We've all been there. After hours of laboring over a new website, uploading photos, fiddling with color combinations and writing content, launch day has finally come. Perhaps you're hoping to snag freelance writing and promote your considerable. Or maybe you see your new site as a home base and marketing tool for your paintings and three-dimensional art.
Unfortunately, after several disappointing weeks you realize that your expectations didn't pan out, and the hundreds of hits you expected to see within the first month didn't materialize. In fact, there's been a dearth of visitors since you posted.
What went wrong?
The truth is, creating a website from scratch is hard work; several things could go wrong that would make your latest content effort a bust. If there's any consolation to the hours that you'll invest in making it a successful venture, it's that several successful entrepreneurs have already made these same mistakes, and can help you figure out the best way around them.
To help with your venture, here are five frequently made (and easy to avoid) mistakes:
1. Too quick to post without adequate research:
Serial entrepreneur Ilya Pozin, who founded the digital marketing agency Ciplex, points out in his column on Forbes.com that many new websites place urgency over diligent research.
"(Design) your website around your research," says Pozin. Worry less about getting that site up and running until you have thoroughly studied your target readership. Without sufficient knowledge of your readers expectations and reasons for visiting your site, you could be making a huge mistake.
2. Too busy and flashy:
We've all seen those magazine covers that scream at the reader to be read from the newsstand. Oftentimes they end up doing the exact opposite, by driving the reader away with crowded or overpowering content.
A flashy, glitzy website can have the same effect, and according to Pozin is a common mistake. In most cases readers already have an idea of what they want, and don't need to be sold with pizzazz.
3. Stale or less than stellar content:
Todd Farmer, from the blog My Content Pro, notes that poorly edited or stale content can be just as bad as flashy, overworked design.
"Good copy is paramount," says Farmer, who notes its importance when attempting to engage the reader. It also needs to be fresh; don't fall for the common mistake of thinking the successful copy from your two year old brochure will fit perfectly on your website. Take the time to write new copy that's informative and engaging.
4. Your website doesn't speak your reader's language
No, we're not talking about using translation services here, although designing content that employs easy to understand terminology is just as valuable as a good language translation service that helps you reach readers on the other side of the globe. Make your copy easy to comprehend. Guard against talking down to your readers. Nine out of ten times they aren't visiting your site to find out what you know, but what you can do for them for a particular problem.
5. Forgetting the importance of keywords
Remember that keywords are often what makes it possible for your readers to find you. Carefully chosen keywords and equally careful placement are essential tools in freelance writing and blogging, and make good sense in general when writing content for your website.