What are some of the worst mistakes you can make when building a website? There are quite a few possibilities. Creating a new site is an exciting process, and many people, in their hurry to get started, overlook some important principles.
Having a website can be a powerful way to draw attention to your product, company or brand. Yet this only happens if you set up your site in the proper manner. Making mistakes can reduce the number of visitors you get. It can also turn off the people who do show up!
The following are some of the most common mistakes website owners make, along with some tips on how to avoid these problems.
Poor Choice of Domain Name
Your domain name is the address of your website on the Internet. This is where you have to start when it comes to creating a website. A domain name that’s too long, hard to remember or not relevant will put you at an immediate disadvantage.
Until recently, SEO experts would advise you to get an “exact match domain“. In other words, a domain name that contains the exact search terms people are likely to use when searching on the search engines. An example of an “exact match domain” is howtotrainadog.com.
Yet Google and other search engines no longer favor such domains as they once did. There’s nothing wrong with them, but you don’t have to get an exact match domain for it to be effective. Your domain name must, however, be relevant to your site’s topic!
Seek out a domain that’s as short as possible. It’s best not to have hyphens, but one hyphen is acceptable. Try to stick to domains that are .com, .net, or .org. You can also use .info, but most of the other extensions make the site seem less professional.
Unreliable Web Hosting
There are thousands of web hosting companies out there. Many are good, but there are also some that aren’t trustworthy. Very cheap web hosting is not such a bargain if your site suffers downtime. Or if it’s vulnerable to hacker attacks.
Lack of SEO (or Outdated SEO)
Search engine optimization is still important for websites. Yet you have to do it in a way that’s consistent with Google’s latest updates, known as the Panda and Penguin.
Here are some good basic SEO tips to remember and implement on a consistent basis:
Use keywords strategically
Use several strong keywords in your site’s content, but don’t overdo it. If you overuse keywords, known as keyword stuffing, the search engines will penalize you.
Setup a sitemap for your website
If you use WordPress, you can use a plugin like Google XML Sitemaps.
Get quality backlinks
Links from other sites are the key to off-site SEO. Yet you have to be careful not to get cheap or low quality links. Links should be coming from high quality and relevant sites. On top of that, it will be much better if they are from a diversity of sites.
Aside from publishing quality content, this also refers to how quickly your site loads and how easy it is to navigate. To speed up your website, you should use a good web hosting company and optimize your website for speed and ease of use.
Your Site is Difficult to Navigate
This was discussed in regards to SEO, but it also will make your site unpopular with visitors. You should make it simple for people to find the main content on your site.
Put the links to your main pages on your top menu. The links to less important pages can be in submenus or in the menu on a sidebar.
You can have an HTML site map to make this easier (XML site maps are for SEO, but HTML ones are mainly for visitors). You should also make sure your landing page is relevant and contains any key offers you want people to see.
Too many distractions
Some websites have features that annoy or distract visitors. This may include:
Too many ads
You want to monetize your site, but don’t overdo it with ads. My advise is, put the advertisements in the sidebar, and for the banners, try to make them smaller.
Many people find popup or pop-under windows annoying.
If your site is too cluttered, it’s hard for people to focus on anything. If you are using any content management system, try to change to a cleaner theme.
Video or music that appears right away
Don’t force your visitors to watch a video or listen to music or a spoken message as soon as they land on your site. Many people will immediately leave your site if you do this. Let them click on such content if they want to.
Unless your site contains games or other content that demands flash, you’re better off without it. This can be distracting, and it will make your site inaccessible to many people, such as those on mobile devices.
There are certain mistakes that can undermine your efforts when building a website. As you can see from the above dicsussion, certain elements (or lack of elements) can make your site inhospitable to visitors or cause the search engines to penalize you.
If you’re not sure about something, you should do some research or consult a professional before putting it on your website. The more planning you do in advance, the better your chances for success. This starts with your choice of a domain name. You should also carefully consider the web hosting company you choose, your site’s design and the type of content you place on your site.
A successful website requires you to get many different things just right. If you neglect anything, or overdo it (such as by having too many ads or clutter on your site), your efforts will yield poor results. The good news is that you can always learn from your mistakes. Even if you’ve done certain things wrong on an existing site, it’s never too late to make changes!