10. You Hired Your Friend’s Kid.
You’ve heard all about how he is great with computers and is a tech genius. He took a design class in high school or maybe a couple courses at the local community college and he has done a couple websites. Your friend mentions this a few times and you see a chance to get your website done and save some money.
At first you’re excited, and then you start to realize that developing a professional polished website that works isn’t as easy as you thought. Soon you’ve spent hundred of dollars and you’re unhappy. You don’t even want to tell people your have a website because you’re embarrassed. So not only did you waste your money, but you wasted your valuable, billable time and lost out of some potential new business.
9. You Used Free Do-It-Yourself Software.
You knew you needed hosting of some sort and you decided to buy it before consulting with your web designer/developer. In the process of buying hosting you saw a cool tool to design your site yourself.
Awesome, right? I mean how hard can slapping together a website be? So you used the free tools, maybe took a class on HTML, or you bought a template to work on. Good for you. But then you start to wonder why the search engines aren’t finding you – in fact why no one is finding you. And you begin to wonder why your site isn’t converting visitors into customers.
The bottom line? Go ahead and dabble with HTML and put together a website for fun, or learn enough to make some quick edits on the fly. But when it comes to your business, if you want a site that will attract attention, get remembered, bring in new business, and get the results you want, you should hire a professional. I mean you wouldn’t cut your hair yourself would you? Heck no! For that head-turning, double-take, fabulous cut, you go to a trusted professional.
8. You hired a Marketing/PR/Advertising Consultant Who Does Websites.
Ok. The title of this one alone sounds ludicrous. Would you hire a gardener to take care of your pool? No! Yes, they are in similar fields, but no they are not the same. Most marketing professionals who offer design services do so because to make more money. They outsource the work to a designer, mark up the project and then sell it to you. And then you’re left getting advice from a pseudo expert and the not actual expert. Plus if you hire a good designer who understands the marketing aspect, you’re duplicating costs!
Now, in some cases this works great. I subcontract for select marketing professionals because I am brought in on the project from the first day and work directly with the client. The problem arises when the consultant is the intermediary.
First, you must be careful your consultant is not outsourcing design work to third-world countries because they can make more money on the project with a cheap subcontractor (Remember the saying you get what you pay for).
Second, you want to make sure your message, desires, goals, etc. are not getting lost in the translation from person to person. Don’t let your communications end up like the game telephone we all played as kids.
7. Your Website Design is Awful.
Kym Yancey commented from the stage at the eWomenNetwork conference in 2008, If you don’t take your business seriously, if you don’t value your business enough to have it designed by a professional visual communications expert, then how can you expect anyone else to take you seriously and value what you offer. If your website looks like it was done by a high school kid, was slapped together in a weekend or is just pain unprofessional people will not want to give you their money.
6. You Are Using A Splash Page.
Splash pages with maybe some Flash animation may have been considered cool when they first came out, but they are not anymore. If you’re using one of these on your website, you are loosing out on potential new business every day. Splash pages actually do more harm than good. They add clicks the visitor has to make to get to your information, they usually have no content the search engines can index, and they interrupt the flow of information.
5. Your Website Content is Missing.
If you have a basic website with maybe three pages and barely any content, you’re telling your visitors that you only have a site because some told you that you had to have one. You’re sending the message that you don’t think your site is worth paying attention to and you don’t really value what it can do for you, so you posted something pretty and just left it to sit there. What you need is valuable timely content the user can relate to. Deliver content they want and include information they need on a regular basis.
4. Your Website is Boring.
Your site is your opportunity for you to educate visitors on why they need you, what you offer and how you can help them. Answer the questions:
- What can you do for me?
- Why should I care?
Make sure the content is interesting and fun and add some personal touches too. People do business with other people they trust. Use your site as a launching ground for building new relationships, invited communication and interaction and have fun doing it.
3. You Forgot SEO and Traffic Building.
You can have the most amazing, fantastic, gorgeous website design ever seen, but if no one can find the site, it was a waste of money. Don’t forget to include in your budget various Search Engine Optimization (SEO), site marketing, and traffic building techniques.
2. Your Website is Too Generic.
You can have the most amazing, fantastic, gorgeous website design ever seen, but if you don’t stand out from your competition, you will not be remembered. A pretty site is completely different from a memorable, “sticky” site that stands out among the rest.
A branded site communicates a completely unique selling proposition. It communicates why you are different, what sets you apart, and why your visitors need you. The worst thing a small business is to do is compete on price and that is what your visitors will default to if you don’t give them something else to focus on.
1. Your Website Didn’t Begin at The End.
The absolute first thing you should do when planning your website is to identify the primary and secondary goals of the website. Define exactly what you want to get from completing the project, what change or difference you want to see and what action you want the visitors to take.
Be sure to clearly guide your visitors to take that action by communicating with “you” communications instead of “me” communications. If you jump right into the design and development of the site without addressing these issues, it more than likely will not give you’re the return on your investment you were hoping for.