5 Things NOT to do with Your Website

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

5 great pieces of advice there Genevieve, thanks.

Bluehost

These are such brilliant points, it is very annoying when blogs have these things, especially bad photos!
http://www.styleisalwaysfashionable.blogspot.com

Kate

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

That is great to hear Cecilia. That’s what we strive for around here. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.
-Brittni

papernstitch

Cecilia,

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.

-genevieve

Genevieve

I hear you on the photos Kate! I wish I could give a photo class to every small business owner.

-genevieve

Genevieve

So glad you enjoyed the tips Bluehost!

-genevieve

Genevieve

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

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

Thanks for your input TrueBlue. Definitely agree with having easy access to an email towards the top of the site (or somewhere equally visible).

Hey Vanessa! Thanks for your comment.

-Brittni

papernstitch

[…] Your website is your most important business asset so make sure you’re using it correctly!  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

Great great points!!! love having a point of reference to exam what I am doing on my own site.. love this!

Danielle Hardy

Great Advice! I’m going to try and always remember this! Thanks

http://www.etsy.com/shop/sweeteststrawberry

Nancy

Buenos consejos para mejorar nuestro blog y nuestros productos… 🙂 http://t.co/Xzor0krd

Noelia Aparicio (@noemozica)

Some great basic advice that anyone with a web store should peruse. http://t.co/8LADGFf7

Melba McFadden (@ShornSheep)

5 Things NOT to do with Your Website http://t.co/PJcB8hcI via } @papernstitch

Janick (@neawear)

http://t.co/049nhFs5 I admit I need to do a revamp on my site

Frederick Jones (@FlowCaribbean)

5 Things NOT to do with Your Website http://t.co/rYmPuEAl

the beehive (@thebeehiveatl)

RT @thebeehiveatl: 5 Things NOT to do with Your Website http://t.co/rYmPuEAl

Heidi Fahrenbacher (@HeidiMCF)

Must read for craft business owners http://t.co/5RJ9vGxj

Natalie Jost (@natalie)

Fantastic advice!!! thank you!!

Iveth

(for @mnssams, @starlacedwings, & @havie23) RT @natalie: Must read for craft business owners http://t.co/tdpkdp0K

Natalie MacDonald (@LadyMacDonald)

Some great tips about what NOT to do with your website, via papernstitch http://t.co/uC5Iw1Lc

the finders keepers (@_finderskeepers)

5 Things NOT to do with Your Website http://t.co/wLwobg8j

Katie Bellotti (@misskittybooboo)

Like confident duck furiously treading water under the surface – keep your website image cool. via papernstitch http://t.co/rmLdDU0p

Jessica Newell (@MeetJNewell)

Some great tips here… http://t.co/9VBCeknk

Eastside Crafters (@ESCrafters)

“@misskittybooboo: 5 Things NOT to do with Your Website http://t.co/m5ZYaMTx” so true for all, big or small

Kim Borrowdale (@KimBorrowdale)

RT @_finderskeepers: Some great tips about what NOT to do with your website, via papernstitch http://t.co/uC5Iw1Lc

Laura Fell (@laurafellphotos)

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

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

5 Things NOT to do with Your Website | papernstitch http://t.co/RIg25hjE

(@Cammie_Baby) (@Cammie_Baby)

RT @Cammie_Baby: 5 Things NOT to do with Your Website | papernstitch http://t.co/RIg25hjE

myeong potter (@organicstars)

RT @Cammie_Baby: 5 Things NOT to do with Your Website | papernstitch http://t.co/RIg25hjE

SquareInchesOfLove (@SqInchesOfLove)
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