Making your own website is a rewarding endeavor that can boost your visibility on the web help you generate business or raise awareness for your goals. There are a few common pitfalls new website owners tend to discover, however, but by knowing what to avoid when making a website you can ensure the success of your project. Check out these top 5 things to avoid when making your next website so you’ll be prepared for success.
There are countless companies advertising to business owners and others who are looking to build their first website. Many of these companies offer monthly plans for what, to the untrained eye, may look like a self-hosting solution but in reality are platform-hosted solutions. If you’re going to make a website that looks professional, can handle spikes in traffic, and attains high rankings in search engines then you’ll want to choose a self-hosting option.
The most popular website-building platform on the web in 2018 is WordPress. Many website owners don’t realize that there are in fact two versions of this Content Management System (CMS,) however. WordPress.com allows users to create web pages on the WordPress website, whereas WordPress.org offers a downloadable CMS that you can install on your own professional web hosting.
Unless you’re starting a small personal blog and don’t care about traffic, control over how your website looks and functions, and countless other factors then you should go with the .org version of WordPress or a similar website-building platform. Look for a shared hosting plan, VPS hosting, or cloud hosting so that you will have full access to the server your website sits on and total control over your website.
2. Over-Complicating the Process
Many business owners and individuals who want to build a website are stopped in their tracks at the thought of all the technical work involved in the process. With the newer tools available to build websites, you don’t really have to worry about this anymore. You don’t need any knowledge of coding, HTML, CSS, or any scripting language to build a professional and responsive website today.
The easiest way to build a website is to find web hosting, choose a CMS, and install a theme or template that allows you to customize your content. Three of the most popular CMSs are WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. Either of these systems will work great but if you have zero technical training WordPress is probably your best bet.
There’s no need to start building your website with the minimalist, plain theme offered by these site-building applications. You’ll have a much easier time if you install a theme that contains demo content and was made for your specific CMS. There are several leading template developers to choose from including ThemeForest, TemplateMonster, and even the official WordPress Theme Directory. Themes and templates generally range from free to about $70.
3. Not Making Use of Free Tools
If you’re on a budget or are making your first website and don’t know everything you’ll end up needing to purchase, then you should make use of as many free and open-source tools as you can. You can even make a website for free with many of the modern tools available, you’ll just need to pay for hosting and your domain name which together often total under $150 per year.
Start with a free CMS like the three mentioned above, and choose a free theme from the official CMS repository to get started. Browse for free plugins to add any functionality you may need. You can even find free graphics and icons on the web to complete the styling of your website.
If you need to edit images or content for your website try downloading open-source applications like GIMP and LibreOffice, and there’s even free FTP clients like FileZilla for when you need to upload large amounts of files to your web server.
4. Choosing Quantity over Quality
Google and other search engines have changed the unofficial rules of the web quite a bit in the past decade. At one point in time websites with a lot of content could rise to the top of the search engine results, regardless of the quality of their content.
Updates like Google Panda have helped website owners discover that quality matters more than quantity on the modern web. Make sure all of your articles are unique and original and that your images are licensed for your website and not just taken from unauthorized sources to keep up with these current web standards.
5. Failing to Optimize Your Website
One mistake many new websites owners make is the failure to optimize their website to load more quickly and be viewed more favorably by search engines. When the search engine crawlers browse your website they will be looking for several factors and judging accordingly.
Make sure your images are properly compressed, your text is unique and well-written, and that your links are functional before launching your website to the public. You can check your images for optimization using an online tool like Optimizilla.
By avoiding these common mistakes your website will look and function great while being ranked favorably by Google and other important search indexes. Make sure you avoid any free or platform-based hosting solutions and save money on website-constructions tools wherever possible. Optimize your images and media and avoid reusing texts that have been published on other websites to make sure you receive lots of traffic on your new website.