Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

The 3 Costliest Mistakes I've Made Launching A New Website (So Far) Even good ideas need proper execution.

By Gene Marks Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

ridvan_celik | Getty Images

Last month my company launched an entirely new website. Hooray! Well, not so fast...

The site -- please excuse my self-promotion -- is called Marks Group Live. It's targeted at users of Zoho, one of the business applications my company sells. It's a new type of offering, which is part of the problem.

Mostly small companies buy Zoho. The only ways for them to get help is support from Zoho, watch free videos on YouTube or hire partners like me ar rather high hourly fees. My site is aimed at financially conscious users. Sounds good, right?

Well, it's been a slog. Growth has been slower than I expected. I realize now that users need more time to understand this relatively new way of getting services for a business application. I've made other mistakes. Stupid mistakes. Here are my biggest (so far).

Mistake 1: I went for quantity over quality with Google AdWords.

Think about it -- if you need help, service, consulting or training with a business application you're probably going to Google it, right? So I jumped into AdWords, and wound up throwing a bunch of money right down the toilet.

Why? Because I didn't understand a basic concept about Google AdWords: for B2B marketing it's all about quality over quantity. Sure, Entrepreneur.com get millions of visitors every day on their site -- it's how they sell ads. But for a company selling to other businesses there are leads and then there are leads. Using generic and popular keywords meant I was paying for tons of visitors on my sight who weren't the right kind of leads for me. They immediately left -- my bounce rate was 95 percent. Because of this stupid mistake I squandered my monthly ad budget in a couple of days.

How I fixed this: I realized that getting 100 good visitors to my site is more financially effective than getting 1,000 bad leads, so I changed to more specific and less generically popular AdWords. I chose quality over quantity. My bounce rate is going down and people are spending more time on my site. Fingers crossed.

Related: 7 Common Mistakes Companies Make With Google AdWords

Mistake 2: I underestimated how curious people are on the internet.

The internet is a funny place. Billions of people are surfing at any given moment and let's face it: most didn't go to Harvard. Because my AdWords were initially so general (see above) I got people blindly clicking on them. I got questions about real estate in New Jersey and whether I knew any good tax accountants in Florida. I found that many people will click on anything they see -- mistakenly or intentionally -- and then not only take up my time but my advertising budget. Even if a decent prospect landed on my site I also found that they asked a lot of questions about a lot of obvious things that I thought were plain and simple on my site. Apparently, they weren't.

How I fixed this: As mentioned above, I used better, more specific keywords. I also placed ads a little further down the page to (hopefully) avoid people who click on the first thing they see. More importantly, I went to work making my site easier to understand. I added sections for "frequently asked questions," "about us," and more expansive descriptions as well as videos and better explanations of our services. It's helpful, but hasn't fully solved the problem. That's because I was making Mistake 3.

Related: Use This Google AdWords Hack to Lower Costs and Increase Leads

Mistake 3: I ignored humans.

When I launched the site I had this vision that small business owners who needed help with Zoho would visit, read, click and sign up. Boom! No muss, no fuss. Everything would be simple. It would be like buying a book on Amazon or a ceramic mug on Etsy. Money would rain down on me from the heavens while I sipped cocktails in the Caribbean. This, as you've likely gathered, has not been the case.

A few of our subscribers did this but most have needed more. I have realized that the big companies like Salesforce, Microsoft and Intuit that offer B2B applications have actual sales staffs -- and for good reason. My offerings start at $65 a month. When people -- particularly people who own small businesses -- have questions when they are asked to spend hundreds of dollars. Because they are business owners (like me) they will be skeptical. They want some assurances. They want to know who they are doing business with. Humans matter.

How I fixed this: I added a dedicated phone line and chat feature to call. I offered a free whitepaper for visitors to download so that I could capture their email. Then I followed up with emails so that I could answer questions and gently push the benefits of our services. I emailed our existing client base and have been answering many questions. I've been nurturing, developing, cajoling, explaining and educating people.

I didn't think I would have to do all of this, but it's working. Signups have increased since I provided a way to connect with more humans. That's the good news. The downside is that this takes more resources and more money, which means less profits than I expected. Forget the Caribbean. Looks like the Jersey Shore for me.

So those are just the three stupidest mistakes I've made with my new website…so far. I've made others, and I'm sure there are more to come. Avoid doing what I did and save yourself some time and money.

Gene Marks

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

President of The Marks Group

Gene Marks is a CPA and owner of The Marks Group PC, a ten-person technology and financial consulting firm located near Philadelphia founded in 1994.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick


These Creative Marketing Hacks Can Help Deliver Big Returns For Your Bootstrapped Startup

When resources are tight, creativity becomes your most valuable asset in marketing. In this challenge lies an opportunity to innovate, stand out and boost marketing ROI.


Is Franchising a Good Side Hustle? It Depends on These 3 Factors

As a franchise consultant, I am often asked whether franchising can be done on the side while continuing to work in a full-time corporate position. The answer? Ultimately, it depends on your circumstances. Here's what I mean.

Side Hustle

This 27-Year-Old Started a Side Hustle on Facebook Marketplace — Now the Gig Earns Over $500,000 a Month

Valentina Zapata wanted "something positive to do on the side" — and it turned into a major money-maker.

Business Solutions

Get Microsoft Windows 11 Pro for $23 for a Limited Time

This new-age operating system is on sale now through July 21.


I Quit My Corporate Role to Work a 'Lazy Girl Job' Instead — Here's How This Career Change Helped Me Earn 10 Times More

A month after quitting my "lazy girl job," I made 10 times what I did before. Here's how I used a "lazy girl job" to accelerate my company into success.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.