Before you decide to invite me to participate in the planning of your website, read this. This article could also be titled “10 most common web design mistakes” (keep track of how many you’ve been guilty of in the past):
1. Skipping steps.
There’s no way to circumvent planning, wireframes, individual landing pages and belonging graphics, testing environments, script testing and finally the publication of a landing page. Every omitted step will result in problems in the following steps, not to mention poor(er) results.
2. All that our website needs is a facelift.
This can be true. However, if more than two years have passed from the launch of your current website, you’re missing out on new functionalities that can help improve your marketing, the website’s operation and also increase your conversion rates (sales, contacts etc.).
3. “SEO is already embedded into our website.”
This is similar to buying a bicycle that already comes with good results from the Tour de France. Yes, the basics might have already been set up, but just like the bicycle, your website needs to be adapted to your needs. And what’s most important – it’s the foundation for the preparation of SEO-optimized content, keywords and backlinks.
4. “I’m not sure I like the website.”
That argument is completely irrelevant. There is no point of asking your in-house colleagues whether they like the website. Indeed, it should remain within the boundaries of the CGP and you should collect a sufficient amount of data on website operation that will serve as the leading factor in the planning of the website user experience before undertaking your renovation.
5. “We’ll transfer the content from the previous website and refresh them.”
No. No way. You need to draw up fresh content since it will serve a different purpose on the new website. And what’s most important – you need to start preparing new content as soon as the first wireframes start emerging or at least when the first graphics are ready. The content is often the main culprit for the delay of the launch of your new website and might even be responsible for poor sales.
6. “Our website will be ready in X months.”
Always, always, always add another Y months. So, the formula used to calculate how long the renovation of your website will take is, “the planned amount of time” times two.
7. Don’t worry; we’ll manage to dig up the images and photos somewhere.
Countless studies were done on the added value of images on websites. You need to put up quality images of products, categories, the company etc. Remember that they’re costly and take time to prepare. So start early.
8. We’ll focus on the analytics when the website goes live.
No. Absolutely not. Efficient analytics implementation (enhanced e-commerce with events, not to mention the import of other data) requires planning and a month or two of work and testing. These activities need to be engaged in from the word go when you’re still preparing the website (which is most often after the graphics have been completed).
9. We’ll test the website when it goes live.
You’ve just committed two mistakes. First, you’re not going to test the website without an objective. You need a testing plan and workflows, and this (mistake numero due) needs to be done on a test server. It’ll be too late once the website goes live.
10. We’ll use an open source CMS. It’ll be simpler and more cost effective.
Not true. Yes, WordPress, Magneto and other open source CMS’ can be a great basis for a quality website. However, that shouldn’t affect the planning and production processes. CMS’ bring certain advantages and shortcomings which we should be familiar with in order to select the right one, and of course, the services of a professional (or professionals) should be procured to implement and use them.
11. When we’re done, we’ll just remodel the website for mobile devices.
No. Nowadays, websites are designed by first planning the user experience on mobile devices, which forms the foundation for the desktop website. I mean it, I’m not kidding.
So how many of these mistakes have you ever done? If you’ve never built a website, I can assure you that by the time you finish, you’ll commit at at least three.
In the past, I’ve been a member in teams tasked with the planning of website worth between €500 and €50,000, website that have received awards at festivals and conferences and websites visited by tens of thousands of users daily. I’ve been guilty of different mistakes, and I’m letting you in on them so you can avoid them.
The process that’ll result in a quality website (aesthetic, sales-oriented, capable of conversion, award-winning – choose your preference) should be the same every single time, and you should stick to your plan the same way a camper sticks to his mouse in Call of Duty:
- Analyses of buyers, their needs and the steps constituting the purchase process.
- Analyses of the existing website, data, user flow and user experience issues.
- Review (to avoid the third consecutive use of “analysis”) of already completed as well as planned marketing activities (often, this step is omitted).
- Website planning (nowadays, we start by designing the mobile website, which is the basis for the desktop version).
- Outline of the plan to the decision-makers, programmers, planners.
- Elaboration of wireframes for each landing page type, mobile and desktop devices.
- Review of wireframes and benchmarking against the plan (ask yourself, is the user experience suitable for the target public).
- Production of graphics for each landing page type (yes, the contact form, the about tab etc. should also be included).
- Review of graphics and benchmarking against the plan.
- Preparation of contents (have I mentioned the target groups yet?).
- Creation of marketing landing pages (SEO, promotion etc. from the viewpoint of programming and content creation) and comparison to the plan.
- Website programming.
- Testing schedule planning.
- Testing on the test server.
- Review of the website and comparison to the plan.
- Uncorking the champagne.
- Website launch.
Have you noticed how many times “benchmarking or comparison” is mentioned? Yes, it should be done at least three times. That’s why it’s extremely important to produce a quality and extremely detailed website plan. Because this plan will be the foundation that you’ll continue to build on. Remember your thesis draft? That’s exactly what you need.
Together with your team (in-house or freelance), you can draw up the website plan, then finalize and launch your website. All you need is to contact me. You’ll find the contact form on the top of the site.