Common Website Setting- up Mistakes
Whether you’re providing a product, service, portfolio for your work or launching an ecommerce storefront, your website not only should reflect you and/or your brand, it also needs to be the central location for your business. There’s simply no other way around it. All of your marketing efforts lead back to your website. Which is why it’s of the utmost importance to set up your website correctly.
Since creating an online presence seems like a daunting and tedious task, you thought that you could use a little extra help - at least with your website. If you avoid these 5 common mistakes, you can rest assured that you have a fully functional site that’s ready to handle all of your online business.
1. No Business Plan and Marketing Strategy
Unlike “Field of Dreams,” if you build it, they will not come. And, by they, we mean visitors to your website. Unfortunately, this is a common misconception people have when setting up their websites. They believe that they can purchase a domain name and will instantly see traffic. And this can be difficult to accept when you’re relying on your website as a source of income.
Before investing a large amount of time and money into a website, take a step back and construct both a business plan and marketing strategy.
When we talk about your business plan, we’re not discussing a lengthy document that covers every scenario. Instead, a business plan should answer the following questions.
What products or services are you selling?
What is your niche market and who are your target customers?
What solution to customers problems are you offering?
Who are your competitors? Can you capitalize on their competitors weaknesses?
What will your online presence consist of?
As for your marketing strategy, make sure that you have in place the following items. These will assist you in generating website traffic and converting visitors into customers.
An ecommerce analytics/tracking system, such as Google Analytics.
Understanding the difference between SEO and PPC.
Realizing the importance of social media platforms.
Reviewing research on affiliate marketing and considering to sell through established, third-party platforms.
Establishing a business plan and marketing strategy may be a lot of hard and daunting work in the beginning, both will guide you in setting up your website. Because this is an increasingly popular, and growing, field, there are more than enough online marketing strategies to help you. You can review these strategies to help determine what does and doesn’t work. Just keep in mind that there may be some areas, such as SEO and PPC, that may require outside help.
2. Underestimating the Work Involved
If you think that setting up a website is a great way of gaining fast and easy money, you’re sadly mistaken. There’s actually more work involved than simply taking an order and shipping a product. It’s a process that demands your full attention and will require a fair amount of trial and error, such as which techniques are working or not working in your attempt to drive traffic to your site.
Even if you outsource some parts of your business, you still have to keep a watchful eye on the business structure. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean that it’s run any different than a traditional business. In short, be prepared to spend a lot of time improving and adjusting your site. I would personally make a list of everything you should do and start checking off this list as they are completed.
3. Choosing the Wrong Host and eCommerce Platforms
In all honesty, there are a number of free hosts, like Blogger and Weebly, so why pay for a host? Especially when the free options are quick and easy to set up.
However, there are number of issues surrounding free hosts. For starters, a lot of people will not take you seriously if you don’t own your domain name (yoursite.com). Furthermore, certain functions, such as connecting with social media platforms, are not available. The biggest disadvantage, however, is that you don’t own the site or content. Suddenly spending the $5-$10 per month for host doesn’t send like a bad investment, does it
Servers! (Photo credit: ketmonkey)
As for ecommerce software, search for well-known services that have a good reputation, which means that they have been tested and are updated frequently. Examples include the following:
A hosted ecommerce solution, think Shopify.com or Esty.com
Custom installation from popular ecommerce software programs; Magento, WooCommerce or Cs-cart
4. Too Blog Focused
We’ve all heard of WordPress, it’s one of the most popular blogging services around. However, it’s not always the best option to build a website; which many people are doing. I personally use WordPress for several of my sites, but not all of them.
This isn’t knocking WordPress, it’s an incredible resource, it’s just that it doesn’t always fit in with how every site should be organized. Unless you’re providing news, WordPress - or any blogging platform at that - makes it difficult to categorize a site and might not be the best option for your startup.
In other words, blogging is a great tool when creating content to entice visitors, it just doesn’t always translate into an effective website. Don't be too focused on just your blog.
5. Lack of Balance Between Design and Message
Of course the design of your website should be visually appealing, you don’t want people to leave your site screaming in horror, but it’s not everything. On top of having a website that’s easy on the eyes, it needs to convey the message you’re trying to present, such as your business objective, plan of action for visitors and the quality content that you’ve been busy creating.
Every great website may look outstanding, but as people continue to read the copy, it fades into the background. Why is this balance such a big deal? Because you don’t want the website’s design to distract visitors from the real reason that you created the website in the first place; your marketing message.
While there could definitely could be more issues when setting up your website, these are 5 mistakes that you have control over and should be taken into consideration before unveiling your site.
Article credit: John RamptonForbes
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the online payments company Due and productivity company Calendar. John is best known as an entrepreneur and connector. He was recently named #2 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and blogging Expert by Time. He currently advises several companies in the San Francisco Bay area. I'm a connector. I love connecting with like-minded individuals for a greater good. I can be found online at Google+ or @johnrampton.