8. Know your limitations
Solo business owners are used to being a jack of all trades. There have been times when I have been a Managing Director, Financial Controller, Head of Sales, Gopher and virtually every other role imaginable all at the same time.
It can be tempting to consider adding ‘web designer’ to this list of roles. However, I would advise you to put some serious thought into whether it will actually save you money. The web is a complex place where only the fittest succeed. Designers go to design college and spend years learning exactly what sells and what doesn’t. A good web developer will have invested thousands of hours honing their skills to ensure they build websites of a high standard. You might find it less stressful, quicker and even cheaper to hand-over your website project to the experts. The result, if you pick the right web developer, will be better than if you attempt it yourself. Go ahead, delegate!
Pick a web developer you trust and then listen to them and back their judgement. Have them explain the reasons for their decisions, but ultimately they should be in a position to make decisions relating to your website. It is important to remember that it isn’t what you like, but rather what your potential customers like that really matters.
9. Champagne tastes on a beer budget?
You need to be realistic when creating a website as websites can get really expensive. Web developers are well paid people and their time is costly. When you contract a web company to complete a sophisticated web project it will require highly paid programmers to sit down and spend hours, possibly weeks, coding to your requirements. There is simply no way to make this a cheap process although if you can leverage code they have used before, you may be able to keep your costs down.
Keep in mind that large web-based companies will not spend a set amount of money on a website project. Rather, they will have a team of developers who are dedicated to working on their system to make changes, developments and improvements. These systems can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each and every year in terms of maintenance and improvements.
This does not mean that you shouldn’t expect to have a great website built for your company at a reasonable price. I have seen wildly successful websites at all price points – $495 to over $100,000. I have also seen abject failures that blew well over $100,000.
You need to approach your web developer with a clear idea of what you want to achieve. You then need to have a realistic plan on how you will afford ongoing changes to your website. Accept that you will need to make changes to your website, regardless of how well you have planned your project.
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10. I don’t know what happens on my website!
You can’t judge the success of your website without knowing what is happening on it. It is vitally important that you carefully analyse who is coming to your website, where they are coming from and what they are doing on your website once they arrive. You can do this with a website statistics program, these are commonly referred to as website analytics and there are many options out there. Some such as Google Analytics, are free and do a great job.
I hope you have enjoyed the articles on mistakes to avoid when creating a website for your business. Don’t let it scare you, though! There are hundreds of fantastic website developers across Australia who will do a fabulous job for you. Don’t be afraid to pepper them with questions and research their background in great detail. You also need to have a firm plan on what you want from your website and what will be judged a success or failure.
Best of luck!