Your website is often how you make your first impression to potential clients or customers. It’s important to ask yourself whether a visitor will want to stay and browse or whether they’ll quickly bounce away to a competitor. So what matters most and how can you avoid costly mistakes? While not everyone agrees, there are commonalities to consider.
But for a quick rundown, check out these four easy mistakes to avoid when building a website:
1. Planning without a purpose.
At all costs, avoid the temptation to jump into page design without creating an overall strategic plan. It’s essential to laying the groundwork for a successful website build.
Begin by asking yourself, or your client if you’ve been hired as a web designer, some key questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- What messaging do you want to send?
- How will you organize the information?
The more detailed the questions, the more in-depth the plan. You can download a guide to help you see how things fit together, and you can easily make changes while the design is still in the draft stage.
Think of it as drafting a blueprint for success. You wouldn’t begin laying physical bricks, for example, before constructing a solid foundation. And you certainly wouldn’t make choices on paint or interior furnishings before approving architectural blueprints.
Much like in a brick-and-mortar site, structural design becomes more complicated to change the further along one is in the building process. It’s easier to change plans than change a website. So make a plan. You’ll save yourself the headache of breaking out virtual jackhammers to undo and repair structural damage that otherwise could have been avoided.
2. Skimping on your hosting plan.
Choosing the best web hosting for your project is essential. Websites live on servers, and when an owner of a server, such as GoDaddy, allows you to rent space to set up shop, they’re considered your host.
You’ll want to make sure your hosting can handle the amount of traffic you expect, as well as run the type of software you plan to install. Avoid renting what would equate to penthouse real estate for a tiny shop — or worse, build on a smaller server space without the ability to scale to future needs.
3. Launching without evaluating scope and resources.
There’s more than one way to build a website. While this has always been true, it’s more salient than ever before to do your due diligence to find the best option for you at this time. What worked for one project might not be the best for the next, and so on. So keep looking and exploring options each time you consider a new build or website redesign.
Once you have a plan and you have chosen hosting, it’s time to consider:
- What skills will be required to create the site?
- How much time will it take to complete?
- Who will maintain the website?
Your answers might vary depending on the decisions you’ve already made regarding purpose and function. Managed solutions, such as Managed WordPress with live support, often make sense for busy entrepreneurs. Fully managed solutions, such as using GoDaddy Website Design Service or hiring a local web developer, are also options.
4. Copying without leaving room for originality.
It’s OK to borrow ideas for colors, fonts and even general layouts for usability. That’s how trends spread — and it’s a good thing. But what’s popular now might change next year. It’s important to keep up with what’s hot to avoid looking dated.
When it comes to content, you are best-served by using professionally written copy created just for you. Plagiarising isn’t just illegal — it can hurt your credibility with visitors and search engines alike. Make sure you are getting original content, not something reworked or rewritten based on someone else’s site and subject to their copyright. After all, your best original is always better than a poor copy of someone else’s masterpiece.
Even the most beautiful picture frame is diminished by a ghastly image. The same holds true for websites. By following a few tips, you can choose website images you and your visitors will love. Be sure to make a note of copyright restrictions before adding them to your media library. Using an image without permission can be costly.