7 Website Mistakes New Businesses Make

7 Website Mistakes New Businesses Make

When venturing into a new business, many new entrepreneurs diligently plan their business and marketing strategies. However, for those who haven’t been involved with a website project before, online branding and marketing can prove to be a serious potential pitfall. At Alt Creative, we’ve worked on dozens of sites whose predecessors have fallen victim to these 7 mistakes:

1) Website before Branding
Many companies feel like they aren’t “open for business” until their website is live. Therefore, they bypass the branding stage and put up a site that is not communicating their true marketing message. A website, like any other piece of marketing collateral, is just one part of your overall marketing strategy. It requires more than a logo to set up a site that is going to work for your new business. You’ll need to determine who your audience is and how this online audience differs from someone who is introduced to your company offline. You’ll also need a clear idea of what you want your audience to see, how you want them to feel, and most importantly, what you want them to do once they are on your site. Ask yourself, what is the measurement of success for your new site? It is fine to have a temporary homepage up while you take the time to carefully consider these items and organize your content and design elements accordingly.

2) Using a Graphic Designer rather than a Web Designer
This is an issue we see over and over again. Maybe it’s because our headquarters is located in Austin, a city thriving with creativity – where you can’t throw a color swatch without hitting a designer glued to a Macbook and a venti latte. We love that our town is full of so many creatives, but we urge small business to make sure that their designer knows the medium of the web. Designing a brochure, a business card, or a logo is much different than designing for an interactive marketing piece. The web has certain standards and rules and you can’t break these rules unless you know why they exist in the first place. An experienced web designer will be able to help you navigate the medium while communicating your message effectively.

3) Using outdated technology
Remember Flash? It used to be a staple of web design and development. Now it’s a staple of outdated websites. With Apple’s refusal to support Flash on mobile devices, the difficulty of on-the-fly content updates on Flash sites, and the new capabilities of HTML 5 and JQuery, the argument for using Flash has disappeared. Before beginning a web project, make sure you understand the trends. Don’t just seek inspiration from other sites in your industry. Take a look at some of the movers and shakers on the web and see what they are using. Your experienced web designer/developer can help give you some input.

4) Highlighting the wrong focal point
When designing a site, you need to know what it is that you want your users to do once they hit your home page and highlight that accordingly. Often, we’ll work with clients who tell us that the goal of their site is to evoke a certain feeling or action. We use graphics and callout to make this happen. Inevitably a client will say, “We like the design, but can you make our logo bigger?” or “This is great, but we want our tagline in the to take up the most often seen real estate”. These types of design changes will change the focus from the desired goal.

5) Hosting Ads for other sites
Your website is a prime marketing tool for your business’s products and services. Why would you put another company’s ad on your marketing materials? You wouldn’t advertise another company on your brochure, business card, or direct mailer would you? Sure, there is some revenue to be made from ads, but unless you are running a content-driven, highly trafficked site where ad revenue is your main source of revenue, then you should leave them off completely.

6) Ignoring the need for new content
There is a lot to do when starting a new business and creating new content for your site seems like an easy ball to drop. However, not creating updated content for your site diminishes the two best ways to market your site – SEO and Social Media. Without new content, neither of these can be adequately utilized and your traffic can become non-existent.

7) Not cultivating and online presence
These days, a website is only one piece of the puzzle. To really be engaged with your target audience you need to be present with them in other areas. Blogs, social media, and email marketing are crucial to not only bringing traffic to your site, but also in converting visitors to customers through engagement. Use the tools that work best with your business in order to interact with customers on your site and on other networks. For example, if you are a media company, it makes sense to create some videos to engage with your customers on YouTube. If you are a wedding planning company, use sites like Flickr to show photos of your events. Social media is a great way to interact with more customer and bring them to your site.

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