Top 15 Mistakes People Make on Their Websites

Hi Everyone: This is the first post on the new antion blog. I hope you like it and there’s an interesting viral marketing technique included in this posting that I’ll tell you how to do in a future posting.

The first 14 mistakes are in no particular order.

No plan or purpose for the website – People get what I call a “CSI” AKA Crappy Stupid Idea and throw up a website without thinking through what EXACTLY they want to accomplish with the site.  This allows the site to go off in all kinds of directions with no cohesive content visitors can depend on.

Too many topics – For the best chance of success the fastest, sites should be about one topic.  Google wants to please the searcher by giving the searcher the best possible sites based on what they were searching for. If you lump multiple topics on one site, you are hurting your chances of being found in the search engines.

No instant recognition – When someone lands on your site, they should instantly know they are in the right place. Put a tag line near the top of the site so they know. http://www.FatsoTennis.comFatsoHeaderFor instance at it says, “The Blog for Out of Shape People Who Love Tennis”. You know immediately if the site is for you or not. If you aren’t out of shape, then the site is not for you. If you are out of shape, then it is. Poor recognition is part of the cause of high bounce rates which means people find your site, but then leave immediately.

Form over function – Many people let creative “web designers” who were probably out of work graphic artists the day before run away with design elements for coolness sake. Websites should look just good enough to represent you well professionally and concentrate on the marketing elements rather than fancy design.

 Too much Navigation – Back in the year 2000 a book came out called “Don’t Make Me Think”. It’s been revised two times since. It was all about making it easy to move around your site without getting lost or confused.  Here’s something you can do. If on the first screen of your website you have more than let’s say eight places to click, you probably need either another website or you need to rethink and simplify your navigation.

No obvious opt in form – Everyone at my level makes virtually all their money from email. When you hear, “The Money is in the List”, ….believe it.  You must get serious about getting people to opt in to your email list and then you must get serious about emailing them regularly with great things that will help them.

Not including social media – Social media can be a big waste of time if you get sucked in to playing games and yapping about your bunion operation. It is a necessary evil for business. Google and the other search engines demand that you have social media indicators on your site to prove that you are worthy of high rankings. Their conventional wisdom . . . .”If you’re site is great, then someone is talking about it and you better be able to prove it with social media.”

Broken Links – Nothing screams “non-professional” like links that don’t go anywhere. You should review your site regularly or have someone else do it for you.  You can use this free tool

Disappointment – I lied. This screams “non-professional” louder than broken links. When you make people feel by clicking on a link they are going to see something they want and then you show them something else or make them search all over to find what you promised, you have just committed a website sin.  The visitor will immediately think, “This site is too hard to figure out,” or worse yet, “I can’t trust this website.”

Poor sales copy – On a business site almost everything should be leading people in some way to buy something. Writing words that sell is one of the most important things you can ever learn how to do. These words don’t have to be cheesy or smash you in the face, but they should be crafted to move the visitor to action and to the ultimate conclusion they should be doing business with you. I created the site to teach you how to write these words for written, audio or video sales messages.

Slow loading – Google has come right out and said, “If your site doesn’t load fast, you will not get a high ranking.” The idea behind this is that Google and the other search engines want the searcher to have a great experience. Faster loading websites contribute to a great user experience.  Use this tool to check your site

Poor quality videos hosted on YouTube – Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE YouTube. I love it to drive traffic “TO” your site. Once people are on your site I don’t want them to easily be able to “LEAVE” your site. Videos on your site in most cases should be yt-brand-downloads-logo-for-webhoused on high quality file hosting like Amazon S3 and connected to your site by means of a video player. An example would be FloPLayer or the top of the line EVS .The videos better be good too! You MUST have good audio as your number one priority. People will sometimes put up with questionable video but they will never stand for poor audio.

No call to action – In business you must get people to do something and you must tell them to do it. You can’t assume they will read between the lines and do what you want them to do. It could be clicking on a link or filling in an opt in form. It could be reading an article or watching a video. Whatever it is, you must tell them to do it. One thing I like to do to get people to click on a link is to put a command and a benefit in the text of the link. Here’s an example from my Wake’em Up Speaking System: Click here to get standing ovations around the world where “click here” is the command and “standing ovations around the world” is the benefit.

Overpaying for services – This is what I’ve preached against since 1997 when Microsoft Front Page came out. This was a program that allowed people to easily make web pages themselves with no web designer involved. This is one of the top two skills to which I attribute my success online. (the other is copywriting that was mentioned above). Now we use WordPress for all new sites and with a very small amount of tutoring you can be making world class websites yourself for less than 100 bucks. I have a course on this at You can also use for custom graphics and all kinds of other services.

And Drumroll Please!

The number one biggest mistake I see on websites is:


122 thoughts on “Top 15 Mistakes People Make on Their Websites

  1. Shared on Google + using Safari. Got a screen to add text comments regarding the recommendation which didn’t stay up long enough for me to type anything in it.

  2. Placing more keywords in my blog articles, on my pictures and around my website is something I am working on. It took me a long time to just figure out what “key” words meant to my website. Understanding internet vocabulary is so important. I appreciate when it’s broken down and explained in plain English, Tom does this extremely well in his courses. Thank you Tom!

  3. Liked on Facebook using Chrome. Got a screen to add text comments about the recommendation which didn’t stay up long enough for me to type anything in it.

  4. I am using firefox as my browser and I shared on facebook. Happy to help you. The follow me for fb and twitter came right up with share and like buttons.

  5. hi Tom – I just encountered some strange behavior, but maybe you’re in the middle of updating/tweaking it right now. I clicked the FB “Like” icon, and the screen jumped and then I couldn’t FB it at all. I closed the tab, went back to your email, and then there was a FB SHARE icon (not, LIKE). – I clicked SHARE, wrote a comment, and it zapped directly to my FB with no problems. — Good luck with your new blog; I’ll be reading! Peace, Sandy

  6. Tom, it seemed to work fine. I tweeted it, and I’m on a MAC. Not sure if that is what you’re asking, but there it is. One comment I could add is the length and visibility of the site seemed a bit daunting. A lot of text by today’s standards. Something I struggle with myself. Hope this is useful for you. Sharon

    • Hi Sharon and thanks. Unfortunately sources are reporting that about 1500 words is the optimum currently for a blog posting to be linked to, and shared. I agree with you, that short is good, but not by Google standards.

  7. Hi Tom,

    I checked everything. I’m on Windows 8 using Google Chrome, it all worked perfectly for me, liked and shared the page. The only issue I had was sending a voicemail from the side panel, I clicked allow and I didn’t see it come up, otherwise all good. Big HUG and thanks for always giving us such great content!

  8. I am on a Smartphone. It took awhile for me to get over to your link. Almost quit trying. The boxes for follow me and voicemail appear too large so I can’t see what I have typed at this point. I did the tweet and that got me to the number one reason. So that part worked great! Not good that I can not see what I am typing. Can you reduce the size of the follow me and voicemail boxes or put a close checkbox on them. Most would be discouraged from commenting with those boxes hiding their words.

  9. Too cluttered.

    The top mistake needs to be at the top of the list.

    I didn’t click to find the top mistake. My guess is, “Failing to conduct market research, keyword analysis and developing a clear monitization strategy before building the site.”

  10. I have a total unrelated question. Below this comment box is some HTML tags an attributes. I have the same thing happening on my blog page in WordPress. Had a website designed and then powered by WordPress. Any idea how to get rid of that?

  11. The instructions in the box were “click the Like, Share or Tweet button” There was no Like button. Using Chrome on a PC.

  12. I tweeted but nothing happened! I still can’t see the number 1 mistake. I’m on an iPad mini (non retina), still on ios 7, using Safari.

  13. This is better, but when I press on the keyboard to type the Followme and Voicemail boxes enlarge at that point and still cover most of my comment so I can’t see what I typed.

  14. I like the easy “Follow Me!” button on the left. I ended up doing a Digg clicking on the SHARE button. I am using a MacBook Pro and my web browser chosen is Google Chrome.

    Tiny Frau & The Smiths

  15. Tom: Are you missing the PRINT command button? Whether I want to print it and read this article on paper or save it as a PDF for my later reading on my iPad, it’s useful.

    Tiny Frau & The Smiths

  16. Since I am not on twitter, facebook or g+1, I cannot get the answer. I would be happy to share by email. This is irritating and would affect many people.


    • Hi Matt. I think the tech guys are working on an email share. Our figures show that almost everyone is on one of those services. Also, I admit I’m not a fan of social media, but in today’s atmosphere if you want to be found by search engines, they are putting a heavy emphasis on social media indicators before they give you a high ranking.

  17. Using Firefox on my Win7 Pro. The top tip revealed after I tweeted. Yes, I’d like to know how to do this. Thanks for always giving us new and neat info and ideas!

  18. Tom- It all worked seamlessly for me using Chrome. When I shared it I got the secret content. I didn’t try to break it or stress it.(Apart from the test, it’s some great content. As thanks, I’ll root for your guys against Texas Tech tomorrow…)

  19. When I clicked on the link, the #1 didn’t come up. There were links to Tweeter, Facebook and G+. I use Firefox. The click through on both Tweeter and Facebook made sense. I’m not sure what you’re asking with “Did the content get revealed?” I wasn’t using a handheld device.

    I’m following you on Tweeter now.

    • Thanks Dan. The number 1 mistake people make on their website would have been revealed back at the original page after you shared it.

  20. Tom,
    This one worked better but not quite there yet. The problem is that I had to comment BEFORE reading the #1 Mistake. I would like to have seen the #1 Mistake in the pop-up box, but it appeared your entire post was in the pop-up box and I didn’t want to re-read everything.
    Here’s what I think would have been more effective:
    1. I click on the Twitter/FB/G+ icon
    2. The pop-up appears with your smiling face and the #1 Mistake.
    3. I read the #1 mistake and post a comment. Or, if I didn’t like what I read (highly unlikely if it came from you), I would not be forced to comment.

    • Hi Rita: The entire point of the box locking off the content was so you had to share it before you got to read the number one mistake.
      After reading the bulk of the article it’s not too much to ask to require people share it before reading the final mistake.
      Comments below the article aren’t required at all and can be put in any time.
      Thanks for the help and the kind words.

  21. Yes, I had to pick Twitter, FB or G+, I selected Twitter and it took me right to Twitter (on Safari)

    Didn’t get the content and don’t know what to do from the Twitter screen to see the #1.

    Was on a laptop not handheld.

  22. Hi Tom! I am using the Chrome browser. The lock-off box was there as it should be. I tweeted it and the number one tip appeared as it should. I hope this helps and thanks for the info in the post!

  23. Hi Tom,
    I’m on an iPhone. This is a different comment. I think it’s not as much of a carrot to get the #1 tip when you tell me the tips are in no particular order. That implies to me I may have enough information already & may not need tip #1. I would suggest you number them & take that part out.

  24. Yes, #1 answer was “locked off with a Facebook/Google+/Twitter box.”

    Using Firefox on a Windows-based laptop.

    When I clicked on the Tweet icon, the Twitter sign-on page opened.

    Yes, the #1 content was revealed.

    The whole process worked flawlessly!

  25. Tweeted and shared on FB and both worked very well. Box came up to tweet, and then box came up to share on FB. Last reason was revealed after the FB share, but not after the Tweet. See you next month!

  26. There was no LIKE button showing, only SHARE, TWEET and G+1. I shared your post and it worked fine. The LIKE option then showed up in a box on the left, along with share and tweet. Cool tool, though. Hope you get all the bugs worked out.

  27. Hi Tom, I found the #1 mistake and it appeared immediately after the FB link. Very slick! I’m on a laptop using firefox.

    Someday, I’ll get my website finished. I’m busy producing animated videos and editing other people’s videos for now.

    I’ll make a public commitment to take one step toward defining my audience today in order to build my list.

    Glad to help you out, Tom!

  28. Hi Tom, I used Firefox and shared using google+. Once I clicked on google+ it automatically revealed the number reason on your list. No further action was needed.

  29. It’s a really neat idea, though I think I’d prefer it if the widget didn’t include the hidden (top #1) content in the html source at all, but would only access it from a database when the sharing was done. As it stands, anyone who views the source file can see the hidden content.

  30. I didn’t click on anything. I wanted to get what out offered which was 15 common mistakes. Not 14 common mistakes and a requirement to share this to get the 15th. Feels like bait and switch to me!

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