Whether it’s a major overhaul, an ex nihilo creation, or an update, creating a website is often the scene of major mistakes. While it is often easy to blame the agency or the service provider for the failure of such a project, it must be recognized that the client also has a huge share of responsibility and that his decisions can change everything …
If you are at the dawn of a redesign project or you are in the middle of it (it is never too late to rectify things), here are the 10 main mistakes to avoid when creating your site.
1. Do not think about what you really want upstream: what objectives?
This is perhaps one of the main mistakes that can be encountered when working in an agency or as a service provider. If you do not know yourself what your site should bring you and where it should take you, your provider will be more difficult to help you, and there is a good chance that you will be disappointed in the end result.
Start by asking yourself the objectives that your site must fulfill:
- Should it generate sales, contact requests?
- Is it there simply to ensure an online presence (increasingly rare these days)?
- Does it have a vocation to evolve, to develop?
- Should it be a means of communication for your company like social media can be?
This reflection will be the real basis of your site. You will see that creating a specification is immediately easier when you know where you are going and how you want to get there. Do not neglect this step!
2. Request an unreasonable delay
\” In two weeks, the site must be online! “Come on, be reasonable 🙂 You’re not asking for a house to be built in two weeks, are you? It’s the same for a site.
I grant you, the deadlines can be much shorter than for a house (although for some large projects, an overhaul is counted in months). But if only for your thinking, do not be in a hurry and do not set goals that will make you regret having released the site too soon in a version that does not suit you.
If setting a release date based on an event or a communications operation can be a good way to meet a deadline, don’t be too optimistic either. And keep in mind that an IT project can have delays and that nothing is worse than a badly crafted com operation.
3. Do not look elsewhere
Also take time to snoop around your competitors or the sites you like. This is often one of the first questions agencies ask you, and it is not by chance. It’s a great exercise to narrow down your needs and get a better idea of what you want.
You will no doubt discover interesting ideas that you have not thought of, those that will enrich your thinking and allow you to build a site more faithful to what you wanted.
4. Integrate the referencing after the creation of the site
” No but, we will call the SEO after the redesign eh! And the groundhog … Big mistake there too! Do not integrate SEO issues from the creation of the site, it is:
- Much lower overall SEO efficiency (you are less efficient when you put a patch on a tire than when you build the tire right away);
- 20 to 30% higher development cost (if the SEO asks you to modify things that the agency has just done, this could have been avoided);
- 3 to 6 months more delay (time to audit the site, make the necessary modifications and observe the results).
If you have an acquisition issue and want to make your site visible, consider integrating SEO from the start. Do not relegate this essential task either until later, it could cost you dearly.
5. Go through a creation aid tool when you need a real agency
There are plenty of tools to help you create a site that promise you a site ready in 5 minutes: Wix, Yellow Pages, etc. This option is not fundamentally bad and it responds to a real request from a part of companies in England who do not necessarily have the means to pay a provider or an agency.
However, it is still common to see companies being seduced by this type of solution when they need a service provider and a tailor-made solution. Be aware that these turnkey solutions are certainly very effective and affordable, but do not allow very advanced customization and functionality. If your needs are a bit personalized or your site requires somewhat specific functionalities, don’t waste time digging into this kind of solution.
6. Think that Internet users will necessarily contact you if your products interest them
Here we attack an essential subject: conversion! If you have the ambition to generate quote requests via your site, organize it with this in mind. Just because you think you have the best products doesn’t mean people will contact you. Like in-store traffic, optimization of transformation requires very specific mechanisms that will allow you to convert a maximum of Internet users into prospects.
Think Inbound, value-added content, reinsurance … and do you always say on the key pages of your site (especially the pages that present your products and services): what are the means available to the user to contact me? Are they clearly displayed and can it be done easily? Telephone, webcallback, form, online chat … solutions exist and are numerous, but do not hesitate to be accompanied on these subjects. A conversion rate that goes from 1% to 4% can change everything in your business strategy.
7. Think that one page is enough to present your company
The one page scroll mode is there and effective, but that is not enough to build a traffic acquisition strategy. How are you going to position your site on the tens or hundreds of keywords typed by your prospects in Google? This is probably not the home page that will be positioned, and you will rather have to think about all the types of content that can respond to it.
Imagine each page of your site as a front door and tell yourself that with 10 front doors, you will be more likely to develop your traffic than with a single small page.
8. Why would I need sites to link to mine?
We are touching SEO again, but not only. If the volume and especially the quality of links influence your SEO, we are also talking about partnerships that could bring you prospects and qualified traffic.
So identify in your network and your entourage all the sites and companies that could be legitimate to link to your site or talk about you. The more mentions you have, the better you will be positioned in Google (I intentionally schematize, but this is an essential criterion) and the more you will diversify your sources of traffic.
9. Think your site will live on its own
So does the image of your company! A site that only evolves once in two years can give a negative image of your business. So ask yourself if you would not be interested in adding news, a blog, advice, a guide … to your site to bring it to life. Be careful, adding this type of content so as not to use it is even worse. Also, it is important to determine what you will say, who will do it, how often, etc. so as not to lose the thread and avoid this action going against you.
This is notably the basis of Inbound Marketing techniques. Today there are a plethora of solutions to keep your site alive and allow it to be a real communication and growth relay for your activity.
10. Forget about redirects!
To me, this is one of the biggest mistakes. If you are redesigning and you change all your URLs, mark in red in your specifications the need to do the page by page redirects.
Two critical advantages to this:
- On the one hand, you properly welcome your Internet users by redirecting them to the correct corresponding page on the new site and by preventing them from arriving on an error page;
- On the other hand, you transfer all the referencing from the old pages to the new ones and thus avoid loss of positioning in Google.
So don’t forget to match the old and new URLs to prepare for the migration and avoid unpleasant surprises.
Here, I think now that you are ready for your redesign or your site creation. Nothing will scare you anymore!