://t.co/RIg25hjESquareInchesOfLove (@SqInchesOfLove)
RT @Cammie_Baby: 5 Things NOT to do with Your Website | papernstitch http://t.co/RIg25hjEmyeong potter (@organicstars)
5 Things NOT to do with Your Website | papernstitch http://t.co/RIg25hjE(@Cammie_Baby) (@Cammie_Baby)
jacqui – just taking the time to objectively look at your site is step in the right direction. stay on track and i’m sure you’ll find your perfect balance.Genevieve
I enjoyed this article and HOPE that I am doing most of the things right! It’s been a huge task getting the website looking professional yet still keep the cute vibe of my product. Will keep chipping away but I am glad to know I am mostly on-track. Thanks!Jacqui
RT @_finderskeepers: Some great tips about what NOT to do with your website, via papernstitch http://t.co/uC5Iw1LcLaura Fell (@laurafellphotos)
â€œ@misskittybooboo: 5 Things NOT to do with Your Website http://t.co/m5ZYaMTxâ€ so true for all, big or smallKim Borrowdale (@KimBorrowdale)
Some great tips here… http://t.co/9VBCeknkEastside Crafters (@ESCrafters)
Like confident duck furiously treading water under the surface – keep your website image cool. via papernstitch http://t.co/rmLdDU0pJessica Newell (@MeetJNewell)
5 Things NOT to do with Your Website http://t.co/wLwobg8jKatie Bellotti (@misskittybooboo)
Some great tips about what NOT to do with your website, via papernstitch http://t.co/uC5Iw1Lcthe finders keepers (@_finderskeepers)
(for @mnssams, @starlacedwings, & @havie23) RT @natalie: Must read for craft business owners http://t.co/tdpkdp0KNatalie MacDonald (@LadyMacDonald)
Fantastic advice!!! thank you!!Iveth
Must read for craft business owners http://t.co/5RJ9vGxjNatalie Jost (@natalie)
RT @thebeehiveatl: 5 Things NOT to do with Your Website http://t.co/rYmPuEAlHeidi Fahrenbacher (@HeidiMCF)
5 Things NOT to do with Your Website http://t.co/rYmPuEAlthe beehive (@thebeehiveatl)
http://t.co/049nhFs5 I admit I need to do a revamp on my siteFrederick Jones (@FlowCaribbean)
5 Things NOT to do with Your Website http://t.co/PJcB8hcI via } @papernstitchJanick (@neawear)
Some great basic advice that anyone with a web store should peruse. http://t.co/8LADGFf7Melba McFadden (@ShornSheep)
Buenos consejos para mejorar nuestro blog y nuestros productos… 🙂 http://t.co/Xzor0krdNoelia Aparicio (@noemozica)
Great Advice! I’m going to try and always remember this! Thanks
Great great points!!! love having a point of reference to exam what I am doing on my own site.. love this!Danielle Hardy
[…] Your website is your most important business asset so make sure you’re using it correctly!Â This week Paper n Stitch shared a guest post that warns about 5 Things Not to Do With Your Website. […]Link Hype 2-3-12
Thanks for your input TrueBlue. Definitely agree with having easy access to an email towards the top of the site (or somewhere equally visible).papernstitch
Hey Vanessa! Thanks for your comment.
All excellent tips. I always strive to make navigating my sites as clear as possible and improve my photos. These things really do make or break your sales!Vanessa
Bad photos used to be my pet peeve, but now it is hard to find information – especially an email where I can reach a blogger to ask a question, tell them their entire tutorial is on Tumblr with 13,000 views and no link back to them, etc… I like when the email address is not in a link, but at the top where I don’t have to search for it. Good practical article, thanks!Truebluemeandyou
So glad you enjoyed the tips Bluehost!
I hear you on the photos Kate! I wish I could give a photo class to every small business owner.
I’m so glad this post hits on a topic that you can put to use right away. Running a creative business is all about knowing where to look for the information you need.
That is great to hear Cecilia. That’s what we strive for around here. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.papernstitch
Thank you for always having such informative posts. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from this blog and how many times your posts seem to be talking directly to me!Cecilia
These are such brilliant points, it is very annoying when blogs have these things, especially bad photos!Kate
5 great pieces of advice there Genevieve, thanks.Bluehost