I find myself writing this article over and over again every few months on various sites. The thing is that ugly websites make my head hurt. Even more so, business websites that take me back to Geocities, or worse, Angelfire make me beg for a thunderstorm to wipe out the electricity just to protect my eyes and all that is beautiful in the world. So, yet again, I sit here typing this hoping that those of you who find that you have made mistakes will stop and get help. FAST.
What are the mistakes?
(1) You did not buy your own domain name. How many times do I have to say this? If you are serious about your business them spend the $11.00 it costs to buy your domain name. What is a domain name? Easy- it is what appears in the ADDRESS BAR of your browser when you visit a web site. Here, it is yestechno.com, but yours is something like iminbusiness.cheaply.com. Why is mine better than yours? I took my time. I thought about it. And I respected my business enough to treat it to a domain name that is unique and belongs only to my business. Remember you have to spend money to make money, so don’t pinch pennies.
(2) You named your business something like Tempting Tempts, and you are a photographer. In other words, your business name and domain name DO NOT demonstrate the services that you perform. This is called Branding. If you don’t take the time to consider how you want your customers to view you, just stop now! You won’t have any customers, so you may as well stop trying to build a business. And don’t be self-deprecating. If you are a wedding planner and you name your business, Waste Your Money Weddings, no one will hire you. And if you are trying to hook upscale clients, naming your Spa, Wax Dat Azz, is probably the wrong way to go.
(3) Your logo is Clip-Art. Unless your business is drawing and selling clip-art, please refrain from using it in your logo. Graphic Designers exists just so that you don’t have to rely on clipart to brand (see, it’s that word again) your business. Hire one! Spend the money because if you don’t have any experience in graphic art (and I am not talking uploading your profile picture to Facebook) you are only hurting yourself.
(4) You are using a BLOG when what you need is a Website. A blog is a journal. It is meant to be updated regularly. If you are selling a product or a service that would benefit from on-topic articles written by you or another expert, then use a blog as an added bonus and only if you KNOW that you will update it consistently. However, if you are just providing information to your customer that will not change often and/or do not have the time to commit to a blog, don’t use one. While both a website and a Blog can run on a Content Management System (like WordPress), they are not one in the same! Think before you leap!
(5) You did not proofread or edit your Website. We are all guilty of missing errors in our content. Heck, you may find some in this post. But one error is OK, spelling your own products incorrectly or inconsistently is NEVER acceptable. Proofread. Then have your more reliable and intelligent friends proofread for you. Use browser add-ons like Grammarly or the WordPress Plugin After the Deadline to aid in your error-free quest.
(6) You created your website yourself without a designer and developer. Look, I know that many people look at a website and think, “I can do that,” but the face is that unless you can read and write code, understand web design and how it is different from print, typography, color awareness, FTP, CSS, PHP, HTML (and all the variations), CMS vs Static HTML and more, it is a task too big for you to carry. And while there a hundreds of sites that promise that you can build a website without coding or knowledge of how to code, doing so means you give up advanced customization and the functionality that you may need to make your website work for your business. And your customers will know if you took a shortcut.
What things do you think make a business website less attractive to you as a consumer?