Working on Your Website? Avoid These Top 3 Mistakes
A website has become a company’s most important marketing piece. A great website draws in prospects, educates them, impresses them, and helps convert them into clients. Easy enough, right? Well, not always.
There are three main mistakes we see companies make when they set out to create a new website or revamp their old one. Your own team may be making these mistakes, even if initially you’re not aware of it.
Mistake #1: Prioritizing design over strategy
Undeniably, this has to be the most common mistake I see when it comes to creating or significantly reworking a company website. It often happens like this: A company starts off by hiring a website development company. That company knows that the easiest way to build a website is to present a design and then write text to fit within the design—so that’s the course they take. Design first, strategy and text second.
But is that really how you prioritize your strategy? You might guess this from my agency’s name (if you missed it, it’s Strategic Vantage), but our view is that strategy always comes first. After all, your website design should complement your strategy, not the other way around.
When it comes to a website, mission #1 is to figure out the goals for it and then strategize how you will meet those goals. What are you trying to achieve, and what is the best way to achieve it? From there, a site map needs to be written. It will establish the best way for the website to flow based on the company’s strategic needs. Once the optimal site map is defined, we proceed to writing the content for each web page. And lastly—yes, lastly—the design is created to suit the strategy and the text.
Mistake #2: Gambling on the writing
I often see companies take one of two costly routes when it comes to writing content for a website—and ironically, they often take these routes to save money.
The first route is to do the writing in-house. This is where DIY goes from “do it yourself” to “done in years.” I have witnessed countless companies try to write website content themselves, and it takes them far, far longer to complete than it would have taken a professional. Plus, the outcome is—almost without exception—greatly inferior to content that is written by a professional writer trained in writing for websites. In fact, it makes the company look like amateurs and appear strapped for cash, since they apparently couldn’t afford to hire a writer.
The fact is, just because you know your business doesn’t mean you know how to write content for a website. The style in which modern websites are now written is very different from the way most people normally write. It takes a very creative, skilled writer to create the kind of content that resonates today.
The second route that yields inferior results is hiring a web development company that claims it can write content for your website. If you’re reading this blog, odds are you work in the mortgage industry, since that’s my agency’s specialty. In order to be able to effectively write content for a website, a writer needs to not only understand and be able to digest and clearly communicate the nature of your business, but also needs to understand how your company impacts the industry as a whole. This kind of knowledge is not acquired in weeks or months—it takes years, if not decades, of industry experience to truly do so.
So, what’s a company to do, you ask? Hire a writer that specializes in writing website content for your industry, like the writers at Strategic Vantage. One more tip: make sure you see samples of the writer’s work. Saying you can do something is quite different than actually being able to do it. Our team at Strategic Vantage has written content for countless websites in the mortgage industry, and we have samples to prove it.
Mistake #3: Hiring a developer to do website design
It is incredibly rare to find someone who is a talented artist and also a skilled developer. In my many years of marketing, I’ve found the two skills are almost incompatible. One person is a computer coder. The other person is an artist.
A developer who tells you they can do web design will likely produce a website that anyone without an artistic bone in their body could have designed. You may think that if they follow a design template, they’ll be okay. But after investing in this so-called website designer/developer, chances are you’ll quickly find out you have wasted a lot of time and money.
And is there such a thing as an artist who can code websites? There may be, but they are incredibly rare. They may not be as tech savvy as you’ll need them to be, though, since coding is probably not their passion. Your resulting website may load slowly or be built on a platform that is hard to customize later.
The moral of this story is that if you want a website that will make your company look sharp and increase your odds of growing your business, the wise investment is to hire a talented writer, a talented artist and a talented developer, and have them all work together. It may sound complicated if you don’t have the right connections, but it’s actually quite simple if you work with the right agency.
If your company is working on a new website or plans to do so, feel free to reach out to me for advice. From the very start of the project to the website launch, we can help make sure you don’t waste time or money, and that your investment pays off. You can reach me at Info@StrategicVantage.com.