Whether you decide to build your own or have your website professionally designed and whether your business is providing a product or a service, you need to consider your website to be the central location for your business. Your website is the face of the company and can be seen by people all over the world. There’s no escaping this cold, hard fact, because everything you do to market your business especially online is going to lead back to your website. That’s why it’s crucial to set things up correctly, but what do you focus on to “get it right”? To help understand what you need to focus on, here are the 6 most common mistakes when setting up a new website that can kill your site’s effectiveness:
Lets Erase These Common Mistakes When Setting Up a New Website
1) Do you have a legitimate Business Plan?
Before you even begin developing your site, you need to plan. Just building a website isn’t enough; you have to think long and hard about why you’re building it and what you hope to get out of it. The business plan for your web site absolutely must answer these questions.
If you had a magic wand:
- What would your online presence look like?
- What products, services, or information would you want to provide/sell?
- What niche does your business fall into, and what is your target market segment?
- Who else is serving that niche or those customers? In other words, who is your competition, and what weaknesses can you find in their online presence?
- What solution do you offer that customers absolutely need?
If you have been following my blog for sometime now you know that I am a fiend when it comes to testing. Before you do anything I always suggest testing your target market first before you pass this step. Reach out and ask them if they would be interested in your products and or services and what would they pay. Take the time to test, test, test. This will save you time and money in the future.
2) Do you have a marketing plan for your website?
Once you develop your business plan and test it, you need to work out your marketing strategy. This means you have to have some important tools in place, and knowledge in place, before you ever start coding. For example, you need:
- An analytics/tracking system such as google analytics(free) or KissMetrics(paid)
- To Understand the importance of social media platforms for your niche
- To review research on affiliate marketing programs and think about selling through established, third-party platforms.
- To know the difference between SEO(search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click)
Nothing is easy and nothing is FREE on the internet. Most internet marketers and entrepreneurs learn this the hard way. Everything advertised on the internet is about FREE FREE FREE, but in reality no form of advertising that is going to drive high quality traffic that will convert will be FREE. This goes for websites too. Have you seen the conversion rates for DYI website builders? It is roughly 10 times lower than professionally designed. If you are struggling with this I would learn what ROI(Return on Investment) is and how it works.
When I say free, I am referring to time or money. You can advertise with quality with $0, but it is going to cost you your time and vice versa. Once you understand this you will be able to make the internet your play ground.
Getting your business plan together and developing your marketing strategy might be a lot of work, but it’s much less work than having to redesign your entire website when you realize it’s just not useful in achieving the goal.
3) Do You Know How Much Work Is Actually Involved?
The worst mistakes when setting up a new website is believing that setting up a site will provide you fast and easy money. Just throw up a website, sit back, relax and cha-ching the money just starts pouring in. Right? There is a lot of work to be done in establishing a successful business presence online or an eCommerce product showcase platform, and it’s more than just taking an order and shipping the product. You’ll have to give the process your full attention and suffer through some trial and error, as you find that some techniques simply don’t work and you have to try something else to drive traffic to your site. You must be flexible and willing to make mistakes because you will. Think about and remember these key facts:
- Running a website is just like running a traditional business
- There’s always room for improvement
- Making lists of what you need to do, and checking off items as you do them, will help you understand how much work you have ahead of you. I use the GTD system by David Allen and it has saved my life. Do yourself a favor and read this book.
4) Too Much Design and Too Little Message (Or Vice Versa)
Naturally, you want the design for your website to be beautiful and stunning, but this won’t matter if the message you want to present isn’t clear and concise. You need to reach your customer and let them know how you are going to solve their problems, and just having a pretty page won’t do that. The truth of the matter is this: a pretty page might be nice, but those pretty layouts and graphics tend to fade into the background when the user has no idea what you do and more importantly can’t find out if you can solve their problem. There absolutely has to be a healthy balance between attracting them with a stunning design, holding them with stunning content, setting up the website for conversions, and TESTING.
When you have this healthy balance between the design and the message, the design complements your message. If the balance is off, the website is liable to distract visitors from the real reason you set up the website in the first place, which is to solve the problem of your target market.
5) Is Your Website Just Another WordPress Blog
Tying in with #4, your site can look too much like just another blog. While WordPress might be easy to use, without customizations, it won’t always fit in with how your site should be organized. Blogging is a terrific tool, and is a great way to attract visitors to your site. However, a blog does not always translate into an effective website. Of course this goes back to the goal of your website, but in general this is important to understand.
Don’t focus only on your blog; make sure your website converts and conveys the customers value and how they will feel. The last thing you want to focus on with your content is features and benefits. Most business owners make the mistake of focusing on features and benefits and not the value it will provide to the end user. You will always lose with this strategy.
6) How to Choose the Right Hosting and/or eCommerce Platforms
There are any number of free hosts that you can use, so why would you pay for a host? One reason is that people will not take you seriously if you don’t own your own domain name, and the free services won’t help you connect with social media platforms. Even worse, though, you won’t own the site or the content if you use a free host. ( i.e. yourwebsite.wordpress.com)
Establish your own domain name, and pay the extra $5-10 a month to have paid hosting service, so you can capitalize on all the opportunities the Internet has to offer. Next, look for well-known eCommerce solutions that are tested, updated, and therefore have a good reputation. Some examples include:
- Custom installs
Summing It All Up
Sure, there are more technical mistakes when setting up a new website that people make, but these are the first round of mistakes that occur most often. What’s great about these mistakes is that you have control over them even if you don’t yet understand all of the technical details of running a website. These should be the first mistakes you think about addressing when you get ready to unveil your site. Once you get these issues under control, it becomes much easier to tweak your website to fix other issues that come up.
Did you find these mistakes helpful for you? Can you learn from them? Please leave your experiences or ask any additional questions in the comments. Share with someone you believe you can help too!