Everyone knows that their company, however big or small needs a website. Designing and maintaining a website can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, depending on what you hope your online presence will achieve. For example, a site designed as a virtual ‘business card’ will be remarkably different from an e-commerce site which exists to make online sales. Whatever you want your site to achieve though, there are several pitfalls which you must avoid.
- Unclear and unattractive design
Designing a website deserves an entire book and more in itself. Although nobody expects you to become an overnight web designer, research indicates that users who are not positively engaged with a website will leave it in under ten seconds, most probably never to return! As a result, it is crucial that your website is pleasing on the eye and just as importantly well organised. Users don’t want to have to think twice about how to access the information they are looking for.
- An outdated website
Your website must stay fresh. Websites are not like art or clothing, they are never going to come back into fashion. Instead, an old website will simply look outdated and that is an image that no company or organization wants to have. Pay careful attention to keeping images, content and design updated, new and cutting edge.
- Don’t recycle printed materials online
It can be tempting for companies to simply cut and paste text from a glossy brochure or even information from the annual report and post it on their website. After all, it seems like ready-made, tried and tested content? Unfortunately, web content is a different medium entirely and is often aimed at a very different target audience. Printed materials don’t necessarily translate well online.
- Not using meta and title tags
If you don’t know what these are, then make sure that you find out and use them. These are HTML coded tags which summarize or at least indicate the content of a web page. What is so important about them is that they act as signposts to help search engines decipher what your website is about. So if you are relying on people finding your site via Google, using meta and title tags effectively is a must.
- Failure to purchase an SSL certificate
Quite simply an SSL certificate guarantees safe and secure online transactions and transfer of personal information. If you want to make online sales, an SSL certificate is crucial. Furthermore, potential customers and users will be looking out for one. The https suffix and the padlock icon which you see preceding many websites is evidence that you have an SSL certificate. Want to know where to buy SSL certificates from Thawte? Search online and find out where these market-leading products can be found. Ultimately, SSL certificates and other online security devices can be crucial to your reputation and to sales.
- Forgetting to budget for maintenance
It’s all very well that you have built a winning website which includes all the functions you require to meet your business goals. However, the online world is forever changing. As a result, you need to remain ahead of the game by adding fresh content, new images and dispensing with old dead links. All of this and more means maintaining your website, especially if you need to constantly update information. As a result, remember to budget for maintenance – Experts estimate an annual cost of anything between 50-100% of your initial web building cost.
This article is provided by Mark Karnes.