Common Website MistakesOver the last week I have been asked to assess a few small to mid-size business websites and give them feedback on how to improve. One was for a small business handling insurance, one was an automotive dealer and, lastly, one was for a consulting firm. I have seen mistakes from all of these sites and came up with this short list of the most common website mistakes I found.

Common Website Mistakes

  1. Basic “Canned” SEO structure
  2. Lack of Custom Content
  3. Lacking why buy from me message
  4. Customer testimonials

So let’s break down each.

Canned SEO

Many website packages available for small businesses are good job for getting the website set up in structure, but not for specific needs of the business. There is often no targeting data, no pages for each area you are looking to draw from, and no strategy for what keywords you want to rank for.  Many times the SEO defaults to pre-set terms based on your industry but may not really be tailored for your specific business and what you are selling.

No Custom Content

In the case of the insurance website, part of the package is content delivered by the parent company. While the content itself has value, when you click on links for the full article it takes people off of the business’s site and to the parent website. Allowing people to leave your site is not a good practice. Click on all links on your site to see where they go. If it is a useful page somewhere else on your site having it open in another tab may be a good call. Remember, we want people to stay on our site as long as possible.

Another issue in terms of content is the use of stock photos. This may work for certain situations but if you are selling cars, having specific photos of the cars on your lot or real photos of the vehicles makes a much more effective presentation than the stock photos. The one caveat is if a new model has not been delivered yet; but make sure as soon as it hits your lot, photos are taken.

In the case of insurance or consulting services, having the stock photo of a happy family or business setting is ok, but I still recommend real people in real situations.

Why Buy From Me Message

Not having a defined “why buy from me” message is another common website mistake. You message is not just a cute slogan but also a real, ongoing effort to stand out. Understand what your difference is and know that saying things like, “Family owned,” or, “In business for 50 years,” means nothing to today’s consumer.

If I can get your product or service from multiple vendors then you need to make me understand what makes you different. Is it your product? Is it the service? Is it the ongoing customer service? Whatever it is, you need to make sure that is very clear on your website through the use of banners, videos or customer content.

Customer Reviews and Testimonials

I have written about The Importance of Customer Reviews  and the common theme was to make sure you have customer reviews or testimonials to back up your claims. Customers want to hear exactly what your process is, what they can expect from doing business with you and then confirmation from other sources. This can be in the form of a written testimonial or a video that you can leverage on your site and in social media or blog content.

In the case of insurance or financial planners, maybe saying customers saved money is not allowed, but getting people to talk about the experience of doing business with you is effective.

If these things are a bit overwhelming or if you need assistance, then please do your due diligence and partner with a trusted company that will offer you ongoing strategy versus just a package that may be the same for all customers and not focused on your specific needs.

Your website is the first impression of who you are as a company. By avoiding some of these common website mistakes will make sure you stand out online or else you will get lost in the land of the average.

If you have any questions or would like me to review your site, feel free to reach out to me directly.


 is the current CEO of PCG Digital Marketing as well as a writer, National Speaker  and Management Trainer.

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