I speak to a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs, and so I thought I’d write this post to highlight seven of the most common mistakes that first-time entrepreneurs make with their website.
These mistakes are ones that almost everybody makes, and they will cripple your business before it even gets momentum.
These mistakes are also the main reasons why so many bloggers quit after a few months, and why 96% of bloggers don’t make an income sufficient to quit their day jobs.
1) No Content Strategy
It takes more than just writing a ton of content, or even being a good writer, to get traction with your blog.
Creating content is actually highly strategic. It’s not about writing great content, it’s about writing content that people will actually find and read.
However, if you are just writing whatever is on your mind, or whatever is in your heart, it doesn’t matter how good that content is, nobody will read it.
It may never appear in the search engine results pages, meaning that you send your hard work into an Internet void where it never sees the light of day.
The worse feeling in the world is to spend months writing two blog posts each week – posts that you are proud of – but that nobody reads.
You’ve poured your heart and soul into your blog, but it is invisible on Google, you have no comments, and only a trickle of engaged readers each day.
Instead of writing whatever you want with no strategy in place, find out what your ideal readers are searching for in search engines, and then write content based on that.
You have to enter your ideal reader’s mind, and write content that matches what they search for in search engines.
2) Hidden E-Mail Opt-In Form or Social Media Buttons
I can’t tell you how many times that I have reviewed a new website only to find that they have no e-mail opt-in form on their website. And there are no links to social media profiles.
Essentially, their website is all content, but there is no obvious way to subscribe and follow. Their website is a sieve – people flow right through it, but no tribe of fans and potential customers are cultivated.
And this is why their website has somewhat decent traffic, but NO subscribers or followers.
Often, when I point out that they don’t have an opt-in for a social media presence, I’m told that they DO have these things. When I dig further, I discover that the e-mail opt-in form is a pop-up (which most browsers block), and the social media buttons are either missing, or not obvious.
Do not put your e-mail opt-in form in a pop-up. Place it in or around your content ON your website, instead. You should assume that pop-ups never reach most of your readers.
Also, don’t make your social media buttons blend in with your site design. Make them pop! Make them obvious. And don’t make your readers click on an icon to reveal the social share buttons.
Make sharing your content and following you on social media an easy, highly visible, one-click process!
3) Sending Followers To A Facebook Page
Facebook pages are no longer the effective tribe-building strategy that they used to be.
Just a couple years ago, our Incredible Smoothies Facebook page picked up 1,000 new followers every single day, and our posts reached hundreds of thousands of people.
Then over the years, Facebook changed their algorithm that throttled the organic reach of Page content. In June 2017, Facebook throttled organic Page reach to 3% or less. That means that 97% of your Facebook followers never see your content!
In January 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Page content would disappear from the NewsFeed.
At this point, if you are encouraging website readers to “like” a Facebook Page, then you are sending them to a place where they will likely never hear from you again.
A better solution is to create a Facebook GROUP. With groups, you can reach more of your followers organically, PLUS, Groups are better for building an engaged tribe of followers who will become future customers.
Tracy and I have changed all of the links from our website to our Facebook Page (with 500,000+ followers) to our Facebook Group with a specific focus.
4) Launching A Book or E-Book As Their First Product
When I’m on a Business Strategy Session with someone and they tell me they are working on publishing a book, or creating an e-book, I cringe.
I’ll be 100% honest with you right now: It is a waste of time to launch your business with an book – whether it’s an e-book or printed.
I know, it’s awesome to have your name on a paperback book. It feels great. It gives you that credibility that only a brick of pages bound between a glossy cover can give. BUT it’s a bad business strategy.
It is difficult to find a publisher for a book when you have no following or track record, and you won’t get the best deal as a first-time author.
It costs too much to self-print books, and then you have inventory and shipping costs, credit card transaction fees, sales tax – you’ll make pennies per copy sold, and you’ll hate your life and the fact that you’ve wasted so much money on a closet full of books that won’t sell at the price you need them to.
E-books have low value perception. It’s difficult to convince somebody to pay $24.99 for an e-book. It’s even difficult to part somebody with $15 for an e-book.
You have to sell A LOT of copies to make an appreciable income. For example, you need to sell 667 copies of a $15 e-book every month to make $10,000/month. That means that you need a TON of traffic, and a marketing engine that costs a pretty penny.
So if e-books (and printed books) are such a bad idea, what’s the alternative? E-Courses!
Instead of jamming all of your best information into a 200-page e-book that (and let’s be honest here) most people won’t read or finish, let alone implement what you recommend, build a 4-8-week online course.
The benefits are two-fold.
1) You can charge more for this, but it doesn’t necessarily take more work. Instead of trying to get $15 for an e-book, you can make $47-$5,000+ per customer with a course (depending on the value of the problem you solve, and who you’re marketing to) – as long as you can properly communicate the value.
2) You can make a LOT more money with a LOT less website traffic because the value of the transformation that you provide in your e-course is much greater than the value of the information you deliver in your e-book.
Instead of having to sell nearly 700 copies of a $15 e-book to make $10,000/month, you only need to get 200 people into a $50 e-course, or 20 in a $500 program to make the same amount.
5) Technical Issues With Website Or “Blah” Theme
First off, I absolutely recommend that you build your business using WordPress (NOT a free wordpress.com blog). WordPress is the most powerful and functional blogging platform.
Secondly, take some time to customize your website, and look at it through your reader’s eyes.
Some of the design issues I often see are:
Empty column or sidebar,
Links to non-existing content or “Coming Soon” pages (if the page isn’t ready, then don’t link to it),
Post written by “Admin” (select your “Display Name” in WordPress Dashboard > Users),
Missing e-mail opt-in forms, or hidden/missing social share/follow buttons (don’t use pop-ups and use a social share button plugin to put your share buttons front-and center,
Overall clumsiness in design (look at your theme on all size screens from your iPhone to your laptop),
I understand that if you are new to WordPress, or blogging, there is a learning curve. Take some time to orient yourself to WordPress, and get to know your theme.
If you can’t figure out how to get your WordPress Theme to look the way you want it to, then choose a different one. Or click on the Theme’s website and peruse the FAQ or documentation. If you have the funds, hire a WordPress developer who can safely make any customizations that you need.
6) Lack Of Business Focus
THE most powerful thing that a first-time entrepreneur can have is specificity.
Getting ultra-specific about your goals, your desired lifestyle, and the people who you want to serve through your business are essential for building a thriving business that provides everything you want in life.
Unfortunately, too many entrepreneurs create vague goals. They don’t have an income goal (“I just want to make enough to quit my day job”), or they don’t know who their target audience is. Hint: If you say “everyone”, then you’re doing it wrong!
If you haven’t done this yet, sit down right now and write down:
A specific income goal that will allow you to live a life that you love – and exactly what that life will be like (describe it in vivid detail!),
A vivid profile of your ideal reader, or if you have a product, your ideal customer/client. Are they male/female? Is there an age-range? What are their deepest fears/frustrations/desires?
WHY you are in business. Sure, you want to make money. But it rarely is just about the money. It’s about serving your “calling”, following your passion, and building a better life for yourself, your family, and those you serve through your work. Write down your WHY and post it where you will see it every single day.
7) Trying To Do It All On Your Own
Yes, there is a TON of free information out there on blogging, and selling products online. There are lots of books, and e-books, and webinars – but none of this “information” will help you build a successful business.
When it comes to building a business, going the DIY route leads nowhere. I’ve seen this happen over and over again. It happened to Tracy and I. It’s why so many people ultimately quit blogging after slaving away for months with no reward.
Tracy and I tried the DIY route with Incredible Smoothies. The result? We spent 18 months and countless long hours building our business to a whopping $300/month income. Once we got some mentorship, we were able to live off the income from our website within two months, and quickly thereafter hit six-figures!
The biggest problem I see with DIY business builders is that they spend a TON of time Googling how to do absolutely everything in their business. And then they get caught up in all of the conflicting information that marketers put out on the web, and they end up skipping from one tactic to another with no long-term plan in place.
Nothing will stall your progress like doubting your strategy only to jump into another one, and another, and another.
Or, they spend their time cobbling together a strategy based on emulating competitors (or their blogging heroes). But the problem with this is that they aren’t seeing the full picture.
While you can see what people do on their websites, you don’t see how the engine runs. It’s like building a car by only looking at the paint job and overall design, but not looking under the hood at the mechanics of the engine.
Instead, take the stunt driving course that teaches you some mad driving skills that will set you apart from your average driver.
Never assume that an opt-in, or a product, or any element of a website is successful. Most online business owners test and test and test. You have no way of knowing if you are following a proven strategy or if you are following something that they are testing out – that may never work, even for them.
Tracy and I spent 18 months building our blog to $300/month. Then we got help. Two months later, we were living off of the income from our website and accelerated to six-figures faster than we dreamed of.
A mentor or coach will dramatically shorten the learning curve, and set you on a direct path to your dream. No more wasting time, or following dead end tactics that won’t work over the long term – or that may never work for you and your niche.
Getting help building your business from the beginning guides you from point A to point B quickly and efficiently, and it’s worth every penny – especially when it means that you get to do what you love and enjoy financial freedom months or years faster than you would otherwise (if you don’t burn out or give up first).
DIY is fine if you want to have a hobby blog, but in my experience, you need a coach or mentor to grow your business to the point that you can actually quit your day job and do what you love for a living.
That has certainly been true for us, and for every successful online entrepreneur that I’ve ever met.
Ready For Launch?
If you are making any of the mistakes described in this article, take some time today to fix them. If you haven’t started your website yet, consider yourself lucky that you’ll get to avoid these common errors.
If you want to ensure that the work and effort that you put into your business won’t be wasted, then I’d like to invite you to book a FREE Online Business Strategy Session with me.
We’ll hop on the phone or Skype, and I’ll listen to your business ideas, frustrations, and help you plot a course to get you from where you are now into your dreams as quickly and efficiently as possible.
About Davy & Tracy
Hey there! We're Davy & Tracy Russell, the husband-and-wife team behind this website. We help trailblazers break through barriers so they can turn their passion into their life's work through entrepreneurship. How can we help you?