With all the challenges your business already faces - competitors in your field, changing marketplaces, etc. - the last thing you want is to fail over something simple and solvable.
Here are a few online errors to avoid - or fix, as the case may be: <!--break-->
Big No-No #1: Not Having Social Customer Service
In 2016 you're more likely to get praise and complaints via Twitter or Facebook than a webform or phone call - and it's the complaints you especially have to worry about.
Why? Because as social listening experts at NetBase point out, "When that one customer rants to their 500+ Facebook friends, including influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers, your brand can find itself in serious trouble."
Not to mention, 67% of consumers look to social platforms like Twitter and Facebook to solve customer service issues, according to JD Power. And there are plenty of other stats that drive the point home: social customer service isn't optional.
Not everyone has caught on, however, so you can stand out even more by being one of the businesses that has. And handling problems well can sometimes impress a customer enough that they become more loyal than they were before.
But part of the trick with social customer service is timeliness - so if you can't keep up with your audience, it's a good idea to look into social monitoring software. There are plenty of options for every budget, so don't think being a small business counts you out. It doesn't. And sometimes you have to rely on outside expertise.
Big No-No #2: Web Errors
Most business owners are not web developers, but these days you don't have to be, with so many great options for setting up functional, beautiful websites.
But whose job is it to make sure all your site's features are working at any given time? Would you know if your site was crashing, or had pages returning a 404 error? You probably wouldn't, unless one of your site's visitors took the time to alert you in some way, but most won't bother. They'll just go on to the next site.
This doesn't just apply to smaller businesses though. In fact, Searchmetrics asserts that the more people involved in your website's operations, the better the chances you'll have errors you don't know about.
So how do you make sure your site is working properly at all times? Software like Visibility Guard saves the day by crawling your site to find the most common errors like:
- HTML status codes like 301 redirects or 404s
- Meta and x-Robots-Tag "No-index" and No-follow
- Canonicals and redirect chains
- Significant changes to word count in content
And if all that looks like a foreign language, even more reason to have a program monitoring things on your behalf. You don't have to be a tech wizard yourself, but you have to know what matters and get things done.
Big No-No #3: Not Accounting for Mobile
Speaking of knowing what matters - your site needs to be optimized for mobile. No business should be making this mistake anymore, but surprisingly plenty still are. Why the big deal? Mobile digital media time has surpassed desktop at 51%, and that number's only going to get bigger.
Mobile optimization isn't just about design, it's about function. Consumers will move on quickly if your pages load too slowly, or they can't navigate to the page they want easily. Even if your product or service is the best around, if your site isn't optimized for mobile, you'll lose business.
In fact, mobile users may judge you by your non-mobile-optimized site, assuming your business is outdated as well. It's a hard truth - and one that's avoidable.
And though mobile optimization can be costly, it doesn't have to be. Most web builders - even drag and drop options like Weebly, etc. - have mobile builders now. And if you do have a bit of technical know-how, Moz has a number of suggestions for optimizing.
So whether you're into DIY, or have enterprise-sized resources, you have options for making sure the small stuff isn't what trips you up. Running a business isn't easy - but a few simple fixes to your digital strategy can make it feel like it is.
Main image via Shutterstock