You’re not going to make start up mistakes right? You’ve done your market research. You’ve done your business plan. You’ve got an awesome logo. Now you’re just hunting for the perfect website. This business can’t fail – right? Wrong.
Everyone makes start up mistakes; it’s part of learning the business ropes! There are some very common errors though that will cost you an absolute fortune to undo. Here’s our guide to avoiding the top five start up mistakes for your new business!
Start up websites – an absolute minefield!
It pains us to say it, but as heroes of small business we must: the web development industry is full of sharks and hacks. They’ll all give you different advice and it’s almost impossible as a business newbie to understand who to trust. There are so many options for websites out there that you are forced to educate yourself before you start shopping.
#1. Cheap websites
Cheap websites are everywhere. You know the one – a $400 job created in a free template builder like Wix. The fact is, you could do this yourself for free and it will be just as ineffective as the cheapy developer’s version. Free web builders like Wix, Weebly and Square Space tend to be very pretty but in the long run it will cost you big time to get them working efficiently for you. You may need to double or triple your SEO spend for the same results as a well-crafted website – forever.
The other option is the cheap and cheerful WordPress template. Some of these templates contain malicious code, excessive links back to the developer and very limited functionality. There is usually a reason the web template is cheap. WordPress templates (themes) can also turn to a technical disaster when you update your version of WordPress. If you don’t update, you leave yourself open to being hacked!
If you get a company specific template, you won’t be able to move your website. That company will code it to only work with their own CMS. If you try to move, you’ll have to start from scratch. Just be cautious with cheap websites, there’s a million issues that will catch you out down the line!
#2. Pricy websites
At some point in your journey, a slick looking man in a slick looking suit will tell you that you need a $25,000 website to get any kind of result. He’s a fibber. He’ll sell you all the bells and whistles available in the wide world of web development. That would be super useful, if you were Kmart. Being a start up however, you need to figure out EXACTLY what functionality you need right now, and then ask about adding the “maybe stuff” when you can afford it.
#3. Ecommerce dilemmas
There are plenty of great ecommerce website platforms out there, but the perfect one for you will be the one that is focused on the functionality you need. Going to a smaller web design company may mean you’re stuck with the platform they focus on by default; not the best for you, the best for them. They’ll sell it to you as the ultimate package but you need to compare options before deciding.
#4. Reputable companies with secret bad reputations
The big glossy web design company in shiny offices with chic high ceilings and open plan workspaces… they must be very reputable right? There are plenty of web designers with a secret bad reputation, because it only becomes well known when you try to move on from them! Pay close attention to your contract. Make sure you can get out of it if you’re not happy!
Behind the scenes, unscrupulous web design companies can lock you out of your own Google Analytics account. They can hold your URL for ransom, force you onto overly expensive hosting plans, make it impossible for you to end the contract and bill you massive, unexpected fees for upgrades. There’s a lot of “used car salesmen” in our industry! Really investigate hard before signing up with a provider. At Media Heroes, we’re big believers in having the right ethics, so ask us anything about your digital marketing strategy and we’ll give you an honest answer.
#5. Failing to learn SEO from the very start
Basic SEO is pretty simple to learn and even though you aren’t likely to run your own SEO campaign, it is important that you know the basics, so you can help make the best decisions for your business. By implementing best practice SEO from the outset, you’ll get a jump start on ranking for your sales keywords. Leaving it until you have more time means you may need to retrofit SEO elements to hundreds or even thousands of pages on your website. It means you will miss linking opportunities as they come up. It means you could make a newbie mistake that gets you penalised by search engines. Talk about SEO early on when you’re starting a new website build and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches later. We strongly advise you to work with a leading national and Brisbane SEO company, like Media Heroes, but whomever you choose, make sure they can walk the walk!
Wait, didn’t we say top 5 mistakes? Well yes, but here are a couple more bonus mistakes to avoid!
#6. No mailing list or poorly organised mailing list
Capturing email addresses is the single most important marketing activity you’ll perform because they’re yours – you are not at the mercy of Google or Facebook. Using every opportunity to grab some email addresses is vital to the growth of your business.
However, as your business grows, you’ll want to be able to segment that list by any number of means. Will you need geographical segmenting? Will you need to know their product preferences? Get that information from the start! Think about what you’ll need and then ask the right questions when people opt in to your newsletter. But remember, the more questions you ask, the less likely they’ll be to hand over their email address – so choose carefully!
#7. Over-investing in “experts”
“Experts” like business coaches love a good start up. They give you basic information at a premium price! Investing in gurus, coaches, cheerleaders and even over-qualified staff can drain your budget for things you really need. You can get a lot of “coaching” information from good old Google! Don’t overcapitalise on “talent” if you haven’t yet checked yourself out for untapped talents. If you find yourself stuck, there are free Queensland Government services that answer specific questions for you. If you need ongoing help to grow, consider talking to your accountant, not a business guru!
Yes, we’re a Brisbane web design company! Here’s how we manage these issues for start ups…
We have a team of developers who work across multiple ecommerce set ups. This means you always get the right one for you. We also hand-craft code so you get a clean, effective website, with all the right functionality and all the SEO oomph that will shape the growth of your business. In fact, it’s everything you need, without the up sell! We will never encourage you to take features you don’t need just to profit from your start up!
Talk to the Brisbane web design experts at Media Heroes today about fully functional, feature packed websites just right for your start up.
At Media Heroes we earned our reputation as heroes of small business. We don’t believe in milking your start up for all it’s (not yet) worth. Check out our stellar testimonials here or just give us a call or shoot us an enquiry to gain some FREE advice on avoiding start up mistakes. We promise, we’ll save you from the marketing sharks – after all, we’re heroes, that’s our job!