Launching a new website without proper forethought can be detrimental to establishing your brand online. There are 100’s of unprofitable and neglected websites out online today that had the potential to succeed. Here is a list 6 common web development mistakes that businesses often make:
1. Not Setting Clear Goals and Establishing Ownership of those Goals.
* It is important to place a leader in charge of making final decisions relating to design, content and project elements of the new website. Many web development projects are unnecessarily delayed and overcomplicated by involving too many decision makers.
* The project leader should workshop general goals from all departments, listen to the various suggestions and then develop strong objectives based on a consensus.
* The project leader should then be allowed the flexibility to manage the flow of the web development project.
* Arrange ‘checkpoint’ meetings with key staff at crucial phases such as testing.
2. Incomplete Web Development Specifications
* Never start a web development project without a clear specification sheet of what pages and website functions will be required. Adding in a calendar or login feature halfway through a project in not only inefficient but will most likely cost your company more.
* Look into how many variables will your products have such as size, colour, type, sku number, shipping, tax etc. Compile all your product information into one place to get a good idea of what information you have available.
* Address topics such as shopping features and merchant accounts early on and ask your web development company if the proposed system is search engine friendly.
3. Limited Hosting Plans without Scalability
* Find out if the hosting plan will be compatible with the proposed system outlined in the Web Development Specifications
* Many companies make the mistake of going for the cheapest hosting plan without checking its database compatibility and how easy it would be to move to a larger hosting package.
* Some hosting companies can increase your disk space and bandwidth with no hassle but others may require you to move to a new server which is potentially costly and time-consuming.
* Make sure the hosting servers are hosted in your main country of operation so that Search Engines have a good reason to associate your website with this country.
4. Absence of Customer Centric Features
* Usability issues are key to keeping users on your website.
* Search functions, sales support features such as live chat and clear navigation go a long way to getting more from your website.
* In fact add your contact details or some form of contact interaction on every page to speed up the steps between curiosity and contact.
5. No Maintenance Plan
* Launching a website should not the final step. Updating content takes time and skill but tweaking your website to be relevant is pivotal to creating a good online brand. Make the most of your online presence by giving users a reason to keep coming back to your website.
* Designate a resource (either inhouse or outsourced) for website updates and make use of this resource at least monthly
6. Lack of Online Marketing Direction
* A website with no real growth will not attract search engines or increase traffic.
* Whether you do this inhouse or outsource your online marketing efforts to a service provider you need to be sure to have a marketing plan for your website. Research and refine your goals once more.
* Make sure that there is some sort of tracking installed on your website to monitor your website traffic statistics. AWstats or Google Analytics are both free and there is no excuse not to start tracking now.