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Alexander Pope wrote an essay where he made the famous quote: “To err is human…” It means that we are allowed to make mistakes sometimes. However, some errors could have drastic consequences either for you or your business.

When you’re creating your first website, the chances are that you may not get it 100% right the first time. You can make mistakes that will require you to tweak things up a bit after your website goes live. However, you should avoid making some mistakes that could jeopardize the future of your website or even create avoidable losses.

Developing a website involves a lot, and the tendency of leaving out some essentials are there. The essentials can differ from business to business, one essential add-on for a business may not matter to the website of a different type of business. For instance, if you are a business that requires appointments, you must not forget to add an appointment scheduling software to your website. An appointment scheduling system might not be such an essential tool for a business which doesn’t require appointments.

There are so many website requirements to consider, and you also need to have a website build checklist. All of these are in a bid to ensure you get it right from the get-go.

Before we delve into some mistakes to avoid, there’s an essential question you need to ask yourself; what do I need to create a website?

Let’s dive in.

What do you need to build a website?

Website Build Expert put up a comprehensive checklist of what you need to develop a website for the first time. They put together nine essential website development requirements for anyone who wants to develop a website. Here’s the summary of the checklist:

1. You must have a domain name

A domain name is the first thing you need to tick off the checklist. It’s your address on the internet and a doorway for people to reach you or your business. You can get a domain name from popular domain name providers like GoDaddy, Namecheap, and Domain.com.

2. You must have a business email

A business email is essential if you intend to use your website to run a business. You connect this business email to your site. Personal websites should have an official email that connects to the website.

3. You must choose a website builder

A website builder is what does the foundation work for you. They provide the structure or template for you to layout your website. Even if you can build a website by running codes, standard website builders save you time and stress. Some popular website builders are WordPress, Wix, and Weebly.

laptop on a table

4. You must host your website

Building a website is one side of the task. However, if you don’t host it, no one will even know it exists. When you host your website, people can visit it through your address, or URL. Hosting also makes it possible for you to store your website data or information in the cloud. You can move your data from one hosting platform to another. Some recommended hosting platforms are Bluehost, Hostgator, and Dreamhost.

5. You must choose a website template design

A website design gives your website a professional look that makes it worth visiting. You can design the website yourself or get a professional designer to do it. That way you get a bespoke design for your website. However, templates are easy, quick, and cost-effective ways to design your website, and it will still have a professional look. Just make sure to set up a coming soon page so your potential visitors know that the fresh content is being prepared, while the work under the hood remains visible only to your eyes.

6. You must have a logo design

Branding is an integral part of the website building process. You communicate your brand identity mostly through your logo. There’s no doubt that other aspects of your business project your brand image. But a logo speaks volumes of what your brand represents. That’s why you must have your logo ready before you even begin the journey of developing your first website.

7. You must have high-quality images and attractive web copy

What people see and read from your website determines if they would do business with you. The images you use must be of high-quality, and it mustn’t violate copyright laws. You also need great pieces of web copy to drive home your brand message. Every page of your website requires a description.

8. You must have an image editor

It could be expensive always to employ the services of a professional graphics designer. Though they deliver quality images most of the time, it could eat deep into your budget. The saving grace is to have an image editor. That way, you could work on your images yourself without having to run back to a graphics designer. You can use some free image editors like BeFunky, Pixlr, and PicMonkey.

different website templates

9. You must get Google analytics

You don’t want to set up your website and go to sleep. You have to monitor and track how your website and its content are performing. The easiest and most affordable way to do this is to get Google Analytics to your website. You use it to analyze activities on your sites and how visitors are interacting with you.

Mistakes to avoid when creating your first website

With the checklist out of the way, let’s quickly look at some mistakes you should avoid when setting up your first website.

1. Never develop a website without a plan

Planning is everything. No one sets out on a venture without a plan of what they hope to achieve. It’s your plan that gives you the direction to follow in achieving your website development goals.

At the planning stage is where you ask questions like; who is my target market? How do I promote my website? What is my launch and growth strategy?

Critical planning also needs to go into content marketing. It is content that makes your website worth visiting, and it helps you engage with your visitors properly. With great content, you can turn an ordinary visitor to a lifelong loyal customer.

You only get the results you planned for.

2. Never make your pages “too” long

People have a very short attention span. You don’t want people coming to your website and running out almost immediately. The longer a visitor stays on your website, the higher the chances of that visitor becoming a customer.

Rather than making your pages too long, use content that is short and interactive. It’s bad practice to keep visitors scrolling all day to take in all the information you stuffed up on one page. Break down your pages to short, interactive, and engaging pages.

person brainstorming ideas on white paper

3. Never let your website be only about your products or services

You’re developing a website to let people know what you do and maybe patronize your business. Everyone and their mother gets it. But rubbing it in their faces turns them off like puke in a bowling alley.

Your website should be about building a relationship with your target market first. Visitors to your site should get to interact with you and trust you. Throwing calls to actions or click-through buttons at every turn will backfire badly on your business.

4. Never use a generic copy for your website

Most website owners make the mistake of trying to have something that appeals to anyone that visits their website. That’s like being Jack of all trades and master of none.

Your website copy should target a specific set of people. Anyone who comes in and can’t relate to your brand message can take a bounce. That way, you can focus on what matters.

5. Avoid the poor navigation trap

A website design gives your website a professional look that makes it worth visiting. You can design the website yourself or get a professional designer to do it. That way, you get a bespoke design for your website. However, templates are easy, quick, and cost-effective ways to design your website, and it will still have a professional look.

Ready to develop your first website?

I’m sure you are ready to get that website up and running. You want to put your best foot forward and get it right the first time. Avoid these five mistakes, and you’ll have a website that attracts visitors like a magnet. Don’t forget the checklist to help you know what to put in place before you begin your journey.

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How to start a business All
Anna Medina is freelance writer
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