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7 Deadly Sins Of Designing Your Own Website

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Over the last couple of years we've built over a hundred websites for online entrepreneurs and reviewed hundreds more. We've seen it all, and here is a list of 7 of the most common mistakes we see being made when a business owner goes it alone when creating their website.

1. No Clear Call To Action

This one you've probably heard before but it bears repeating. The call to action for each of your pages needs to be font and center - and on it's own. Too often online entrepreneurs bury their main call to action with wishy washy copy, or too many features on a page.

2. Installing Too Many Plugins

Just because you can install plugins yourself doesn't mean you should. Plugins not only slow down your site, they provide very convenient security holes for hackers to weasel their way in and wreak havoc. Very often you can get the same features that plugins provide from your web developer. When added features are custom coded they usually use less resources which makes you're site faster, and they are also integrated in a way that is more cohesive with your overall design.

3. Using Economy Hosting

Like with anything, you get what you pay for. Economy hosting may look cheap at first glance, but if you're serious about your website then premium hosting is the way to go. Premium hosting offers better site speeds, security monitoring, awesome customer support, and features that protect both you and your visitors. If you're using WordPress look for WordPress managed hosting like WP Engine or Web Synthesis. Plus they usually only cost around $30 a month which is still pretty cheap in the big scheme of things.

4. Failure To Plan

Putting together the pages on your website is not only about listing your services or products that people can buy. Each page should have its own purpose, and all pages need to serve your brand as a whole. With a little planning you can guide a visitor through the journey of becoming aware of you and your services, to building a relationship of trust, all the way to wanting to work with you over and over again.

5. Letting Software Go Out of Date

If you're using WordPress then you want to keep your plugins, themes, and WordPress installation all up to date. This will affect your site speed as well as security. The caveat is that you need to be careful because the older your site is, the more likely it could break when updating the software so you'll want to have your developer on hand to do these updates for you in case something goes south.

6. Using A Free Theme

When starting out you obviously want to save money, and there are so many great and affordable premium themes out there that using a free one is just silly. (Though I won't lie, my first website was done with a free theme.) Free themes are generally not kept up to date, they don't have support, and can be fraught with security holes. Just say no to free themes. Studiopress offers a great variety of themes that are well coded, customizable and under $100. Plus, when you hire us to do your website *wink wink* we build our sites on their framework and you'll already be familiar with where everything is so you can keep the site up to date yourself.

7. Making Assumptions

Websites are subjective and therefore open to interpretation which means making assumptions can be dangerous. Like, assuming most visitors will see the button you want them to click, assuming they are going to go to your pages in order, assuming they will infer meaning from your clever tagline or page content. On the web you need to be blunt, you need to tell your visitor what you want them to do next, you need to be clear about what you want them to know or take way from your content, and you need to be intentional about everything that is on your site.

Making any of these mistakes could end up costing you a lot of business. Every day it seems I hear about someone's website getting hacked and they lose everything, or a business owner giving up because their website isn't performing well. And all of these are completely avoidable if you know what to look out for and find the right people to help you.

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Author

Holly Chantal

Holly Chantal is the founder of The Land of Brand, a website design and branding company for coaches and solopreneurs. Go to http://www.thelandofbrand.com and download a free video training on how to use your personality to create a unique brand - because your mom was right when she said you were special.

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