Starting a web business: top pitfalls to avoid
Having started a web business with very little experience we found ourselves encountering more than our fair share of pitfalls! We launched TreatmentSaver.com just over 2 years ago and for the first 12 months it was very much a case of learning from our mistakes and trying to stay afloat. There are a number of pitfalls which I think would be very easy for people to fall into especially if it is there first online venture.
Below are my top 5 pitfalls which I think can be easily avoided:
1. Minimal Viable Product: We made the mistake of wanting to develop the perfect website before we went ‘live.’ Whilst being a perfectionist has its advantages you have to realise that whilst you are ‘developing your site’ you are in effect losing money as it is impossible to generate any income from it. My advice would be to launch with the minimum required to start trading (MVP) and then build features on top as your learn what your users want.
2. A website is never finished: If you go in with the mind-set that developing a website is going to be an easy task then think again! When we initially started out, we were of the belief that building a website was a ‘do once’ task and once finished we would be able to fully concentrate on other parts of the business such as sales and marketing. However this is definitely not the case as websites are permanently evolving and changing as new features are added.
3. User testing: It is extremely important to get feedback from people using your site. Asking your family and friends is helpful to a point but they are rarely going to be 100% honest for fear of offending you. We used a number of user testing sites such as whatusersdo.com and found the feedback was invaluable. You get so used to looking at your site yourself it is great to get some fresh eyes on the job.
4. Site testing: This is probably the single most important piece of advice to improve the performance of your website. In the early days we made so many changes to our site based purely and simply on our instinct. Whilst your instinct may be right some of the time, you would be surprised at how often it is not! To give you an example, we recently made some major design changes which in our eyes were far better than what we had previously. We were then surprised to see our conversion drop by about 35% overnight! Make sure you test changes side by side using testing methods such as A-B testing. Let the data decide what to change not your instinct.
5. Conversion: It can be easy to forget about conversion and just concentrate on getting more traffic to your site. Whilst both are important it is much more cost effective to improve the conversion of the traffic that you already have. You need to look at all the ‘converting pages’ on your website and see if you can make improvements through testing.
I hope this article has been helpful and if you can at least avoid some of the mistakes we made you are likely to save yourself both time and money.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ganesh Rao .