Everyone in business, including the largest businesses, want to attract the attention of their customers and engage with them. Which is why it’s pretty surprising that there are still so many websites that break cardinal rules every day. There is a long list that could be discussed, but here are five you should absolutely avoid regardless of the type of business you run.

1. Your website address has nothing to do with your business

15 years ago this was an acceptable oversight but with today’s sophisticated search engines it’s a definite no-no. The quick fix is to identify the number one reason your clients do business with you and create a name that reflects it. An example might be a stylist company we know that provides hair and makeup for TV and weddings called, About Face. Their website address is www.aboutfacedesignteam.com. Easy to understand and easy for the search engines to know what they do!

2. It’s impossible to figure out how to contact you

Wanting to be in business shows that there was some imagination that sparked your interest. Maybe you’re a fantastic designer, or an excellent travel agent. You have reasons why people should know and do business with you and yet a huge number of people hide their contact information behind a wall of “Contact Us” or “Info @ My Company” without a telephone number to be found. This is pure lunacy particularly since many of these same businesses are starving for new business! The easy fix here is to list some ways people can contact you directly.

3. Your website has two navigational systems

Many websites have been updated to the point of no return. An example of this is when you first launched your website it was based upon a navigational system that uses pull-down menus at the top of each page. As time went along you added products, literature, a blog and related industry links and wanted to “Keep the site simple” and in so doing produced a very complicated and confusing site when you added the additional information in a newly created sidebar. Seemed like a great idea at the time! Unfortunately, it’s breaking up most of your pages and making it difficult to find anything. The rule of thumb here is one navigational system for each site.

4. Your online media content doesn’t matchup with your E-Print

Everyone knows that Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter are the three primary online media giants that allow a business to communicate on many levels and ways providing different types of information on each of these platforms. What’s required is a consistent image and messaging that pulls everything together and this requires a consistent system of updating to keep all of the content in synchronization regardless the media platform. This includes downloadable content. Yet, many organizations use a “One and Done” strategy that says, “Once I’ve posted it I’m done.” In these situations a communications audit is required to assess clarity, consistency and connectivity (engagement).

5. You haven’t thought through your messaging

Making information available is always a good thing; making the information confusing to find and understand is not. Look at your website and ask yourself if you were visiting it for the first time would you instantly understand its design? When you pick up a book you can instantly discern the cover, title, sub-title, table of contents, etc. Is your website that easy to understand? If not, redesign it.

Starting and growing a business is difficult enough with its own inherent challenges. Why make doing business with your customers difficult too? A fresh new website design with informative copy that gets to the point is always appreciated by current and prospective customers.