6 Things you NEED to know when building a website

Whether you’re providing a product, service, portfolio for your work or launching an ecommerce storefront, your website not only should reflect you and/or your brand, it also needs to be the central location for your business. There’s simply no other way around it. All of your marketing efforts lead back to your website. Which is why it’s of the utmost importance to set up your website design correctly.

Since creating an online presence seems like a daunting and tedious task, you thought that you could use a little extra help – at least with your website. If you avoid these 5 common mistakes, you can rest assured that you have a fully functional site that’s ready to handle all of your online business.

Unlike “Field of Dreams,” if you build it, they will not come

By that, we mean visitors to your website. Unfortunately, this is a common misconception people have when setting up their websites. They believe that they can purchase a domain name and will instantly see traffic. And this can be difficult to accept when you’re relying on your website as a source of income. As part of planning your website developent also take a step back and construct both a business plan and marketing strategy to draw traffic to this awesome conversion tool. After all, a website is more over a conversion tool than it is a advertisement. Think of it more like your salesperson and not your storefront sign.

When we talk about your business plan, we’re not discussing a lengthy document that covers every scenario. Instead, a business plan should answer the following questions?

  • What products or services are you selling?
  • What is your niche market, and who are your target customers?
  • What solution to customers problems are you offering?
  • Who are your competitors? Can you capitalize on their competitors weaknesses?
  • What will your online presence consist of?

All of these things need to be addressed on your website and you should have a marketing plan that draws interest to these elements and directs your visitors to get the answers from your website!

That picture of you working solely from a cell phone on the beach is a fantasy

If you think that setting up a website is a great way of gaining fast and easy money, you’re sadly mistaken. There is still more work involved than simply taking an order and shipping a product. It’s a process that demands attention and will require a fair amount of growth and adaptation over time, such as which techniques are working or not working in your attempt to drive traffic to your site. Gaining and mainting your desired search engine placement is a neverending battle on its own. Remember, your competition is always trying to get there too, you can't sit on the beach and expect better results than those who are working hard to get where you are. 

Certainly, a website makes running your business a heck of a lot easier, it's just not completely robotic. Just because it’s online, doesn’t mean that it’s run any different than a traditional business. In short, it's necessary to spend time improving and adjusting your website, even if that just means adding news articles, updating your verbage, keeping your product or service info up to date, adding reviews to your site and developing new features as technology reveils new opportunity.

Choose the Right Website Designer

"I have a friend that will do my website for FREE!" A statement we too often hear.. Accepting this offer involves two tragedies. One you are left with a friend you have to bother every time you need an update, and over time, it is inevitable that this donation of time becomes a burden between the both of you. That's assuming that your friend is actually good at designing websites. If not, your left with a site that is under producing and if you want to move into a better product in the future there is a solid chance any development firm will have to start from scratch anyway. 

The second tragedy is that taking a discounted product stands true to the "you get what you pay for" statement. Personally I had laser surgery on my eyes and I saught out the most reputible, long standing surgeon I could. While I saw advertisements for $500 / eye, I voted to spend $3500 with no regrets. While I am not suggesting your website is as valuable as your vision to you personally, to your business, it really is!

Choose the Right Host

In all honesty, there are a number of free hosts, like Blogger and Weebly, so why pay for a host? Especially when the free options are quick and easy to set up. However, there are number of issues surrounding free hosts. For starters, a lot of people will not take you seriously if you don’t own your domain name (yoursite.com). Furthermore, certain functions, such as connecting with social media platforms, are not available. Furthermore a free or cheap host will not back up your information on a weekly basis, nore will you have a reliable person you can lay a heavy on if you need help or a quick response. 

The biggest disadvantage, however, is that you don’t own the site or content. Suddenly spending the $250 per year for host doesn’t send like a bad investment, does it!

Know If Your Getting A Website OR a Blog

We’ve all heard of WordPress, it’s one of the most popular blogging services around. However, it’s not always the best option to build a website; which many people are doing. This isn’t knocking WordPress, it’s an incredible resource, it’s just that it doesn’t always fit in with how every site should be organized. Unless you’re providing news, WordPress – or any blogging platform at that – makes it difficult to categorize a site and might now be the best option for your  startup.

In other words, blogging is a great tool when creating content to entice visitors, it just doesn’t always translate into an effective website.  Don’t be too focused on just your blog.

Build A Plan Between Design and Message

Of course the design of your website should be visually appealing, you don’t want people to leave your site screaming in horror, but it’s not everything. On top of having a website that’s easy on the eyes, it needs to convey the message you’re trying to present, such as your business objective, plan of action for visitors and the quality content that you’ve been busy creating.

Every great website may look outstanding, but as people continue to read the copy, it fades into the background. Why is this balance such a big deal? Because you don’t want the website’s design to distract visitors from the real reason that you created the website in the first place; your marketing message.