The Website Mistake That Almost Cost Me My Business

The Website Mistake That Almost Cost Me My Business

The Website Mistake That Almost Cost Me My Business

If someone had told me the challenges I would face with our website, I probably would not have started our business.


As a small luxury gift hamper business, we predominately trade online and our website is an integral part of our marketing and branding efforts.

I have learnt the hard way that a website mistake can potentially break your business. Finding a developer who can deliver a website that meets our needs and the needs of our clients has been one of the biggest challenges for us in business.

If someone had told me the challenges I would face with our website, I probably would not have started our business.

We did some research and asked friends for recommendations for website developers. I thought we were being thorough, but we were not.

Three years on, and I’m onto my second website and this is what I have learned:

Avoid the most cost-effective and easy option – there is always a catch!

I picked a website developer who talked to me in layman’s terms. It was all a little too easy, and I thought I’d struck gold! Who was I kidding, nothing in business is that easy?!

The mistake I made was not attempting to understand the process, and I left my website in the hands of someone else. Smart move girl.

What I ended up with was a website where the shopping card was proprietary to the developer. Can you imagine my surprise when the penny dropped, and I realised that I didn’t in fact, own my website?

The penny dropped soon after my website went live. I thought if I build it they will come, in retrospect I was naïve. I assumed that with a website it was as simple as taking an order and shipping a product.

As a person who believes in ongoing development and values the customer experience, what became evident, quickly was the need for me to continue to improve and adjust my website.

Do you think you have the freedom to adjust a website whereby the shopping cart is proprietary to the developer? The simple answer is no, no and NO.

I was left questioning what I paid for, because I didn’t in fact own my website!

Here is a summary of mistakes to avoid

  • Make sure your designer will provide you with access to your website’s code at the end of the job. Even though you’ve paid them, some designers might keep control of your website code which you assumed you owned. You can’t sell your business if you can’t show ownership of your website and code.
  • Make sure your developer is providing you with a responsive website from the onset. Many consumers search using phones, IPads and tables, nowadays. If your website is not responsive, they will find one that is. You want to avoid a situation whereby you need to pay an additional amount later on for a responsive website.
  • Internet marketing – ensure that when you choose a web developer that they understand the art and science behind Search Engine Optimisation. I assumed that most developers have a solid understanding of SEO, I found out the hard way that this could not be further from the truth.

So, what are the solutions to finding a good website designer?

  • Ask for help, do you have a network of business associates, ask them for referrals? This is how I found my second website developer. I also checked the websites they had developed, and I contacted some of the owners and asked about their experience.
  • You could also research websites you like online, in most cases you can see who designed them. Again check the testimonials and contact them.
  • From the onset, ensure you clarify all ownership expectations, cost and delivery timing.

If you make incorrect choices with your website, you can simply lose thousands of dollars before you’ve even started. Not to mention the potential revenue loss from not being able to continually improve the customer experience.

Make sure you are well-informed. Being aware of the pitfalls and issues associated with finding a great website developer or designer will save you from much unnecessary stress.

Luckily for me, our website challenges did not hinder our ability to service our customers.

Featured image: Shutterstock

Caroline Kennedy

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