It never ceases to amaze me how often I see basic mistakes made at the website build stage, that could have been easily avoided had the client had a little information at their disposal, that they could have used when communicating with their selected web design company. Unfortunately this is not the case and therefore avoidable mistakes are made.
Here are a 5 common mistakes to be aware of when commissioning a website build:
1. The first port of call is your domain name. Don't just grab the first available, fancy sounding name, but consider a name with an important, and relevant keyword in it. Words can be separated by hyphens but not by underscores. For example, if your company sells gold teapots, the domain names goldteapots.com or gold-teapots.com would be fine, whereas gold_teapots.com would not be. By incorporating an important keyword in your domain name you will gain a slight advantage with the search engines. Get this right before anything else is you won't want to change your domain name later on.
2. Time and time again I chat to people who've made a classic and common mistake when having a site built. This classic mistake is to spend lots of time writing your website copy before any important keyword research has been done. The reason you will want to research your important keywords and their search potential before writing your copy, is that you will want to stitch your important key phrases naturally into your copy as you write it. Do it the wrong way round and you will end up having to write your copy again. Any decent web building company should do this keyword research for you, and provided a copywriting service should you need it.
3. Check that your web pages will have what is known as friendly URLs. A friendly URL is a website page address that Google can more easily index and rank. In case you are unaware what an unfriendly URL might look like, it will look something like this: page_about.php? CatID = 4258. This will have been dynamically generated by something like a content management system. A friendly URL will look something like this: aboutus.php. You should definitely not be afraid to check with your website builders that you will indeed have friendly URLs.
4. Another sloppy mistake that should be so easily avoided is when a website looks perfect on one browser and awful on others. This is because different website browsers render / display websites differently and therefore not only should your finished site be checked on as many browsers as possible, but also checked on a PC and a Mac of different screen resolutions. Make sure you do this before you sign your project off.
5. Whilst you may not have paid your web design company for search engine optimization services, it is my opinion that the website build should be search engine friendly. I can't believe how often the vital title and description tags are left blank at the build stage, resulting in your website losing out on some valuable search engine gains. Take the meta description tag for example, if this tag is left blank on any page, when a link to this page is shown in the search engine ranking results you will not have any control over the descriptive text next to your link. Google will just randomly select any text from the page, resulting in you missing out on a valuable call to action.
So there are 5 common mistakes often made when undertaking a website build. You should not be afraid to communicate with your selected website design company to make sure that none of these silly mistakes occur.