Building your first website can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be a daunting task. With so many options and decisions to make, it's easy to fall into some common website-building traps. As experts in website development, we've seen it all and want to help you avoid these pitfalls. In this article, we'll discuss common website-building mistakes that first-time builders often make and provide you with tips to overcome them. Don't forget to sign up for the Limecube newsletter at the end of the article for more expert advice!
1. Neglecting the planning stage
The excitement of diving into building a website often leads to a rush to start designing and creating content. However, this can lead to a poorly structured website that's difficult to navigate and maintain. Planning your website's structure and content is crucial for creating a user-friendly experience and ensuring your site is scalable.
Take the time to create a sitemap or outline of your website, which includes all the pages you'll need and their hierarchy. Consider the purpose of each page and the actions you want your visitors to take. This will help you create a logical structure for your site, making it easier for both you and your visitors to navigate.
Source: (Smashing Magazine, 2021)[^1^]
2. Failing to prioritise mobile responsiveness
With more than half of all internet traffic coming from mobile devices[^2^], it's essential to ensure your website is responsive and looks great on all screen sizes. Failing to do so can result in a poor user experience and even hurt your search engine ranking, as Google now considers mobile-friendliness a ranking factor[^3^].
To avoid this mistake, choose a responsive website builder or template and consistently test your site on various devices and screen sizes. Make sure all elements, including images and videos, scale appropriately and that your site remains easy to navigate on smaller screens.
3. Using low-quality visuals
Visuals play a significant role in creating a professional and appealing website. However, first-time builders often make the mistake of using low-quality images or visuals that don't align with their brand. This can harm your credibility and deter visitors from engaging with your content.
Invest in high-quality visuals that accurately represent your brand and message. If you're unable to create custom visuals, consider using royalty-free stock images from reputable sources like Unsplash or Pexels. Make sure to optimise your images for the web to reduce loading times and maintain site performance.
4. Ignoring search engine optimisation (SEO)
SEO is critical for driving organic traffic to your website and ensuring your content is found by your target audience. Unfortunately, first-time builders often overlook the importance of optimising their site for search engines.
To avoid this mistake, familiarise yourself with basic SEO principles and implement them throughout your website. This includes using relevant keywords in your content, creating descriptive and unique title tags and meta descriptions for each page, and ensuring your site is easy to navigate and loads quickly.
5. Overloading your website with too many elements
It's tempting to include every possible feature, widget, and design element on your website. However, doing so can create a cluttered and confusing user experience. Less is often more when it comes to web design, and a clean, simple layout can be more effective in driving conversions and keeping your visitors engaged.
Focus on the most critical elements of your site and remove anything that doesn't add value or contribute to your goals. Keep your design and navigation straightforward, prioritising usability over flashy effects or unnecessary extras.
6. Inconsistent branding
Your website should reflect your brand's identity and values consistently across all pages. Inconsistent branding can confuse your visitors and detract from your credibility. First-time builders sometimes use different fonts, colours, and styles throughout their site, leading to a disjointed appearance.
To maintain consistency, establish a brand style guide that outlines your chosen fonts, colours, and other design elements. Use this guide as a reference when designing your website to ensure a cohesive and professional look.
7. Neglecting website security
Website security is vital to protect your site and its visitors from potential threats. First-time builders often overlook essential security measures, putting their website and user data at risk.
Ensure your website is secure by implementing HTTPS with an SSL certificate, keeping your software and plugins up to date, and using strong passwords for your website admin account. Additionally, consider adding security plugins or features offered by your website builder to further safeguard your site.
8. Not tracking website performance
Understanding how your website performs is crucial for identifying areas for improvement and measuring the success of your efforts. However, first-time builders often neglect to track and analyse their website's performance.
Set up analytics tracking on your website using tools like Google Analytics to monitor visitor behaviour, traffic sources, and other valuable insights. Regularly review this data to make informed decisions about your website's design, content, and marketing strategies.
9. Failing to have a clear call-to-action (CTA)
A clear CTA is essential for guiding your visitors towards a desired action, such as signing up for your newsletter or making a purchase. First-time builders often make the mistake of burying their CTA within their content or using vague language that doesn't inspire action.
Ensure your CTA stands out by using contrasting colours, placing it in a prominent location, and using clear, actionable language. This will make it easier for your visitors to understand the next steps and help increase your conversion rate.
10. Forgetting to test your website
Testing your website on various browsers, devices, and screen sizes is crucial for ensuring a consistent and positive user experience. However, first-time builders often skip this step, leading to undiscovered issues and a subpar experience for some visitors.
Before launching your website, thoroughly test it to identify and fix any issues. Regularly review your website's performance and functionality to ensure it remains accessible and user-friendly as you make updates and changes.
11. Not considering website accessibility
Accessibility ensures that your website is usable by all visitors, including those with disabilities. First-time builders often overlook accessibility, potentially excluding a significant portion of their audience and possibly violating legal requirements in certain countries.
To make your website more accessible, follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)1 and incorporate features like alternative text for images, keyboard navigation, and proper heading structure. Regularly test your website for accessibility and make improvements as needed.
12. Underestimating the importance of quality content
While design and layout are essential, the content on your website is what keeps visitors engaged and encourages them to return. First-time builders often focus on design at the expense of creating valuable, well-written content.
Invest time and effort into crafting high-quality content that is relevant, informative, and engaging for your target audience. Regularly update and expand your content to keep your website fresh and encourage repeat visits.
13. Overlooking the importance of website speed
A slow-loading website can frustrate visitors and lead to higher bounce rates. Many first-time builders unknowingly create websites with large images, unoptimised code, or unnecessary features that slow down the site.
Optimise your website for speed by compressing images, minimising the use of plugins, and utilising caching solutions. Test your site's speed regularly using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights2 and make improvements as needed.
14. Not engaging with your audience
Building a website is just the first step in creating an online presence. To foster a sense of community and encourage repeat visits, it's essential to engage with your audience through comments, social media, or email.
Make it easy for visitors to contact you or leave feedback on your website. Respond to comments and messages promptly and professionally, and consider incorporating social media feeds or plugins to encourage further interaction.
15. Failing to update your website regularly
A stagnant website can quickly become outdated and lose its appeal to visitors. First-time builders sometimes forget that maintaining and updating their website is an ongoing process.
Regularly review your website's content, design, and functionality to ensure it remains current and meets the needs of your audience. Stay informed about industry trends and best practices, and incorporate updates and improvements as needed.
By being mindful of these common website-building mistakes, you'll be better equipped to create a successful and engaging online presence. Keep learning and refining your skills, and remember to sign up for the Limecube newsletter below for ongoing expert advice and support on your website-building journey.
Failing to prioritise mobile responsiveness
Source: (Statista, 2021)2
Using low-quality visuals
Source: (Forbes, 2017)3
Ignoring search engine optimisation (SEO)
Source: (Search Engine Journal, 2021)4
Overloading your website with too many elements
Source: (Entrepreneur, 2017)5
Statista. (2021). Mobile internet traffic as percentage of total web traffic. https://www.statista.com/statistics/241462/global-mobile-phone-website-traffic-share/
Forbes Agency Council. (2017). Finding Brand Success In The Digital World. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/08/25/finding-brand-success-in-the-digital-world/?sh=2ef6d5d835c5
Search Engine Journal. (2021). SEO Basics: A Beginner's Guide to SEO. https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-101/seo-basics/
Entrepreneur. (2017). 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Your Website. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/298642
W3C. (2018). Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/
Google. (n.d.). PageSpeed Insights. https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/