The StartupNation Blog Trends, tips and real-life anecdotes from industry experts

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Your Website

For many of you, your business website will act as a central hub for your marketing, branding and communications. It will be a major touchpoint in your relationship with your prospects and customers.

If you plan on being successful, it behooves you to create a website that fuels your business growth.

Then why is it that so many entrepreneurs and small business owners sabotage their own marketing by taking shortcuts with their websites and by not thinking through the ideal website for their business?

Here are 5 common mistakes that you should avoid when creating your website:

No Objective
The very first thing you should do when planning your website is to define the objective of the website. What do you want visitors to do on your site? How will you measure success? Will it be online sales, lead-generation, downloads, subscriptions, Page Views? Know what you want to drive your visitors to do prior to designing your new website, and the design process should progress more smoothly and more in line with your business needs.

No Plan
Just as you start with blueprints when building a new house, you need a plan when creating your new website. Some people go into a site design process by looking at designs, colors, templates and imagery. Although the look and feel of your website is important and should align with your identity, it’s critical to start with your marketing strategy. Who is the target audience? What are their main problems? How will your website help them solve these problems? If you were your own customer, how would the ideal website be organized and what would it deliver?

No Differentiation Strategy
Online, it’s super easy to jump from one website to another. Therefore, expect that your prospective customers will check out the competition. With that in mind, it’s surprising how many people do not think through a well-defined differentiation strategy for their website. Will your site offer unique, amazing value? Will your site focus on building a unique community? Will your site be clearly unique from your competition?

Sacrificing Professionalism
Whether you use a designer, agency or template, look at your site with a critical eye and make absolutely sure that it’s professional in appearance. Just because your next door neighbor’s kid can program HTML and PHP doesn’t mean that he understands marketing and can create a website that will fuel your growth. Remember, trying to save a few dollars in the wrong way now may wind up costing you tens of thousands of dollars in revenue down the road. This is not to say that you necessarily need to spend lots of money on your site design — rather, you just need to ensure that whatever direction you go in results in a website that represents you effectively.

Infatuation with Technology
Some people go into a site design process thinking that they “need” a Flash website. Or they “need” the latest feature du jour. The reality is that technology comes and goes. Instead, focus on providing your visitors with real solutions to their real problems. Focus on making: 1) the navigation intuitive; 2) the site easy-to-use; 3) the content of great value, and 4) the user experience fulfilling. Then, apply the appropriate technology to support these aspects of your site.

These are just a few tips to help you create a great website that drives your business success. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

Tom Shapiro
About the Author: Tom Shapiro

Tom Shapiro is CEO of Digital Marketing NOW, a strategy, design and marketing agency that fuels clients' business results. DigitalMarketingNOW.com Twitter: @DigitalMN