Small businesses with poorly designed websites that lack updated content, take too long to download, or are not device agnostic stand to lose clients. Your outdated website will drive away potential customers before you can even say “Hi.”

Some small businesses compromise on website design or don’t fully understand the need for one. Twenty-nine percent of small businesses operate without a website and 1 in 5 have poorly optimized websites that aren’t mobile-friendly. This can result in customers going elsewhere.

Slow page loading, poor mobile-optimization, and old-fashioned web designs with many generic images and pop-ups are the top things people hate about websites.

In an age where patience levels have dwindled and instant results are the norm, it is no wonder that fifty-three percent of mobile users leave websites that take longer than three seconds to load.

Seventy-five percent of consumers judge a business’ credibility based on their website design. Designing an SEO-optimized website that helps customers find what they’re looking for, as well as contact information, is important to improve conversion rates.

This article aims to help you improve your website by identifying missing features and recommending action items like use of web design and SEO tools. If you are a small business that doesn’t have a website but plans to build one, consider incorporating the elements discussed in the article.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What’s wrong with your website design

Did you set up the website when you started your business and haven’t returned to update or improve it?

Your website, then, has probably aged and got out of tune with the latest digital trends. With that in mind, we’ll go through five problems facing your website and how to correct them.

1. 26 percent of small businesses cannot be found in online searches

It’s tough keeping up with changes, especially for small businesses, in Google’s search engine algorithm.

One out of every four small businesses do not show up on Google’s search engine results because their websites have no Google PageRank or a PageRank of zero. Forty-five percent of small businesses do not understand search engine optimization (SEO), a key element for getting ranked higher on Google’s searches.

Screenshot of a page from Amazon.com

Screenshot of a page from Amazon.com


 Key Issues: 

  • Incorrect keyword use. Keywords continue to be one of the most important SEO aspects. Small businesses fail to use proper keywords and end up ranking for keywords that do not yield profitable results.
  • Poor on-page SEO optimization. 63 percent of small business websites miss an H1 tag and 65 percent lack alt image attributes. These are just some of the factors that cause your website to rank lower on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

 Recommendations: 

  • Revise existing content. Revisit your web pages and remove duplicate content, add H1 tags, and alt-image texts to improve on-page optimization.

2. 60 percent users won’t shop on outdated websites

One-third of small business owners maintain their websites themselves. Sixty-four percent of them do not get sufficient time to update their website. This often leads to neglect of key website functions such as responsiveness, user-friendly design, relevant fresh content, and social media integrations.

Your outdated website can cost you 60 percent of your target audience. It will also push you down on Google’s SERP. Content freshness is a key factor used by the Google algorithm to rank web pages.

chart showing percentage of consumers who say that accurate content is important

(Source)


 Key Issue: 

  • No new content. According to a survey, 29 percent of consumers believe websites are outdated if they haven’t been updated in the past six months. Lack of new content or updates pushes down your Google rankings. Updating your content is especially important if you are an internet business, a marketing company, or a service-based organization that needs to move with the latest market trends.

 Recommendations: 

  • Create new content. Start a blog or news feed section and frequently add relevant content that interests visitors. Small businesses that blog get 126 percent more lead growth than those that don’t.
  • Update dated content. Revisit old pages on your website and refresh the content to make them more relevant, as per the latest trends. One-line edits and minor changes in the structure do not help improve the freshness of the page. You need to properly revise the article and possibly even completely rewrite it. The new timestamp on the web page also helps improve your search engine ranking, but you’ll have to do more. Do keep in mind that Google penalizes websites that manipulate timestamps.

3. 21 percent of small business websites are not optimized for mobile

Today, mobile traffic constitutes over 50 percent of internet traffic overall. You are missing out on a lot of traffic if your website is not mobile optimized. Seventy-nine percent of small businesses that have websites have already realized the benefit of having a mobile-friendly website.

Fifty-seven percent of users won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. Sixty-one percent are likely to leave to a competitor website if they don’t find what they’re looking for on your mobile website.

Screenshot of the Test My Site tool offered by Google to measure the mobile speed of your website

Screenshot of the Test My Site tool offered by Google to measure the mobile speed of your website


 Key Issues: 

  • Content quantity. Too much content and images make your website cluttered and difficult to navigate on mobile screens. On the other hand, trimming down content for small screens will leave visitors dissatisfied at not being able to find the information needed. Optimal content with sufficient white space makes your website easier to navigate.
  • Load time/speed. The average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds. But your users may not have that much patience, as research suggests. Thirty-six percent of websites were over 2MB and loaded in more than seven seconds. Your bounce rate starts to increase exponentially after three seconds.

 Recommendations: 

  • Build responsive websites. Prioritize content and functionality for mobile and desktop websites based on customer intent and your website goals. For example, people may use the mobile device to learn more about the product while the final purchase happens usually from the desktop site. Aligning your website to help customers meet these goals on the respective devices is essential. Many DIY web design software solutions also offer mobile-optimized templates.
  • Test your mobile website. Google recommends testing your website for mobile-friendliness and page speed using the Test My Site tool. Look into compressing images and text which allows for faster downloads. Also, research on how users interact with your mobile website to understand whether the site meets their expectations.

4. 93 percent of small business websites lack a ‘call to action’ feature

You want your website visitors to become customers. But if they want to get in touch, there are no contact details on your website. And so, they bounce off to a competitor website that has more information.

According to a survey, 42 percent of visitors will leave a website if it doesn’t include business hours and address information.

An example of live chat functionality, which fifty-seven percent of users prefer

An example of live chat functionality, which 57 percent of users prefer


 Key Issues: 

  • Lack of contact details. Ninety-three percent of small business websites do not display a contact email address. Forty-nine percent of small businesses do not list any phone numbers on their homepage.
  • No social media links. Ninety-one percent of small business websites do not have Facebook widgets and 94 percent of small business websites lack Twitter widgets.

 Recommendations: 

  • Add contact details. You can display your contact details in different ways:
    • Add your email address and contact details to the footer of every page. Phone (61 percent) and email (60 percent) are the most preferred means of communication, according to a survey of consumers.
    • Create a “Contact Us” page that lists your address, a link to your company’s location on Google Maps, email address, phone number, fax, and other contact details.
  • Link to your social media pages. Add Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media widgets to your homepage or to the footer of all pages. These social sharing pages ensure web traffic flows between your social media pages and website. And don’t forget: be active and engage with your customers on those pages.

5. 40 percent of customers worry about security when shopping online

Four out of 10 users are concerned about the security of websites when shopping online. According to another study, 49 percent of users do not trust shopping online because of cyber criminals and other privacy concerns. Eighty-four percent of shoppers will abandon a purchase if they find that the website is not secure.

An unsecured website can result in loss of customers and revenue. The SSL padlock symbol helps users easily distinguish between secured and unsecured websites.

The Google search engine algorithm ranks pages that are not secure lower on the page. Google also flags all unencrypted internet connections and websites.

Google Chrome flags web pages that do not adopt HTTPS encryption

Google Chrome flags web pages that do not adopt HTTPS encryption (Source)


 Key Issues: 

  • No SSL certificate. Without an SSL certificate, the data sent from your browser to the web server is unencrypted and vulnerable to being stolen or manipulated.
  • Plugin vulnerabilities. Plugins help enhance the functionality of your website. For free DIY web platforms like WordPress, plugins are created by thousands of different developers with different levels of security measures. They are often targets for SQL injection attacks.

 Recommendation: 

  • Move over to HTTPS. An SSL certificate can help your businesses move from HTTP to HTTPS, which will improve your trustworthiness and security. According to the Linux Foundation, the number of encrypted web pages increased to 67 percent from 46 percent in the last year.

To learn more about HTTPS and SSL certificates, refer to HTTPS: What it means and why it matters. Also, check out the different types of SSL certificates here.

Who should redesign your website: In-house vs. third-party agency

You’ll need to decide whether you want to redesign your website internally or use a third-party agency. Here are some things you should consider about both options:

  • Internally (marketing / IT). You can opt to redesign your website internally if you have:
    • Qualified web designers in your company
    • Are able to commit many hours to redesign the project
    • Web design software tools

Doing it in-house may be the cheapest option, costing up to a few hundred dollars depending on the web design software templates and themes you choose.

  • Third-party agency. Seeking professional help makes the task easier and allows you to concentrate on your core business. You need to:
    • Shortlist a suitable web design agency
    • Work with the agency to set goals and timelines

Hiring an agency can cost anywhere between $15,000 to $40,000, while a freelancer will charge about $2,000 to $15,000 based on the effort involved.

Next steps: Deciding on goals and timelines

Website redesign is no cakewalk. You need to spend money and effort to achieve your goals (i.e., high traffic and conversion rates) to get a good ROI.

According to a recent survey we conducted,1 64 percent of small businesses are already realizing the value of a website design tool and another 27 percent will realize it in the next 1-2 years. So, what are you waiting for?

Get started with your website redesign project. If you need a starting point, these steps can help you:

Other recommended resources

If you want to learn more about web design and other related software, visit GetApp’s directories for:

You can also read other articles on content marketing and website metrics on GetApp’s Lab:

1We conducted this survey in April and May 2017 among 699 U.S.-based SMBs, with more than 10 employees and annual revenue of less than $100 million. The survey excluded nonprofit organizations. The qualified respondents are decision-makers, or have significant influence on the decisions related to purchasing technologies for their organization