You’re brand new to this website building thing, and you don’t know what you don’t know, right? Luckily I’ve screwed up SO MANY TIMES that I know exactly what NOT to do when building your website.
So grab a piece of paper, write “To Do” at the top and jot down anything you might need to fix on your site this weekend.
Mistake #1 – Not having enough mailing list opt-in opportunities
“I don’t want a pop-up because I think they are so annoying.”
“I don’t want to be ask people for anything, I just want them to read my content.”
What’s the real reason that you want someone to come to your site? You want that person to join your mailing list or to buy something from you!! Even if you really are just blogging as a hobby, what if you’re in a position someday that you need to monetize it and you’ve missed out on YEARS of collecting email addresses?
It is your obligation to provide your visitors with the opportunity to get more information from you, easily! They wouldn’t be on your site if they weren’t interested in what you have to offer. What if you walked into a store and filled your shopping cart up, and you couldn’t find the cash register because the store didn’t want you to feel pressured to buy?!
If visitors have to go hunting around for your email opt-in then they’re just going to leave before they ever find it. The more opportunities you have then the more likely you are to capture that email address and be able to build a relationship and serve that person!
Mistake #2 – Not having a photo of yourself on your website
You must have a photo of yourself above the fold right where people can see it. There is a big connection that you can make with someone when they see your face. It’s called the Know, Like, and Trust factor (someone way smarter than me coined that phrase!)
If a visitor can see who they are buying from and who is teaching them it gives you an advantage because you are showing them right away who you are. It’s hard to trust a website, but it’s easier to trust the person behind it.
This does not have to be professional photograph – although everyone knows that one person who is an amateur photographer with a fancy DSLR camera. Hit that person up and ask them to take a good picture of you. Make it landscape (wider than it is long) so that you can put some text on it and put it right smack on your home page.
But if you can scrape together a few hundred bucks, contact a local photographer (I found someone that does weddings and senior pictures) and have a photo shoot done. THIS IS TOTALLY WORTH IT because you can re-use these images in all of your marketing for the next couple of years. DO IT.
Mistake #3 – Not keeping your WordPress site and plugins updated
This is a huge risk for security and getting hacked. You (or the person who built it for you) put a lot of time and effort into the site and if you don’t take basic steps to protect it you could lose everything.
That’s why I tell you that is it so important to have an email list because things can happen to your website. Having that list means you still have a customer list should something happen to your site.
Guess what? I’ll keep your site updated for you with my WordPress protection package
! I’ll update your plugins, run nightly backups, and more so you don’t ever have to worry that your site is out of date and vulnerable to hackers.
Mistake #4 – Talking more about yourself than your customer
It’s very important for people to get to know, like, and trust you, so you want to talk about your qualifications and experience, but you want to talk about it in a way that makes your customer think “Oh, she understands me. She gets me because she’s like me.”
If you just rattle off your experience then how does that help your customer? If my home or about page said, “Shannon earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the Ohio State University in 2002 and went on to work in legal marketing. In 2007 she became the head of the Communications department for a non-profit and has built hundreds of WordPress sites.” Does that make you like me? Does that make you want to be my BFF? I’d be pretty boring to hang out with if that’s all I talked about, right?
But when I say, “I know how hard it is to build a WordPress site when you’re just starting out because there is so much conflicting information out there. And I know how tight your budget is when you’re starting a new business. So I’m here to help you figure out how to do it because I too am caught in the hampster wheel of a 9-5 job, and I have the same goals as you.”
We connect a lot better than if I had just listed off my qualifications, right? Make sure you think about being empathetic when you are writing your copy.
Mistake #5 – Having no website at all and/or thinking it has to be perfect before you publish
Not having a website is one of the biggest mistakes you can be making if you are trying to build your business online. Social media can take you far, but you don’t own any of it. Periscope could go away tomorrow. Facebook or Twitter could shut you down tomorrow. Someone could hack you and you lose all of your followers.
You own your website. You own your mailing list (as long as you back it up). With a website, you’ll always have that central hub where people can go to find you and you can brand it the way that you want.
Also, your site does not have to be 100% perfect before you can start. Perfection is a myth. No one’s website is perfect. Just get out there and get started. You will connect with people. It’s not your website that will make someone like you or not.
Yes, there will always be people who judge a book by its cover, but if you have the right kind of opt-in, the know, like, and trust factor going on, and the right kind of copy people will forgive a typo on your website or a weird sized image or a page that loads slow. And if they don’t, they’re not my kinda people anyway! Build some momentum and put yourself out there.
Which of these mistakes are you going to fix on your site? Let me know in the comments below!
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