7 Website Mistakes You May be Making

  • Posted by Marcel Wah
  • February 22, 2014 8:26 AM EST
In today’s fast moving technology world, it may not matter how great your products or services are, as compared to how well you market them. And since most people nowadays begin their searches online, having an online presence is simply not enough if you want to stand out from your competitors.

In today’s fast moving technology world, it may not matter how great your products or services are, as compared to how well you market them. And since most people nowadays begin their searches online, having an online presence is simply not enough if you want to stand out from your competitors.

You should aim for a strong online presence. Visitors to your website should be immediately impressed, as well as find it user friendly and rich with content. Otherwise, your investment and time will not yield the returns you hope for. If your website is not converting visitors to leads to eventual buyers, your website is not performing to its marketing and sales objectives. You may be losing potential customers without even knowing it, unless you have analytics to measure your website traffic.

At Twin River Media, we come across these clients’ “mistakes” on a regular basis, and while business consultancy is not our focus, our clients find our recommendations to better position their websites an invaluable extension of the service we provide to them.

Here are some of the most common mistakes businesses and nonprofits make when it comes to establishing their online presence:

1. Long or hard-to-remember Domain Names

First, don’t pay more than $11 a year for a domain name. We’ve been using Omnis.com for over 10 years and have never had any problems with their service, unlike other registrars, as they are called, that seem to “hijack” your domain name by making it very difficult to transfer your domain to another competitor.

Choose a name that is easy to remember and not too long. Avoid dashes “-“ in your domain name because they are hard to remember. If people cannot remember your name, they will surely go somewhere else. It is preferable, when you can, to use a name that references your actual company name. They are also easier to find in search.

Treat your domain name like your bank account.

2. Bad and Ugly Design

Statistically, you have just three seconds to impress your visitors.

Treat your website as your front door, especially if you don’t have a brick-n-mortar type of business. Your website will be the first place visitors and potential clients will learn about you and your business. A poorly designed website makes your company look unprofessional and not credible. Users simply don’t trust who you are.

Many small businesses settle with a mediocre website built either by an intern that is no longer around, a free online website provider, or a do-it-yourself attempt. Avoid this at all cost if your business is important to you. Also, if your website was done more than two years ago, it may be time for an “upgrade”. Web technology is changing at a rapid pace. Your current website may not be taking advantage of more dynamic Internet solutions that will give your users a better online experience, as well as to interact with them while they are on your site.

Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to your public image. Your website should look appealing. No other marketing tool is more efficient than a well designed and developed website.

3. Your User Navigation Suck

Now that a visitor has landed on your website, are they able to navigate with ease? Organizing your content properly so that your information makes sense is not as simple as it seems. Arranging your content in the wrong place may cause confusion, frustration, and impatience on the part of visitors to the point that they choose to quickly leave your website for your competitors’ more “user friendly” website.

Think strategically how all your content fit in the overall website by keeping related topics together without cluttering the navigation area (the top-level menu items).

4. Content is not clear. User is lost.

In today’s competitive business environment users don’t spend more than 30 seconds trying to figure out what your company is about. Beginning with the home page, your content should be short, clear, and to the point. Visitors should be able to determine within seconds:

- What it is that you do, and

- What makes you better and different from your competitors.

If that is clear to them, and what you offer fits their needs, they will want to learn more about your services, prices, and more importantly, who you are as a company. At this point you have more of a chance of converting your visitors to leads.

5. Too much text

When it comes to business no one has time to read big chunks of text. Write one main sentence describing your product or service. Place it in a prime location on the home page. Write the rest of the content as concise as possible. Break your text into a bulleted list. Use simple language. Once your visitor is hooked, you will have more time to provide additional information or explanation.

6. Search Engine Optimization - No one can find your website

If people cannot find you online, you don’t exist. It’s that simple. However, don’t be misled by these companies offering SEO services. SEO is not what it used to be and has evolved to more than having the right keywords and descriptions. It’s a lot more involved than this, especially when you take into account the social web.

At Twin River Media, we deal with many small businesses and nonprofits that do not have the budget for a custom website design and development.  Thanks to open source solutions such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and others, they can benefit from these very flexible technologies. They provide room for online growth, but easy on the wallet also. One of the key advantages is that they do a great job with SEO all on their own.

The most important to remember about SEO, if anything else, is that content is king (design for user experience). The more relevant and credible your content is, the better you’ll fare with online searches without getting too involved with the many and expensive aspects of SEO.

When you do have the budget, however, and your business, both offline and online, is growing, it is worth investing in a SEO strategy to ensure you remain competitive and to continue attracting new prospects. Your SEO is part of your marketing strategy and, if done right, will save you money long-term and possibly provide you a better ROI (return on investment).

7. Choosing the Wrong Hosting and Maintenance Company to Service Your Website

Once you have your beautiful website done, you will need a hosting company. These companies provide you with the space to put your website files on a “server” that will connect you to the online world. At Twin River Media, we provide our clients with both hosting and maintenance at a fixed and affordable price so they can remain focus on business development versus the minutiae of website maintenance, which involves more than just updating your content. Even as certain technologies become easier to use, they require regular maintenance, upgrades, optimization, email, and other tweaks to keep everything running smoothly with as little hiccups as possible.

Until you have your website ready to go, don’t pay upfront for hosting. I come across many clients that because of their lack of knowledge with website implementation and deployment, pay for both a domain name and hosting at the same time. It’s an additional expense you do not need to incur. Securing your domain name is the most critical; worrying about hosting comes when you actually have a website ready to launch.

When you shop for a web design company, treat them in the same way that you shop for a car, apartment, or other large purchases. Get several quotes, ask a lot of questions, but more importantly, question the solutions that are being recommended to you. If you are not building a complex website that only a customized solution will solve, any of the open source solutions mentioned above will suit you well.

About Twin River Media

Marcel Wah is the Founder and CEO of Twin River Media, a full-service Internet company with the creative minds, wits, and technical know-how to provide you with the utmost customer care and product delivery.

You can call Twin River Media for a free consultation at 301-637-4934 or visit www.twinrivermedia.com.