There are no two ways about it: in business, cash in king. For a business to be successful, it needs to be profitable — most of the time, at least. But I don’t need to tell you that. Those in the business world are keenly aware of this fact and dedicate huge amounts of time, energy and resources to making sure their company is turning a profit.
However, not every profit-making aspect of a business is always utilised. Even in the digital age, websites are often highly underappreciated when it comes to building a profit. 50% of small businesses don’t even have a website and many of those that do don’t pay proper attention to it.
This is a problem. An improperly managed website can bleed profits. But how does this happen and, more importantly, how can your business avoid it?
No SSL Certification
The online world is turbulent at best. Just when you thought you’d got to grips with it, something else comes along to spoil the peace. SSL certification is that current party pooper.
SSL certification is a security protocol that turns your humble HTTP web address into an HTTPS fortress. The extra ‘S’ just means that your domain is more secure, signifying that data being transferred between users and your website is encrypted, making it harder for third-party hackers to intercept.
Prevalent on websites that require bank details and personal information, if you aren’t familiar with the jargon, you will be familiar with the little padlock icon that appears in your web address bar from time to time. This is the symbol for a SSL certified website, letting users know they are secure.
While SSL certification used to be very much optional, Google — and other companies — have started to clamp down on those still operating on simple HTTP websites. In a bid to keep the internet more secure, they’ve started making HTTPS web addresses essentially mandatory. If you don’t follow the rules, visitors attempting to access your website will receive a big alert message telling them that your business site is not properly secured.
The result is an undoubted spike in people quickly navigating away from your website. This loss of traffic will create a direct loss of revenue, all because your website doesn’t have the right security protocol installed. Get your SSL certification sorted now and you’ll stem the profit bleed instantly.
Poor Mobile Functionality
Mobile browsing now accounts for the majority of internet usage. As a result, most of your customers will be coming to your website through their smartphones.
While many businesses do have some form of mobile website, there is a temptation to do it only to the point of basic functionality. While there is often a high investment of resources on desktop design, mobile versions are all too easily palmed off as side projects that get no real attention. The usual mantra is: take what we have and make it fit on a phone screen.
This is a bad idea. With the majority of your consumers’ click-through coming via mobile, a basic, lazy design made purely to pair with touch screen browsing isn’t going to do you any favours. This type of website is not optimised for conversions or sales; it’s much closer to a placeholder.
The way users interact with a mobile website is different to how they interact with a desktop one — and this difference should be carefully considered. Investment in a mobile website that is not only functional, but offers a targeted conversion platform, is vital if you want to plug the holes currently allowing your website to bleed profit.
Improper Troubleshooting and Website Testing
Just because your website looks the business, doesn’t mean it does the job. Too many businesses will set up a website without thorough testing and troubleshooting. But, while the basic functionality may be there, if you don’t check, you never know what niggling faults are hidden behind the sleek design.
Common errors to occur are those right at the point of sale, such as functionality with payment. Tim Kitchen at Exposure Ninja recently explained how they found a fault in their system when it emerged nobody was using their PayPal payment option, even though the expectation was that it would see higher usage than debit and credit card payments. The reason? The functionality of the PayPal option was broken. However, the result was not just that people were using credit cards, but the company was also likely to have lost profitability during this time, as one of their major payment facilities was completely unusable.
This is an extreme example, but you’ll find businesses experience a number of issues, such as broken shopping carts — an inability to edit items or add them to baskets — errors in page formatting dependent on browser and computer models, slow loading speeds and more.
Before your business website goes live, ensure you’ve put it through comprehensive testing. If you don’t, you’ll find unnecessary losses in profit occur.
Chris Danks is the founder of website hosting service Cyber Host Pro.