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7 Website Mistakes To Avoid

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Dec2009 19

As the recession slows all sectors of our economy it becomes more important to make sure your website is working for you.  Your website is an investment and like any investment you should expect a return on it.  As a public service, I offer the following 7 mistakes you should avoid with your website.

1. Not doing your homework when choosing your website design company

Selecting who will build your website is critical.  This decision should not be taken lightly.  Do your homework.  Yes, there are a lot of website design studios out there and like any industry the quality of their work will vary greatly.  Call references.  Closely examine their work.  Interview them in person.  Interview them again in person.  I’ve seen too many website projects fail simply because of who was chosen to do the work.

2. Skipping key steps in the process (aka jumping right to the design)

Visual designs have a subjective, artistic element that nobody can resist.  However, these design must be based on a solid information architecture.  Any reputable website designer will work through a methodology to understand your business, define goals, determine audiences and understand content for your website.  These steps are often tedious but skipping them will result in poor navigation, overly complicated designs and a website that will need redesigning well before its time.

3. Website has no clear goal or call to action

A website should have a clear goal with a clear call to action to achieve that goal.  I like to give a website the 5 second test.  Look at it for 5 seconds and see if you can determine the what that goal is.  I say 5 seconds because that’s about how long someone coming to your website will take to be pulled in (or pushed away).  If you can’t find the goal for the website (and can find no call to action) your website is not be doing you any favors.

4. Poor content and/or infrequently updated content

Content is king. We’ve all heard that expression and on a website it’s true.  Good content speaks to the benefits of working with you or your company. Why should I work with you?  Good content answers that question clearly and pulls people into your website.  Having good content isn’t enough, however. Even good content needs to be updated frequently to give your visitors a reason to return.

5. Failure to understand online competition

Competition online is massive.  Your website may be one of a hundred or a thousand or a hundred thousand competing for the same clients and customers. Make sure you take your online competition into account.  Once you understand your competition you can better define a plan of how to set yourself apart from them.

6. Website not built with standards

Website standards are defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the organization overseeing the internet.  Standards improve accessibility to handicap visitors, improve search engine rankings and decrease maintenance time for your website by separating design from content and making your code reusable.  Not every design studio builds websites with standards.  Make sure the folks you hire do.

7. Website traffic goes unanalyzed

Website analytics have matured.  By analyzing your website you can save money and increase your goal conversion.  Examine your traffic sources and see how many visitors your ads are bringing in (and if that traffic is valuable to you).  Analytics will also tell you what your visitors are finding meaningful on your website (and what they aren’t), which will help you make better decisions about website revisions.  Be sure to examine your website analytics regularly.
So there you have it – 7 website mistakes to avoid.  Keep this list close to you at all times during this recession and consult it frequently.  By doing so you will be certain not only to avoid these mistakes but, more importantly, make your website an investment that will return far more than some other investments (that shall go nameless at this time).

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