The 2 Biggest Mistakes Businesses Make on Their Websites

The 2 biggest mistakes businesses make on their websites have nothing to do with colors, fonts, SEO, back end development, images, sitemap, or logo placement. 

In fact, the 2 biggest mistakes businesses make on their websites come down to a misunderstanding of how and why people make decisions. 

According to Gallup, 70% of buying decisions are based on emotion. Specifically, if customers feel that they are being cared for well and that their needs are being prioritized, they are much more likely to be loyal to the brand that makes them feel that way. 

That means your website doesn’t need to logically convince your audience, it needs to emotionally connect with your audience. 

So what are the 2 biggest mistakes businesses make on their websites?

Mistake #1: Businesses talk too much about themselves.

How would you feel if you met someone and they immediately started babbling on about themselves—where they’re from, what they do, the awards they’ve received or successes they’ve had?

You’d be annoyed. 

Yet that’s what most businesses do with the words and the messaging on their websites—they focus on themselves. 

What if, instead, you were to focus your website on your customer? 

You could write every headline, craft every sentence, choose every image to communicate that you understand your audience—the challenges they’re facing, the struggle they’re in, the dreams they have yet to achieve. 

That would connect with your audience emotionally—they would know you understand them and they would be interested in how you can help them achieve their goals with your product or service. 

Mistake #2: Businesses describe what they do in detail. 

What’s the piece of technology you use the most in your day-to-day life? Probably your mobile phone, right?

Did you buy your phone based on a detailed understanding of all the different parts and pieces of your phone—the manufacturing process or the design process? 

Probably not. You bought it because of what it can do for you. 

You only care about manufacturing details in the sense that it’s lighter or faster or brighter—all benefits to you and how you’ll use it. 

Too many businesses think their customers want (or need) to understand the details of what they do. And, all too often, they waste time talking about what they do … and not how what they do benefits their customers. 

Instead, what if you talked a lot less about your internal processes and focused on the value and the benefit you deliver to your customers? 

Your customers should be able to see clearly on your website how your product or service benefits them (whether they understand how you do it or not). 

How to Avoid These Mistakes On Your Website

Read the words on your website, especially your homepage. Is your business the subject of most of the sentences? 

(Yes, we know you may have some PTSD left over from grammar class, but surely you remember how to find the subject of a sentence, right?) 

If the subject of most of the sentences on your site is your business, you’re probably making one or both of these mistakes. 

“We deliver …”

“Our products …”

“We are committed to …”

How can you make the customer the subject of most of the sentences on your site? Or, if you’re talking about your product or service, spend 20% of your words talking about features (this tall, this long) and 80% of your words talking about benefits—how it solves a problem for your customers.

How to Tell the Difference Between Good Headlines and Bad Headlines

Here’s a business-focused headline for a hypothetical online retailer. 

We deliver on time every time. 

Sounds good, right? It’s even got a little repetition in there to make it memorable. But it’s still about the business, not about the customer … it’s not about why the company’s commitment to being on time matters. 

(That’s another way to define a benefit.  It answers the question, “Why does that matter to me?”)

What if, instead, that same online retailer had a customer-focused, benefit-focused headline?

What you need. When you need it.

Do you see the difference? It’s not that the first headline is bad. It’s just focusing the conversation on the business rather than the customer. 

And this is why the first two mistakes are so easy to make. Most organizations (or should we say most CEOs?) love to talk about themselves. And that’s who decides what goes on websites!

Now, imagine if the company paired that headline (What you need. When you need it.) with an image that connected emotionally—a father wrapping his young daughter in a blanket sold on their site. That’s creating a connection.

When you’re writing the words that will go on your website (or if you’ve found someone else to do that for you!), you have to learn to evaluate every word from your customer’s point of view.

Make Your Website User-Centric, not Sender-Centric

It’s called being user-centric. Make the user the focus. Make your customer the subject of the whole conversation. 

Your website shouldn’t be filled with what YOU want people to know about you. It should be filled with what your CUSTOMERS want to know about you. 

And those are very rarely the same thing.

When it comes down to it, your customers don’t care that much about you. They care about what you can do for them. 

If you keep your website focused on your customers—their pain points, their needs, their struggles—and make it clear that your product or service is a solution for those things, you’ll avoid the mistakes most businesses make on their websites.


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Headshot of Steve Finkill

Steve Finkill

Steve Finkill increases lift by helping leaders experience freedom they never thought was possible. Steve works with leaders to bridge the gap between strategy and execution so their organizations can reach new heights. He’s got 20+ years experience as a marketing and brand manager leading cross-functional teams. Effective strategy, team synergy, compelling messaging, and just getting things done are at the heart of who Steve is. Plus … Dad jokes.