Common Mistakes People Make When Setting Up Their Website
No matter what your website represents for your business it needs to reflect your brand, it also needs to be the central focal point for your business. Most business owners, especially those that have been around since before the internet have a hard time wrapping their head around this idea. However there is simply no other way around it because all of your marketing efforts inevitably lead back to your website. Which is why building an effective website is of the utmost importance.
There are some factors that must be planned and thought out before embarking on your web project.
Your Field of Dreams is not a dream at all and in fact can quickly be your nightmare!
A common misconception that many people have when building their website is thinking that all they need to do is build the site and it will be an instant success. This could not be farther from the truth and if you don't follow proper guidelines, not only will it fail you it can end up hurting your brand in ways you never thought possible.
The first step when embarking on a website is to first get a working business plan and marketing strategy in place. Without this critical step you will find yourself with a website that it not ready to perform. I am not saying you have to have some lengthy document that covers every possible scenario. Instead, your business plan should answer the following questions.
- What products or services will you want to showcase on your site?
- What is your niche market and what type of customers are you going to target?
- Your customers/clients have a problem, what solutions will you put in place to help solve them?
- Know your competitors so you can capitalize on their weaknesses.
- Make a list of all the features and functionality you need to have as well as any that you would like to have.
Your marketing strategy should consist of the following. These should assist you in generating your web traffic in order to convert them into customers.
- An Analytics/Tracking system such as Google Analytics or some onsite tools to track your visitors data.
- You will need to have a solid understanding of the differences between SEO and PPC.
- Have a solid understanding of social media and have an actionable plan.
Hiring a web developer that understands all of this is key to your success. Or having someone on staff that does and can help you put together a plan that will help in the construction of your website. Whatever you do, don't underestimate the amount of work involved. Too often I have found clients that hire me to build their website have it in their head that I will have all the answers and that is just not true. They think I will be able to build the site without any sort of plan and done and it will just take care of itself and that too is just not true.
Underestimating the work involved to put together a website construction plan is a sure fire way to fail!
Building a website is just the first stage to having a successful web presence and there will be trial and error to discover which techniques work and which don't in your attempt to drive traffic to your site.
Even if you outsource some or all of the project, you still have to keep a watchful eye on your website. You must realize that just because your website is live and working, the task of ensuring it will become an effective tool for your business is an ongoing process of improving and adjusting elements.
Choosing the wrong host or platform can also be a deciding factor if your site is a success or failure!
I often get asked the question "Why should I hire you if I can my site done for free?". There is a plethora of new website tools popping up that promises to build you a website for free and all you have to do is pay a small amount for hosting after the site goes live. The simple answer I give is to answer telling them that I am not in competition with them and that they are asking me to compare what I do to something that has very little to do with what I offer.
To explain this further we need to take a close up look at what you get with these free websites. The short answer is "very little" and really all you get is a website facsimile that looks like a real website but it is not a working, breathing, living website. These free websites are missing some key features that will mean the difference between getting a website that looks good and does nothing and one that looks good and performs well in search engines and is capable of delivering far more functionality to you and your site visitors.
Something that these companies that tell you they can build your site for free or very cheap is that if you want any bells and whistles it is going to cost you and the reality is it is going to cost you far more than what I would charge. In fact many of the things they offer to add at an additional cost I include with the website or will build in later for nothing or at the very least a fraction of what these so called free solutions will do it for.