As important as your brick-and-mortar offices or storefront might be, your website plays just as important a role in establishing the legitimacy and image of your brand on the Internet. Oftentimes, visitors will never set foot inside your physical office space, but they’ll have your website bookmarked and available to pull up at a moment’s notice in the event that they might need your services.
Your website’s design is so important and influential on customer perception that it’s considered to be the primary indicator of a business’s credibility by 48% of the general public. For businesses just starting out and going about designing a website, or businesses looking to relaunch their website, it’s crucial to stick the landing and deliver a quality experience that will stand up to even the toughest scrutiny.
Ready to consult a professional web designer in Boston?
As a web design agency in Boston, GoingClear Interactive has learned to navigate the potential pitfalls and mistakes businesses can make in designing and launching a new website, and we’re here to share our insight. So take a seat and get ready to take notes as we explore what it takes to avoid creating a terrible website.
Building a Website Correctly
All of the mistakes that you could make in launching a website can be summed up into a single, simple warning: Have a plan. Do your research, understand your basic business needs, and unless you have a background in web design and the time and resources, find a company like GoingClear that specializes in website design to implement all the work.
The bottom line is that you’re a small to medium business looking to populate your little bit of Internet real estate, and the decisions you make now will impact your business’s success for years to come. Working with professionals to create a road map and establish goals at the beginning will save you from all of the mistakes you could make. What mistakes might those be?
1. Failing to Prepare Your SEO Strategy
Ultimately your goal is for potential customers to be able to find your business through searches on Google and other popular search engines. Unfortunately, what many businesses fail to understand in the beginning is that the adage of “if you build it, they will come,” isn’t exactly accurate when it comes to websites. You could build the most amazing website experience that will guarantee perfect conversion rates for every visitor, but if you fail to establish a foundation around effective search engine optimization strategies, the number of visitors who will find your website in a standard search will be extremely low.
Because SEO is a complicated process built around keyword identification, backlinking, on-page links, content management, and other associated technical requirements that must be implemented at a design level, it’s crucial to involve a partner in the design process that understands the technical design requirements for preparing a website for SEO.
2. Waiting Until After Launch to Start Caring About Analytics
Every action a potential customer takes to find, interact with, and navigate your website creates data that you can potentially use to improve the user experience. Much of this data can be captured through free search engine based tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Waiting until your website has already launched and is active to set up analytics tools means you’ve missed capturing all of the foundational data that you can use to create a baseline. Experienced web design agencies will utilize these free tools in conjunction with other metric tracking methods integrated into the design of the website to allow for iterative, data-driven improvements over time.
3. Neglecting to Test the UI and UX
Further, launching your website without testing every single internal and external link, drop-down menu, call to action button, and web form on your site is a recipe for disaster. Poor testing or no testing at all can lead to launching a website full of dead links, broken navigation elements, or numerous instances of poor mobile optimization. This will negatively impact the customer experience and will lead to customers abandoning your brand for businesses with more reliable websites.
4. No SSL Certificate
Up until the last few years, you could have gotten away with launching a website without an associated secure socket layer (SSL) certificate. Warnings might have indicated to visitors your website wasn’t secured, but the visual cues varied depending on the website. Recently, however, Google has set the precedent that it would penalize websites in search engine results pages that didn’t present as having an SSL in place. If a website shows up as HTTP and not HTTPS now, browsers will indicate near the address bar that the website isn’t secure, and in some cases, if an SSL is in place but expired or improperly configured, certain security levels on some browsers won’t even allow you to navigate to that page.
5. Weak Calls to Action
As important as posting content is, you can’t just go about reposting links to the blogs of others or writing blogs about topics that have nothing to do with your business. We’ve spoken at length in a recent piece about writing impactful blogs that rank well in search engine results, but we’d like to add that in addition to strong, well-crafted informational or educational content that incorporates targeted keywords and phrases that uses strong onsite linking and off-site backlinks to reputable sources, it’s crucial that you utilize those blogs as platforms for strong calls to action. Blogs without a link to your other services or more information about your brand, or even a web form to request more information about a product you’ve got on the market, those blogs do little more than occupy space on your website. You want every page within the structure of your site to have a purpose and help potential customers ultimately become established clients. Guide them through the experience towards your paid services in a way that feels natural and organic and you’ve created a lifelong customer.
6. No Regard to Current Business Initiatives or With Little Fanfare
Whether this is the first time your brand is launching a website or if this is your tenth website rebranding and relaunch, it’s important to coordinate the launch with downtimes in your operation so that the personnel who should be supporting the website launch can do so without distraction or interruption. Launching a new website in the middle of marketing initiatives without taking those initiatives into account can damage customer perception and impact your bottom line if suddenly products or service offerings change with little warning. And don’t shy away from making as much noise about a website launch in the appropriate channels as possible. Building the buzz and creating excitement around a website launch will ensure maximum engagement with the new site from the start.
You Are Not Alone. GoingClear is Here to Help!
As we pointed out at the outset in this article, poor planning will sabotage the launch of a new website faster than anything else. However, we also know that not every company has the means or the expertise to launch a new website on their own. As a premier, Boston-based web design agency, our goal at GoingClear Interactive is to ensure our clients avoid these and the many other pitfalls and mistakes that are possible without a strong partnership in place. Get the help you need from our team of design experts and launch the website you need to get your business off the ground.