Building a website from scratch, be it for business or establishing your brand or even for fun, can be quite tricky. You are bombarded with a lot of difficult decisions at first which can be pretty overwhelming. “What should I name my domain? What company should I trust to design my site? What kind of content should I create? Is it OK to be funny or sarcastic towards my viewers?” are only a few of the questions that need to be answered during the process of building your website. In this article, I will share with you 7 mistakes to avoid when starting your website.
- You do not know what you want from your site
The most important part of the planning process at the beginning of a project is creating an outline. It will be a great advantage if you know what you are doing every step of the way. So, the first step of creating an outline would be knowing exactly what you want from your project, especially if it is a business or eCommerce site. What do you want to sell or promote? How do you want to present your brand? Is there a specific niche that you want to focus on, or do your viewers have a wide range of choices? All of these questions must be answered before going forward with the process.
- You forgot one of the pillars (Content or SEO)
To put it simply, the most important factors of having a good site are CONTENT and SEO. One cannot live without the other. Your site could be filled with long and useful articles about the cure for cancer or the discovery of a new kind of clean energy or the actual proof that aliens exist, but if no one reads them, then what’s the point? You need to learn how to optimize your site for search engines because if you don’t, you are wasting your time.
You also need to realize that thousands of websites only work on their SEO and have no valuable content. You could instantly recognize these kinds of sites because their last blog was posted four years ago and the design is hideous. Always try to divide your energy equally between optimizing for search engines and posting good content.
- You hired a cheap web design company
If your budget is on the smaller side, you might think that this is not that bad of an idea. You might think the internal quality is not as important as the external design of the site. You might even think that using pre-made templates is OK! Well, let me burst your bubble: hiring a cheap design company will cost you a lot more money in the long run. There are so many small things in web development that you think are not that important like poor security or bad code structure and so many other aspects of web design, but in the future when you want to strengthen your domain and reach for a larger number of views, you will wish that you had hired a better company.
- You forgot about the necessities (About us, Contact us, Social media etc.)
You all know that feeling. You enter a site, it looks suspicious, you press “About us”, it redirects you back to the homepage. You try to find them on social media, you press the Twitter icon, it redirects you back to the homepage. You go to the “Contact us” section, there is no email or any means of communication. Now, if you think that this site is run by scammers or crooks, you have good instincts. How can you trust someone when they won’t even tell you who they are?
Bottom line is, you need to look authentic if you want your viewers to believe that you are not a scammer. That can be only achieved if your site’s design doesn’t look like a forum from the depths of the deep web.
- Your site is not very accessible
When building a website, a simple philosophy must be applied to your work: Everyone should be able to access my site.
In the beginning, you might think that mobile web design or making the site user-friendly for old people or content accessibility are not that essential. You may even believe that you won’t even have mobile users! Website accessibility is one of the most important steps in this process. You can find more information here.
- You bombard your site with ads
There is this one scene in the movie “The Social Network” which is about the life of Mark Zuckerberg and how he became the CEO of the biggest social media platform in the world, where Eduardo Saverin asks Mark to put ads on their site. But Mark disagreed because that would remove the “cool” factor from Facebook.
Your new website is beautiful. Your new website smells like new clothes. Your new website is “cool”. Don’t ruin it with 10 ads on the homepage and one ad for each time a user presses the left click button and one for every time the user opens up another tab. Let your website (and your viewers) breathe. Ad bombardment might be an easy way to make money, but it will hurt your site’s credibility in the long run.
- You thought this was over?
A lot of people stop visiting and supporting their websites after they get them up and running. They post a few blogs and write a mediocre passage for the “About Us” tab and go on with their lives. They think that their website will get the exposure and views and avenue it deserves just because of its design or three informative blogs and a link to a Twitter homepage with five followers. Think about it like this, will you leave your newly-born kid on the street and expect them to get a job and pay rent and find the meaning of life?
Your website must be maintained and updated weekly if not daily. There are a lot of things that you should do with your website after it is online, like optimizing it for search engines, engaging in emails, setting up google analytics, marketing, social media and so on. Just remember, as important as it is to update your site regularly, doing too much might cause burnout.
In this day and age, it is difficult to be unique. But if the way you differentiate your product or service from others is done well, you are guaranteed success. There are millions of websites on the web and they vary from “definitely owned by a scammer” to “yep, looks legit”, and if one does everything in their power to be in the latter category, they can achieve whatever they set out to do with their website in the first place.
My name is Jacob Braun, a writer and a fan of most things online. I write about web design, development, social media related subjects and most things revolving around the entertainment industry. Currently working with a professional team to provide Web Design Services in Australia.