Thinking about getting a website for your new business? Many startups make the same website mistakes and to redo the work is costly.
A strong website will one of the most important marketing tools at your disposal and you should be careful not to jump into things without giving the following issues some serious thought.
5 Website Mistakes made by Startups
1. Not integrating website and business plan
Any business seeking stronger relationships with customers can benefit from having a website. The idea seems to have caught on just fine. That said, the effectiveness of a website will be limited when a business owner simply acquiesces to the times without fully embracing the strategic aspects of having a website.
As a person who makes a living from web work, I think the benefits of a website are plain to see, but a website must still have goals in order to reach its potential. Even if your goals are as simple as moving more product, or gaining lots of traffic in hopes of converting a decent percentage of it, then at least the website has a purpose. A website without a purpose is a labor-intensive billboard at best, and a discouragement to customers at worst.
2. Not owning your own domain
Plenty of companies out there will make tantalizing claims about how easy or cheap (or free) it is to let them design your website. There are always strings attached. Perhaps you must sign a multi-year hosting contract. You might not even get to own your domain name, instead renting it as long as you host with that company. Free website, ransom, extortion, whatever you call it, not owning your domain name is a BIG mistake. If you’re considering a proposal like this, please inquire about such things before signing. It’s actually very simple to register your own domain name. Here is a solid breakdown and list of domain registrar options. Personally, I went through WordPress and have never had an issue in five years. The standard rate is currently around $18 a year. Cheaper than that, and I’d be wary of unforeseen strings attached.
3. Fearing the technology
Websites seem very complicated to the uninitiated. There’s a learning curve, sure, but websites are just another form of business technology that can be learned by anyone. Letting someone take your website completely off of your plate may sound like a relief, but it only opens you up to being taken advantage of (similar to renting a domain name). Find a reputable digital agency to handle your website. A good full-service company will work with you to make things easy while still keeping you in the loop. Remember who works for whom. The agency you choose should be there for you to serve your needs.
4. Not having a company blog
Not having a blog won’t kill you, but it represents a huge missed opportunity to develop your brand voice. Blogs allow you to expand your site to include new information that will be relevant to your target market. You can add content that establishes you as an expert in your field, or you can post stuff just for fun. Blogs increase your digital footprint and allow more ways for Googlers to enter your site (landing pages). A well-run blog will boost your SEO (search engine optimization) and create an incentive for customers to visit your website even if they aren’t looking to buy. To top it off, bog posts make great shareable content for social media. If you have a website and social media, then a company blog really ties the whole thing together.
5. Not turning your website into a web presence
This relates back to making sure you have specific goals for your website. Your website is meant to be your digital hub. It will be the best possible way for customers to interact with your brand online—better than social media, and better than finding a listing (which is basically just the Internet’s version of the phone book). Not seeking to build a strong link portfolio through social media sharing and earning links on other websites is akin to letting it languish with no strategic purpose. The more links you create and earn, the more avenues your audience will have to lead them to your website.
And tagging along on this, is one of the most critical website mistakes to ignore mobile design. It is the only way to go, now. Five years ago, this wasn’t the case. But we live in a mobile world, baby.