5 Website Mistakes That Still Happen Way Too Often (and How to Fix Them)

how to avoid website mistakes

When you first get a website the learning curve is huge. In a lot of respects you rely on the people that you are working with to give you good advice, and tell you what you need to know. But, the reality is that it takes a lot of different skills to create a great website (web design, web development, web copywriting and online marketing to name a few) and sometimes things get missed. In other cases, due to time and money limitations, some things are left until later.

In the long run, if you want a website that gets results for your business, here are five mistakes you need to avoid.

If your website isn’t suffering from any of these mistakes, give yourself, and your web team, a pat on the back.

1. Using “Welcome to….” as your Home Page Headline

The headline on your home page is an opportunity to capture the attention of your web visitors and make a good impression.

  • Your headlines should include your main keywords, so that your readers knows straight away that they have found what they were searching for
  • Your headlines should be written in a way that compels your readers to keep on reading.

If your headline reads “Welcome to {Insert Company Name}” it’s unlikely to achieve anything other than letting people know they are on your website, and you are pleased they are there. As nice as that is, your headline is capable of serving a higher purpose.

Take a fresh look at your Home Page headline and see if it needs editing. Then do the same for the headlines on the other pages of your website, and your blog articles.

To learn about editing your headlines yourself, review Copyblogger’s comprehensive information on How to Write Magnetic Headlines or contact a web copywriter who can do the editing for you.

2. No strategic use of keywords in your Home Page Title

The Title of your Home Page (aka the Title Tag) is part of the code of your website. It is an important place to include your keywords to let search engines know what your website is about.

The Title appears as the top line of text when your home page appears in a search engine results page, and it is the text that appears when that web page is shared on Social Media like Facebook or Twitter.

If you use a browser like Safari or Firebox you can see your Page Title at the very top of the browser, above where you see the URL eg on this page, look above where you see www.grassrootsinternetstrategy.com.au/5-website-mistakes

If the Page Title of your Home page hasn’t been optimised, it might say “Home” or your Business Name or Website Name.  Try Googling your business name to see what the top line of text in the search results says.

To add keywords to your Home page title, if your website is built in WordPress you can install the All in One SEO Pack plugin. If it’s not a WordPress website, speak to your web developer.

The next step is knowing how to write effective Page titles.  Read the Copy Detective’s article on How to Write Meta Tags and you can also find out more by reading Does your website look good in Google?

Once you’ve reviewed your Home Page, look at all the other pages of your website. Each page can target a unique keyword which is included in the Page Title, Headline and other strategic places.

3. No web analytics tool installed

Without a web analytics tool you have no way of finding out how your website is performing and whether or not it’s helping you achieve what you set out to do.

Google offer a free web analytics tool called Google Analytics. You can find out more about it in How to Use Google Analytics to Improve your Website.

Or ask your website company if they offer a web analytics tool. If they do, make sure they can show you how to use it!

Another mistake that’s commonly made is that Google Analytics has been installed but it has been set up the wrong way.  Ideally you should have administrator access to your Google Analytics account so that you have full control of it.

If your web developer tells you it’s not possible for you to have Administrator access to your Google Analytics account, it’s possible that your account has been set up as a Profile, rather than an Account.

This video on how to add a user to your Google Analytics account shows you how to see what level of access you have to your Google Analytics account.  If you don’t have administrator access, find out more in Who really has control of your Google Analytics account?

4. Not tracking results of marketing campaigns

Once your website is live, if you have budget available, it’s tempting to jump straight in and throw some money at your marketing and see what happens.

A better option is to be clear about the results you want to get from your marketing activities, and how you will measure those results. This will allow you to evaluate the Return on Investment of your marketing activities and determine whether you should continue committing time and money to them in the longer term.

Some examples are:

  • If you run a paid Google AdWords campaign to increase your web traffic, think about what you want to achieve (for example, more sales or enquiries) and how you will link the results back to your advertising spend.
  • Set up “Goals” in Google Analytics that allow you to track key actions that your web visitors take, such as signing up for your newsletter or making a purchase.  Once Goals are set up, you can link the completed actions back to the traffic source; for example whether the web visitors came from Organic traffic, referrals from Facebook or click throughs from your MailChimp newsletter list. This will give insights into which sources of traffic are most valuable.

If you need help or more information about the two examples above, please leave a comment and let me know.

5. Not adding new content regularly

If web traffic is important for the success of your business it’s critical that you keep your website up-to-date and have a strategy for regularly adding new content.

Each new article that you add to your website:

  • Makes your website one page bigger, adding to it’s authority with search engines.
  • Adds new keywords to your website which increases the chances of getting traffic from search engines.
  • Gives your readers, and search engine robots, a reason to re-visit your website.
  • Can entice other website owners to link to your content and links like these help to optimise your website so that you get more traffic from search engines.
  • Gives you something new to share on social media, which increases your web traffic when people click through on the link.

These are the 5 website mistakes that I still see far too often. I left out two of my “old favourite” website mistakes. One is making it incredibly difficult to find out what the website is about. For example if a website for a health provider has a huge image of a waterfall on the home page. My other “old favourite” mistake is when your contact details are really hard to find. Fortunately I don’t see either of those mistakes anywhere near as often as I used to.

What else still frustrates you when you visit a website?