“So I just created this dope website with Wix. Let me show you how I did it!” Sound familiar? Do-it-yourself website builders encourage individuals and business-owners to go it alone with their professional website all the time, and their drag-and-drop templates make it seem simple. Even though this option is tempting, the end-game should be to build trust with your audience through a secure and intuitive interface. We chatted with our web development team to get a better idea of what pitfalls a solo website launch might entail.
1. Not Regularly Adding New Content
Have you ever looked at a website with content that hasn’t been updated in months or even years? If so, you know that it can be challenging to get a sense of what the business is up to or find the information you’re searching for. You might even think that the business isn’t around anymore, and you may not contact them or visit their website in the future.
But the problem with outdated content goes even beyond the opinion of your audience; it also impacts your future audience. You see, Google monitors all websites via the use of web crawlers, which go through websites and index their content. The more active a website is with fresh content and the use of relevant keywords, the higher the index will be and the more likely this website will be easily discovered through Google’s search functions.
Essentially, uploading content regularly keeps your website informative, trustworthy, and relevant.
2. Using a Cheap Server
However, there are a couple problems with purchasing a domain name that runs on an inexpensive server. Consider this… the server is a bit like the foundation on a house, you want a solid one. The server affects how the rest of your site runs, and so as you bring more people on to your team or “renovate” your site in any way, you want to have a solid foundation! If you eventually want to add more functionality to your website (say, a shopping cart so you can sell products), a web developer will have to work in the back-end of one of these hosting companies. This process can be time-consuming which results in higher costs to the client.
Another issue that you may encounter is that a poor server may affect the loading speed of your site. Considering that the average user exits a site after about 10 seconds, the speed of your site is critical. You want to deliver information as quickly as possible. This not only builds credibility but it also increases the potential for a user to dig deeper into the site. In the end, you get what you pay for, and it will serve you well to pay for a solid foundation that will survive any scale that comes its way.
3. Not Using Your Site to Take Customer Information
Your website is your company’s Internet HQ so optimize it to connect with your customer. Imagine having a brick-and-mortar headquarters with no front desk or customer service? That’s what your website would be like if you didn’t use it to communicate and share information with your customers.
Beyond providing them with clear information about your products and services, you also want to give them options to connect. A contact form is a great option, because it gives customers a chance to interact with you and it simultaneously collects their contact information. Sign-up forms for alerts, email newsletters, or e-books are also a great way to get connected. Finally, link to your social media on the site to gain followers that care about your business.
4. Not Getting SSL For Your Site
The Internet is not a one-way form of communication. Information that travels on the Internet is passed from computer to computer, putting it at risk of data breaches and hacks. Think of all the information you submit to a website every day: typing into a search bar, logging into your account, or paying your bills online. That’s why SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encrypts sensitive information and thereby ensures the safety and security of the Internet. In a digital era, it’s pretty important stuff.
But not all websites have SSL certificates, and Google is cracking down. This year, if your website requires any kind of text input and lacks an SSL certificate, it will flag the website with a red “Not Secure” notice in the upper corner. As you can imagine, having an SSL certificate is a big deal in terms of cybersecurity, and building trust with your customers. Obtaining an SSL certificate protects you from data breaches that will be harmful to your business.
The Internet is an undeniably integral part of the way we do business and building a website is an important step! It is your home base for how customers interact with you. When you are ready to build your site, go about it the right way to allow for fluid communication with clients and to support long term growth.
(Photo courtesy of Gabriel Beaudry on Unsplash. Pro tip: many photos of computers on Unsplash feature blank screens, providing an opportunity to overlay them with your web design work! Take a look at Unsplash‘s terms for use here).