1. Picking the Wrong Agency or Freelancer
This seems like a no brainer, but choosing the wrong vendor can be a harrowing experience. Ever start a project that was supposed to take a month, and it ended up taking six? Talk about a frustration that burns with the power of 1,000 suns. Once the site finally launches, there’s little to no enthusiasm because the project sucked the life out of everyone along the way—sort of like going to the DMV.
Website projects don’t have to be this way, and you shouldn’t have to feel this way when building a website. There are many good agencies out there that follow robust methodologies that allow projects to be done on time. However, just like every industry, you have your good and bad vendors. Make sure you vet your prospects carefully and get references of others who have used the service.
The allure of offshore is very tempting, but it’s more like a siren song that can crash you into the rocks. Numerous small businesses have been sucked in by the idea of $8-15 an hour teams that are well trained and can work while your sleeping. However, communication lag, cultural differences, and the language barrier can take a project into long turn-around times, with LOTS of revisions, leaving whoever is managing the project more frustrated than a woodpecker on a metal pole. Yeah, that’s not a thing, but you get the analogy.
It’s not to say all offshore developers are bad. There are quite a few good ones, but most companies go through a myriad of overseas shops before they find the right fit. So, if you feel like rolling the dice, then go for it.
3. Choosing a Proprietary Platform
There are many platform choices for small businesses to use in building their website. However, the worst kind of platform you can go with is a proprietary or custom CMS. We’re not talking about SquareSpace, Wix, or Weebly here. We’re talking about an agency or small company. Once you go that direction, you are locked in until the contract runs out. Good luck getting your content out of these types of systems if you want to move to something more widely supported like WordPress or Drupal.
The support for these types of systems is spotty at best and often requires the creator of the CMS to make changes for you. This, of course, is if you’re not told outright that something you need can’t be done or modified. It’s often better to set fire to the site and have a nice cocktail while you watch it burn. Starting over is hard to do, but hey, you needed a new website anyway, didn’t you?
4. Not Client Focused
It’s astonishing the number of websites that talk more about the company than the customer’s problem. Corporations tend to do this more than small businesses, but not exclusively. Your customer’s favorite person is them. So make sure you’re talking more about the problem you solve for them or how you can help your clients achieve the goals they want. You being amazing or award-winning is more about you than your customers because they expect that stuff from you already. Change your copy from saying things like “We, Us, Our” to “You, Your, etc.” so you can put the emphasis on your customers.
5. Thinking Your Just Building a Website
Your website is often the first impression a customer will have of your company and your brand. This means that this is where your brand story starts and where the customer decides whether or not they will work with you. Lots of small businesses just throw up a website but don’t realize that in doing so, it’s damaging their brand. When a website isn’t in alignment with the organization, it represents it can say a lot of wrong things, and give a false impression about your small business.
Hopefully, these 5 tips will help you side-step some of the biggest pitfalls that exist in the web design arena allowing you to create a website that not supports your brand, but helps you stand out in the crowd.