A website is your first chance to make a good impression. You can nail it, or fall short. Avoid these common pitfalls and you’ll set your business up for online success.

Not planning for growth/expansion

As your business grows, so should your website. Failing to plan for future expansion will make your website obsolete sooner rather than later. Before considering options for website design and development, get your marketing plan in order. Look at the big picture and think about the future of your business. Do you see yourself adding products or services in the next 3 months? What about the next 3 years? Regardless of whether you are a medical practice looking to open new locations, or a retailer planning to offer a new product line, the website will need to be scalable. The best way to plan for expansion is to plan on a Content Management System (CMS).

Going with a custom CMS

A website built with a CMS is an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced professionals. CMS platforms like WordPress allow the user to edit
content and take advantage of complex functionality without 100% custom coding. A CMS is also very SEO friendly. There are several options available for CMS depending on the purpose of the website. I strongly recommend that you avoid working with a development team that insists on a custom CMS. Why? Because a custom CMS lacks the support of a more popular CMS, they are limited in options and most importantly; they will tie you to the developer for as long as you use that CMS. They also tend to be less cost effective in the long run.

Ignoring mobile users

Did you know that half of all local searches take place on mobile devices? If your website plan doesn’t include a mobile or responsive design, then your website is behind the times before it’s even built. Mobile friendly websites are no longer a luxury item. If your business has an online presence then it’s crucial to ensure that you’re supporting users who will visit your website via a smart phone or tablet. The good news is that a CMS like WordPress supports responsive design!

Not giving content the credit it deserves

Your website can be jam-packed full of bells and whistles, but if you don’t have a content strategy then you’re missing the mark. A website with rich features matters little if you lack the information that your customers are seeking. Committing resources (time and money) to develop informative content will give your website a solid foundation that:

  • Is good for Search Engine Optimization
  • Let’s your visitors know that they’re in the right place
  • Shows off your expertise
  • Helps with customer conversion

Designing without SEO in mind

A website that is light on text but heavy on images may look really cool, but are you sacrificing Search Engine Optimization for a good-looking site? Extra time and consideration need to be taken to ensure that your website reflects your brand and plays nice with Google. An agency that is experienced in website development and industry specific SEO techniques will be able to help you strike a balance that sacrifices neither looks nor search engine rankings.

Failing to budget resources for testing

Before a website is launched, it needs to be tested by your development team and members of your staff. Depending on the size of your website and the functions (such as e-commerce), it can take hours or days to test, de-bug, edit and test again. Failing to budget time and money for this necessary development stage can result in overcharges and delays. It can also result in a poorly executed website.

Spending too little (or going over budget)

It may seem obvious, but you get what you pay for. Think of your website as something that works for you 24/7. If you spend $20,000 on a website that you plan to keep for 4 years, that’s $0.57/hour. You’re spending well under a dollar an hour for a website that knows your company inside and out and will greet visitors any time and from anywhere. Even at twice the price it is a bargain. But what if your website doesn’t truly reflect your brand? If it looks slap-dash and functions poorly? Then it’s not such a great ambassador for your brand, is it? That is the pitfall of settling on a cheap site that isn’t designed with your business’s needs in mind. A bad website will turn customers away. A great website will pay for itself with the business that it brings in.

Ignoring your website after launch

A website is never truly finished. Sure, it will get to a point in development where it is ready to make its public debut, but the reality is that if you’re not updating and adding content, then your site will become out of date quickly. Making plans for future content expansion, blogging and regular updates should be part of your post launch strategy in order to maintain a successful online presence.

At Points Group, we work with our clients to guide them through the website development process. We’re experts at anticipating needs, building a strategy and executing it. If you’d like to learn more about who we are and what we do, contact us.

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This document was last updated on July 24, 2014