• Ohanna Fernandes

Top 6 Mistakes Small Businesses Are Making Online [and how to fix them]

Not only is it important to establish an online presence but it's important to get it right. Whether you're new to the digital sphere or an established online brand, we all make mistakes from time to time. Which is why we compiled a list of the top 6 mistakes small businesses are making online.


Read ahead to learn more about these common pit-falls. If you’ve fallen victim to any of these mistakes don’t panic, we’re sharing our quick-tips to get you on the right track.


Top 6 Mistakes


1. Not Having a Website


Why it matters:


Our first point may seem like an obvious one, but it still needs to be said. According to research firm Clutch, 46 percent of U.S. small businesses still don't have a website for their company. Unfortunately, if you’re one of those businesses still running without a website, you’re missing out. Not only are websites replacing brick-and-mortar stores, they are also helping business owners gather valuable data on their customers. This data helps businesses track customer behavior, which if used correctly, can prove to be very beneficial in growing client customer relationships.


How to fix it:


The fix is simple, establishing an online presence begins with a website. First understand your audience, and what are you trying to accomplish with your page. At OnServe we provide custom website solutions geared towards our small business clientele, so if you’re in need of a page, send us a message and we will be glad to help.


2. Not Being on Social Media


Why it matters:


Social media can be a double edged sword. Do it right, and it can drive engagement and traffic to your website and store, do it wrong, and you can risk losing credibility with your customers. The variety of platforms to choose from, and the time commitment it takes to create a steady stream of new and engaging content is a hassle for small businesses. It can be overwhelming for small businesses without a formal social media manager to keep up with the metrics and growth strategies of their social media accounts.


How to fix it:


The key to being effective on social media as a small business is to apply focus. Instead of spreading yourself thin, across multiple social platforms, we suggest you research which platform your customers are most active on and stick to that. We can agree that every business should have a website, but not every business needs a Snapchat. Meet your customers where they are, whether that’s Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. It is important to be honest with yourself about how much time you can invest in your businesses social media. If the best you can do is to post once a month on your businesses Facebook page, that’s ok, as long as you’re consistent about it. You can always ramp up your social media strategy later as time and resources permit.

3. Wrong Business Info on Local Directories


Why it matters:


Remember when people used to look through the Yellow Pages to find a business? Directories like the Yellow Pages have now moved their services online. The difference today is that you no longer need to contact them to get your business listed. These directories pull your business information from multiple online sources. Unfortunately, those sources aren’t always accurate. Like we mentioned in the previous point, consistency is key. It is important to make sure your business contact information (name, address, phone, email) are correct and consistent wherever it appears on the internet. Inconsistent contact information hurts your businesses credibility online and affects your website’s ranking.


How to fix it:


We suggest you schedule internet sweeps to confirm that your business information is portrayed accurately on local directories. If you come to find that you’re not on any directories, then it’s time to change that. Get you business listed on local directories right away. Directories provide visibility for your business and it’s a great way to get reviews that build trust with your customers.

List of local directories to watch out for

  1. Trip advisor

  2. Google

  3. Foursquare

  4. Yelp

  5. Local Chamber of Commerce

4. Not Responding to Reviews/Comments


Why it matters


To follow-up on our comments on directories we can’t forget to mention the reviews from such directories. Reviews are great, but they can also be intimidating. Let’s be clear, negative reviews happen; it’s impossible to please everyone. However, its still important to listen to your customer’s feedback. Feedback is valuable, so don’t be afraid to have this dialogue with your customers.

How to fix it


Good reviews matter too! Remember to always thank your customers for positive ratings. When it comes to bad reviews, formulate a template response. A template response will allow any employee responding to the review to remain professional and on-brand. Here is an example template response:

  • Show Gratitude: “Thank you for your review”

Feedback is valuable, regardless if it's positive or negative

  • Express Remorse: “I'm sorry to hear you had such a frustrating experience”

Apologizing helps show that you hold yourself accountable for their experience. For the most part, most negative reviewers simply want to hear that you are sorry.

  • Offer Restitution: “We would like the opportunity to resolve this issue with you please contact us at …(email)”

Extending an olive branch by following up with contact information allows you to take the conversation of the platform and to somewhere more private [because no one likes to air out dirty laundry in public].


The key here is to de-escalate. You don’t have control over what reviewers are going to say, but you can control your response. Seize this opportunity to change the narrative in your favor, and show other potential customers that your business is compassionate and professional. This encourages customers to give you a second chance. Remember, templates are meant to be a guideline. Make sure to adjust your response accordingly to avoid sounding repetitive and insincere.

5. Uploading Products or Menus as a PDF


Why it matters

The digital sphere is a visual place, which is why it's important to have high quality images. Images that are unfocused, poorly lit, and of low resolution should not be on your website. Not only will it distract your customers but it will also make you lose credibility.


How to fix it


Avoid uploading PDFs to your website. We see this problem a lot with restaurants. Scanning your menu and posting it as a PDF image creates problems for the viewer. What often happens is that the viewer is forced to pinch and zoom the PDFs in order to read the information. Avoid this problem by uploading high quality images of your products. If you have a restaurant website, do not upload stock images of your menu items, which can create false expectations and lead to disappointment in your customers.


*Pro-tip: Optimize your images by resizing them, large images slow down your site and affect your ranking. *


6. Not Tracking Your Website Data


Why it matters

Now that you have created a website with high quality images and listed your business on a directory, it’s time to track your data. Tracking your data gives you a deeper understanding of your customers behaviors, which then allows you to provide them a better user experience.


How to fix it

Google Analytics lets you track your website's metrics for free. Here are some examples of what Google Analytics can do for you:

  • Collect data on how many people are visiting your page

  • Help you identify where your web traffic is coming from

  • Show you what pages on your site are causing your customer to leave


With all this information you can make fact-based decisions on where to spend your resources.


Now that you’ve figured out the common mistakes made online and how to fix them, you can be on your way to establishing a credible online brand. Your customers will certainly appreciate it. If you’ve enjoyed this blog post make sure to like, share, or comment. For more resources like this one, check out our Business Blog 101 at Onserve.



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