I have experienced plenty over the past twelve years working with business owners and specifically working with domainers over the past six. I have almost seen it all; from business owners who dive too soon into development from domainers who fail utterly with web development despite having a great generic domain.
Assuming All Web Talent is the Same
Web development is a complicated career to be in. Technology is constantly changing. One has to keep up with evolving improvements, updates and technologies.
The real difference is not what set of technologies one may use but the experience, creative, analytical, business thinker behind all these tools and technologies who can come up with the best solutions for your overall project.
Failing to Have a Budget Range in Mind
You should always have a budget in mind before starting your project. (See What Budget Do I Need for Web Development? if you need help.) Not only are web developers at different levels when it comes to skill and knowledge but your budget range tells us what talent quality you are looking to hire. Budget too low and highly skilled individuals won’t even bother with your project.
A specific range also sends the message that you are serious about your project. Don’t worry about nailing down a specific number. That can be negotiated later.
Lacking a Well Thought Out Plan
You wouldn’t build a house without blue prints. Don’t build a website without a plan. By the time you reach out and hire someone you should know:
- why you want a website
- who your customer base is
- why your customer base will use your website
- what budget range you are working with
- a general idea of what content will be going on the website
- a general idea of what features your site will need
- how your competitors are using their websites
It is your web developer’s job to consult you on the hows of your project and come up with a specific plan to successfully complete your project. However, if you don’t know why you want a website or who your customers are then it’s that much harder to produce something that really works within your goals.
Assuming the Web Developer Does Not Accept Payment Plans
Most projects require a 50% deposit and 50% after the project is complete. However, it never hurts to ask if payment plans are acceptable. Some developers, especially if they have worked with you in the past, are more than happy to set up an alternative payment structure.
Failing to Understand the Differences Between Freelancers, Employees and Big Development Companies
Freelance web developers have a few advantages over development firms that most people don’t consider. For instance: my overhead is not as high as a firm and therefore I am able to charge less. I am able to be more personal and available to my client. There are also things a firm can do that I cannot; such as be a one-stop-shop or effectively handle mass development. Plus their advertising budget is way bigger than mine.
Keep in mind that a freelancer is not your employee. It’s not acceptable to assume they are at your beck and call 24/7 or that multiple non-project related consultant or chit chat phone calls per week for free is okay. Freelancers have a harder time finding work versus a firm and typically handle multiple clients at once therefore their time is limited. Always check with the individual and ask what their contact policy is.
Not Understanding the Difference Between Building a Brand Versus Building a Website
You wouldn’t build a home the same way you build an Apple store. Not every website that goes up is a business therefore not every website needs to be branded like a business. Sometimes, for one reason or another, you just need a web presence.
This is when it’s okay to pay for cheaper logos or have an ugly web layout.
Setting It and Forgetting It
Nothing is on auto pilot here. (well, if your developer is smart it could be). What I mean is: you can’t neglect a website for too long without it becoming irrelevant. Feeding your site with regurgitated content using RSS feeds won’t count and isn’t enough.
You have to revisit your site on a regular basis (think every month at least) to publish fresh, unique content, revisit and revise your SEO plan, dissect your traffic logs, assess your revenue and then readjust your arrows for the next month.
The reason most domainers neglect their website brings me to the next top domainer mistake:
Assuming Web Development is Like Pay Per Click
I know it is frustrating trying to find a good PPC alternative for monetization but web development almost always requires a bit more elbow grease and involvement. We are used to ‘setting it and forgetting it’, revisiting every once in awhile to tweak keywords.
There are companies who have made good attempts to combine the two but none who have created an equivalent replacement as of yet. Their solutions have either been penalized by search engines, not “custom enough” or not scalable enough.
The best approach is to learn what types of web development is out there and how to utilize your resources. (See: Domain Monetization Cheat Sheet & Adsense Alternatives , Monetization Strategy Alternative to PPC: Lead Capture and Cheat Sheet: Do-It-Yourself Web Development )
Complimentary Website Review of the Day
Introducing a new segment that will end each article: I will review and highlight a commentator’s website from the previous article. For instance, 5 Myths About Working From Home was the last article and I’ve chosen Speculator’s website to review.
The header is way too big. The blue/green is clashing badly. Finally, the SEO meta keywords & post tags are way too broad. The footer appears spammy.
There are simple changes you can make to drastically improve this site:
- shrink the header
- move the top links down evenly or below with the logo text
- change the blue on the left that holds the content to something with a much lighter, more compatible background such as white or white with a grey outline
- target two or three word keywords for your SEO meta tags and post tags and keep the number down below twenty total.
- remove the links in the footer if they are not yours. If they are yours, create a separate page or put them under ‘Info Links’
Do you want your website to be reviewed next? Simply leave a comment below, make sure the website field is filled in and leave a genuine comment about this article below. ( example: comments along the lines of “please review my site next” and nothing else will be deleted.)
What's your opinion? Join the Discussion! Leave a Comment