Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur the contributors are theirs.
About three in four consumers use the Internet at least once a month to find local businesses, according to data collected by BrightLocal in its 2018 Local Consumer Survey. Additionally, 27% of respondents said they do this type of research every day, although that number jumps to 54% for searchers aged 18-34.
The question is, when those potential customers – the people who are actively looking for your products and services – visit your website, does the content on it entice them to make a purchase, or does it do the opposite and scares them away?
Answering this question requires a close and honest look at your current site to determine if it is effectively attracting and converting your prospects. But what are you looking for?
While a number of factors can ultimately impact your ability to attract visitors and create a positive user experience, a good place to start is these eight issues, all of which can ultimately harm your business.
1. It contains misspellings or other words
If your website isn’t up to standard with simple spelling and grammar, visitors can lose respect for your brand. Because these types of mistakes are so easy to fix, not doing so makes your business look sloppy or lazy. It’s also a sign that you’re not taking your business seriously enough to make sure the content is right.
A simple solution to eliminate misspellings and word-related errors is to hire an editor to go over your content word-for-word. You can also ask a few members of your management team to comb through all of your pages, looking for any issues that jump out at them.
Related: How Good Website Content Helps You Win Leads
2. It’s Too SEO-Focused
Another common mistake companies make is creating website content that is more focused on search engine optimization (SEO), rather than content that makes sense to customers or provides real value.
An example of this starts your page with “If you are looking for an Orange County auto mechanic who can service your Orange County vehicle, contact the premier Orange County Auto Repair Shop located at 123 Main St. in Orange County.”
Is this phrase loaded with a few SEO keywords and phrases? Absolutely. But if you were a customer visiting this site and it was the first thing you read, that doesn’t really make you want to keep reading.
3. It doesn’t have enough SEO
Just like you don’t want to focus too much on SEO, you don’t want to overdo it either. So if you’ve never considered whether you’re using enough keywords (or the right keywords) on your site, now is a good time to do it.
Not sure what phrases people use to find you? One way to figure this out is to go to a search page and start typing your search. Look at all the options that automatically populate the search bar. This gives you an idea of the wording that others have used when doing this type of research.
Related: 7 Reasons SEO Matters for Every Startup
4. It takes too much brain power to read
Have you ever gone to a website, only to have it use so many words you didn’t know you left the page more confusing than when you arrived? While sometimes hard-to-use words are needed – like when explaining a product’s specs – if the reading takes too much of the average person’s brain power, you run the risk of your visitor clicking on it.
Yale University reports that when it comes to reading text on screen, it’s ideal to keep the reading level as low as possible for your particular audience. This improves comprehension for all of your consumers, including those who may have cognitive impairments or those who don’t read, write or understand English very well.
5. It doesn’t show your personality
Your website content can also hurt your business if it doesn’t reflect your brand personality. If your site visitors feel like they’re reading a manual or content that’s otherwise considered pretty flat, there’s probably no point in wanting to do business with you.
The three keys to marketing success require your customers to know you, like you, and trust you. Showing your company’s personality is one way to achieve all of these goals. So treat this like you would any other relationship you want to nurture and strengthen, and use your content to let them in.
6. Focus more on yourself than on the consumer
Some companies make the mistake of using their website just to convince their visitors why they are such a great business. While some level of pride and bragging about your products or services is okay, your content should immediately answer the one question every consumer asks: what’s in it for me?
Related: Why You Should Revamp and Improve Your Website Content
7. Not thinking and talking to your target audience
When creating content for your website, it also benefits you to put yourself in the shoes of your target market. What kinds of questions are they likely to have about your products and services? Also, what kind of formulation would they use?
The more you can think and speak like your target market, the greater your ability to create content that truly connects with them. The better you are able to communicate with them, the easier it will be for them to buy from you.
8. Link to unreliable sources
Linking your site’s content to other websites can help improve your search engine rankings. This practice is most common in blogging, especially if you’re pointing to research studies that back up what you’re saying or posts that have mentioned your brand, but make sure the sites you link to are sources and credible and reputable companies. Otherwise, you run the risk of driving customers away.
Having a website is essential in today’s digital age, but even more important is having a website that helps your brand rather than hurting it. You’re simply working too hard to make your content work against you, so follow these tips to make sure it doesn’t.
Related: Essential Tips for Writing Engaging Website Content