Do You Make These Four Mistakes With Your Business Website?

As a small business your advertising budget is probably limited.

After all, you don’t want to be spending money on “stuff” that you’re not confident will deliver results.

And so if you’re relying on your website to attract attention, convert visitors and grow your reputation, it’s got to be good :-)

Does your website help you or hinder you?

As a copywriter who specialises in working with small businesses, I’ve noticed there are common mistakes micro business owners make with their website.

And these mistakes are costly because they turn customers off, fail to do justice to your business and potentially harm your reputation.

So what are they and how do you fix them?

Let’s find out…

1.  Uninspiring headlines

Let’s start with a startling statistic.

Around 8 out of 10 people will read your headline. But only 2 out of 10 people will read the rest of your message. 

So whilst a boring, predictable headline might get read (well scanned at least), if it doesn’t grab your target audience the rest of your words will go unnoticed. And let’s face it, it’s in the main body of your content where the real persuasion takes place.

Here’s the truth.

If your headline is poor, your target customers will never find out how you can help them – because they will never read on to discover what you offer.

Here are some clues to help you identify a poor headline.

  • It’s vague
  • It’s predictable
  • It fails to capture curiosity
  • It doesn’t stimulate desire

In fact, the most common poor headline I come across is this…

Welcome to “business name”

If you have this as the headline on your home page, please change it now!

Instead rev up your headlines and empower them to grab your customers attention and persuade them to take notice.

Here are five approaches with examples that work.

    1. Promise your big benefit. 
      • MailChimp promise “Easy Email Newsletters“. I want some of that!
      • SpinLessPlates offers to “Save time, grow your business & get more customers using small business software”. Sounds good to me :-)
    2. Pose a provocative question.
      • Arrive at Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging Course and you’re met with this question –  “Is this the secret to a popular blog?” You’ve just got to find out more haven’t you?
    3. Be descriptive and simple.
      • Coombe Mill Farm does this beautifully with “Family Friendly Farm Holidays”.
    4. Make an impressive claim (if it’s true!)
      • StudioPress do this really well and assert they are – “The industry standard for premium WordPress themes“.
    5. Tap into the “how-to” instinct.

Ready to fix? Review your headlines and rev them up using one of the five templates outlined above.

2. Forget to ask for the sale

Hot on the heels of boring headlines is the absence of a call to action.

If you don’t have a call to action on each page of your website, your conversion rates will take a serious hit.

It’s OK to be “bossy” and give a clear instruction of what you want your audience to do after reading your content. Actually, if you tell them exactly what to do next, you actually improve their experience of your website because you make it easy for them.

Effective call’s to action are always clear, specific and simple.

You can make it even easier with a big button!

And be straight…

  • Buy now.
  • Download your free report today.
  • Get the video (big arrow pointing to sign up box!)
  • Enter your email address here.
  • Read more

Etc. Etc… You get the picture.

Ready to fix? Don’t leave it to chance. Instead take control of your conversion. review each page of your website. Check it has a single call to action and hone the wording so it’s clear, specific and simple.

3. Focus on the wrong person

The next mistake is the ratio of you : we in your copy.

If you say “we” more than “you”, your customers will be turned off.

Customers are not that interested in what you think.

In fact, when they first land on your website they have just one question in mind…

“What’s In It For Me?”

If you fail to answer that question, you’re in trouble because your customer will zone out.  

A “we we” website sounds something like this…

We manufacture and design the best blue widgets. We take pride in our manufacturing process and we believe our widgets are the highest quality in the market. That’s because we invest in our staff with an in-house training programme. Our widget selection is one of the best on the market and our widgets are versatile. We have over 50 years experience in making widgets and are known all over the world for them. Thanks for visiting our website”.

Boring hey?

The problem with a website writen from the business perspective is it does not tap into what the target customer is looking for.

You have less than a second to make a first impression.

If a visitor doesn’t think you are relevant for the problem they are trying to solve, they’re off.

Ready to fix? Look at your business through the eyes of a customer. What are they looking for? What do they want to read? How can you help them? Forget about what you think is important. Instead hone in on what matters to your customer.

And get the ratio right – make sure you add in copious amounts of the most powerful word in persuasive writing – YOU :-)

4.  Talk about the features

Here’s another really common mistake.

In your sales pitch are you focusing on the features of your product?

Let’s say you are selling loft ladders.

It’s tempting to focus on the features of the service. Things like what the ladder is made of, the fact it’s telescopic, how many rungs it has etc. But here’s the thing. Although this stuff is important, it doesn’t elicit any desire or excitement. And that’s because it doesn’t focus on the outcome.

So think again. What is the outcome of having a loft ladder?

It’s more about gaining safe access to all the lovely storage space that is currently going wasted in your loft. That’s the hook.

The lesson here is to make sure you’re focused on the right things.

Ready to fix? What outcome does your business offer to customers? Often this is very different from the features of your product or service. Work out what your customer’s life will be like if they use your business, and then focus on promoting that in your website.

What do you think?

What mistakes do you spot on websites? What elements of your website do you need to work on? What questions do you have? Let me know in the comments…

P.S: And if you’d like a hand to figure out what’s not working on your website check out my new website critique service. My 7 step action plan will help you identify the “mistakes” you are making and provide you with detailed actions you can take to ensure your website is fit for purpose.


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  1. says

    First of all I want to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing. I have had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there. I do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or hints? Appreciate it!

    • says

      Hi Randell, that’s a great question. Writing can be very unpredictable. There are times when everything flows effortlessly, and other times I can be left faffing with the same paragraph for ages. In terms of centring myself, it’s not so much about clearing my mind but ensuring I’m focused on the task at hand. Sometimes I’ll clear other jobs before I start writing if that’s going to distract me. Alternatively I find setting a time limit to write helps. I’ll also switch writing tools. Sometimes I’ll get typing straight away and other times I’ll draft ideas on paper. Writing is a creative activity and I find that everyone has their own zone and style. The thing is to not force it. If it’s just not happening walk away and try something else. And if you can, sleep on it. You’ll be amazed what fresh eyes can turn up. I hope that helps :-)

  2. says

    In regards to your third point, there is a radio ad running in my home town from a car company that states “Let’s sell another 100 cars this month!”

    Why would I care how many cars they sell this month?

    The ad copy needs to be directed toward the consumer and you make this point beautifully Georgina. Thanks for writing this post!

  3. says

    I really enjoyed this blog Georgina – it was informative and thought-provoking. I am going to scurry off now and look at my website to see if I make any of the mistakes above.

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