8 Costly Website Mistakes

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Are you making these costly website mistakes?

Having a good website is a valuable tool for any business, but having a bad one might be worse than having none at all.

Whether you’re creating a brand new website or you’re trying to figure out why the one you have isn’t working, you may want to be aware of these eight costly mistakes:

Website Mistake #1 Choosing the Wrong Domain Name

Just like naming a new baby, considerable thought should go into your choice of a domain name. It doesn’t have to be your company name, and in fact, sometimes it shouldn’t be.

Web addresses should ideally contain keywords, be easy to remember and easy to type. If you’re a for-profit business, your website address should end in dot-com.  It’s also ideal to try to avoid numbers and wacky words because some people may have a hard time spelling it or inserting the actual number instead of spelling it out.  As you can see, confusion may set in.

Website Mistake #2 Not Capturing Visitor Info

How will you know who’s using your website? Every visitor who leaves your site without giving their contact information is an opportunity lost. It’s vital that you capture visitor information.

Offer a free newsletter, special report or membership – anything that gives visitors an incentive to sign up. Remember, people rarely buy on their first visit to a website. It takes the time to build up trust and credibility. You can then contact them again in the future. You’ll also entice more people if you promise you won’t sell their information to anyone else.

Website Mistake #3 Bad Content

Most good sites are informational as opposed to being commercial. Sure, you can sell things, but also give people lots and lots of information they can use.

Web readers skim. They look at headlines and subheadings to decide whether to keep reading. So keep your copy short and web friendly. And make it interesting. If you annoy people with your sales pitches, they won’t stick around.

Website Mistake #4 Graphic Overload

Bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to web graphics. And yes, you can have too much of a cool thing. If it takes too long to load your fantastic new logo or play a video, visitors will move on.

If animation or a video tour would enhance your site, it may be worth it, but bells and whistles sometimes drive away potential visitors. If you want your website to rank on search engines, Google focuses on speed, so it’s important your website loads in seconds. Again, while these graphics may sound like a great idea, it could bog your website down.

Website Mistake #5 Difficult Navigation

If links are broken or information doesn’t load correctly, your visitors won’t stay very long and will likely not come back. Make sure the nuts and bolts of your site are working, and it’s not frustrating to navigate. It should be a pleasant experience and information should be easily located and accessed. If you have a larger website, consider using a broken backlink checker or if you have a Google Webmaster Console account setup, you can view your broken links there as well.

Website Mistake #6 No Reason to Come Back

One of the best things about having a website is the ability to keep it current and change content. That, however, takes maintenance and fresh information. A good website is more than a static online brochure. Give your clients a reason to come back and see what is new. New content has the additional benefit of improving your search engine ranking.

Website Mistake #7 Your Designer Runs Your Site

When you put your website together, you need several different skills and perspectives involved. More times than not, you’ll need a variety of input from more than one source. Your web designer probably shouldn’t be writing your web copy, and your copywriter shouldn’t be designing your website. When you hire someone, make sure they are experienced with that particular skill.

Website Mistake #8 You Don’t Exist Outside of Cyberspace

Having an online presence is crucial today, but customers still live in the real, physical world and they like doing business with it. Don’t underestimate the power of natural things. If you have a brick and mortar store, show pictures of it on your website. Provide customer testimonials and have contact information on every web page. Include an “About Us” page and share information about your company, your history, your charitable activities — anything that would give customers a sense of who you are.

Creating a website is a lot like creating a business plan – you’re not going to want to rush into it. By knowing these mistakes, hopefully you can create a website that can help your business succeed.

Image © rakim- / DepositPhotos

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Stephanie Lynch is a freelancer and stay-at-home mom. You can follow her and her projects at @howmuchforit on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar Seana Turner on January 16, 2017 at 9:11 am

    I completely agree with the graphic overload. Some sites seem very cluttered to me. The ones I hate require me to keep clicking through and working my around many advertisements. I frequently give up on those!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on January 16, 2017 at 10:15 am

      The worst ones are the ones where the page takes forever to load because of of the tracking code for all the ads. Instead of making money because of the ads, they’re losing readers, without whom the ads are useless. I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t have the time or patience for that.

  2. Avatar Sabrina Quairoli on January 16, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Great advice, Janet! I am a fan of testimonials on the website and on the social media pages. I am constantly telling my small business clients they should have a page that shows the real life clients in their business. I also recommend to have my clients offer their clients a link through that will appear on their name on the testimonials page. That way the clients may even get business from the testimonial. What fun!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on January 16, 2017 at 10:24 am

      As you may have seen, I also have testimonials scattered throughout my site. My biggest challenge is remembering to add new ones when I got them!

  3. Avatar Liana George on January 16, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    These are spot on and I pray I’m not making too many of them 🙂 I agree with Seana, the sites that are too cluttered with ads are a turn off. If I can’t read the content I went there for, I usually just leave. Thanks for sharing such good info!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on January 16, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      No kidding, Liana! I’m always worried that my own website(s) won’t measure up to the advice I give others (shoemaker’s children syndrome). Don’t be surprised to see a few changes around here in the coming months!

  4. Avatar Andi Willis on January 17, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Great tips! I really need to update my opt-in for capturing emails. i don’t know why that piece seems so hard to me.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on January 17, 2017 at 8:51 am

      It’s hard for me too! I was in business for a long time before I came up with one, and now I feel like I need to offer something new, but what?

  5. Avatar Brenda on February 10, 2017 at 1:13 am

    Great read, although I disagree with the domain name being keyword related. I think it should definitely still be your business name for brand awareness and to help potential and current customers easily find your site.

    Apart from what you’ve identified, I think another costly website mistake is to not check that your contact forms work properly!

    It’s amazing the amount of people and businesses I come across that say they haven’t had any enquiries for months (and even up to 3 years in one case), yet when I submit an enquiry via their form and check if they’ve received it, they say they didn’t. A quick fix on their form or email can then help them realise they were actually getting a regular stream of leads the entire time, they just didn’t know it. That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of potential revenue just disappearing into cyberspace!

    Taking the time every month (or few weeks if you have a larger or more complex website) to review your website and ensure all functionality and forms are working correctly can save your business thousands if you realise that you are accidentally creating your own road block to conversions! Also having tracking software such as Google Analytics can help you analyse visitor behaviour and determine what changes can be made to improve leads, so not having this can also be costly to your business in some regard.

    This is a great article and contains some really good points that not a lot of people think about when it comes to their website design (but that they really should)! Thanks for sharing.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on February 10, 2017 at 6:37 am

      That is an excellent point, Brenda! People often assume that if it’s working today it will continue working forever, but I too have had clients discover their form entries weren’t being delivered following a WordPress or plugin update.

      By the way, I agree with you about the domain name.

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