* By Elijah Lovkoff, Founder of Web Engine, Web Design and Hosting company
If you are ready to create a business website, you must know about 10 business website killers that can ruin your online business. Avoiding these pitfalls is a crucial step in ensuring your business site always stays healthy.
If you are already a business website owner, to get it audited is an excellent idea (sometimes, it is the idea of vital importance).
Remember, not all mistakes in web design are equal: there are some that may or may not have impact on a website’s success, but others act as website and traffic killers. This article is about 10 fatal mistakes in webdesign that you have to be aware of.
If you don’t want to worry that you’ll suddenly hit a brick wall, the only way to ensure its health is keeping it under control. So, better safe than sorry.
1. Using free platforms (themes, templates) and plugins
We all like freebies, but it’s not the case. Most FREE pre-designed WordPress themes and Content Management Systems (CMS) do NOT offer updates and support. Unfortunately, some of them are poorly developed.
The same statement applies to FREE plugins. A plugin is a small software program that gives additional functionality or a specific feature to an existing website code. No knowledge of coding is required to install it; you just can “plug in” it in a few clicks. When a program supports plug-ins, it enables customization.
2. Not being careful with “paper work”
Let’s consider a common scenario of hiring a webdesigner: you’ve shopped around, you’ve found one you liked, you’ve agreed about the terms and price, and the work started. Now, you need to buy a website domain name and reliable hosting (that have to be renewed on a regular basis). You know that free WordPress themes and plugins are not good, so you ask your web designer to buy everything that your website requires. He or she doesn’t see any problems with that and does it. The question is which name they put while making all these legal purchases – yours or theirs? If yours then everything belongs to you, if theirs – to them.
Imagine, all of a sudden your web designer has gone to Mars. If all legal work was done on their names you are in trouble, big one. You actually lost your site. And what if your webdesigner demands lots of money from you in return for giving all the legal rights to you?
Bottom line: register everything on your name and keep records of what you bought including all essential information: name of the institutions and where to login, username, passwords, account number, invoices and etc.
3. Not hiring an administrator for website maintenance and support
To keep your flowers alive and blooming you have to water them and water properly: not too much, not too little, not too often … just right. The same way you have to look after your website. But in reality, website owners don’t think that their websites need constant care. They were designed and hosted, what else?
No way, Jose! You cannot just make a website and let it go adrift and hope for the best. There is a lot of behind-the-scene technical stuff that you don’t know about, or don’t want to worry about. Hiring a website administrator is a must. It might be your webdesigner or a professional system admin.
Website maintenance and support usually include the following:
- Monitoring your site performance to assure it is in compliance with search engines and website standards
- Doing all software updates (core, themes and plugins)
- Making site backups on regular basis
- Providing disaster recovery from backups
- Keeping your website secure
- Establishing a working relationship with hardware engineers, hosting customer support, and other affiliate service entities to resolve urgent website issues and ensure that the web servers, hardware and software are operating correctly
- Providing you with monthly reports
- Providing consultation service, guidance and training on website content management system and optimization (if required by a client and often for an extra charge)
In other words, a web admin is responsible for your site functionality, security, and user experience.
However, lots of website owners realize it too late. Usually, they think that if the website is built and hosted, it continues to function as well as the day it was launched forever. They have no idea that a website is like a car: it needs gas, an oil change, air in its tires, windshield liquid and many other things. If you got a red and shiny Ferrari, will you be driving it for years and miles without any maintenance?
Without a web admin you are on your own: you are responsible for software updates, backups, security and all other things.
4. Important information below the page fold
Can you retrieve in your memory how an old good newspaper looked like? Yes, they were folded, and an important news story or photograph was located above the fold, in the upper half of the front page. Thus, an item that is “above the fold” may be one that the editors feel will entice people to buy the paper.
“Above the fold” is also used in website design (along with “above the scroll”) to refer to the portion of the webpage that is visible without scrolling. This means you have only a few seconds to make an impression on your visitors to decide whether your website is worth their time or not.
The page fold is the single most crucial aspect of the page layout that you and your webdesigner must take very seriously. All important information must be above the fold. If not, say goodbye to your potential customer.
5. Too much customization
Customization gives control over your website to a person who designs it, not to you. If for any reasons you stop your business relationships with your webdesigner, you are on your own. If something gets wrong, what will you do? Ask another web designer to fix it? But how will they know what exactly has been done to your website? How many “strange” web designers will be able and willing to get deeply into the existing site code and re-code it? How much money will it cost you (if your site is fixable)? And what if you’ll have to change your “new” webdesigner again?
Hundreds of businessmen lost their websites due to such situations and had no chance but to start all over again or abandon their sites.
Why it happens?
- The main reason is that many website owners (meaning normal business people) simply don’t know anything (or know a little) about dangers of customization. Webdesign is not their core activity (if it were, they wouldn’t need to hire a professional in the first place).
- Being in the web design industry for a long time, we can’t help mentioning that most web designers create websites precisely in accordance with the client requirements. They don’t care. They don’t advise.
- Sometimes, web designers don’t have enough knowledge and skills.
- But often, it’s made intentionally: web designers want their clients to be their cash cow and be bind with them forever.
6. Slow loading
Do you know that 47% of the web users expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less and 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 5 seconds to load? Do you know that Wal-Mart Found for every 1 second of improvement in loading speed they experienced up to 2% increase in conversions? Your website loading time must be 5 seconds or less, otherwise you will lose almost half of your visitors.
7. Not mobile friendly
In summer 2015, Google announced a major mobile algorithm update that penalizes websites that aren’t mobile-friendly. These changes are made to improve the web browsing experience for mobile users.
Today, all web designers use responsive design that has automatic image compression and other features to make your site mobile friendly. You don’t need to worry about it. But it won’t hurt to make a double check.
Personal information includes details about individuals such as: age, name, telephone numbers, addresses, email addresses, income levels, ethnic origin, comments, and etc.
In the age of rampant spam, we all want to be sure that our private information is protected it carefully.
9. No clear understanding of search engines
It’s a myth that all web designers understand search engines. Most of them don’t! Usually, web designers like what search engines hate: frames, sophisticated navigation system, flash animation, embedded text in images, white fonts on a dark background, cluttered pages and other design potholes.
This makes it very hard for businessmen when they hire a web developer. And if they don’t want to waste their hard earned money and valuable time, they have to know what sorts of questions to ask to figure out whether they do understand how search engines work.
And if you don’t want to bother with SEO and invest lots of money in your websites that will turn out to be invisible for search engines, what are you gonna do?
10. Not keeping your website updated
While the digital era has brought us amazing new technological advances, it has also opened up risks of hacking disasters. Malware (viruses, Trojan horses, worms, spyware, and adware) is written specifically to harm and infect the host systems, websites and computers. Cybersecurity is of growing importance due to increasing reliance on computer systems. Due to its complexity, both in terms of politics and technology, it is also one of the major challenges of contemporary world. That’s why keeping themes and plugins fully updated is essential in modern times; it ensures that every possible entry point is protected.
*Should you be interested in talking to us or learning how we can help to advance your online business, please contact us here or simply call us at 416-871-0741