7 Costly Mistakes of Building a Business Website

Tips 01 July 2015 5 minute read

Whether you're hiring a web designer to build you a new website, or your just getting your current one fixed up, there are some common and easily avoidable mistakes that can badly affect your business.

In this article, I'm going to go over how you can avoid making these common mistakes when building a business website. On top of that, I'll also be showing what to do if they're already in place.

Mistake #1: Building For You

Problem: When you're running a business, you're running it for your customers. Your products are for them, so is your customer support and special offers, so why make the website about you and your tastes?

Solution: Don't make the design and functionality revolve around your own emotions and feelings. Trust your designer's experience and ask their advice. Build your website for your customers, not yourself.

Mistake #2: Ignoring Mobile Users

Problem: Responsive design is the process of making a website that's optimised for screens of any size, yet many business owners neglect this share of their market.

Solution: First off, make sure the person you're hiring does responsive web design. Second, don't just "make it work" on mobile. Actually, take the time to craft a great mobile experience, no matter the extra time involved.

Mistake #3: Taking a DIY Approach

Problem: I run a business, I know what it's like having superhero syndrome (when you try doing everything yourself). You know what? Building a website is a very complicated process. There's a lot involved and doing it without experience is only going to give your company a destructively poor image.

Solution: By hiring a professional web designer, you're deciding to make a long-term investment in your business. You're great at what you do, so let us web designers do what we do best and we can work together to make something truly great.

Mistake #4: Too Much Distraction

Problem: You want more customers, so it seems obvious to add 5 buttons instead of 2, but there's a deeper problem. By trying to appeal to everyone, you're essentially appealing to nobody.

Solution: I love this quote from Chase Reeves, "First you need to niche down, then niche down again". That applies just much to your product marketing as it does your target audience.

Try focusing in on exactly what you're trying to get across to your customers (and potential customers). Found it? Great. Now push that and only that.

Mistake #5: Ignoring Performance

Problem: Website performance is a tricky thing to bring up, especially with business owners who aren't very tech-savvy. Ignoring it, however, can cause big problems. It takes 1 - 2 seconds for the average user on a desktop to get bored while waiting for a site to load. On a mobile, it's even less.

Solution: Talk to your designer or developer about making performance a priority from the beginning. That way you don't have a huge mountain to climb before launch.

Mistake #6: No Social Proof

Problem: Social proof includes things like customer reviews and testimonials. The main benefit is you build trust with new visitors, but a lot of people seem to think that's only for eCommerce sites...it's not!

Solution: Try adding short testimonials from your valued customers. But don't just have testimonials stating that the product "[PRODUCT] is super awesome!", because that provides no real value. Use testimonials that show how the person's life or business got better from using your product or service. A good example is "I got 10x more revenue from using [PRODUCT]!"

No matter what, talking about benefits beats talking about features every single time.

Mistake #7: Not Utilising 404s

Problem: A 404 error occurs when someone tries going to a page on your site that doesn't exist or is no longer there. The problem most people make, however, is just saying something along the lines of "404: Page Not Found". That helps neither man nor beast.

Solution: Someone I follow closely online, Pat Flynn, makes fantastic use of his 404 page by providing search, links to his most popular content, tags and a load more. Don't lose people because of a 404, give them a gateway back to your main site content. I also employ a similar technique on my web design blog, Inspirational Pixels, with tweet and contact buttons.

In Conclusion

These are only a handful of the costly mistakes you can make when building a business website. If you've made any of the mistakes above, don't worry, the fixes are pretty straightforward and quick to implement.

In review, here's what to take away:

  • Don't build the site for you: It's your customers that will use the site, so it should be built for them.
  • Have a mobile strategy: Focusing on mobile is not just future proof, it also allows you to target people wherever they are, whether that's at home or in a shop.
  • Focus in on what you're offering: Find your main selling point and offer only that. It'll really help people convert when they know exactly what you're offering is.

Hopefully, the advice above has been helpful and given you some great ideas on improving your business.

I'd love to talk about improving your site and business online. Get in touch to see what I can do for you!