When it comes to setting up a new business, there are many different aspects for you, the fledgling entrepreneur, to consider. Heading into 2018, it would be foolish not to prepare your start-up for digital demands. Moreover avoid digital mistakes with the ever-growing reliance on the internet.
Below, we have listed 15 of the most common mistakes that new start-ups absolutely must avoid making if they are to yield results.
Going too cheap on a website
As a start-up business, of course, you want to keep costs down to a minimum, but your website is not where you should be looking to spend the bare minimum. Your website is the first point of contact for the majority of your customers, so you are going to want to make a good first impression.
Making the site too pretty (completely disregarding content)
Web designers can often be guilty of creating websites that are easy on the eye. However when it comes to SEO, they are severely lacking. Google likes websites with a certain amount of content and, if the search engine’s crawlers cannot read anything on the website, your brand is not going to feature in the rankings. In order to avoid this digital mistake, you have to also keep up with the upcoming trends.
Expecting traffic with zero marketing
This really does go without saying; at least it should, because the amount of new business owners that expect customers to find them without putting the brand out there is staggering. Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come. Set aside a marketing budget from the get-go and raise awareness of your business in the local area through targeted campaigns.
Disregarding social media
There is only one thing worse than having an inactive social media account, and that is not having one at all. Ensure that your brand has an official account on the main social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, and begin to grow your following from there. Do not make the mistake of posting the exact same content across all channels – mix it up and post exclusive content, giving followers a reason to interact with all accounts.
Not keeping on top of your link profile
It is important to regularly review the links pointing back to your site in case of any harmful links. Spam websites and completely unrelated topics will not do your rankings and search visibility any good at all. In these cases, it is best to disavow these links so as Google does not count them in their highly complex algorithm.
If you read about any methods that are described as ‘blackhat’, do not go anywhere near them. Google often frowns upon these practices and, if caught out, can result in your website being blacklisted, meaning that you will not appear anywhere in the search results. The short-term gains are tempting but, in the long-run, it is best to play it safe.
One of the main things that businesses are picked up on is duplicate content on their website. This is easily done, especially in the case of e-commerce websites that may have numerous product descriptions. Ensure that all of your pages are unique; otherwise Google will disregard pages as they do not add any value to what they have already cached.
PPC is a drug that should be used sparingly. The quick wins are great, but you should never rely on PPC as your primary source of traffic and sales. You best use PPC when pushing seasonal offers and to help gain exposure in the early days of your business. So start-ups should certainly utilise PPC, just not too much. With each click costing your business, you had better make sure that your adverts are converting.
Not targeting a specific audience
This isn’t just bad practice for a digital campaign; this is just downright bad practice. Your business plan should target your audience. Otherwise how do you know who your business will appeal to? Start-ups that believe that everyone will be interested in what they have to offer often have no weight behind their argument.
Targeting key phrases with high competition
If you know little about how SEO works, you will likely know that much of it centers on targeting key phrases that are relevant to your industry. Using keywords with high search traffic is great; however, it often comes at the con of competing with other, more established, competitors. Depending on who you are up against, it can be nigh on impossible to elevate your brand above your competition.
Targeting key phrases with low search volume
While you should be wary of targeting competitive phrases, you should also ensure that the phrases you do target at least have some search volume. If only 10 people search for a phrase in every month, then chances are that you are not going to get much joy. Localised phrases, may have low volume but could yield high conversion rates. So don’t completely rule them out. For example, an SEO Peterborough campaign may target phrases such as ‘cleaners in Peterborough’ or ‘oven cleaners in Peterborough’ which, on a national scale, will have low search volume.
No e-commerce tracking
If your e-commerce website has no tracking capabilities, then how do you report your online sales? You need to know what’s selling, and what isn’t selling, in order to refine your business in its early stages.
Not split testing
The best way of finding what works best is through trial and error. This is where split testing comes in useful, as all results are used to enable you to better your campaign. For example, trialing different landing pages, pictures, product and copy are some of the variables that digital marketers split test on a daily basis.
Failure to carry out market research
Before setting up a new business, you should have carried out market research. You should have also researched the digital trends within your sector. Considering what works for your competitors, what doesn’t and any features that you believe are missing. You should never blindly copy what your competition is doing. Remember sometimes features are there because they are what customers come to expect. So you would be foolish to disregard them.
Not guest posting
One of the worst digital mistakes done by startups! Lastly, guest posting on blogs in your market is a good and quick means of spreading the word about your new business. Most bloggers will be more than happy to host free content in return for a backlink back to your website to help drive traffic and increase search visibility.