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When WitMark Branding and Marketing Group puts pen to paper, they make a splash. As their Media Assistant, I have been responsible for executing marketing strategies, maintaining brand presence on social media for a variety of clients, and creating content. I created this blog post in collaboration with the website development team for WitMark Branding and Marketing Group.
“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 of your website 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 kind of major pitfalls a solo website launch might entail.
1. Not 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But the problem with outdated content goes even beyond the opinion of your audience; it also impacts your future audience.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
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of buying a domain name? Chances are, it’s GoDaddy. GoDaddy is one of many sites that offers inexpensive domain names and makes the process seem simple for first-time website builders.
However, there are a couple problems with purchasing a domain name that runs on a cheap server. First, 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 GoDaddy, which many web developers refuse to do based on it’s time-consuming nature.
And second, a poor server will affect the loading speed of your site. Considering that the average Internet user will exit a site after an average of 10 seconds, it builds your credibility and increases your readership to create a speedy website. 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 headquarters on the Internet, and that makes it valuable real estate when it comes to catering to your customers. 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 obtain information from your customers.
There are a lot of ways that you can use your website to obtain customer information. 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 in terms of credibility and trust with your customers. Whether or not you have an SSL certificate is public information, and obtaining one communicates to your customers that you care, and 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, and so it’s worth it to do it in a way that allows for fluid communication and room for development and growth.