When you’re first starting out as a webmaster in charge of hosting your own website, the amount of mistakes you will make will be enormous. All newbie webmasters go through a trial and error period where they are “finding their feet” so to speak. Of course, learning how to avoid these pitfalls by heeding the advice of those who have came before you is a surefire way to quick success.
With that said, we’ve put together these five essential tips for first-time webmasters to help you avoid making some of the most common mistakes new websites make.
1. Don’t Wait for Perfection—Learn to Swim in the Water
One big mistake that people make with launching their websites is that they hold back too long, waiting for the perfect time to launch or until they get everything just right. Look, no one is expecting you to come out of the gates with the best website in the world on your first try. What people will expect is a simple, easy to use website that gets the job done. For that, you don’t need much.
Don’t be afraid to try and fail—it’s much better than waiting to try and then failing. Chances are that you’re going to fail at something or do something wrong your first go around. Let it be! Your articles don’t have to be perfect the first time around, your YouTube or Vine content isn’t going to win any awards. The point is just get something up there and going because having it there in the public’s eye is the best motivation you will ever have for improving upon it.
2. Don’t Over-Sell Others—or Yourself
Another big mistake that newbie webmasters make is the oversell. This happens either one of two ways—or both if you’re really not paying attention! The first way is through overselling advertisements and affiliate banners and links. This clutters up your website and distracts your visitors from the main goal of your site (whatever that may be). It also comes off as too “salesy” and will turn your visitors off from buying as these sites scream “scam” and “virus”. If you’re going to have affiliate links up on your site, you’d better provide very useful content telling your visitors why you have these specific links up there—not that you’re hoping to make money off of them!
The second method of overselling involves overselling yourself. Yes, the visitor probably has a good idea of why they are on your website and no, they probably don’t mind spending some money—provided the product, service or idea is good. But what you don’t want to do is come across as a carnival barker or some cheesy Mad Men wanna-be. Practice the art of the soft-sell.
3. Choosing the Right Keywords for Your Site
While SEO is a whole business in and of itself, it’s important to understand how choosing and using keywords in your content affects your whole business. If you don’t have the proper keywords, no matter how great your product or slick your content is, people aren’t going to find you. Use sites such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner or conduct your own research—the bottom line is that you need to find the right keywords for your site.
And you also need to understand that the more keywords your site is optimized for, the more hits you are going to get. Each page should focus on a few different keywords. This means get your content up. Write blogs, take pictures, create tags, backlink, outbound link—get all the attention to as many keywords as you can (within reason and on topic) and your site will begin to see traffic like never before.
4. Don’t Go Overboard
A lot of times when people are learning about something new, they feel that they have to learn everything there is about it. With some things, this might be true, but with being a webmaster, you don’t need to know more than you actually need to know. For example, you need to know how to build anchor text links, but you don’t need to learn how to write HTML coding.
Learn what you need to know and implement it well. Stick to the task at hand and if you need to learn more down the road, go with the flow and learn it then. Keep it moving and above all else…
5. Keep It Simple, Stupid
Ah, the old K.I.S.S. adage—Keep It Simple, Stupid. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, you only need to imagine it in your own particular way. Keep things simple during your learning process and on your site itself. It will save you a lot of time and money—plus, customers appreciate simplicity in advertising.