Whether you’re a business owner or a freelancer, you need to have a professional website to represent your business, products, and services online. The importance of having a website is no secret; everyone already knows that the first thing they need to do when starting a business is to create an online presence. To increase your chances of success, make sure to avoid these very common mistakes when setting up your site.
1. Not Planning Ahead
A lot of people jump right in and start creating a site with an easy DIY site builder, or hire a developer and designer without planning everything out first. You wouldn’t start building a house without a blueprint first. Before you start constructing your site (or hire someone to build it), you need to strategize and make decisions about how your site will look, the content it will have, it’s main purpose, its structure, and much more. That way you will better understand which hosting company to go with, and what your budget looks like.
This process can sometimes take longer than actually building the site, but it ensures that your site will support your business goals, and you won’t waste precious time and money down the road.
2. Skipping the Research
How do you know what content, layout, design, etc. to go with for your site? What appeals to you or seems logical to you is not always what will get you more clients and sales. Many people rely on their own experience or opinion to plan out their website, instead of doing proper research.
First, you need to research your target audience. What sites do they love visiting, what types of articles do they share, and what type of content and visuals appeal to them? Next, take a closer look at your successful competitors and notice little details on their site. This will give you a great start and some good ideas for your own website.
3. Choosing the First Host that Comes to Mind
Many people choose the first hosting company that comes to mind. Top hosts like Bluehost or HostGator are very popular, and you may first think about going with one of them, but stop and read about a few others first. Bluehost can be a great choice if you have a WordPress site because of their 1-click installation and user-friendly c-panel. Others, like eHost, offer web hosting and a domain as well as a drag-and-drop website builder. It is important to understand what type of hosting you need so that you can choose the best business hosting service for your site.
Make sure to read about top hosting sites, and look at reviews to see which have the best support and customer service. If your website is mainly a blog, you can find hosting sites that are better for blogs as opposed to business sites. HostGator is considered one of the best blog hosting services, especially if you plan on getting a lot of traffic.
4. Choosing a Method on a Whim
There are different ways to build a website, and it is important that you look at the advantages and disadvantages of each method before deciding which one is best for you. You can build a site on your own with a tool like Wix, which allows you to create great websites with zero design or coding skills. Other site builders require some design skills, or are limited in their editing capabilities. You can use a platform like WordPress, but unless you find a perfect template, you’ll need someone to help you with CSS and coding. You could choose to build a site from scratch, which provides the most flexibility, but is usually the most expensive method.
5. Forgetting About UI/UX
A good website is all about user experience. When planning and designing your website, it is important to make it easy for your users to navigate the site, understand what you’re offering, and find what they’re looking for. Good user experience makes a huge difference to your bottom line and if you are new to the concept, you might consider hiring an expert to help you out.
6. Overlooking Conversion Funnels
If you have a shop or are selling a service, think about what you want your visitors to do when they visit your site. Where will they start, and how will they get to the “finish”? What constitutes a “conversion” on your site? You should have an idea of the path visitors take from the moment they enter your homepage, to when they fill out a form or make a purchase. This is the funnel that they go through, and it needs to be thought out and optimized. The funnel goes hand in hand with a great user interface, because if your site is clear and easy to navigate, users will not become confused and leave the site without converting.
7. Failing the Test
You can do your research, consult with experts, and plan everything out to the last detail, but the way to get real answers as to what works and doesn’t, is testing elements on the site. A/B testing allows you to see which design, which content, and even which funnels work best for your audience.
If you’ve made the decision to create a website, then you should invest time and resources in the beginning to plan accordingly. Once you do, building the site will be the easiest and fastest part, and once it’s live, you’ll see immediate results. To learn about how to attract visitors to your brand new site, check out this article, where you’ll learn all about various methods of increasing your site’s traffic.