9 common mistakes people make when they build their website
Building a website doesn’t have to be difficult!
Related: Build your WP website in a weekend.
Here are 9 common mistakes you might make building your website:
Website Mistake #1: You don’t put time into building it
Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs treat their website like an afterthought. They quickly write a few notes, have someone check it to make sure it’s grammatically correct, and hit publish. Then they wonder why they don’t see any results from it.
You have to build your website for selling. Every single document, article, blog post, even signup forms should be a step along a pathway that guides the customer to your selling page. It is crafted to mimic everything that makes a platform attractive and valuable to a customer: the structure, the design, the tone.
The content should not be about you or your company.
The Internet is full of websites talking about “Our Company” or “Our Products”, or “Our History”, but they don’t care about YOU, the customer. You have to write every word, every idea about the customer, or the visitor of your site. People don’t care about you or your company.
They care about themselves, and how they can benefit from you. When you talk to them about themselves, you have their full attention.
They have a problem they are trying to solve, and this is the reason why they are on your website.
They were looking for a solution, and they saw your paid ad, your Facebook post, or Google pulled up your link.
They are here to solve their problem.
So if you can communicate this through your website, the biggest part of your job is done.
Website Mistake #2: Website without strategy
Why do you need a website? Just to have one?
Or to introduce your company to people who find you on the internet? These are not strategies.
These are not goals that take your company in the next level. People don’t like brochure-sites. They want to read about more than just company information or product offers. You have to find a smart strategy for building your website.
If you start your online presence without a clear strategy, you won’t succeed with your business goals. You may have a website, but it doesn’t generate leads, nor profit. And the lack of business results will just make you frustrated. You shouldn’t be stuck in that rut—so change it.
Before you start to build a website, you have to find answers to the following questions:
- What is the business purpose of your website?
- Who is the target audience of your website?
- What does the website offer to visitors? What content do you have that could be interesting?
- What is the main message you want to put in people’s mind once they reviewed your website?
You can create a powerful and smart strategy by answering these questions. The answers to these questions will also give you a clear picture how to build your website.
Website Mistake #3: The official website
The Internet is a far different content channel than TV or printed media or a catalog. You have to be more informative, and your voice has to be more natural. It is far more like if you were talking to your friends. That’s what people like and that’s what they react to.
Be careful—it doesn’t mean you should use slang or bad words. Just make it more interesting, more enjoyable.
On your website, break your text into different paragraphs. People may read printed text in longer form, but they won’t read the same text the same way on the Internet. People online tend to skim content, and look for just a few key words from each paragraph. Internet visitors are fast and impatient.
Include only the most important information, but bring your personality into it. Cut your text in smaller pieces and separate them with titles and subtitles.
Website Mistake #4: Brochure sites
Did you notice that some company websites look more like a catalog, with only their products and services on them? There might be a boring “About us” page that talks about their company, and maybe a “Contact us”. The rest is just a list of what they are selling. I call these “brochure-sites”.
Well, what is your first reaction when you get a brochure? If you get it in your mailbox, or at an event, what do you do? If you don’t throw it away immediately, how many times do you review it? Do you even remember what kinds of catalogs you have?
People visiting your site will react the same way: never again. The problem with these sites is that there is no interaction. They talk at the visitor, but not WITH the visitor.
A good website can bring several benefits to you:
- Get to know more about your audience
- Measure your marketing success
- Provide valuable customer service
- Automatically sell
- Inform the visitor
It can do a lot of things that you might otherwise spend far more to do, because it’s faster and easier than paying an employee (or employees) to do the same functions.
Website Mistake #5: Me, me, me!
Another mistake: the website is just about you and your company!
Count how many times you use “The Company” “We” (for us, with us, to us, our, ours) and how many times you talk about your customer (you, with you, for you, about you, your, yours). Congratulations if you have twice as much “you” than “me”. Most companies spend far more time talking about themselves than they do about (or to) their customers.
Talk about them and talk to them, and they will hang on your words.
What should you talk about? How about what problems they might have? What kind of results they can expect? What concerns they might have? What do other customers say? Talk about this, not your education and your company.
Website Mistake #6: No useful info
Content is the strongest tool you can use to make your website interesting.
I’m not talking about trendy graphic elements, or popup windows, or animations. Sure, these are nice ways to share information, if you have useful information to share.
But if your website doesn’t contain useful and relevant information, your visitors will leave and never come back.
A picture or video can be content; it doesn’t have to be just text. Or including a blog is perfect for this. Give some extra knowledge to your visitors: write a blog, create educational videos and interesting content that can help with their problems, answer questions, or provide inspiration.
Website Mistake #7: The labyrinth
There are too many websites where the navigation just doesn’t make sense.
Main pages, sub-pages, widgets, banners, pop ups. Navigating through a website shouldn’t feel like a trip through a carnival funhouse where you never know what to expect around the next corner.
Always think with the customer’s head.
What questions do they have when they visit your website? What do they need to find? Most likely, they think different than you do. What makes sense to you may leave them lost and unable to find the information they need.
Don’t build layers upon layers of pages and subpages. Make sure that you use maximum 6 pages and 2-4 sub-pages, if needed. Keep it simple.
Website Mistake #8: Not thinking about current customers
This is very often true for websites and for companies in general. They focus too much on new customers, and they forget about their current ones.
Look at your website through your customer’s eyes. Imagine you bought one of your company’s products, and went to your website for assistance. Is there useful information that you can use in your life, and maybe make your experience with the product even better? If you have a problem with the product, is it easy to find solutions? If you have questions, can you reach customer service easily, and does someone respond quickly with answers?
One helpful element of a website that thinks about current customers is a Frequently Asked Questions or FAQ page. Include a page where you address the questions you often get from your customers. It may save your customer a phone call. Providing a customer service email form on your website that customers can use to send their questions and get a reply within a couple days makes it even better.
Website Mistake #9: The website is ready, so where are the new customers?
Most websites are not a part of a company’s marketing strategy, and they don’t focus enough on getting the attention of new visitors, and helping to grow the business. You can’t just build your website and wait for the money to start falling into your lap. You need something else to make it work: Traffic. And there IS traffic. You just have to find the traffic that needs your services and drive it to your site.
If you don’t tell your potential customers to go to your website, they won’t. “Build it and they will come” doesn’t generally apply to websites. It’s the same as opening a store and waiting for customers to come. It might have worked decades ago, but it doesn’t work anymore. Not for a website, not for local businesses. The Internet is a very big place, and if you don’t let people know you are there, the chances of them randomly stumbling across your website are pretty slim.
You have to know who your target clientele is before you start to work on your website. This lets you think about your site with their head while you are building it.