Websites are tricky in that they give you the power to create anything and everything. Due to this, though, many feel neutered at such an expanse of potential. Where should you even begin? Should it be flashy? Does it need to have gimmicks or should it just be text? While no one can answer those questions except for you, other questions regarding what not to do are very clear and very concise. Save yourself time and money by learning from the mistakes of others.
1. You Don’t Have a Plan
Professionals rarely go in blind. Instead, they spend a lot of backend time researching and developing their plan of attack. This allows them to then enter into what would have been an unknown situation and flourish. Information is power, even when it comes to creating your new website. Why would you flounder around with content for your site when you could have it already developed and ready to post? Sculptors aren’t given chunks of marble and asked to “wing it,” so why would you get a website and try to come up with good content on the fly? Just because you have a domain name doesn’t mean you’ll automatically inspire a retinue of visitors. Know what your competition is up to, see how they interact with their visitors, understand website add-ons that increase value and those that detract, and otherwise research as much as you can so that you are ready to launch as soon as the design is settled.
2. You Don’t Hire a Professional
3. You Don’t Choose the Right Web Host
There are many types of web hosting available to you be they free or paid. If free, they’ll no doubt have the company’s name attached (yoursite.weebly.com). If paid, you’ll have almost total control over the site’s address as well as content. That being said, one is not necessarily better than the other just because you’ll have your own domain name. If you plan on running a heavy ecommerce business, for instance, it will serve you well to research web hosting services with well-regarded and highly-rated ecommerce solutions. Places like Etsy are great solutions for products that don’t give you your own domain but do give you a solid, tested and respected means of doing business online when goods are involved. Customers have multiple payment methods while you have multiple means of helping them with things like returns or refunds.
4. You Aren’t Mobile Friendly
As it currently stands, 46% of all users browse the Internet using strictly their phones. This percentage continues to increase as more casual users are added to the statistic. In short, if your website is not mobile friendly, you are severely muting your reach thereby severely stunting your potential to grow. Luckily, most web hosts have built-in mobile integration that is optimized for use on phones. However, if yours isn’t, it’s time to either figure out how to make your current site friendly for phones or to move to another host altogether. You only have five seconds to impress new visitors. If it takes five seconds to load a website, you’ve lost them before they were ever even exposed to your information.
5. You Don’t Balance
All great websites are an equal balance of design and message. Too much of either is a bad thing. Take blogs, for instance. Though designed to be mostly words, there has to be some sort of design in place as a way to visually entrance visitors that stop by for a quick peek at what you’re offering. If there is too much message, the words will scare away all those that aren’t fans of reading through a mire of vocabulary that may or may not give them the information they’re in search of. On the other hand, too much design means your visitors will never be able to figure out where the pertinent information actually is. Though gimmicks are cute because they are new, forcing your visitors to click on more than one thing to find your address or your email virtually guarantees over half of them will simply give up and head to your competitor’s site where the information is easy to obtain.
From beginning to end, websites are veritable blank canvases where anything you dream can be made real. That being said, not all of your virtual dreams are good ideas. Keep your design open and implement decisions based on the mistakes of others as a way to save time and money. Why would you repeat a proven, failed idea instead of accepting the wisdom and using that time, instead, to try out new innovations? Treat your site with respect, and it will yield the type of success you’re looking for.