What are the biggest mistakes small business owners make when creating a website?
That’s a question Rebecca Wilson knows inside and out. In fact, she and her team help business owners avoid these mistakes and build professional, seamless websites.
Rebecca and her husband, Ian, own ThemeSupport, a company that specializes in web development for WordPress sites. From bug fixes to complete website rebuilds, ThemeSupport provides expert help and customized support.
The company has been around for years, but Rebecca and Ian bought the business in 2021. Even though Rebecca had no prior experience in the field, she felt confident about their decision. “For me, this was a very natural thing. I had a small business in the past, and my husband for several years has wanted a business, whether it was starting a business or buying a business, so this just felt like the right fit for us,” she says.
During her time running ThemeSupport, Rebecca has noted three common pitfalls that often pop up when business owners build a website:
- First, many business owners want a unique design that requires extensive backend coding. She mentions that while having a vision for your brand is good, the more customized your site, the more it costs and harder it is to manage. She recommends business owners start with a prebuilt WordPress theme and then add unique touches to help it stand out. This will make it easier and more cost-effective to maintain.
- The second most common issue Rebecca noticed is people installing too many plugins. While WordPress plugins provide diverse functionality, they also take up space, require constant updates, and can interfere with each other. Start with what you know you need, and then expand from there.
- The final mistake she notes is thinking that once you build a site, you are done. “It is really important that you maintain your site by updating your themes and plugins to make sure your site isn’t vulnerable and that everything is working as you expect it to,” Rebecca notes. The sites that offer the best customer experience are the sites that are constantly being updated and maintained. The worst scenario for a small business owner would be a site that crashes or is difficult for customers to navigate.
If you are building your website on your own, Rebecca recommends researching your competitors and seeing what they are doing: “A lot of sites that are in the same industry often have the same look, so research what your competitors are doing, and find something that is a little different to help yourself stand out.”
One thing Rebecca and her husband have learned running the business together is that being successful requires much more than just coding and website knowledge. Relationship building is a secret to success for any small business owner. “When we notified current customers of the change of ownership, so many people responded with messages about how much they will miss the past owners and how great they were to work with, and I thought that was really cool.”
Rebecca is working hard to provide the same level of customer service. “It is really easy to become impersonal in an attempt to be professional,” says Rebecca. Instead, she works on adding a personal touch in all her communication and avoids cut-and-paste templates.
Along with relationship building, Rebecca says it is important to have a network of people who have different skills than you have. By utilizing connections you have in different industries, you can run a well-rounded business.
One final mistake business owners can make when it comes to their website is not putting in the time, effort, or resources. “Your website is often a customer’s first impression of you,” Rebecca says. It can be what invites business or drives it away, so it’s worth the cost to ensure your website makes a good first impression. To learn more about ThemeSupport, visit themesupport.net.