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November 15, 2012

Nine Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Your Website

When I meet clients to discuss their website requirements, after a while, I am often met with a glazed look. This is usually a sign they have reached information overload and can’t take in any more. And I don’t blame them. Getting online can be overwhelming, especially if you are just starting out in business.

If you don’t feel comfortable with technology and are unsure where to start, talk to your website designer and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you are going to invest money and time into a website, you need to understand at least a little bit about how it works and what to avoid.

In reality, your website designer will handle all the technical stuff. Generally, you need only provide them with the information, logo and images for your website. It is still important, however, for you to be aware of the dos and don’ts when planning a website.

Mistake No. 1: Poor Website Layout and Design

Your website needs to be easy to navigate and visually appealing. Choose two or three colors and stick with them. Don’t change your color scheme on every page. Ensure your navigation bar is either at the top or the left-hand side of the screen – most people are used to that. Also consider including a navigation bar at the bottom, especially if your pages are long.

Mistake No. 2: Not Enough Information

Too often I hear people say, “I just want a website with a little bit of information so that it is not too busy.” This is a big mistake. When people are looking on the Internet, they want the information right there and then. They don’t want to have to wait until they can e-mail you or speak to you on the phone to get more details. Remember, your visitors may be looking at your website out of business hours and if they don’t find the details they are looking for, they will go elsewhere.

Mistake No. 3: No Credibility

Many website owners fail to prove their credibility. Remember, you are competing with thousands, if not millions of other websites and, if you don’t prove you have credibility; your visitors will never convert into paying customers. Adding testimonials from happy customers, before and after photos, articles that have been printed or published, details of awards you have won and industry associations you belong to all help to show your customers you are trustworthy and reliable.

Mistake No. 4: Ignoring What the Search Engines Need

Don’t forget to include relevant keywords and key phrases so search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing can easily index the information. Add your keywords to the title of your pages, in the headings, within the content and also in your images’ alt tags and meta tag description. If you are unsure what meta tags are, check with your website designer.

Mistake No. 5: Forgetting To Include Call to Action

Make sure you tell your customers what you want them to do on your site. If you want them to download a report, tell them where, and how. If you want them to phone you, ensure you provide your phone number.

For those planning to have an e-commerce website and sell products / services online, see tip No. 6.

Mistake No. 6: Dodgy Payment Gateway

People often get nervous when it comes to leaving their credit card details online, so ensure you use a reputable service, such as PayPal, for processing payments. Include details of your service provider on your website.

Mistake No. 7: Forgetting to Include Privacy and Returns Policy

Let people know you will not sell or rent their personal details and clearly outline your returns policy.

Mistake No. 8: Not Including Money Back Guarantee
Take the risk out of doing business with you by providing a money back guarantee. The longer the guarantee, the better.

Mistake No. 9: Assuming People Will Buy From You On First Visit

Ninety-eight percent of visitors won’t buy from you on the first visit, so it is important you find a way to keep in touch with them. This can be via an electronic newsletter, in which case you will need to collect their details. You can also ask them to subscribe to your blog, ‘like’ your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter or another social network.

Remember, having a professional website is not just about the perfect layout, it is also about the content that you include on the site. The less mistakes you make when planning your website, the less time and money you will waste having to fix them later on. Take your time putting your website together and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something.

Ivana Katz makes it easy for you to get your business online very quickly. If you’re looking for a professional and affordable website designer, visit and download a free website plan.