7 website misconceptions that can cost you in the long run
When people think of building a website, they mostly think of visual design — images, colors, and fonts.
It is thrilling to get the ball rolling on designing your website.
As the web has matured, other factors that have risen in importance. Not knowing them or having false impressions about them can cost you in the long run. Here are the top 7 misconceptions:
1. Page loading time is not very important.
In this era of instant gratification, waiting more than 4 seconds for a page to load seems like an eternity. If your page doesn’t load within 4 seconds, you can easily lose a visitor or a potential customer.
If you have spent a lot of time and money on SEO, but the page loading time is high, not only will the visitors not give you the time of the day (literally!), Google will downgrade your website for page speed.
Curious about how your website is doing on page speed? Enter your website’s address here and check for yourself.
2. Once built, I can use my website forever without any more work on it.
In this rapidly changing field, new products, ideas and trends emerge continually. These include browsers, and their new versions, new design directions, software products to build websites, online marketing ideas, social media directions, SEO … the list is seemingly endless.
Since there are so many variables that affect a website, and these are in continual flux, a 2 year old website could start to look dated or its effectiveness degraded over time.
A website that looks outdated or whose software isn’t updated regularly runs the risk of not functioning optimally across platforms, browsers, and operating systems.
Such a website could end up alienating its visitors and possibly losing potential clients or followers.
3. User experience? My website doesn’t need it.
You may or may not have heard the phrase “user experience”, but it is playing an increasingly important role in the building of websites.
The purpose of a website is to attract, engage, inform, and hopefully convert a visitor into a client or a follower.
If the website has not been built with the end user and his needs, experience, demographic, etc. in mind, the user experience would suffer.
This, in turn, will adversely influence how the visitor perceives the organization. At best, the visitor will find it difficult to use the website or be frustrated. Or worse, the visitor may abandon the website in favor of its competitors.
4. Websites built on templates are easy and cheap.
It is easy to be lulled into thinking that if a website is going to be built on a template, then it should be fast and cost less.
There are many templates available for every need. Picking a template because it “looks” pretty nice is akin to buying a book because the cover appealed to you.
There is a lot more to a template than meets the eye. In this ever-changing domain, a template needs to be responsive, standards-compatible supported, customizable, and easily integrated with plugins. The other features of a theme that would make it attractive are support, forums, and documentation.
If the template needs to be changed in any way to fit the needs of your website, then it would require customization work. This along with integration with other plugins and software increases the cost of building a website.
Remember that a website looks beautiful and functions as designed because of the experience and talent of your web developer and not a template.
5. Responsive design and mobile-friendly design are the same.
A mobile design is where a website is developed to be comfortably viewed on a mobile device. The website’s content are reorganized to fit within a mobile device.
A mobile website is generally accomplished by having a separate mobile version of the website.
A mobile version of the website complicates the maintenance as you now have to maintain 2 different versions of the website. Since the mobile version is generally a subset of the full website, a visitor doesn’t get served all the information.
Having a mobile website is good, but it isn’t the same as a responsive website.
A responsive website on the other hand, has one website with all its content and code. Depending on the device size, the web server serves the content.
You can check to see if a website is responsive by how it behaves when you resize a browser window.
A responsive website will change its look as the browser window changes width. A non-responsive website will degrade in its look and its usefulness as the browser changes size.
A non-responsive site generally has a preferred browser size where the website looks right.
6. I can save money by using photos that I took.
Even online, pictures speak a thousand words.
It is very exciting to want to see an image of your organization to be used on its website, but not all images are appropriate.
Images that are chosen for the website should satisfy many criteria depending on the project. For example, if the website has a slideshow of a certain aspect ratio (ratio of width of the image to the height), any image that is used on the slideshow must also have the same aspect ratio.
Not all images can be cropped to the required aspect ratio and still retain the essence of the image.
If any marketing messages are to be written on the image itself, then the image should have the appropriate space for those to be placed on top of the image.
An image could be rejected for a specific purpose for many reasons, including being busy, irrelevant to the message, low resolution, or just doesn’t look within the context.
Let your web designer lead in you in selecting the best images for your website.
7. Once the website is built, the traffic will come.
There are over 1.24 websites in the world and many more go online every day. With such numbers, it is hardly surprising that you may not see organic traffic for a few months.
There are different ways to get traffic to your website. SEO is a process by which you build credibility online and thus start attracting traffic. Online advertising, offline advertising, social media, guest blogging are a few ways to build your reputation online and to draw organic traffic.
Keeping these points in mind will help you have realistic expectations for your web design project.