Launching a professional website is the 21st-century version of hanging an “open” sign on a shop door, and it’s many company’s way of letting the world know they’re officially ready for business. Platforms such as Squarespace, Wix and WordPress have enabled millions of entrepreneurs to sell their services online, either for free or for low monthly fees, making this professional rite of passage more accessible than ever.
However, the first step in building a website – deciding whether to go it alone or let the pros help you get it right – may be the most important decision you make. Unfortunately, many things can go wrong with a DIY company website, particularly in those early days. Some errors can be quickly corrected, but others should be avoided at all costs so they don’t hurt a solid business right out of the gate.
Common DIY Company Website Mistakes to Avoid
As technology becomes more complex and consumer expectations rise, it becomes easier to fall into the trap of website mishaps. Some are clear from the outset. Most people will check out their “published” site before it goes live to detect if changes weren’t saved, images overlap with the text, or something isn’t loading properly.
But many less noticeable things can go wrong. You may not immediately spot an incorrect choice of plugin or a theme that doesn’t match your business needs. Here are some other common pitfalls:
- Overly complex contact forms. Too many steps can dissuade otherwise interested shoppers.
- Too much text that obfuscates what your business does.
- Unclear explanations and instructions.
- A lack of page names and meta descriptions. If not done properly, this limits a user’s ability to see what you do based on keyword searches.
- Inappropriate or off images. You want pictures that match your brand.
- Letting people know you exist. For instance, following up and connecting your site to Google My Business and other important online platforms.
5 Biggest Pitfalls of an Amateur Website
You may be thinking you will publish your site under the radar, wait and see what happens, and then fix anything that goes wrong. And that’s not always a bad idea! Just be familiar with the ways that sites have backfired in the past so you know you’re getting all the help and support you need. After all, it’s usually better to delay the launch of an eCommerce business until you’re ready to deliver rather than risk tarnishing your new brand.
Businesses that haven’t thought it through risk these 5 avoidable pitfalls:
1. A premature launch has you backpedaling.
Sometimes it’s not so easy to know when you’re ready to launch. How many times have you looked up the URL on a business card only to read “under construction” or some error message? That may be fine for a freelancer who is starting out, but such a misstep could spell death for a brand that wants to be taken seriously by funders and potential business partners.
2. Routine maintenance gets overlooked.
Cars aren’t the only things that break down over time. A website will also age. Links can fall out. Material becomes outdated. As your host site evolves and their technology along with it, that template that looked great last year may suddenly stop working for you.
3. A static site has no fresh content to engage viewers.
Today’s websites need to be vibrant and updated with topical content to stay relevant. The last thing you want is for your new site to look old or out of touch from the get-go.
4. It sends the wrong message to potential customers.
Just as a purposeful, updated site designed and written by pros transmits confidence, an awkward or unprofessional one sends the opposite message. A poorly functioning site can send the message you provide substandard products or poorly executed services even if you don’t.
5. Prospective clients aren’t able to find you.
Do you know how to ensure people will find your online store no matter where they are? What about metrics to track your progress? A strategically designed website should be equipped to reach your target audience wherever they are. Your business needs to be there to meet them or you will risk losing visibility and potential revenue.
Need a Digital Marketing Agency to Create Your Ideal Website?
Many SMBs lack the know-how to create a high-quality website that will achieve their goals from day one. To get around this problem, even brands with a single service and straightforward message are outsourcing this step to an experienced digital marketing agency. Doing so may end up saving you money. It allows you to offload a time-consuming task upfront so you can focus on other pressing business needs.
At Connections Marketing, our specialists understand what it takes to create an exceptional, high-ranking website. Our team can help you choose the right template, take care of your social media and content needs, and ensure that all the moving parts work together seamlessly. Contact us to discuss how to get started on your path to digital success.