1. We built it but nobody came...
If attracting new visitors to your website is important, then you need to plan for it - it is highly unlikely you will succeed by accident. If possible, you should start thinking about marketing your website before you even have one. The way a website is built can dramatically impact on its ability to perform well in search engines.
You should ask potential web developers for examples of websites they have built that are ranked highly. You will also need to consider things like email marketing, offline marketing and a variety of other marketing methods to attract quality traffic to your website. This will be an ongoing process.
2. A website is never finished
Avoid thinking about your website as something that will ever be finished, rather you need to think of how easily and cost effectively your website will evolve over time. You will need to add new pages, edit content, possibly consider a design face-lift, as well as make constant small improvements to keep up to date with the latest internet developments, such as new web browsers.
The degree to which your website evolves will depend on the type of website you settle upon and where it fits into your business as a whole. If changes are frequent you should seriously consider a Content Management System (CMS).
A CMS allows you to update your website content yourself rather than paying web developers to make simple changes. Be aware that over time you may need to also spend money to keep the CMS itself up to date as technology changes.
3. Users hate slow websites
Do not underestimate how a slow loading website can affect its success. Not everyone has broadband and those who do expect sites to get faster each year. Statistics suggest that if a website doesn’t load within eight seconds, around one-third of visitors will leave.
The need for a fast website emphasises the importance of cutting straight to the point and avoiding large image or video files that may look nice, but adversely affect the performance of your website.
Speak to your website developer about techniques to make your website load within a reasonable timeframe. It can be attractive to go for cheap hosting overseas, often in the United States, however be aware that you may be sacrificing the speed of your website, and therefore its success, for a few dollars per month.
4. Don’t necessarily go for the cheapest option
Creating a website can cost a business anything from a few dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The price difference will come down to your specific needs and how much custom design or programming you require. In all of this you need to maintain a strict sense of reality, as the old adage goes – you get what you pay for!
Don’t go for a cheap do-it-yourself solution if you do not have the skills to create a website that will effectively win you customers, rather than turning them away. You may not need a highly customised and expensive solution if your website simply needs to let people know what your business does. Explore all your options before you make a decision.
In my next article I discuss the benefits of keeping your website simple, how to pick a web developer and the importance of compatibility across the majority of browsers and operating systems. In the final part to the series I will explore some of the limitations of creating a website.
“ Avoid thinking about your website as something that will ever be finished, rather you need to think of how easily and cost effectively your website will evolve over time. ”