1. Money is wasted on an unnecessary design process
The vast majority of companies that offer website building services expect to be paid at least something before they begin work. It can be hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Typically it's thousands, and most of that, ostensibly, goes into a design process. That stage is a type of "art project" where the website owner and the provider hammer out a new design for the website: what it should look like, colors, background images, animations, contact-us forms, and lots of other elements.
The truth for very small companies is, there is no need to design a website from scratch. There are tens of thousands of pre-built, extremely high quality website templates on the marketplace already. It is 99% certain that a truly excellent, existing website template is available that matches your needs better than any design you could come up with for ten or twenty thousand dollars.
So, the first big mistake is to spend money on designing a new website when you can buy a better design off-the-shelf for almost nothing. The result of designing your website from scratch is that both money and time are lost. Your website goes live months later than it should have, you are way over budget (so there's little left to spend on supporting it), and you're not even sure you like the design you've ended up with.
2. The website is not maintained
Most companies don't realize that a website needs maintenance. Any industrial grade Content Management System (the software than manages your website) needs some of its underlying components upgraded every week or so. That's because, as web technology changes and evolves, new vulnerabilities emerge. Websites that do not keep up-to-date with the latest security patches that prevent, for example, hackers from exploiting a technical weakness in the software that manages your website, suffer.
A website needs about the same amount of care and attention as does a typical suburban garden. Ignore it, and it will compromise the value of your property.
Ask your current web provider if they even back up your website.
The mistake is to ignore regular website maintenance. It's only a matter of time before the website becomes compromised.
3. No new content is added
Search engines monitor how often new content is added to a website. If a website does not get fresh content for several weeks or months, the whole website is flagged as 'stale', which has a downward effect on the website's place in search results. When websites publish new content a few times a week, the whole website is deemed fresh, not just the latest new content.
4. The website is invisible to search engines
- Google mandates that, in order for a website to appear early in search results, it must be Responsive. 'R' is capitalized here because Responsive means your website must behave well on all devices from smartphones to iPads to desktop computers. The vast majority of websites are very difficult to use on a smartphone because they are not Responsive. To test if yours is, use your smartphone to view your website right now. Is it easy to read and navigate, or does it feel like you're reading microfiche with a magnifying glass?
If it's not Responsive, it's missing search traffic.
- Secondly, most websites pay little attention to even the basic, easy factors that influence their position in search results. They have page titles such as "welcome to my website" instead of "Plumbing services in Lower Manhattan". Populating page titles with clues about the respective page's content might account for 70% of what search engines need to work out what is on each of your web pages. Most websites don't use search friendly URLs (web page names) or a Site Map (which gives search engines a list of all pages on your website), and most websites are not registered under Google Administrative Tools.
- Most websites have no associated Google Plus account. Like it or leave it, Google gives priority to websites which have a validated Google Plus business page, and that Google Plus page has a verified associated website.
All of that is pretty easy to do, but most web providers neglect it, leaving your website all but invisible to search engines.
5. The website's integration to social media is not working
Just placing a link from your website to your Facebook page or Google Plus page is not enough. Nor is using AddThis or ShareThis tools to help people link to your website social media integration. With Google+, you must verify you have ownership of your website by embedding a small piece of (Google supplied) code into it. You also need to prove ownership of your Google+ page by using the authorship tag. To be considered 'integrated', there are steps to be taken with each social media community. Each has its own peculiar way of doing it. The vast majority of websites do not have any of this in place, and yet, search engines promote websites which do. It's a great opportunity to get ahead of your competitors.
Without proper integration with social media communities, a website is more isolated, and your web aspirations are less likely to come to pass.
For success on the web, your website is certainly the foundation, but you need much more than that. What you need is a web presence, which includes your website, all of your social media communities, content both on the website and elsewhere, proper maintenance and a long term view.