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18 Common Mistakes to Avoid on Your Website

Developing a new website or improving an old one can be a daunting task. There are so many things to keep in mind: the marketing message, the design, the words, the links, the navigation, the keywords, and more. It ain’t easy.

Below are some “don’ts” that I recommend keeping in mind as you build or improve your site.

1. Don’t clutter your home page with mind-numbing information just to keep all the stakeholders in your company happy.

2. Don’t build complicated navigation, which only confuses and frustrates your visitors.

3. Don’t use lots of flash and movement that disorients and distracts your visitor from the really valuable information he is seeking.

4. Don’t build a site with a dark background with light and bright text. This looks very dramatic, but it makes your message almost impossible to read.

5. Don’t develop interior pages with completely different designs. This results in making the visitor think she’s clicked onto another site.

6. Don’t rely on print collateral word-verbatim for the content of your web pages. Your print documents are helpful, but fresh copy should be written for your site that makes use of keywords for search engine purposes.

7. Don’t use lots of text without breaking it up with short paragraphs, bold, links, etc.

8. Don’t use tiny fonts for your main messages.

9. Don’t use “advertisy” language — The Internet is more relaxed.

10. Don’t spend too much time talking about how great your company is. Visitors don’t care. They want to know if you can solve their problem.

11. Don’t get excited if you type the name of your company in the search box and you come up #1. Most likely only you and your mom will write in your exact company name.

12. Don’t skip writing excellent title and description tags.

13. Don’t let your web technical developer set up SEO software that automatically writes your meta tags. A creative human writer needs to do that task for both search and marketing purposes.

14. Don’t upload one page to the Internet with just your contact information, a “coming soon” notice, and then let it sit for months. It doesn’t take that long to build a simple 5-page site. No excuses.

15. Don’t build your site and never refresh it for years and years. A stale site eventually falls in search engine rankings.

16. Don’t neglect to track your analytics, i.e. how many people are visiting, what pages they’re visiting, how long they’re staying, etc. Google has great free analytics. It’s market research that in years past would cost thousands of dollars.

17. Don’t assume your web technical developer or web designer knows anything about marketing your product.

18. Don’t neglect to hire an online SEO writer to help you develop custom content for your web pages. This will do two tasks: Search engines find your pages and rank them higher, and your pages will turn visitors into sales or leads.


Katherine Andes, our SEO consultant, is a web specialist who focuses on copywriting for SEO (search engine optimization) for websites. She is the co-author with Matt Pinto of the best selling Catholic apologetic flash cards, Friendly Defenders. Ramp up your company's online impact with her weekly Easy Web Tips.


  • George @ Convert Journal

    With all due respect, this piece does not belong on this website.

    • guitarmom

      George, Katherine Andes (the author) is a wonderful Catholic who wrote this for the “Tips, Tools, Tech” section of this website. While it is not specifically Catholic in content, it is helpful to those of us Catholics with a bent towards business.

  • 19. Make sure to create a favicon for your site (that tiny icon that appears in this page on the upper left corner of this page next to the title “18 Common Mistakes to Avoid..”. Favicons identify the open folder for a reader and also add a touch o class to your site. They are also useful to identify your website when added to the Favorites Toolbar without text. Apparently the administrator of catholiclane.com has no idea of what favicons are or why they are used. Check item #17. Favicons are pretty good marketing tools. It takes about 30 seconds to install (one short line of code)… Forgive my constructive criticism.

    • Katherine Andes

      Carlos, how’d you get your picture in your url favicon? Pretty cool … even if kind of cheeky.

      • Cheeky it is but I could not find an icon that reminded the reader of the word “casorosendi,” ha, ha!

        (1) select a picture.
        (2) using paint, photoshop or any other similar program reduce it to a JPG, square size 100 x 100 pixels. That’s a good ideal size.
        (3) then go to http://www.favicongenerator.com/ and upload your pic, follow the instructions and create your favicon.
        (4) download your favicon to your computer
        (5) upload the favicon you just created to your site’s root directory (if you are using a template you must find the place where the template designer put the favicon.ico file and upload it there, the standard is the root folder)
        (6) Unless you are using a template (for Joomla, Drupal, or such) simply add this line to your HTML index page

        It is much harder to explain it than to actually do it!

        🙂

        • The line of code is not showing in my response but you can google it = favicon HTML. There are plenty of samples in the web.

  • I posted my comment because I would like to have catholiclane.com in my favorites toolbar. Since CL does not use a favicon, if I add it to the toolbar I get that ugly generic favicon that does not mean anything. I asked several times that a favicon be used in this site. I sent a set of instructions and also an nice icon matching the site’s colors. But so far we are still without a favicon and CL is in my bookmark list but not in my favs toolbar.