What to watch out for
It’s hard to resist the enticement of lovely website template design that promise you’re just a few clicks away from tons of orders, traffic, and phone calls. Just drag and drop, add a few lines of text, and walah – you are suddenly honey to a bee.
They make it look so easy.
After all, there are so many template-based web builders out there, and everyone else is doing it, so it can’t be that hard. Right?
The average business owner who has attempted building their own website often times discovers that it’s not as intuitive as it’s made out to be. The complaint we here most often is, “the template doesn’t do what I want it to do.” In other words, the template I picked out is limited and I can’t change it.
There are many parts to creating a successful website that will engage and convert an audience. Picking the right template is just the beginning. Design that holds the viewer, speed, clearly understandable, and easy to navigate are just a few more examples.
To help you avoid some of these pitfalls we’ve shared five of the most common mistakes we see DIY web builders make, and how to avoid them.
1. Poor URL name and structure
Many people are unaware that the URL structure of their website impacts their search rankings. That begs an obvious question. How can you use a URL structure to your advantage? For starters, you can embed keywords not just in your pages but also in your subdomains. Consistency is king. Make sure that the content of your page matches the keywords and subject matter used in your subdomains. Google recommends short subdomains, so think of the most concise key phrase you can. It’s best practice to avoid underscores and to use hyphens in your URLs instead. According to Google, this improves readability for both readers and the search engine.
One more note: Google favors .com over .net, .org, or anything else.
2. Not having an SSL
Website security is crucial for all websites. Even if you don’t use your website for eCommerce, an unsecured site can hurt your rankings. Web browsers like Chrome label sites as “not secure” if they are missing one of the most basic website security components: an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate. SSL certificates encrypt the data flowing in to and out of your website, like email addresses or payment information. Having an alert pop up as a viewer, can make them think your website is not safe, and they will leave.
You can check if a given website has an SSL installed by looking for a lock icon next to and “https” in the URL.
3. Templates that do not offer H1 headings
The most prominent titles on a webpage are known as H1 headings. Coders call them H1 tags. These titles quickly tell the reader what the webpage is about, just like a newspaper headline. A typical reader will only scan the page to determine if they’ve found what they are looking for. As a consequence, websites need to grab their attention quickly. H1 headers are an easy way to highlight the content of the page. But they’re not just for human readers. The scripts that search engines use to read sites look for H1 headings to determine what kind of content exists on the webpage.
Be sure your template offers H1 tags on the homepage. Not too many, and not too little is what Google likes.
4. Website template design that are not optimized for mobile devices
In 2015, Google announced an update to their algorithm so significant that Search Engine Optimization professionals felt like it was the end of the world. The company announced that it would use mobile responsiveness as a major factor for its search engine ranking. Bad for SEO professionals, great news for website designers.
Why did Google make this change? The share of web traffic coming from mobile devices was skyrocketing. In 2015, it accounted for about 30% of total traffic. By 2019, it was just over 50%.
Understanding that most people’s first impression of your website will be from their phone, means that you need to make sure your template offers automatic mobile functionality. Some do not.
5. Pretty on the outside
The goal of any website should be to provide a great user experience (UI). Using keywords is important, but filling your page with repetitious or unnatural text will hurt you. It makes for boring reading, and Google penalizes sites for this practice by not ranking them well.
The bounce rate is one metric that can help evaluate your content. If a visitor goes to your site and then quickly leaves, it’s called a bounce. A high bounce rate often signals that your content and images in your banner area are not engaging your target audience. If you think of your website as a kind of a virtual store, a bounce is like a customer entering a store, seeing a mess, and then quickly leaving without browsing the shelves or making a purchase.
Clean layout, customer-friendly copy, compelling visual design, call-to-action, and fulfilling a visitors needs quickly will invite them in and help you make the sales you want.
If you hire a professional to build your house, why not your website?
It’s possible to make a DIY website template design, but we find ourselves helping those who have tried. The most sure way to create a successful website that will reach your target audience is to hire a professional. In the long run, it will save you from hours of frustration, and losing out on your initial investment.
At straightfiremarketing.com, we’ll build the website you need by selecting the right WordPress template or a custom site. We can also help you correct your current template to turn curious readers into customers, at a fair price. Call us at 619-272-6964 for a free, no obligation consultation or click on Contact Us for a quote.