Well, you’re nearly there. For weeks for even months now you’ve been monitoring your competitors websites sitting on the first page of Google and grabbing all the online searches and new customers while your phone stays silent. Now you’re ready to take the plunge and address your online presence and marketing with a professional and search engine optimised website… but before you do, take just a moment to review the 7 mistakes that I’ve seen people repeat time after time over the years. It could save you some money or more…
Mistake No 1: Hiring a web developer based on the other side of the country (or worse – the world) that you don’t meet face to face.
You may be running a similar business to your competitors but that doesn’t mean you aren’t unique. There is no one size fits all when it comes to a business website.
A website can be a big investment for any business so it’s crucial you get your marketing message right. After all, your website is the window to your business and first impressions count. You therefore need to have confidence that the person you have chosen to achieve this for you fully understands your business and your goals and a face to face meeting will enable you to judge whether or not the web designer “gets” you and can deliver your project accurately.
Misinterpreting the brief is more likely to happen when corresponding by phone and email and can be costly.
Mistake No 2: Not taking your Web Designers Advice.
You may know your business back to front but you may not know the best practices for building a business website. You are hiring this person for a reason so you need to draw on their expertise and experience and listen to their advice.
There is so much more to building a website than just the design and content, e.g. the right domain name; best hosting; the best keywords that will get your site ranked in the search engines to name but a few.
At the end of the day you are the client but that doesn’t mean you are always right. If your site doesn’t achieve what you hoped you can’t go back and blame the designer if you didn’t listen!
Mistake No 3: Copying your competitors’ content
Not everyone is capable of writing engaging, informative and unique copy for their website. You therefore have 2 options; hire a copywriter or pay your web designer to do it if they offer that service. The search engines can smell plagiarism a mile off and they WILL penalise your site for duplicate content.
I have seen websites disappear off the Google radar for copying articles from other websites. In some instances a site can be ‘Sandboxed’ by Google which means it disappears completely. Sandboxing can be permanent at worst and costly and difficult at best to recover from, especially if you have spent a great deal of money on having your website built and SEO strategies to get it ranked.
It is also a breach of copyright and a big NO NO.
Mistake No 4: Not ensuring you get the right training and support to manage and update your website.
You want a website you can manage and update yourself once the project is complete and the site is live. You have special offers that change on a weekly basis; you want to write a blog; you need to review and change your price lists on a regular basis.
You choose to commission a CMS (Content Management System) website so you can do just that. But you failed to make it clear to your web designer that you needed training and guides to show you how. Now he’s done and dusted and you are floundering.
Don’t let anyone make you feel inadequate because you aren’t a whiz kid on the computer, everyone has different levels and some need a little more help than others so make sure you get it. Check that your chosen web designer has incorporated that cost into their proposal and that they will offer at least some ongoing support until you get up to speed… which brings us on to Mistake no 5…
Mistake No 5: Not getting a detailed proposal for the Project
If you don’t get a detailed proposal outlining everything you want to achieve from the project – don’t hire! A detailed proposal protects you and the web designer if things go wrong. Any web Designer worth their salt will not start a project until the proposal is agreed and you are both absolutely clear about what is expected on both sides.
Another mistake many business owners make is not reading the proposal fully. It’s a contract! Read it and query anything you don’t understand or don’t agree with.
Also note the payment terms and at what stages of the build you are agreeing to the stage payments and know when you are expected to pay.
Mistake No 6: Taking what appears to be the “cheap” option
You’ve seen the emails and had the phone calls from the big marketing firms who offer to build your website for a very low upfront fee then a monthly cost.
Do the math! The monthly fee doesn’t end. How much will this site have cost you in 2, 3, 5 years’ time? And… you will already know from your own business cheapest usually isn’t the best.
That doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands to get the best result – just hire the right person who understands the brief and be prepared to pay a reasonable fee for the service, it will still be cheaper in the long run.
Mistake No 7: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER let anyone else secure your domain name in their name
We are not all computer geeks, however, most people can get themselves a domain name online without too much difficulty. Your domain name is key to your online marketing and your business. If you trust a 3rd party to buy and register your domain in their name then you are placing yourself and your business at their mercy.
The business types mentioned in Mistake No 6 will offer to do everything for you including getting you a domain name. You could then spend years getting your website ranked only to have someone you have parted ways with holding a gun to your head.
It’s YOUR business, it must be YOUR domain.