Mike Michalak, Founder of Trail 9 Explains Common Pitfalls to Avoid While Building Your new Website

Q:  What has been the biggest change in web development in the past couple of years?  

A: That websites are not just a business card or an entry in a phone book.

In today’s world of websites.  A website is the start of a company’s online presence.  A new website should attract, educate and convert users to customers.  This is done through inbound marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  Which means that websites today are being continuously updated.  Not just create it, publish it and forget about it.

Think about building the best hotel that has ever been created.  If it is set up and you put a sign on the outside that it is open.  Who will know about your hotel?  The same goes for websites. 

  • Attract = Good Search Engine Optimization, SEO, which includes continuously publishing content.
  • Educate = Good Content
  • Convert = Providing a way to capture a warm leads information to follow up with them to convert them to a client.

Q: What are the things a business should consider when planning their new website?


  • Who is my target audience?
  • What is the purpose of my website?
  • What are my goals for the website over the next 2 years.  The next 5 years?
  • Who will maintain my website?  Apply security updates?
  • Will there be multiple departments maintaining it?
  • How many people are currently visiting the current website?
  • What devices are people using to view the current website.

Maintenance and security are a very important part of a website after the project goes live.  A lot of people think that they have a ‘small’ website and know one will hack us.  In reality, security updates should be applied regularly.  Anything on the internet is a target for hackers, big or small.  Hackers are using anything they can get access to to use the devices processing power.  One of my favorite security bulletins in the past couple of months was that hackers were hacking security cameras to build botnets to attack bigger things. e.g. DDoS (Denial of Service) attacks on websites.

Q: What are some ways a business can save money on unnecessary spending or common pitfalls they should avoid when building a website?

A: Having someone tell them what they need and not listening to what the business wants to build. 

That a website is a one and done deal.  I have found it is better to take big websites and break them up in smaller ‘phases.’  This makes it easier for our clients to understand, easier on budget, and allows them to get a grasp on their new website before adding in a lot of things and completely overwhelming themselves.  Also, once they have a good understanding of the base system.  They know what they can or cannot do with it.  Then this allows us to add on new functionality as it is needed and in a more efficient manner.

Finally, having a website that cannot be updated in house.  This is one of the biggest complaints I have had when talking to new prospects.  Their current website had to be updated by the company/developer who created it, and they were always too busy or unavailable to make these updates.  This also leads to additional costs since they are unable to update it themselves.

Q: While interviewing Web Development Companies to build their new site; what should someone look for in a company?

A:  I would start by looking over their website and reviewing it in detail.  Does it look good and perform well?  If not then I would be scared.  They have the skills and the talent to make awesome website but why is theirs not up to speed?

I would also review their blog.  Are they staying up to date?  Was their last post with in the last week, month or year?  Basically are they keeping up with the latest trends, best practices?

I would also read the reviews left from their clients.  What is said about them?

Finally, I would find out what type of company is it?  Is it a marketing company that makes websites or are they a website agency?  I have noticed a lot of marketing companies that have a service called website design.  These companies are good for putting cookie cutter websites together.  They assume what is needed and don’t take much into consideration or listen to their clients.


Mike Michalak

Founder and lead web developer at Trail 9, Mike Michalak has the passion to make his customers dreams a reality.  After graduating from Purdue, Michalak formed Trail 9 and has grown the company to five employees.

Small but mighty, Trail 9 stands as a leader in the industry, providing a full-package solution, from server hosting through website development, support, and maintenance. Trail 9 designs and develops custom websites. They have the ability to integrate client websites with third-party tools and software resulting in the stellar design, top performance, and the ultimate in secure websites.

To learn more please visit: https://www.trail9.com

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Tavis Bucklin

Tavis Bucklin is a #1 Best-selling author, and contributing iReporter for CNN covering leaders in Business, Health, and Personal Development.Tavis has been published in ABC, CNN, NBC, FOX and Forbes Magazine among other outlets.