1) The "cheap" website - A common excuse regarding development websites is that "I will just build this cheap website, and if it works out, I will be happy to invest some real money into it." This concept of testing the waters might work well with deciding to do a trial run on a few new products for a store. But when it comes to marketing your business, you either succeed or you fail.
Cheap websites look cheap and they suggest to your prospective client (who has never met you) that quality is of little value to you, that you are willing to take shortcuts, that you are a business amateur, or that you simply don't care about your own business. How would they know any different? Your website is your first impression and if that is negative, it will probably be your only impression.
This doesn't mean that you have to spend thousands of dollars on a website. You can probably find college students who can do a decent job for a few hundred much needed dollars. But you are going to have to take control of the project and especially the content. Double check spelling, grammar, and that everything is written the way you want it to be seen.
2) Being too close to the project - People will often take freebie website building from friends or relatives and therefore, must accept what they are given. Or after putting in exceptional hours in the learning process, decide that the website is “good enough”. This is obviously not what you want to base your business on.
You have to remain objective and look at it as a potential customer would see your site, not as a brother or a mother of the developer would see it. Like the brochures that you develop to hand to people, you want your site to reflect what it is that you would make them feel if you were present.
3) Not doing your shopping - You want to learn about your competition, what they are doing, what kind of look and feel they have to their sites, and what might be expected from you as a member of the industry.
It is important to look at those competitors that have been around a long time and are very successful. It took time for them to learn what works and what doesn’t. You can often pick up on points in common that must obviously work because all the big guys are doing it.Additionally, if all your industry has a particular general look and feel, though you want to be distinctive, you don’t want to stray so far from those characteristic elements that you don’t look like you belong. Emulate but do not duplicate competitors. You want to take what works, but you also want to be distinctive, and just a tad bit better than they are.
4) Getting too creative - It is great to have a distinctive site, one that people will remember, and one that leaves a quality impression. But as with all things, "being different" can be overdone.
Keep your navigation structure simple and uniform throughout the site. There's no value in switching menus from one side of the page to the other or top to bottom, or sticking them somewhere in the middle of the page. Nobody wants to have to look for your menu, squint to see 8 pt gray text, or have doodads flying in front of them and popping up all over the place. It is frustrating and annoying.
5) Trying to force things - There are many new tricks out there that attempt to make sure that your message is loud and clear and/or to prevent the viewer from seeing certain other sites. These may sound cute, but if you clear their back button so they cannot leave your site, it's not going to make them call, but it will make them mad.