Don't Do Something You Know Nothing About
Unless you have experience developing a website, do not design your website yourself!
This is a common mistake. People sometimes approach us with designs done in Paint or Photoshop and want them converted into a working website. This is a problem because, a website can not be designed like a billboard. You need a professional or need to have some web development knowledge to create a design that is right for the web in terms of fonts, images, dimensions and a lot more.
Many times we are even approached with designs that are REALLY bad! Don't try to do everything yourself. Hire someone who is an expert and knows what he's doing. And then give the expert some creative freedom. See what he comes up with based on correct designing guidelines, norms and trends. Otherwise, your lack of knowledge about the field might hold you back from getting a stunning website built for yourself.
Don't Start Off Clueless
Before starting, build a List of Must-haves and Nice-to-haves. The Must-haves are the features you just can not do without. These could include features like newsletter subscriptions, option to login with Facebook or Twitter, ability to make changes on the website yourself etc.
Nice-to-haves are features that you would like to have on your website but could do without depending on complexity and cost. Make sure you share these two lists with your designer before going ahead.
Don't Ignore Your LogoTo save on cost, some people approach us, saying they need a website and they don't have a logo but don't want to spend on a logo design. Opposed to our advice, they insist on instead simply putting their business name in text form in a color of their choice and use it as their logo. This is a huge mistake. Even if you're budget is low, you should never ignore the importance of a business logo and launch your website without giving it much thought. People think they can start off with a text logo and then later get it designed when they're ready to spend more but your website's first impression is EVERYTHING for people who visit your website. A business logo is not only your company's identity but it's also a symbol that you want your potential clients to remember you by. If what you need them to remember is not up to the mark and memorable, it can totally damage your online campaign.
Avoid ClutterJust because you have noted down 100 different things you have liked on other websites, don't put ALL of them on your website too. First of all what worked for them, may not work for you. Second, no one likes too many things going on in front of them. Make sure your website design is clean and helps the visitor focus on what you want them to focus on.
Limit Number of FontsJust because most themes today come packed with ALL the Google fonts there are, you don't HAVE to use them. Use the ones that are either defined by your logo designer in your brand design guidelines or use 1-2 fonts that go well with your logo. too many fonts, not only look bad, but also add to your site's loading time.
Don't Overlook Image Quality
Today in most cases, the number one element that attracts people to a site is visual media. So don't just use the photos you have enough if you're not completely happy with them. If your budget allows it, you might even want to go for a professional shoot that does justice to your products so that when your website visitors see them, they are truly impressed.
I hope these tips help! Feel free to share your comments and tips with us!