Starting your website today is not difficult, but beginners, in particular, make a lot of mistakes.
Therefore, today I would like to introduce 20 beginner mistakes that I keep seeing on new websites (whether corporate websites, affiliate websites or some other kind) and that you should avoid on your new website if possible.
20 beginner mistakes on new websites
I’ve been freelance online for more than eight years now and have been building my websites for more than 13 years. Of course, a lot has changed during this time, and I’ve been able to gain a lot of experience. But I’ve also kept seeing mistakes from beginners that made their websites unsuccessful.
I list 20 such errors below so that you can avoid these errors on your new website. The order of the mistakes is not so important because everyone can make a website a failure.
1.Black Hat SEO
“Black Hat SEO” means search engine optimization methods that try to fool Google and Co. through various technical and content-related tricks. it’sIt’s about making your website more meaningful and exciting than it is in the eyes of search engines.
Some specialists know the latest black hat tricks and use them to get websites to the top of Google and Co quickly. That is why it usually takes a while before the search engines throw them out of the index. But that’s okay because then these people with other tricks will have many other websites at the top of Google.
The black hat tricks used by “normal” webmasters are usually long outdated measures (doorway pages, hidden text, etc.) discovered very quickly by Google and Co. today. The punishment is often swift.
You should rely on honesty for your website because you do not have the know-how of specialists, and secondly, you should rely on long-term success with your website. Those who stick to the rules will benefit from their website for a long time.
2.Fear of communication
It’s strange. Many want a website, and as many visitors as possible, but they seem to be scared when it comes to communication options.
Many do without contact forms, the comment function or other contact options or hide this information in the imprint. I cannot say precisely why this mistake is made. Perhaps you are afraid of abuse or want to be “disturbed” by your customers in your shop, but not by phone or email.
It would help if you offered as many communication options as possible, making readers feel more connected to the website and getting rid of their questions. Therefore, you shouldn’t hide this information and options, but rather place them as prominently as possible on the website.
3.Look at the optics alone.
A beautiful website with great photos, graphics and elegant fonts is quite a sight. If then there are wonderfully animated elements, the designer dream is perfect.
But all too often, these beauties forget about the other essential elements of a successful website. The content and usability play a central role in the user experience of the visitors. What good is beautiful packaging if the content is not worth much or is very difficult to access?
Find a balanced mix of look and content. When in doubt, you should opt for the content or usability. Contents that are too hidden or difficult to access tend to deter many users.
4.Don’t look at the optics.
However, you shouldn’t go to the other extreme either. Some websites offer excellent content, but the look is just daunting. The web design must support the content and give it a suitable framework.
The basic design should be aimed primarily at the user. A modern and very tasteful design can be inappropriate if it does not suit the product and the target group. Depending on the topic and target group, there are different requirements for the graphic design of websites.
As already said in the previous point. The look of a website is an essential part of the overall package. One should neither over- nor underestimate this.
5.Do not define any goals for the website.
Many ambitious website operators make the mistake of not defining goals for their website. Many have a vague idea of how they should present themselves and their content and what they want to achieve with the website.
Without goals, however, you can neither plan the content and measures for website construction correctly nor check whether you have been successful.
Define the goals for your website in advance and optimize the content, appearance and marketing accordingly. And don’t forget to check that you’ve achieved the goals and were successful.
6.Frames and other technical sins
There are still a few relics from the early days of the web. This includes frames that were popular and unfortunately still used by some to separate parts of a website, e.g., the navigation, into separate files.
But this technique has many disadvantages. For one thing, the frames hinder search engine crawlers so that the website’s indexing is hindered. On the other hand, users can’t bookmark subpages or, for example, share them on social networks.
Other outdated HTML relics are, for example, tables, provided they are used for the layout. That, too, should be avoided.
Avoid frames and tables and use the latest web design techniques. With CSS, you can save a lot of code and also make the website very accessible. Not to mention the extended design options.
Another plague from the gray part of the Internet, which unfortunately can still be found. Pages in front of the actual website that contain such beneficial things as animation, sound files or videos.
Why should a website visitor watch a 5-minute video before moving on to the actual content? Best of all, pure self-adulation?
Give users what they are looking for. Information on how they can satisfy their needs or fulfill their wishes. Or do you first show a 5-minute image video to visitors in a shop before they are allowed to view the products?
8.Fire and Forget
While many beginners invest a relatively large amount of time creating a website initially, many websites lie idle afterward. But especially today, it is essential to incorporate current and new content regularly.
This works wonders for search engines and gives returning readers new reading material over and over again. Also, you rank for new search terms and traffic increases. Current news, new background information, exciting reviews, offers, interviews and much more can be published on your website and regularly provide new content.
A website requires constant maintenance, which is why you should expand, optimize and improve your website regularly.
9.Too little text
One of the biggest mistakes I keep seeing is text poverty on many websites. The operators do not seem to have thought of more than 2 or 3 sentences per page. The text is the central point of a website. Not only that you can have a very positive effect on your visitors with the right words, but you also ensure a better listing on Google and Co with as much text as possible.
Search engine robots primarily evaluate the texts, along with other on-page and off-page factors. The website or the website’s pages are ranked in the search results based on these evaluations.
Write at least 200-300 words per page (ideally even significantly more) on only one topic if possible. Instead of dealing with all ten types of tea that you are presenting on one page, you should write enough text for each tea type on a separate page.
10.”If you build it, they will come.”
Well, who knows this slightly adapted film quote? 😉
Many beginners think that a new website with exciting content is enough for visitors to break in the virtual door. Sorry to have to disappoint you. That will not happen. A few visitors will get lost on your website in the first few weeks and months, and the number will only increase slowly after that.
Nobody waits for your website and stands in line to finally get on it. You have to make your website known to potential readers. There are many possibilities for this, whereby social networks such as Facebook or Twitter are currently very suitable.
Write good texts that focus on your target group’s problems and needs and promote them on social networks. Get active in related forums or on other blogs and leave comments there. Actively exchange links etc., with related websites. Without sweat and hard work, you won’t win a flower pot on the Internet either, because the virtual world is no different from the real world.
11.Take yourself as a target group
My marketing professor always liked to say: “You should never target yourself”. What he meant by that was that you should never make assumptions about your target group based solely on your own personal preferences and views.
Unfortunately, many website owners think they know their readers well. That may be partly true. Often enough, however, there are apparent differences. Also, there is, of course, not just one target group in which everyone thinks the same.
Don’t just assume that readers think precisely how you tick. It is essential to know your target group (s) with an open mind and tailor your website to their wishes and needs. Also, before and after the start of the website: test, test and test again.
Many websites are implemented just like flyers, brochures and the like. And it is often challenging to dissuade these operators from using their website for pure self-presentation. Because that is the traditional way of thinking of many: “I have to present myself as attractively and well as possible.”
That is not entirely wrong either, but the focus must be on the visitor nowadays, especially on the Internet.
You have to put the benefit for the reader in the foreground. What problems and needs do my potential readers have, and what solutions and information can I offer them. Those who know the wishes, needs and problems of their target group (s) can create optimal content.
13.Bad domain choice
Often one thing is determined very quickly, the domain name. Many beginners are obsessed with using their name as a domain name. Here, too, you should pause and think about it first.
The domain is a fundamental building block for the success of a website. On the one hand, it gives potential readers an important signal about what this website is about. On the other hand, it must also be optimal for Google because that brings ranking advantages.
When choosing the domain, you should put your ego aside and think twice. A website domain should, of course, match the goal of the website and the content. However, it should also be easy to remember and not misinterpret (e.g., foreign words). Also, a domain should contain the 1-2 most important keywords to score points in Google.
Today, many people think of many things when they start a new website, just not one thing: usability. That is one of the most critical points.
Complicated, albeit beautiful, JS menus frighten many visitors. Cryptic link names, which the designer probably found appropriate, only arouse questioning glances from the readers. You don’t have much time to get visitors to stay.
Only some of the website visitors use the one route that the designer intended. The others look into the tube.
One must never forget the readers. When in doubt, a website should be clear and straightforward rather than artistic and unique. Clear link designations, short loading times, simple menus based on a learned pattern, several ways to get to your destination. A good website should offer all of that and more.
15.’Form Follows Function’ disregarded.
The principle “Form follows function” is closely linked to the previous point. The introductory statement is that the function is the most important and that the form has to be aligned with it.
For example, in a Formula 1 car, the “drive as fast as possible” function is optimized first, and then the shape of the car and its appearance are adapted to this. It should be similar to a website. What do you want to achieve, and which functions are necessary for this. After that, you can take care of making them as beautiful as you want.
It would help if you didn’t use new techniques simply because you can, but because it makes sense. Think carefully about what your website should achieve, i.e., what its function is. And then align the shape with it.
16.Forget SEO basics
Search engine optimization is admittedly a science in itself. But the basics are half the battle, and you shouldn’t neglect them.
Many websites use the same meta tags (title, description) on every page. This is a big mistake. But other on-page SEO measures should also be taken into account.
Each page should be optimized individually. Title, description, graphics, headline etc., should be specified individually for each page. Also, only one topic should be dealt with per page and optimized for specific keywords (important: always optimize from the customer’s point of view).
It is essential to be aware that SEO has nothing to do with “shitting” across the board. Those who pay attention to the SEO basics for their website (which are also recommended by Google) have already gained a lot.
17.No content concept
Many website operators start without a content concept. Some information will be included here and then later there. Or you planned well at the start of the website, but later ran out of time and somehow slipped everything into the website.
These operators are surprised that the website does not rank well and has only a few visitors. Therefore, you should plan carefully from the start of what content you want to create and publish.
The information must be structured appropriately. Here, too, the visitor’s point of view is decisive. What are potential readers looking for, and where do they expect to find it? Also, you should separate different topics on the website. A page where you have to scroll down for hours to find specific info is terrible. One page per topic! This helps not only the visitor but also Google.
Since the website’s success is now often measured by the PageViews, i.e., the number of pages viewed, the PageView craze is rampant on many websites. Commonly long articles are divided into five pages, just so that you get five instead of 1 PageView.
Many readers are annoyed by such practices and will not come back the next time is often overlooked.
When providing information, one should again think of the visitor first. How is it ideal for him, and where do several subpages make sense?
19.Lack of control
Many small operators deal with their website like a trip into the blue. After starting the website, neither testing nor anything is measured.
But since a website is never finished and can and should always be optimized, you have to know how things are.
Measuring and controlling are the prerequisites for adequate control. You should at least measure the most critical statistical vital figures and their development, carry out user tests and otherwise check your website from time to time. With the help of the Search Console, you can monitor your website, and Google will report any errors immediately.
20.No monetization concept
Regardless of whether it is an affiliate website, a professional blog, niche website or company website. This is about operators who want to earn money with it. Therefore, it is quite surprising that there are often nebulous ideas about what a website or blog should bring in in the end. “Let’s see what comes out” often means, or “I want to make my company a little better known.”
In financial terms, too, you should set clear goals. You can then “attach price tags” to these goals. These are then measurable and controllable.
How many appointments do you want to generate using the contact form, and what is the average turnover of an appointment? How many visitors should you click on the website’s affiliate links, and what will they then buy on average? That is certainly not easy, but it helps to estimate the costs and effort correctly. Operators usually rush to expand their website with enthusiasm once they have recognized what their website brings them in. A clear “Call to Action” button or something similar in the appropriate places is part of the transparent monetization. This active approach to website visitors is often missing.