I must congratulate you. You’ve taken a big, exciting step. A step that will change your life, your outlook, and hopefully your bank account – all for the better, of course.
Since I started my business a few years ago, it’s been a winding, rapid rollercoaster. Surprises around every turn and every loop – as I encounter each one, I can’t help but feel thrilled this was a ride I jumped on. Most days anyway.
Now you’ve decided to hop on too – whatever your business is – there’s a few things you should take care of. Being a website designer, you can imagine what I’m going to discuss. And it certainly isn’t taxes…
You’d probably expect me to preach about how you should hire a pro like me to design your website, but I know lots of us start with next to no cash in the wallet. So, you ambitious entrepreneurial folks, this is for you. Here’s a few mistakes to avoid when building a website. A quick spoiler – it ain’t as easy as you’d think!
A big mistake to avoid when building your website... The 'I don't need a plan' attitude.
Have you ever been to the supermarket without a shopping list? Madness, a total bloody nightmare. You’ll end up throwing unnecessary items into your trolley, with a bill double the amount.
It’s the same with a website. What’s your service, your overall goal, your audience? Are you trying to sell products, build a reputation, make business connections or showcase your talents? Let’s say you’re selling… Rare Ethiopian coffee beans? You don’t need a separate page detailing the extensive global history of coffee. Keep it focused. Doing the opposite is the first mistake to avoid when building a website.
Once you decide your business goals, your needs will become a little more obvious. If you are selling Ethiopian coffee, you’ll need a payment processing page. If you are, in fact, writing a blog about the global history of coffee, you need to connect with your audience – so build an email list page to stay in touch.
When you decide on your plan, write a list of exactly what you’ll need for your website. Think of the customer experience that you want to give, think of the customer journey. Planning is key, I literally can’t say it enough.
Mistake no.2 = "Ahh, looks fine to me"
In this attention-depleted world, first impressions matter. You wouldn’t eat at a restaurant with ketchup stains splattered across the table, right? So why would you stay on a website that looks terrible?
So, start by taking advantage of website templates. Trust me here, beginning with a blank page is a recipe for disaster. Use tools like Elementor to give you a good head-start – the user-friendly page builder and suggested themes are lifesavers.
Naturally, this will help you cut the clutter. Don’t overdo the homepage for one, because most folks have little patience. Simplicity is key, stick to the basics, check out my homepage checklist if you want to know exactly what to include (and not) when building a website.
That brings me on to another mistake to avoid when building a website. Keep your site brand-aligned. If you’re selling coffee, best to avoid the retro sci-fi theme… Though I’d certainly be interested to see how you do it!
An iPhones and iPhone. But it really isnt.
There are only two certainties in this world. Aristotle said the first – “all I know, is that I am capable of knowing,” or something like that… The other? “People will go onto your website using their mobile phone.” I said that – yup, me.
Of all the screen sizes out there (desktops, laptops etc) most people will go onto your website using their phone. Though you may forget when designing your site on a laptop, it’s essential to ensure your website looks and navigates seamlessly across all devices… Especially our little pocket computers. This another reason why page builders like Elementor can be a god send, as they allow you to flick between desktop, iPad and mobile view so you can ensure an overall seamless experience on all devices!
"They'll undestand where to go" - yeah, no they won't.
What’s worse than a worm in apple? Two worms in an apple… Classic.
But for me, there’s something else even worse – the crucial mistake to avoid when building a website. Terrible website navigation, of course. Ultimately, it’s a website designer’s goal to create the simplest journey possible for their customers. Getting users where the customer wants, is exactly what we want.
It’s a key mistake to avoid when building a website – don’t make navigation too crowded or complex. Use a pen and paper to map out your site. Begin with your homepage at the top, add page categories, sub-page categories and so on.
Don’t forget the call to actions too. Users need their hands held, and with a command, they’ll follow your lead.
And HUZZAH… Customer journey sorted, like putty in your hands. I mean, you clicked on this link, right?
“The Cheap Server Will Be Fine” - mistake.
Welcome to the wonderful world of web hosting. It’s a jungle out here. You’ve already spent money on your domain, starting a marketing plan, and buying rare Ethiopian coffee.
But then, as you try to avoid spending more cash, days later you realise you have made a key mistake to avoid when building a website. It really is essential to spend good money on your server. Just as customers want a gleaming, clutter-less homepage, they want a fast-loading website. Don’t cheapskate, please. Smash open that piggy bank, avoid those cheap hosts like Bluehost and pay for a reputable hosting provider like Big Scoots. It’s worth the investment. They have a wonderful team who respond to your email ticket requests in a matter of minutes and when you’re stressing about servers, DNS settings and domain mishaps, that’s a luxury you can’t live without!
“The Homepage is All That Matters” - yeah also wrong.
A website is like a lion – near untameable. But just as lion tamers have the secrets to calm those fierce beasts, so do web designers. Except, well, it’s websites.
Every great website tamer knows back-end features of a site are easily forgotten, but they are just as important as the rest.
Without caching, you’re at risk of losing all of your website data and resources. Give Cloudflare a go.
Without security, your site might be hacked, spammed, or worse… Cleantalk will be your saviour.
Without SEO, your website risks being unseen. Rank Math Plugin (for WordPress) will ensure all the rare Ethiopian coffee fans get their caffeine fix.
There you have it, our top mistakes to avoid when building a website!
If you have any questions for us or simply want us to take away the stress of building a website, reach out to us using our contact form.