Can you count on one hand how many mistakes you “didn’t” make when building your first website?
If you looked up in the dictionary “how not to build a website”, a picture of me would be there. I made so many mistakes my first time around that I sink in my chair when thinking about it.
Do you know what good came out of that though?
I learned from my mistakes and I’d like to share what seems to be a common thread with new clients and what you can do to avoid those mistakes.
The Top 5 Website Mistakes Business Owners Make and How to Avoid Them
There are more than 5 mistakes, but these 5 are the ones that keep showing up with new clients.
1. Having a Website Designed Because Everyone Else Has One
Your website must have a goal. It must do something for your business because it’s an extension of your business.
- If you’re a wedding photographer, you might want to display pictures of weddings that you shot. If someone likes what you’ve done, they can book you.
- If you’re a chef, you might want to provide some sample recipes and offer a service for weeknight catering.
- If you’re a fitness coach you can give some sample exercise routines. If people like it, they can buy your subscription plan.
If you didn’t have a website, doing all this would be hard. BUT with a website, anyone with an internet connection can see what you have to offer.
2. Not Writing Your Copy First
Some business owners want the website designed first, then they write the copy. The belief is that the copy is an afterthought and they whip something together to get it done.
From my experience, clients get the “deer in headlights” look when asked for their copy.
Nobody wants to write copy because they don’t like writing about what they do. They feel that their braggy or they don’t have the skills to write. It doesn’t take rocket science to write copy that’s clear.
3. Having to Hire a Web Designer Because They Think They Don’t Have the Skills
With today’s technology, it’s easy for anyone to build a website, simple or complex. It depends on how much time you’ll invest in your project. Also for some complex systems, you would bring in a professional to take on the project or at least consult on it.
There are some general design rules to follow. You learn what they are and apply them to your website. You don’t need to have a graphic design degree to build a beautiful and functional website.
4. Having your Website Designed on a Proprietary Platform
There are a bunch of different platforms out there for building websites. There’s Wix, ShowIt, SquareSpace, and a bunch of others.
Whether their service is good or not isn’t in question. What’s in question is that you’re locked into their service and you don’t have 100% control. The website is designed with its technology hosted on its platform. If you decided you wanted to move to another provider, you can’t because the technology isn’t compatible.
My personal preference (and all my clients agree) is that you build on a platform such as WordPress. It’s free and it’s independent of where you put the website (where it’s hosted). You control it and if you want to move it to another provider, you can.
5. Not Having a Plan and Winging It
This has got to be one of the worst mistakes business owners make whether you’re a solopreneur or have a team of 5, 10, or 50. If you don’t have a plan things aren’t going to work.
I don’t have any experience in the home building industry, but this explanation makes the most sense.
- like building a house, you start with an idea
- you tell the architect what you want your house to look like
- the architect then draws up the plans
- the plans go to a contractor and he sources out the trades, materials and prepares a schedule
Again, don’t know much about construction but this is how I see it.
- the house starts to get built
- starts with the foundation
- the framing goes up
- the outside walls go up
- the trades come in to do the electrical and plumbing
- the drywall goes in, prime and paint
- you’ve got the cosmetics with the furniture and appliances
This is a very detailed plan to make sure things go right. Even the most detailed plan though, things may go wrong, but at least it’s minimized by what you can control.
You need a plan for your website such as:
- what do you want it to look like?
- what pages do you want to have on your website?
- what services are you going to offer?
- what pricing are you going to charge?
- what graphics do you want to have?
- what will you write on the pages?
- do you have a logo? if not what do you want your logo to look like?
- what fonts do you want? what are the best choices?
See what I mean… there’s a lot more to designing a website than designing the website.
Trust me when I say when you have a simple plan to build your website things will go much smoother and it will go much faster.
In closing, I’d like to give you a plan to help you get started, whether you’re building your first website or rebuilding your existing website.
How to Plan Your Website in 8 Easy Steps – Free Mini Email Course
I help female business owners build, manage and grow their first website fast, so it looks custom and high end without the tech overwhelm.
Website Designer, Developer and Coach