Do You Make These Five Common
Web Marketing Mistakes?
Phyllis had a problem. Her tree care Web site had broken links, missing images, and was, frankly hurting her business more than helping it.
She desperately wanted to fix it, but couldn't because her Web consultant abandoned her in the middle of an upgrade.
Karen, a New York gallery owner was in a similar situation. Her Web designer sold the business to someone else. She wanted to update her site, but the new owner wouldn't return her phone calls.
To make things worse, he was also hosting her site, and she didn't have a copy of the site code (so she couldn't access her own content).
Both Phyllis and Karen were stuck. They had lost control of their own Web sites.
Mistake #1: Losing Control of Your Domain
Your domain is the name of your site. You have to purchase the URL (domain name) you want and renew it periodically to keep it. You'll need a registrar for this.
Popular registrars include:
Mistake #2: Using the Same Company as a Registrar and a Web Host
The Web host gives your URL an address on the Internet. It tells people who type in your company name where to find you. Think of it as a giant traffic cop working behind the scenes.
Keep this separate from your registrar. If you have a disagreement, they can make it difficult for you to transfer your site elsewhere.
Mistake #3: Paying Your Web Designer Large Fees to Host and Maintain Your Site
Don't get stuck with an ongoing hosting and maintenance agreement with your Web designer. Get your own account in your business's name, so the ownership and control is clear. It's fairly simple to set up, and many of the hosts will transfer your existing site for you.
Some good choices are:
HostGator (This is the host I use. Sign up here and help support my milkshake habit).
Hosting should cost about $10 a month, include easy controls to manage the site, and one-click WordPress installation.
Don't pre-pay for Web hosting. If you find that the service is sub-par, you have little recourse.
Mistake #4: Using the Cheapest Designer You Can Find
Yes, there are designers in India who promise to develop a 50 page e-commerce Web site with a blog, bells, whistles, and Flash for $200. It may look tempting - but don't do it! Use someone you can meet face to face.
Be clear about what you want.
How many pages, what features the site should have, the overall appearance, etc. Look at other sites and show your designer examples of the ones you like.
Make payments to your designer based on milestones.
These include initial design ideas (comps), initial first page, and final approval of the completed site. Be clear about the costs of any major design changes, whether before or after the site goes live. The designer should also offer you the ability to review the site online (hosted on their own server, or hidden behind a password), before it goes "live".
Mistake #5: Not Keeping Copies of Your Files
Make absolutely sure you have every line of code, every image, font, link, everything on your site on a disk, a thumb drive or backup that you can access without the designer.
It's your property and you own it and everything on it.
Fortunately, both Phyllis and Karen owned their own domain names. Since the sites were clearly theirs, they were able to transfer them to a new host, and hire a new designer to make the changes they needed.