Posted by in Webmaster Essentials.

Coming up with a great website is critical if you want it to be successful. Below are some of the most common mistakes and simple solutions that might help you run an effective and efficient website.

Mistake #1: Having Unrealistic Expectations

Growing a website takes time. Nurturing it into a profitable business requires even more time. Let’s be realistic. Marketing efforts like SEM, SEO, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing are not quick fix solutions. These are proven Internet Marketing strategies that work for the long term.

Be patient and consistent, and time is all else you need before you see results.

Mistake #2: Shady Web Design

If you’re running a proper business, it is only expected that you have a proper website that looks pleasing and professional. It’s just like having a well conceptualized retail store in the physical world. We all feel good when we walk into one and when feel good, we buy from the store.

The same goes for a website. You want your visitors to feel good enough to buy from you. As the saying goes, “A First Impression Can Make Or Break”.

Consult a professional web designer to create a great site if you’re going for the long.

Mistake #3: Too Much Information

Providing information about your products or services is good. But having too much may not be helpful because it clutters your site and makes it difficult for your visitors to look for what they want. And when your visitors cannot find what they’re looking for, they’ll leave your site.

Try to keep information as simple and minimal on your website. Only include the key points about your products or services and encourage your visitors to contact you if they need more information. You could also include PDF downloads to your product brochures or whitepapers for people who’re interested to read more. Just don’t clutter the site.

Mistake #4: Complicated Navigation

Some websites are just too complicated in nature. They have web pages hidden under web pages and just link you all around until you don’t remember where you came from. When you have a complicated navigation structure, you’re only inviting your visitors to the exit door (because that’s the easiest way for your visitor).

Keep your site hierarchy as flat as possible. The recommended number of hierarchy level is 2, maximum 3. Include internal links on every sub pages that leads back to the top level. Use breadcrumbs whenever possible. It helps your visitors to have a “visual footprint” on how they arrive on any page.

Mistake #5: Inadequate Research

Do your research. Borrow a book or speak with a professional and know what it takes to build a successful website from the start. Plan ahead and execute your plan stage by stage. Many websites started off not knowing their destination and they ended up failing despite the enormous amount of effort the owners put in.

If you have no clue on how to build a successful website, it is best to speak with a web professional that has the relevant knowledge and skills to help you develop a strategy for growing your site. Trust me. You will spend less time detouring and more time building what is needed.

Mistake #6: Looking for SEO Loopholes and Playing Tricks

This is also known as Blackhat SEO. Blackhat SEO techniques intentionally, and often illegally, influence the search engine to increase the ranking of a website on search results. While this might make your site stand out for a while, it usually ends up bringing more harm than good once the search engine discovers it.

Don’t risk getting your website banned from search engines. Follow the correct path and your site will be in good hands.

Mistake #7: Duplicate Content

Some website owners like to “duplicate” a similar article they found on another site and post it as their own (with or without credits) to increase their searchability. While it may work in the past, it may no longer work now and you may even get penalize for the act.

Google takes huge pride in their ability to deliver relevant and accurate search results and they’re constantly improving their search algorithm for this. With the latest Google Penguin update, your site will be penalized for content that you duplicate from elsewhere.

Come up with some high quality content of your own. Your websites should be made for your visitors, not for Google. The only way to build a long term relationship with your visitors is to have your own unique content that reflects your skills, knowledge and personality.

Mistake #8: Having Too Many Ads

Selling ads to generate revenue for your site is good. But having too many is not. It gives your website a spammy feel. Let’s face it, no one likes to be fed with ads forcefully. If you’re having more than half of your site filled with ads, you may want to reconsider your strategy. Your visitors are here for your content, not your ads. If they don’t feel comfortable with your site, they’ll leave and never come back again.

When it comes to ads, I always believe we need to strike a balance between your short term vs long term goals. Short term = making one-time revenue gains through the ads. Long term = getting your visitors to be comfortable so they’ll keep coming back in future (potential for more revenues).

As a guideline, I recommend the 80-20 ratio. 80% quality content. 20% ads.

Mistake #9: Relying Solely on SEO

SEO is a long term strategy. Relying solely on SEO can be very dangerous as you might end up waiting for a long time before you see results. After all, we don’t own the search engines. We can’t control how or when the search engines will rank your pages. That’s a fact we can’t deny.

It is essential for you to have multiple traffic generation strategies from the start. Some other strategies you may consider are, Guest Blogging, Forum Participation, Email Marketing or even sending out traditional Direct Mailers. The idea is to build as many different traffic streams as you can right from the start.

Mistake #10: Creating Flash-based Site

Flash-based websites used to be the cool thing in the past. But with more people surfing the web using mobile devices like iPhone and Android phones, ensuring that your website is accessible via these devices is crucial. As of this writing, Flash is officially not supported on Apple iOS and Google Android (v4.1 Jellybean and above). If you have a Flash-based website, chances are, users would not be able to view your site with these devices.

Avoid building websites that are flash-based unless you really need to (eg. animation movie). Use Javascript UI libraries like jQueryDojo or Mootools if you’re looking to build an interactive site. These tools can pretty much achieve what Flash can do for UI.

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